Born at Le Havre, Normandy, in northern France, she is said to have been very plain as well as without fortune, but she was exceedingly well-educated. Her father, captain of the port in Le Havre, died in 1613 with her mother following shortly after. Madeleine and her brother Georges de Scudéry were placed in the care of an uncle who cared for them very well. He gave Madeleine an abnormally well-rounded education: she studied writing, spelling, drawing, dancing, painting, and needlework. In addition, on her own, Madeleine studied agriculture, medicine, cooking, Spanish, and Italian. Her works also demonstrate such comprehensive knowledge of ancient history that it is suspected she had received instruction in Greek and Latin. In 1637, following the death of her uncle, Scudéry established herself in Paris with her brother. Georges de Scudéry became a playwright. Madeleine often used her brother's name to publish her works. She was at once admitted to the Hôtel de Rambouillet coterie, and afterwards established a salon of her own under the title of the Société du samedi (Saturday Society). For the last half of the 17th century, under the pseudonym of Sapho or her own name, she was acknowledged as the first bluestocking of France and of the world. She formed a close romantic relationship with Paul Pellisson which was only ended by his death in 1693. She never married.