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Publishing Women's Life Stories in France,1647-1720

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Aldershot, Hants England 2001 Hard Cover Very Good in Fine jacket 8vo-over 7?"-9?" tall. Moderate Highlighting on 50% of the pages. 172 pages.

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Overview

In this new study, Elizabeth Goldsmith continues her pursuit of issues treated in her earlier books on conversation, epistolary writing, and the female voice in literature. She examines how French women in the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries first came to publish their private life stories; in doing so, she explores what the writers have to say about why they decide to write about themselves, what they choose to write, how they get their stories circulated and printed, and what they do to defend themselves against the threat to personal reputation and credibility that was implied by such public self-exposure.Goldsmith scrutinizes the autobiographical writing of six women, all of whom were, for different reasons, the objects of fairly intense publicity during their lifetime, at the historical moment when the idea of "publicity" via the printed word was still a new concept. Three of the women-Jeanne des Anges, Marie de l'Incarnation, and Jeanne Guyon-were charismatic religious figures whose writings were widely circulated. The other three writers-the sisters Hortense and Marie Mancini, and Madame de Villedieu-are more worldly, but like their spiritual counterparts, they undertook self-publication as a form of conversation with the world, and a way of participating in other forms of public discourse. From Voice to Print considers the different forms that the life writing of these three women took: autobiographies; letter correspondences (which in four of the six cases have never before been published); trial transcripts; testimonials published as part of other authors' works; and written self-portraits that were circulated among friends. Drawing on the work of Michel de Certeau on voice and communities of readers in the 17th century, as well as the work of Roger Chartier and other historians of the book and print culture, Goldsmith retraces the complicated networks of human interaction that underlie these early autobiographies and their publication history.
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Editorial Reviews

Dena Goodman
... a rich and suggestive book that looks not just at how women recount their lives, but also why they choose to do so for a public through print. ... Elegantly and accessibly written ... will appeal equally to those interested in women's lives and women's writing... The stories they have left us, engagingly presented here, are the evidence of their agency as well as their passions.
Booknews
Goldsmith (French, Boston University) examines how French women in the 17th and early 18th centuries first came to publish their private life stories. She looks at the autobiographical writing of three religious women and three more worldly writers, all the object of intense publicity during their lifetimes; and she explores why and about what these women chose to write, how they got their stories circulated and printed, and how they defended themselves against threats to their reputations. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements
List of Figures
Introduction 1
1 Discovering New Worlds: Marie de l'Incarnation and the Process of Autobiography 12
2 Public Sanctity and Private Writing: The Autobiography of Jeanne des Anges 42
3 Silent Communications: The Life and Letters of Jeanne Guyon 71
4 Scripting Errant Lives: The Memoirs of Hortense and Marie Mancini 98
5 Overheard Conversations: Madame de Villedieu's Autobiographical Fictions 134
Conclusion 156
Bibliography 162
Index 169
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