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This report is taken from PN Review 60, Volume 14 Number 4, March - April 1988.

Comment C.H. Sisson
Reading my 'Comment' on the memoirs of the Marquise de Larochejaquelein (PNR ?55), it occurred to me that the reservation I made about their authorship ought to be further investigated. What I had said was that the memoirs seemed to have received some rehandling. How much? I wondered and still wonder. It may be that there is a scholarly answer to this question; I have not been able to find the most modern edition, which I suppose is that of the Mercure de France, in their series le Temps retrouvé. The edition I came across, on a market stall in Brignoles, is dated 1815, the first moment at which the manuscript could have been made public. In that edition the Marquise acknowledges some editorial help from Prosper de Barante, and attributes to him, in its entirety, the description of the country in the third chapter. She also speaks of the 'numerous changes' she had made to the 'rédaction' (presumably the edited MS) and which she had not, she says, been able to consult Barante about when she 'left the MS in Bordeaux for printing'. She always spoke of the memoirs as her own work, as well she might. The Baron de Barante, as he later became, who wrote memoirs of his own, less seductive by far than those of the Marquise, claims more than she herself seems to have allowed. He says boldly, speaking of the years 1808-9: 'I also finished the memoirs of Madame de La Rochejaquelein; I never wrote ...


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