Going Public: Women and Publishing in Early Modern France

By Dena Goodman; Elizabeth C. Goldsmith | Go to book overview

9
The Voices of Shadows:
Lafayette's Zaide

FAITH E. BEASLEY

In France, the power to make people talk about what one wants is very much related to the power to make it happen.

Sophie Gay, Salons célèbres, 1837

When Marguerite Yourcenar was admitted as the first woman member of the French Academy, she faced a challenge that none of her predecessors of the previous 350 years had had to confront: to compose an acceptance speech that would acknowledge the monumental departure from historical precedent that her election signified. Yourcenar chose to evoke all her female counterparts who had not been so legitimized, surrounding herself as she entered that venerable male bastion with their supportive "shadows." She said to her fellow academicians: "You have welcomed me ... this me, unsure and vacillating ... here it is such as it is, surrounded, accompanied by an invisible troop of women who, maybe, should have received this honor much earlier, so that I am tempted to step back to let their shadows pass." Yourcenar goes on to explain this omission by constructing a brief literary history that her listeners could endorse, for it surprisingly justifies women's exclusion from the academy. Yourcenar describes a literary scene in the seventeenth century, at the founding of the academy, in which women were active in other roles and other spheres: "The women of the Old Regime, queens of the salons, didn't dream of crossing your threshold.... Maybe they believed they would be reducing ... their feminine sovereignty. They inspired writers, sometimes ruled over them, and often succeeded in having one of their protégés accepted into your company.... They cared very little about being candidates themselves." 1 Yourcenar posits another literary institution, the salon, as the female equivalent of the academy, and as the realm dominated and chosen by women to exercise their "female sovereignty." In complete con

____________________
I thank Elizabeth J. MacArthur and Lawrence D. Kritzman for their valuable readings of earlier versions of this essay.
1
Marguerite Yourcenar, Discours de réception à l'Académie Française ( Paris: Gallimard, 1981), pp. 11-12.

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Going Public: Women and Publishing in Early Modern France
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen
/ 249

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.