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European Languages and Cultures - French
In order to be eligible to take 4th Year Options, Visiting Students should have the equivalent of at least two years of study at University level of the appropriate language(s) and culture(s).
SCQF Level 9 (Year 3 Undergraduate)
Until very recently, the literary production of early modern women writers has been unjustly undermined by critics. In the early modern period, to be a woman was to comply with the patriarchal triptych: 'silence, obedience and chastity'. Female authorship was therefore controversial. Seen as monstrous by those who confined women to the domestic sphere, women writers were often turned into 'Muses' and exemplars of virtue and wisdom by the defenders of the 'fair sex'. This course will bring to light the works of some of the most fashionable and bestselling women writers from the Renaissance to the mid-eighteenth century. While replacing these women's writings in the context of the Querelle des femmes (a centuries-long debate over woman's place in society), the course will explore the extent to which, and the ways in which these women writers subvert the patriarchal ideology that shaped the society in which they wrote, and whether, in the process, they establish a dialogue with the works of male writers. Given the popularity of these women writers well into the late eighteenth century, the course will not only aim to uncover whether or not these women writers can be labelled as the foremothers of 'feminism', but also to analyse these women writers' works in aesthetic terms: what made them into bestsellers? What impact did they have on the male writers that form the current canon of French authors and, more generally speaking, on the fashioning of literary taste in France?
College of Humanities and Social Science
School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures
This article was published on Feb 24, 2012