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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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A Woman’s Place

A Woman’s Place

Marriage and Homemaking in the Early Domestic Press

(p.149) 4 A Woman’s Place
Figurations of the Feminine in the Early French Women's Press, 1758-1848

Siobhán McIlvanney

Liverpool University Press

This chapter examines those early French women’s journals that promote a domestic or family-oriented figuration of femininity, providing information on the necessary skills to engage successfully in marriage and/or motherhood, or on more practical aspects relating to ‘good housekeeping’ generally. The chapter traces changes to the legal and social positions on marriage and motherhood during this period, changes which help account for the more ‘modern’ post-revolutionary emphasis on women’s emotional fulfilment put forward in contemporary journals such as the remarkably radical Courier de l’hymen ou journal des dames (1791) – a journal which also provides the first ‘problem page’ in French women’s magazines. This chapter suggests that the journals examined here have much in common with contemporary women’s magazines generally, whether by their inclusion of a recipe rubric or dressmaking patterns - as is the case with the remaining two domestic journals, Le Journal des femmes (1832-37) and Le Conseiller des dames (1847-92), which point up French women’s growing association with the domestic realm and their role as family educator. These journals provide cookery tips and recipes, advice on childcare, information on making clothes, general practical shortcuts relating to domestic science, as well as the usual staple selection of fictional excerpts.

Keywords:   domesticity, childcare, recipes, Le Conseiller des dames (1847-1892), marriage, motherhood, charity work, Le Courier de l’hymen ou journal des dames (1791), Le Journal des femmes (1832-1837), household management

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