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Semester 1

Women writers in early modern France (Ordinary) (ELCF09022)


European Languages and Cultures - French





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Visiting Students should have the equivalent of at least two years of study at University level of the appropriate language(s) and culture(s).

Course Summary

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 in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

Course Description

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 during their own lives and beyond, the course will also aim to uncover whether or not these women writers can be labelled as the foremothers of 'feminism'.

Assessment Information

Written Exam 0%, Coursework 100%, Practical Exam 0%

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