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dc.contributor.authorDeSmet, Sarah Jacqueline
dc.description.abstractThe epistolary genre in eighteenth-century France offers fertile ground for a comparative study of male- and female-authored novels and the male and female characters that populate them. We pinpoint five domestic situations which we find in numerous texts, then examine the ways in which various authors portray their characters within each context. Chapter One addresses out of wedlock pregnancies in Les Liaisons dangereuses by Laclos, Julie, ou la Nouvelle Héloïse by Rousseau, Lettres de Milady Juliette Catesby by Riccoboni and Lettres neuchâteloises by Charrière, examining the treatment of conception, the realization and revelation of pregnancy, reactions to it by others and the resolution, attitudes and the presentation of events. Chapter Two adds to the Rousseau and Laclos texts Adélaïde de Souza’s Adèle de Sénange, ou Lettres de Lord Sydenham and Barbara von Krüdener’s Valérie to glean attitudes about the marriage of older men to young girls, defining the expectations of these individuals compared to one another as well as to social norms. Chapter Three explores how mothers, real or surrogate, meddle, whether effectively or not, in the lives of their daughters, for good or ill, and how the authors portray these relationships. We shall use the Rousseau, Laclos and Souza novels as well as Lettres écrites de Lausanne by Isabelle de Charrière as examples. Chapter Four broaches the subject of the death of lovers or spouses, adding Charrière’s Caliste, ou Continuation des Lettres écrites de Lausanne; seconde partie and Montesquieu’s Lettres persanes to four previously discussed works. The male-authored texts show a tendancy towards violence and unnatural death not often seen in the female-authored ones which prefer more meditation on the process of death. Finally, Chapter Five highlights the lack of young children in male-authored fictions, whereas comparable female-authored texts already demonstrate qualities of child character development which the nineteenth century will more fully embrace. This chapter discusses a little-known text by Marie-Jeanne Le Prince de Beaumont, Mémoires de la baronne de Batteville. Overall, our study reveals trends in choices made by authors which show differences in male- and female-authored works on the level of meaning instead of style.
dc.rightsOn Campus Only
dc.subjecteighteenth-century French literature
dc.subjectwomen writers
dc.subjectdeath in literature
dc.subjectchildren in literature
dc.subjectLe Prince de Beaumont
dc.titleThrough the writer's hand
dc.title.alternativegender, characterization and authorial voice in the eighteenth-century French epistolary genre
dc.description.departmentRomance Languages
dc.description.majorRomance Languages
dc.description.advisorFrancis B. Assaf
dc.description.committeeFrancis B. Assaf
dc.description.committeeCatherine M. Jones
dc.description.committeeElizabeth A. Kraft
dc.description.committeeJonathan F. Krell
dc.description.committeeTimothy Raser

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