Ouida: Princess Napraxine

(154 words)
  • Talia Schaffer (Queen's College, CUNY)

Princess Napraxine (1884) is perhaps the most ambitious novel by Ouida (Marie Louise de la Ramée). Nadine Napraxine is a “mondaine”, a female dandy of exquisite taste, cutting wit, boundless wealth, and exceptional beauty, who heartlessly manipulates others. Her admirer Othmar, frustrated by her coldness, decides to marry the innocent peasant Yseulte de Valogne, reasoning that he can at least make a deserving waif happy. However, Yseulte discovers Othmar's miserable obsession with Princess Napraxine. She kills herself to free him – a sacrifice that taints his “freedom” forever. The novel interrogates the “ingenue” role by acknowledging Yseulte's charms but condemning her naïvete and s…

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Citation:
Schaffer, Talia. "Princess Napraxine". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 24 January 2002
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=2578, accessed 16 April 2014.]