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Figurations of the Feminine in the Early French Women's Press, 1758-1848$
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Siobhán McIlvanney

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781786941886

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781786941886.001.0001

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Women Writers and Readers

Women Writers and Readers

The Beginnings of French Women’s Journals and Le Journal des dames (1759–1778)

(p.57) 2 Women Writers and Readers
Figurations of the Feminine in the Early French Women's Press, 1758-1848

Siobhán McIlvanney

Liverpool University Press

This chapter examines the earliest French women’s journals during the Ancien Régime, before focussing specifically on Le Journal des dames. It introduces: the women writers and readers who produced and consumed the earliest women’s journals in France and the challenges facing women journalists; the main objectives sustaining their writing projects; and the rhetoric, forms and content employed by women’s journals in order to better achieve these. French women may have been less visible in public fora or the political arena in the latter half of the eighteenth century, yet their involvement with it in the form of wives and mothers – as citoyennes - was significant. The women’s press acted as a vital means of bringing the outside in through cultural and societal news, and of helping to bring the inside out by confirming French women’s moral and pedagogical contribution to constructing an evolving sense of French nationhood. These early journals also promoted the importance of the role played by female-authored literature and writing in valorising French’s women’s public value and contribution to the patrimoine and fought for its recognition by the Academies.

Keywords:   women editors and journalists, women readers, reader-writer relationship, Le Journal des dames (1759-1778), education, literature, book reviews, La Spectatrice (1728), Le Courier de la nouveauté (1758), literary canon

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