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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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(p.241) Conclusion
Figurations of the Feminine in the Early French Women's Press, 1758-1848

Siobhán McIlvanney

Liverpool University Press

The conclusion summarises the pivotal role played by eighteenth- and nineteenth-century French women’s journalistic writings and readings in fostering women’s intellectual engagement, and of writing and reading these in turn as part of an increasingly influential community of women, who, for the first time in French history, begin to forge a sense of collective and political identity based on gender. The ninety years examined in this book witnessed the evolution of women’s journals from an elitist medium to one which – thanks to improved printing techniques and distribution, and a consequent reduction in prices, coupled with improvements in literacy and leisure time – was made available to a wider selection of the general public than ever before. The women’s press provided French women in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries with a discursive, cultural and commercial space where they could represent their many selves, and thereby put forward particularly feminocentric figurations of the feminine in an empowering gesture of self-expression. This chapter argues that it is high time today’s readers acknowledged the uniqueness of that expression and the privileged insight it allows us into French women’s evolving political consciousness and highlights the importance of future studies on the early French women’s press.

Keywords:   female community, sexual identity, class solidarity, domestic studies, female self-expression, technology, future critical studies

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