This book offers an assessment of representative seventeenth-century nouvelles in France. The study shows how Mme de Villedieu (Marie-Catherine Desjardins), a popular and prolific writer at the time of Louis XIV, modified the genre creating a new form, the nouvelle galante. Dr. Klein traces changing concepts of form and at the same time changing modes of representing the female protagonists. One finds in Villedieu's narratives the emergence of a new image of the heroine who presents a new language and esthetic of love. Thoroughly researched, this book shows that Mme de Villedieu's influence as a writer was indeed far-reaching and long-lasting.