Women's Words: Essay on French Singularity

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Overview


In her controversial book Women's Words, Mona Ozouf argues that French feminism lacks the rancor and resentment of its counterparts in England and America and explains why this placid, even timid brand of feminism is uniquely French.

Ozouf uses the woman's portrait, traditionally a male genre, to portray ten French women of letters whose lives span the period from the eve of the French Revolution to the resurgence of the feminist movement in the late twentieth century. She studies the letters and memoirs of Mme du Deffand, Mme de Charrière, Mme Roland, Mme de Staël, Mme de Rémusat, George Sand, Hubertine Auclert, Colette, Simone Weil, and Simone de Beauvoir. Rejecting the male constructions of femininity typical of this genre, Ozouf restores these women's voices in order to study their own often-conflicted attitudes toward education, marriage, motherhood, sex, and work, as well as the dilemma of writing in a literary world that did not support women's work.

Ozouf claims that a uniquely French feminism informed these women's lives, one that stems from the great egalitarian spirit of the French Revolution and is more tolerant of difference than its American counterparts. She argues that as a result, modern French culture has not isolated women from men in the same ways as American and British cultures have done.

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Ozouf, a French historian, profiles ten French women of letters whose lives span the period from the eve of the French Revolution to the resurgence of the feminist movement in the late 20th century. She studies the letters and memoirs of such women as Mme Roland, George Sand, Colette, and Simone de Beauvoir to reveal their often-conflicted attitudes toward education, marriage, motherhood, sex, and the world, as well as the dilemma of writing in a literary world that did not support women's work. She claims that a uniquely French feminism informed their lives, one that is more tolerant of difference than its American and British counterparts and that, therefore, has not isolated women from men in the same ways. Translated from the original edition published in French in 1995. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780226643335
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press
  • Publication date: 1/28/1998
  • Series: Morality and Society Ser.
  • Edition description: 1
  • Pages: 322
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author


Jane Marie Todd has translated a number of books, including Conversations with Picasso by Brassaï, Largesse by Jean Starobinski, and The Forbidden Image by Alain Besançon.
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Table of Contents


Translator's Note
Introduction: Ten Women's Voices
Madame du Deffand: Marie, or Fixity
Madame de Charriere: Isabelle, or Movement
Madame Roland: Manon, or Valor
Madame de Stael: Germaine, or Anxiety
Madame de Remusat: Claire, or Fidelity
George Sand: Aurore, or Generosity
Hubertine Auclert: Hubertine, or Stubbornness
Colette: Gabrielle, or Gluttony
Simone Weil: Simone, or Asceticism
Simone de Beauvoir: Simone, or Greed
Essay on French Singularity
Notes
Index
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