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Revealing difference : the fiction of Isabelle de Charrière

Author: Jenene J Allison
Publisher: Newark, Del. : University of Delaware Press ; London : Associated University Presses, ©1995.
Edition/Format:   Print book : EnglishView all editions and formats
Summary:
During the period between the publication of Choderlos de Laclos's Liaisons dangereuses and the promulgation of the Napoleonic Code, Isabelle de Charriere (1740-1805) produced a body of diverse and innovative novels. Revealing Difference is directed at elucidating both the new perspective on eighteenth-century fiction that her work elicits and the evidence it offers on the construction of gender. A novel of which
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Genre/Form: Criticism, interpretation, etc
Named Person: Isabelle de Charrière; Isabelle de Charrière; Isabelle de Charrière; Isabelle de Charrière; Isabelle de Charrière; Isabelle Agnès de Charrière
Material Type: Internet resource
Document Type: Book, Internet Resource
All Authors / Contributors: Jenene J Allison
ISBN: 0874135664 9780874135664
OCLC Number: 31815362
Description: 171 pages ; 25 cm
Contents: 1. New Heroines: Countering Women's Fiction(s) --
2. The Doomed Heroine: The Impasse of Revolutionary Ideology --
3. The Last Word on Gendered Discourse: "To Be Continued" --
4. Interpreting Woman's Difference: Varieties of Pregnancies --
5. Belle/Agnes/Zelide/Madame de Charriere --
Conclusion: Getting a Word in Edgewise.
Responsibility: Jenene J. Allison.

Abstract:

During the period between the publication of Choderlos de Laclos's Liaisons dangereuses and the promulgation of the Napoleonic Code, Isabelle de Charriere (1740-1805) produced a body of diverse and innovative novels. Revealing Difference is directed at elucidating both the new perspective on eighteenth-century fiction that her work elicits and the evidence it offers on the construction of gender. A novel of which only the provocative title page remains hints at Charriere's originality. Camille (1796) is subtitled ou le nouveau roman [Or the new novel] and features a one-sentence description of what is to follow. Charriere wrote that her intention was to create a new type of heroine. Instead of a conventionally beautiful woman, she planned to create an ugly one.

In fact, her originality extends far beyond this scale. Charriere's novels not only work with literary conventions, they work on these conventions. For example, the figure of the heroine, plotted according to a standard plot line, serves at a more complex level to undermine the image of woman embedded in the heroine. Most telling are heroines plotted in the context of the French Revolution; they reflect the repressive image of woman that would emerge from the combination of republican ideology with the growing emphasis on maternalism. Surprisingly modern in this regard, these novels confirm recent interpretations of the gendering of the social sphere after the Revolution.

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