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Conduct Books for Girls in Englightenment France [Hardcover]

Nadine Berenguier


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Book Description

May 30 2011 0754668754 978-0754668756
At the same time that secular and religious authorities suppressed women's efforts to read, conduct books written specifically for girls and young unmarried women emerged as a new genre. Nadine Berenguier offers an in-depth analysis of this development in eighteenth-century France, situating conduct books in the context of Enlightenment concerns about improving education in order to reform society. Works by Anne-Therese de Lambert, Madeleine de Puisieux, Marie-Jeanne Leprince de Beaumont, Louise d'Epinay, Barthelemy Graillard de Graville, Chevalier de Cerfvol, abbe Joseph Reyre, Pierre-Louis Roederer, and Marie-Antoinette Lenoir take up a wide variety of topics and vary dramatically in tone. But they all share similar objectives: acquainting their young female readers with the moral and social rules of the world and ensuring their success at the next stage of their lives. While the authors regarded their texts as furthering the common good, they were also aware that they were likely to be controversial among those responsible for girls' education. Berenguier's sensitive readings highlight these tensions, as she offers readers a rare view of how conduct books were conceived, consumed, re-edited, memorialized, and sometimes forgotten. In the broadest sense, her study contributes to our understanding of how print culture in eighteenth-century France gave shape to a specific social subset of new readers: modern girls.

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About the Author

Nadine Berenguier has a Ph. D. from Stanford University and is Associated Professor of French at the University of New Hampshire, USA. She is the author of L'Infortune des alliances: contrat, mariage et fiction au dix-huitieme siecle.

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