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Caylus, Marthe M. (1673–1729)

Caylus, Marthe M. (1673–1729)

French writer of memoirs. Pronunciation: KAY-lüs. Name variations: Marquise or Comtesse de Caylus. Born Marie Marguerite Le Valois de Villette de Murçay in Poitou, France, in 1673; died in Paris on April 15, 1729; niece of Mme de Maintenon (1635–1719); married J.-Anne de Tubières (d. 1704), comte de Caylus, in 1686; children: son Anne Claude Philippe de Tubières, Comte de Caylus (an archaeologist who published Recueil d'Antiquités Egyptiennes, Étrusques, Grecques, Romaines, et Gauloises [7 vols. 1752–67]).

A French woman of fashion and niece of Mme de Maintenon , the Marquise de Caylus was one of the brilliant wits and social leaders of the court of Louis XIV. Long a fixture of the court, she passed her declining years dictating her famous Souvenirs (My Recollections), which contained valuable insight into the life of the king. With additional notes and a preface, they were edited in 1770 by Voltaire who regarded them as masterpieces of candor and wit. Sainte-Beuve assigned to her a distinguished place in his Portraits of Celebrated Women.

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