Teaching Seventeenth- and Eighteenth-Century French Women Writers

  • Editor: Faith E. Beasley
  • Pages: xii & 379 pp.
  • Published: 2011
  • ISBN: 9781603290968 (Paperback)
  • ISBN: 9781603290951 (Cloth)
Teaching Seventeenth- and Eighteenth-Century French Women Writers Cover
“This collection of essays provides a wealth of information on how to teach women authors in a variety of courses. The usefulness and the fascinating content of this book realize the true potential of the Options for Teaching series.”—Roland Racevskis, University of Iowa

Seventeenth- and eighteenth-century France has been celebrated as the period of conversation. Salons flourished and became an important social force. Women and men worked together, in dialogue with their contemporaries, other texts, and their culture to create novels, political satire, drama, poetry, fairy tales, travel narratives, and philosophy. Yet the inclusion of women’s contributions, only recently recovered, changes the way we conceive of the period that constitutes one of the building blocks of French national identity and Western civilization, and teachers are often unsure how and where to incorporate the texts into their courses. Teaching Seventeenth- and Eighteenth-Century French Women Writers attempts to reconstruct these conversations by integrating women’s work into classrooms across the curriculum.

The works of French women writers are crucial to courses on the early modern period and enliven many others—whether on literature, history, women’s history, the history of science, philosophy, women’s and gender studies, or European civilization. The essays included in part 1 provide necessary background and help instructors identify places in their courses that could be enriched by taking women’s participation into account. Contributors in part 2 focus on some of the central writers and genres of the period, including Lafayette, Charrière, and Graffigny, the epistolary novel, convent writing, and memoirs. The essays in part 3 offer concrete descriptions of courses that place women’s texts in dialogue with those of their male colleagues or with historical issues.

Lisa Beckstrand
Mary Ellen Birkett
Thomas M. Carr, Jr.
Juliette Cherbuliez
Suzan van Dijk
Perry Gethner
Elizabeth C. Goldsmith
Claire Goldstein
Henriette Goldwyn
Richard E. Goodkin
David Harrison
Chloé Hogg
Louise K. Horowitz
Katharine Ann Jensen
Donna Kuizenga
Roxanne Decker Lalande
Ann Leone
John D. Lyons
Laure Marcellesi
Francis Mathieu
Katherine Montwieler
Nicholas Paige
Volker Schröder
Allison Stedman
Deborah Steinberger
Harriet Stone
Mary Trouille
Holly Tucker
Gabrielle Verdier
Caroline Weber
Kathleen Wine
Abby Zanger

Acknowledgments (xi)

Introduction: Reviving the Conversation (1)

Faith E. Beasley

Part I: Cultural and Literary Contexts

The Complexities of the French Classical Lexicon (17)

Nicholas Paige

Woman and Iconography: Early Modern Women and Their Images (25)

Abby Zanger

Books and Bodies: Early Modern Women in Medical Contexts (39)

Holly Tucker

Gardens of Change: The Landscapes of Early Modern Women Writers (48)

Mary Ellen Birkett and Ann Leone

Textual Production and the Woman Writer (56)

Claire Goldstein

Salons and Innovation (64)

Faith E. Beasley

Letters and the Epistolary Novel (76)

Elizabeth C. Goldsmith

Women and the Theatrical Tradition (84)

Perry Gethner

Daughters as Maternal Masterpieces: Teaching Mother-Daughter Relations in Lafayette and Vigée Lebrun (92)

Katharine Ann Jensen

Jean Racine, Marie-Jeanne Lhéritier de Villandon, and Charles Perrault: A Revised Triumvirate (101)

Allison Stedman

Ways of Knowing: Fontenelle and Gender (109)

Juliette Cherbuliez

Memoirs and the Myths of History: The Case of Marie-Antoinette (119)

Caroline Weber

Giving Voice to Women’s Experience: Marital Discord and Wife Abuse in Eighteenth-Century French Literature and Society (126)

Mary Trouille

Convent Writing in Eighteenth-Century France (145)

Thomas M. Carr, Jr.

Female Variations on the Novel as Appreciated by Male Readers: Graffigny, Riccoboni, Charrière (154)

Suzan van Dijk

Part II: Teaching Specific Texts

Teaching Scudéry’s Clélie: The Art of Romance (169)

Kathleen Wine

The Marquise de Sévigné: Philosophe (178)

John D. Lyons

Cartesian Lafayette: Clear and Distinct in La Princesse de Clèves (188)

Richard E. Goodkin

Remembrance of Wars Past: Lafayette’s Historical Hindsight (202)

Louise K. Horowitz

Mme d’Aulnoy as Historian and Travel Writer (212)

Gabrielle Verdier

Mme Du Noyer’s Mémoires: The Politics of Religion in the Ancien Régime (222)

Henriette Goldwyn

Mme de Villedieu and the Cornelian Paradigm: Problems of Gender and Genre in Le Favori (231)

Roxanne Decker Lalande

Verse and Versatility: The Poetry of Antoinette Deshoulières (242)

Volker Schröder

Villedieu and Manley: Teaching Early Modern Pseudo-Autobiographies (250)

Donna Kuizenga

Zoom Zoom: Focusing in on La Princesse de Clèves and Lettres d’une Péruvienne (258)

Harriet Stone

Tahitian Voices: Mme de Monbart, Rousseau, and Diderot (269)

Laure Marcellesi

The Revolutionary Ideas of Olympe de Gouges (280)

Lisa Beckstrand

Part III: Teaching Specific Courses

Early Modern Women and the Philosophical Tradition (293)

Chloé Hogg

The Politics of Politesse (303)

David Harrison

Women and Men Writing about Love: An Approach to Teaching Seventeenth-Century Literature (310)

Deborah Steinberger

Early Modern Women Writers in a History of Ideas Survey Course (317)

Francis Mathieu

French Women Writers in a World Literature Survey (326)

Katherine Montwieler

Notes on Contributors (333)

Works Cited (339)

Index (371)