Arms and the Woman: War, Gender, and Literary Representation

By Helen M. Cooper; Adrienne Auslander Munich et al. | Go to book overview

rewrite the past to include women. She creates through fiction a historical space in which their fantasies of power can come true.


Notes
1.
It is difficult to fix a date for the beginning of this long civil conflict. The "Affaire des Placards" in 1534 caused François I to take a hard line with the reformers, and a series of crises followed under the reign of his son Henri II. Many historians date the actual wars from 1575 to 1596, after which the Edict of Nantes guaranteed civil and military rights to Protestants. All are in agreement, however, that the situation became critical following the St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre ( August 25, 1572), when many Protestant leaders were assassinated.
2.
The book is divided into four parts, but the third and fourth are in reality two halves of the same story.
3.
Née Marie-Catherine Desjardins ( 1638?- 1683).
4.
Cuénin, Introduction to Les Désordres de l'amour, xiii. All translations from the French in this article are my own. Page numbers within parentheses in the text refer to the Cuénin edition of Les Désordres. A more recent edition by Arthur Flannigan is perhaps easier to read, but is not so rich in background material.
5.
The king engaged a series of court historiographers, including Jean Racine. The writing of history thus became a form of political propaganda. See Ranum, Artisans of Glory.
6.
Démoris, "Aux Origines de l'homme historique,"30, 31.
7.
Cuénin, Introduction, lii.
8.
Berg, Review, 117-18.
9.
See Evans, L'Historien Mézeray.
10.
Micheline Cuénin's edition provides references to all the passages on which Villedieu based her narrative. See also her Introduction (xxviii-xliii).
11.
Mézeray, Histoire de France, 2.
13.
The use of the word "ligue" to designate the alliance against Madame de Sauve may be a conscious parody of the name by which history designates the ultra-Catholic Guise faction. See Les Désordres, 13: "[T]he duke entered into this 'ligue,' joining to the ladies' resentments a fearless courage and a perfect knowledge of all the characters involved."
14.
Miller, "Tender Economies,"82.
15.
Pelous, Amour précieux, 464. Micheline Cuénin notes in this regard, "In fact, it is really beginning with Madame de Villedieu that the French novel would take on for centuries the psychological determinism which Racine, quite precisely at the same date, implanted in the theatre" ( Romanet Société

-55-

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