Isabelle de Charriere (1740-1805) is best known for four of her novels: "Lettres neuchateloises", "Lettres de Mistriss Henley", "Lettres ecrites de Lausanne", and "Caliste". These representations of provincial courtship, marriage, and domestic life have been called the closest thing A daughter of a distinguished Dutch noble family, she was known in her youth as Belle de Zuylen. At the age of 20 she began a clandestine correspondence with a middle-aged Swiss colonel stationed in Holland. David-Louis, Baron de Constant d'Hermenches, was a friend of Voltaire, an accomplished musician, an amateur writer, and a ladies' man. Their correspondence was one of the finest in a great age of letter-writing. It lasted 15 years, and nearly all of it is extant. Although the two rarely saw each other, their epistolary friendship became one of great depth and scope. Their correspondence touches on a wide range of subjects: James Boswell's courtship of Isabelle, her opinions of English high society, the new smallpox inoculation, and visits by royalty. It includes firsthand accounts of the French conquest of Corsica and of Voltaire's social activism.
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