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Libertinage et feminisme dans les lettres du colonel talbert de francoise-albine puzin de la martiniere benoist

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Date Issued:
2014
Summary:
In 1767, Mme Benoist published an epistolary libertine novel entitled Lettres du Colonel Talbert. Although she has received little critical attention to date, she was a prolific author who appeared with great regularity at minor literary salons. Her presence at these salons is well-established in personal memoirs and correspondences, and actively remarked upon by other authors—men and women—of the period, including Mme Roland and Choderlos de Laclos. Mme Benoist’s preferred genre was the novel with its explicit blend of high and low literary cultures, its melding of the philosophical and the sentimental, its pursuit of formal innovation, and its deliberate marketing in multiple formats and for multiple audiences, including publication through the mainstream book market, and serial publication in revues and journals with a large female readership, such as the Journal des Dames. This study focuses on Lettres du Colonel Talbert (1767) as both a paradigmatic and privileged text inside Mme Benoist’s larger corpus, and one which explicitly engages many of the most pressing moral and philosophical debates of the period, including the legal status of women. To do so, Mme Benoist appropriates the libertine novel as specific novelistic subtype. In Les Lettres du Colonel Talbert, Mme Benoist parodies the libertine novel and in doing so, converts the libertine textual economy to one in which well-established narrative codes of femininity and masculinity are inverted. Although her depiction of the heroine, Hélène—an exceptional and courageous young woman who resists the predatory advances of a man through sheer strength of moral character—is not in itself unusual, Mme Benoist’s choice to frame her heroine’s moral struggle in a narrative epistolary exchange between two diametrically opposed male “types” in enlightenment thought—the libertine and the honnête homme— Mme Benoist effectively subverts masculine textual dynamics at the level of plot and character. More importantly, she also subverts the libertine novel’s traditional identification with masculine authorship.
Title: Libertinage et feminisme dans les lettres du colonel talbert de francoise-albine puzin de la martiniere benoist.
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Name(s): Montonen, Jane M., author
Munson, Marcella L., Thesis advisor
Florida Atlantic University, Degree grantor
Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters
Department of Languages, Lingustics and Comparative Literature
Type of Resource: text
Genre: Electronic Thesis Or Dissertation
Date Created: 2014
Date Issued: 2014
Publisher: Florida Atlantic University
Place of Publication: Boca Raton, Fla.
Physical Form: application/pdf
Extent: 347 p.
Language(s): English
Summary: In 1767, Mme Benoist published an epistolary libertine novel entitled Lettres du Colonel Talbert. Although she has received little critical attention to date, she was a prolific author who appeared with great regularity at minor literary salons. Her presence at these salons is well-established in personal memoirs and correspondences, and actively remarked upon by other authors—men and women—of the period, including Mme Roland and Choderlos de Laclos. Mme Benoist’s preferred genre was the novel with its explicit blend of high and low literary cultures, its melding of the philosophical and the sentimental, its pursuit of formal innovation, and its deliberate marketing in multiple formats and for multiple audiences, including publication through the mainstream book market, and serial publication in revues and journals with a large female readership, such as the Journal des Dames. This study focuses on Lettres du Colonel Talbert (1767) as both a paradigmatic and privileged text inside Mme Benoist’s larger corpus, and one which explicitly engages many of the most pressing moral and philosophical debates of the period, including the legal status of women. To do so, Mme Benoist appropriates the libertine novel as specific novelistic subtype. In Les Lettres du Colonel Talbert, Mme Benoist parodies the libertine novel and in doing so, converts the libertine textual economy to one in which well-established narrative codes of femininity and masculinity are inverted. Although her depiction of the heroine, Hélène—an exceptional and courageous young woman who resists the predatory advances of a man through sheer strength of moral character—is not in itself unusual, Mme Benoist’s choice to frame her heroine’s moral struggle in a narrative epistolary exchange between two diametrically opposed male “types” in enlightenment thought—the libertine and the honnête homme— Mme Benoist effectively subverts masculine textual dynamics at the level of plot and character. More importantly, she also subverts the libertine novel’s traditional identification with masculine authorship.
Identifier: FA00004141 (IID)
Degree granted: Dissertation (Ph.D.)--Florida Atlantic University, 2014.
Collection: FAU Electronic Theses and Dissertations Collection
Note(s): Includes bibliography.
Subject(s): Benoist, Françoise Albine Puzin de La Martinière -- 1724-1809 -- Lettres du Colonel Talbert -- Criticism and interpretation
Feminism in literature
Libertinism in literature
Revolutionary literature, French -- 18th century -- Criticism and interpretation
Women and literature -- France -- 18th century
Held by: Florida Atlantic University Libraries
Sublocation: Digital Library
Links: http://purl.flvc.org/fau/fd/FA00004141
Persistent Link to This Record: http://purl.flvc.org/fau/fd/FA00004141
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Host Institution: FAU
Is Part of Series: Florida Atlantic University Digital Library Collections.