What Did Princesse de Lamballe Read?

Many people in the 1700s had private libraries in their homes. For instance, the French socialite, Madame Récamier maintained her own library, as did the Princesse de Lamballe, who was fluent in several languages. Among the books that the Princesse de Lamballe read were those written by popular writers, such as Dante Alighieri and Nicolo Macchivell. However, she read a lot of other authors even when her situation was not necessarily pleasing. This fact was stated by Madame de Tourzel, who was imprisoned at her with at La Force:

“We tried … to make our situation less painful during this period by portioning out our time in different occupations, such as the care of our room, needlework, and reading.”[1]

Princesse de Lamballe

Princesse de Lamballe. Courtesy of Wikipedia.


The Princess’ favorite thing to read was Italian poetry, and some of these kinds of books that Princesse de Lamballe read could be found in her private library. In March 2015 many books from the Princesse de Lamballe’s library were auctioned off through Olivier Coutau-Bégarie. Here is that list:

Algarotti, Comte Francesco, Il Congresso di Citeria (The Congress of Cythera), 1768: Compares English, French, and Italian attitudes toward love, English Translation

Alighieri, Dante, La Divinia Commedia (The Divine Comedy), 1768: Epic Italian poem considered one of the greatest literary works of all times, English Translation

Aristo, Ludovico, Orlando Furioso (The Frenzy of Orlando), 1768: Italian poetry, English Translation

Carteromaco, Nicolo, Riccardetto, 1767: Italian poetry.

Corsini, Bartolomeo, Il Tornacchione Desolato, 1768: Classical Italian poetry.

Guarini, Cav., Il Pastor Fido (The Faithful Shepherd), 1768: Tragicomedy play, English Translation

Lippi, Lorenzo, Il Malmantile Racquistato, 1768: Humorous poem.

Macchiavelli, Nicolò, Opere (The Works), 1768: History, English Translation

Nicolò Macchiavelli, Courtesy of Wikipedia

Nicolò Macchiavelli. Courtesy of Wikipedia.

Petrarca, Francesco, Le Rime, 1768: Italian lyrical poetry.

Pulci, Luigi, Il Morgante (Morgante: The Epic Adventures of Orlando and His Giant Friend Morgante), 1768: Italian poetry.

Redi, Francesco, Vocabolario Portatile (Vocabulary Portable), 1768: Italian poetry.

Tassonni, Alessandro, La Secchia Rapita (The Rape of the Bucket), 1768: Italian satirical poetry, English Translation

Torquato, Tasso, Aminta Favola Boscareccia: Italian poetry.

Tasso Torquato, Courtesy of Wikipedia

Tasso Torquato. Courtesy of Wikipedia.

Torquato, Tasso, La Gerusalemme Liberata (The Jerusalem Delivered), 1768: Epic Italian poem, English translation


  • [1] Hardy, Blanche C., The Princesse de Lamballe, 1908, p. 268.

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