The Feminist Encyclopedia of French Literature

By Eva Martin Sartori; Colette H. Winn et al. | Go to book overview

F

Fable. A brief allegorical narrative, in verse or in prose, acted out most often by animals and occasionally by vegetables who speak and act like humans while retaining their natural traits. Didactic in purpose, the stories illustrate the exemplary values that are revealed in a moral usually expressed at the beginning or end of the fable. Frequently the subjects are inspired from the fabulists of ancient Greek and Latin times.

Although verse fables have been a flourishing literary genre in France for many centuries, few women writers have achieved recognition in this male- dominated branch of literature. Marie de France*, in the late twelfth century, has the distinction of being the first fabulist of either sex to write in the French language. She specifically challenges the traditional male view that only men had the wisdom and talent to write morally instructive stories. Moreover, in an age when education* was usually reserved for the intelligence of men, she addresses the lesson in "The Cock and the Gem" to both men and women, thus dissenting from prevailing notions of difference. A native of France, she lived and wrote at the French-speaking court of the Plantagenet kings of England. She composed her Fables for a certain Count William sometime before 1189.

One has to wait five centuries for another woman to break through the gender barrier to write fables. Marie-Catherine Desjardins de Villedieu* ( 1640?-1683), a well-known and prolific author of the seventeenth century, wrote eight lengthy fables entitled Fables, ou Histoires allégoriques as part of the court's gift to King Louis XIV ( 1670). Mme de Villedieu's originality lies in transposing to the world of animals gallant situations of seventeenth-century aristocratic society in which she inscribes a code of feminine sexuality and conduct constructed for women. At a time when women were treated as objects of exchange in the marriage* contract, Villedieu emphasizes a woman's right to free choice in love.

In the late eighteenth century, Marie-Amable Petitau, marquise de La Fér

-195-

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
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

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

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
The Feminist Encyclopedia of French Literature
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Preface vii
  • Note x
  • A Feminist History of French Literature xi
  • Bibliography xv
  • Bibliography xx
  • Bibliography xxiii
  • Bibliography xxvi
  • Bibliography xxx
  • Bibliography xxxv
  • A 3
  • B 34
  • C 72
  • D 137
  • E 171
  • F 195
  • G 223
  • H 250
  • I 266
  • J 275
  • K 280
  • L 287
  • M 333
  • O 400
  • P 404
  • Q 447
  • R 451
  • S 483
  • T 524
  • V 542
  • W 554
  • Y 563
  • Appendix A: General Bibliography 567
  • Appendix B: Chronology of French Women Writers 573
  • Index 585
  • Contributors 631
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?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this book
  • Bookmarks
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
/ 638

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, 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." (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

    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.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.