Rebel Daughters: Women and the French Revolution

By Sara E. Melzer; Leslie W. Rabine | Go to book overview
Save to active project

3

"Love and Patriotism": Gender and
Politics in the Life and Work
of Louvet de Couvrai

KATHRYN NORBERG

I was at Nemours near my dear Lodoiska, when the astonishing news made its way to us. They said the Bastille had fallen, but this victory had cost over 100,000 men to the patriots. At that very moment, I put on the tricolor cockade which had been won at such a bloody price. How can I paint the emotional transports with which this cockade was given me and with which I adopted it? I was at the knees of my tender friend [amie]. With my tears I drenched her hands which I then placed upon my furiously beating heart! It was a mixture of patriotism and love which is difficult to describe.

Louvet de Couvrai
Mémoires sur la révolution français1

"Love and patriotism"—the "mixture" invoked in this passage might at first seem strange. Historians of the Revolution of 1789 have long been prisoners of the distinction between private and public, a distinction largely created by the revolution itself. They have been wont to ignore the "private" (that which pertains to women and sexuality) in favor of the "public" (that which deals with factional struggle). This division obscures more than it reveals. Gender and politics, we now know, are inextricably entwined and their relationship at times of political upheaval, like the French Revolution, is particularly problematic. 2 When, to paraphrase Carole Pateman, the "social contract" is renegotiated, then inevitably the "sexual contract" will be redefined and restructured, too. 3 A few historians—among them Darline Levy, Harriet Applewhite, Mary Johnson, Sara Maza, Joan B. Landes, Dorinda Outram, Ludmilla Jordanova, and Lynn Hunt—have begun to construct a "gendered" history of political thought and action during the revolution. 4 My purpose in this paper is to participate in this collective endeavor and to outline how notions about gender and sexuality; that is, about women, formed a part of the new political arrangement that we now call the Revolution of 1789.

I hope therefore to bring together "love and patriotism," again with the help of the gentleman whose amorous and patriotic transports I just cited—

-38-

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.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
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.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Rebel Daughters: Women and the French Revolution
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
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?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 296

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.

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.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?