Best Translation of 2004
Society for the Study of Early Modern Women
Madeleine de Scudéry (1607-1701) was the most popular novelist in her time, read in French in volume installments all over Europe and translated into English, German, Italian, and even Arabic. But she was also a charismatic figure in French salon culture, a woman who supported herself through her writing and defended women's education. She was the first woman to… See more details below
Madeleine de Scudéry (1607-1701) was the most popular novelist in her time, read in French in volume installments all over Europe and translated into English, German, Italian, and even Arabic. But she was also a charismatic figure in French salon culture, a woman who supported herself through her writing and defended women's education. She was the first woman to be honored by the French Academy, and she earned a pension from Louis XIV for her writing.
Selected Letters, Orations, and Rhetorical Dialogues is a careful selection of Scudéry's shorter writings, emphasizing her abilities as a rhetorical theorist, orator, essayist, and letter writer. It provides the first English translations of some of Scudéry's Amorous Letters, only recently identified as her work, as well as selections from her Famous Women, or Heroic Speeches, and her series of Conversations. The book will be of great interest to scholars of the history of rhetoric, French literature, and women's studies.
She questions her about a certain very stupid man, who is only happy because he is ignorantMadam,
She tries to prove that those who have the least amount of wit have the least amount of worry.Madam,
She calls her her goddess-she asks her to pierce all the way to her heart to see the affection that she cannot express.Madam,
She says that she has more love than knowledge and that, because of the influence of her affection, she injudiciously puts her feelings into words.Madam,
She sends word that nothing could stop her from writing to her, not even a fever, no matter how extreme.Madam,
She is afraid that, having received a little satisfaction, she has lost a greater one and that, by forcing herself to write, she has only worsened her illness.Madam,
She reassures her that she has not forgotten her and hopes that the frequency of her letters is not bothersome.Madam,
She reassures her that her letters are never bothersome and describes the grief she feels that she has not received all of them.
Excerpted from Selected Letters, Orations, and Rhetorical Dialogues by Julie Strongson Copyright © 2004 by Julie Strongson. Excerpted by permission.
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Jane Donawerth is a professor of English and affiliate faculty in women's studies at the University of Maryland. She is the author of Shakespeare and the Sixteenth-Century Study of Language, and most recently, editor of Rhetorical Theory by Women before 1900: An Anthology. Julie Strongson, a specialist in French and English comparative literature, is an instructor at the University of Maryland.
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