Démasquer la femme au XVIIème siècle: remise en cause de la personne féminine dans les nouvelles historiques

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Title
Démasquer la femme au XVIIème siècle: remise en cause de la personne féminine dans les nouvelles historiques
Contributors
Balguerie, Valentine F (creator)
Seifert, Lewis (Director)
Krause, Virginia (Reader)
Beasley, Faith (Reader)
Brown University. French Studies (sponsor)
Doi
10.7301/Z07W69M8
Copyright Date
2015
Abstract
Démasquer la femme au XVIIème siècle: remise en cause de la personne féminine dans les nouvelles historiques examines the unexpected reconceptualization of personhood in feminine terms by authors of historical novellas in late seventeenth-century France. By investigating the literary transformation of a notion that was deeply rooted in theological, legal, philosophical and social traditions, I contend that Saint-Réal's Dom Carlos, Villedieu's Les Désordres de l'amour, Lafayette's La Princesse de Clèves and Bernard's Les Malheurs de l'amour sought to overcome the strictures of exemplarity and typecasting inherent in the contemporary discourse on women. While women were generally held as socially, morally and naturally inferior beings, these authors offer a new perspective on femininity by choosing to define female characters as "persons" rather than the more common "femmes", "maîtresses" or "filles." Conceiving of their sense of self as intricately tied to an interpersonal and gendered social network, the women in these texts challenged existing power relations and demonstrated increased social agency. In Les Désordres de l'amour, for instance, parallel to the official day-to-day decision-making -- overwhelmingly dominated by men -- female characters form a network of influence behind the scene that threatens the social status quo. My research locates the role of historical novellas in the long-standing debate over the Querelle des femmes (which redefined social gender roles) by turning to a new form of communal feminine agency.
Keywords
Personhood
Novel
Gender
Early Modern
Women
Sex
Notes
Thesis (Ph.D. -- Brown University (2015)
Extent
vi, 204 p.

Citation

Balguerie, Valentine F., "Démasquer la femme au XVIIème siècle: remise en cause de la personne féminine dans les nouvelles historiques" (2015). French Studies Theses and Dissertations. Brown Digital Repository. Brown University Library. https://doi.org/10.7301/Z07W69M8

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