Elys, The Lacemaker: The Book of Hours of Madame de Lafayette

"The story of Elys, the Lacemaker to the Princess of Cleves is a double-true fiction. First, a lacemaker is not mentioned in the text of Madame de Lafayette's Princess of Cleves. However, the Princess surely had both seamstresses and personal fitters for her couture. It was not uncommon for a proper trousseau to be many years in preparation. Elegant ladies were sewn into their gowns before setting off to the ball. Also, no record attests that the Viscount of Chartres had a natural child--or certainly not one named Elys. But it was customary to donate unwanted souls to the service of the many needs of the Court. As a fictional lacemaker, Elys would certainly have heard the folktale, 'Little Red Riding Hood.' Early, oral versions of the tale include the wolf asking Riding Hood if she planned to take the 'path of pins' or the 'path of needles.' The Grandmother, too, is blind--attesting to the fate of the real lacemakers who worked from age four until their sight failed in adolescence. I have adapted the Cinderella story for Elys' mother, Elle. In this version, cinder-Elle is not allowed to go to the ball, and the Prince does not, therefore, bring a glass slipper." -- Marjorie Luesebrink, "Author's Note"


The Marjorie C. Luesebrink Collection

An unpublished copy.

Please note that while this copy of the work is fully functional, it is currently missing a number of sound files from the original. Marjorie Luesebrink donated this work to the Electronic Literature Lab in September of 2021.