A Certain Emancipation of Women: Gender, Citizenship, and the Causes Célèbres of Eighteenth-century France
This book analyzes court cases anthologized by Nicolas Toussaint Le Moyne Des Essarts in the 1770s and 1780s in which competing notions of honor clashed to bring litigants before the law. Arguing on behalf of their female clients, lawyers featured therein called for the liberation of women from tyrannical fathers, abusive husbands, public opinion, and even oppressive laws in the dozens of seductions, separations, rapes, and infanticides on which this study is based. Moreover, it exposes a liberatory moment, an opening, in which early republican constructions of female citizenship offered virtuous women, regardless of rank or status, strategic possibilities for establishing modern identities - defined as self-creating, autonomous, and capable of moral judgment and reason. While this study contributes insights to a lively conversation engaged by many scholars, its uniqueness stems from its exploration of genre in time and place: no one has yet published a book-length study of Des Essarts' Causes celebres. encyclopedic scope, as well as its popularity, makes it an important source for illuminating features of prerevolutionary discourse. Tracey Rizzo is an Associate Professor of History and Director of Women's Studies at the University of North Carolina-Asheville.
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abuse accused Ader adultery Alliot argued aristocratic Barere Beauvau behavior bourgeois brutality Catherine Noailles Causes celebres Causes celebres 140 century chapter Charlotte Corday Chevalier Chevalier's child citizen citizenship claims court crime criminal daughter defense demoiselle discourse dishonor divorce domestic Duel Duel's eighteenth Eighteenth-Century France emancipation of women Enlightenment Essarts father female Francois French Revolution girl Girondist husband illegitimacy individual infanticide innocent interest Jacobins Keith Baker Larrauld lawyers legislation legitimacy legitimate liberatory litigants livres Lottin Lusebrink Magdeleine magistrates male mandated marriage marry Marsanges Maza moral mother murder narrative natural noble Old Regime parents Paris parlement passion petite bourgeois political pregnancy Proces fameux public opinion punishment rape readers representations Republic of Virtue republican reputation revolutionary rhetoric Ribes Roger Chartier Rois role Rousseau seduced and abandoned seduction self-interested sentimental separation sexual shame social society spouse strategies ther tion University Press verdicts victim violence virtuous woman wife