The Feminist Encyclopedia of French Literature

By Eva Martin Sartori; Colette H. Winn et al. | Go to book overview
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Babois, Marguerite Victoire ( 1760-1839). She achieved literary fame with her elegiac poems. In her first collection of poems, Elégies maternelles, she expressed her grief after the premature death of her daughter in 1792. Literary critics were moved by the depth of her feelings and love for her daughter. She also published another collection of poems, Elégies nationales, which were inspired by the turbulent history and politics of France in 1815. She received a great deal of encouragement and numerous accolades from contemporary authors and poets such as Jean-François Ducis and Marie-Joseph Chénier. Juliette Parnell-Smith

Primary Texts
Elégies et poésies diverses de Marguerite Victoire Babois. 2 vols. Paris: Nepveu, 1838.
Elégies. Nice: Edition du Centaure, 1973.

Badinter, Elisabeth ( 1944-). A philosopher and the first female professor at the Ecole Polytechnique in Paris, Badinter is the author of numerous sociohistorical essays, some of which are published under the title L'Amour en plus ( 1980). In this work, she argues that it is not instinct but societal conditioning that instills maternal love. Although she describes herself as a feminist, clearly indebted to Simone de Beauvoir*, she acknowledges that militant feminists-- who see her as a privileged woman--question her commitment to their cause. In her more recent works, L'Un est l'Autre ( 1986) and Qu'est-ce qu'une femme? ( 1989), she warns of the dangers for women of emphasizing gender-based differences--these differences may be used to maintain a patriarchal society in which women are judged to be inferior. After working with her husband on a biography of Condorcet, Badinter addressed the question of what defines a man in today's society in X Y. De l'identité masculine ( 1992). Badinter's work proposes a


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