The Book of The Ladies: (Illustrious Dames)
Pierre de Bourdeille, Seigneur de Brantôme, abbot (in name only), soldier and courtier, was a lover of all things French, and all things beautiful — especially the ladies, and especially those of high birth. He said of himself, people may blame me sometimes for exaggerating; but I ought to be readily pardoned, because I do not know the art of writing.
In this volume of his memoirs he presents lengthy "Discourses" on five Queens: Anne de Bretagne, Catherine de Medici, Mary Stuart, Elizabeth de Valois and Queen Margot, followed by shorter pieces on "Mesdames, the Daughters of the Noble House of France". A final section on "Various Illustrious Ladies" includes, among others, wives of three members of the Lorraine family - Brantôme's patrons.
His uncritical effusions are sometimes comic and often unintentionally revealing of the character of his subjects.
"The Book of the Ladies" was the title Brantôme gave his work. His first editor, fifty years after Brantôme's death, called it "Vie des Dames Illustres".
The Book of The Ladies: Amazon US / Amazon UK
The Dunnett connection:
A number of the Ladies appear in The Lymond Chronicles.