This volume was the first historical introduction to women's writing in France from the sixth century to the present day. Specially-commissioned essays by leading scholars provide an introduction in English to the wealth and diversity of French women writers, offering fascinating readings and perspectives. The volume as a whole offers a cohesive history of women's writing which has sometimes been obscured by the canonisation of a small feminine elite. Each chapter focuses on a given period and a range of writers, taking account of prevailing sexual ideologies and women's activities in, or their relation to, the social, political, economic and cultural surroundings. Complemented by an extensive bibliography of primary and secondary works and a biographical guide to more than one hundred and fifty women writers, it represents an invaluable resource for those wishing to discover or extend their knowledge of French literature written by women.
Introduction Sonya Stephens; 1. Female voices in convents, courts and households: the French middle ages Roberta L. Krueger; 2. To choose ink and pen: French Renaissance women's writing Cathleen M. Bauschatz; 3. Altering the fabric of history: women's participation in the classical age Faith E. Beasley; 4. The eighteenth century: women writing, women learning Jean Bloch; 5. Eighteenth-century women novelists' genre and gender Martin Hall; 6. The 19th century: shaping women Rosemary Lloyd; 7. 1900-1969: writing the void Alex Hughes; 8. From order to adventure: women's writing since 1970 Leslie Hill; 9. Changing the script: women and the rise of autobiography Michael Sheringham; 10. Women poets of the twentieth century Michael Bishop; 11. Voicing the feminine: French women playwrights of the twentieth century Mary Noonan; 12. Feminist literary theory Judith Still; Bibliography of women writers and their work.