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Letters of a Portuguese Nun: Uncovering the Mystery Behind a 17th Century Forbidden Love
In 1669, a Parisian bookseller published a slim volume called Portuguese Letters, which unveiled a love affair between a young Portuguese nun and a French officer that had occurred a few years earlier during a chaotic and war-torn period in Portgual. The book contained passionate love letters the nun had written when the officer was forced to return to...
In 1669, a Parisian bookseller published a slim volume called Portuguese Letters, which unveiled a love affair between a young Portuguese nun and a French officer that had occurred a few years earlier during a chaotic and war-torn period in Portgual. The book contained passionate love letters the nun had written when the officer was forced to return to France. The letters took Paris by storm. They spoke of love in a manner so direct, so precise, and so raw, they sent shivers of recognition through the sophisticated stratums of polite society. As remarkable as the letters are, they were rivaled by the mystery that surrounds them: the author was unknown, and most people assumed they were the fictional product of a French aristocrat. The consensus was that no woman could write words of such stunning truth and beauty. Now, through meticulous research, Myriam Cyr persuasively makes the case that the nun, Mariana Alcoforado, did indeed write the letters, and her story is one of the most moving in the history of forbidden love. While this tale is infamous throughout Europe, it is fresh to American readers, and Myriam Cyr brings us the extraordinary letters; the fraught, dangerous, complex nature of this tumultuous period; and the fascinating lives of these real-life lovers in rich historical detail.
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