It’s been a busy weekend at Blissbat Central.

Over at the Hope Mirrlees site, there’s a mini-essay on connections between Mirrlees’ novel Madeleine and the 17th century French salon-goers and fairy tale writers called the précieuses. There’s also a list of great critical entry points for potential readers of Lud-in-the-Mist, Mirrlees’ most famous novel. As I collected and sorted material for those posts, I wound up with more interesting material than the posts could accommodate, so here are a couple of my favorite oddments for your Sunday afternoon.

La Carte du Tendre

Mlle de Scudéry, one of the most famous of the précieuses, wrote a novel, Clélie, that included an engraved map called the “Carte du Tendre,” a map of Arcadia in which the geography represents aspects of courtly lovemaking: the Dangerous Sea, the Lake of Indifference, and the River of Inclination, on whose banks lie towns including Attentiveness, Tenderness, and Constant Friendship. The wonderful Strange Maps blog has a great breakdown of the map’s fantastic narrative of love.

An engraved map

La Carte du Tendre

Natalie Barney

There’s an excerpt on YouTube from Greta Schiller’s 1995 (not 2004, as it’s marked) documentary, Paris Was A Woman. The excerpt focuses on the life of the dashing American writer Natalie Barney and her many affairs with interesting women. Wonderful stuff, despite its rather mannered documentary style. (New York Times review of the film.)

The Other Thing

I’ve also just finished the arduous part of a secret project. Now I just need to do some spiffing-up and send a couple of emails, after which I should be able to show it to you.