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Family Ties: Women, their Friendships, and Intellectual Kinship in Early Modern France

ALLEN, JESSICA (2018) Family Ties: Women, their Friendships, and Intellectual Kinship in Early Modern France. Masters thesis, Durham University.



This thesis begins with a brief account of recent developments in scholarship pertaining to early modern friendship and gender, before shifting in focus to intellectual kinship, an area of friendship studies about which there is relatively little material in comparison to other areas of the field. I then introduce the authors on which my argument focuses, Madeleine (1520 – 1587) and Catherine des Roches (1542 – 1587) and Marie de Gournay (1565 – 1645).

My overarching argument reveals how these three figures adapted aspects of the male-dominated friendship tradition in their writing in order to forge a place for themselves in learned culture and to form relationships with other writers and intellectuals.

The first chapter considers the des Roches’s use and publication of correspondence in order to interact with a wide range of figures, including, notably, their publisher, Abel l’Angelier. Their position as a mother-daughter pair is a contrast to that of Gournay, a single woman, who uses correspondence to form familial alliances with Michel de Montaigne, Justus Lipsius, and Anna Maria van Schurman. This is the subject of the second chapter.

In the third chapter, I examine all three authors together, looking at their poetry in the context of the love poetry of Louise Labé. In doing so, I emphasize that modern ideas about poetry have resulted in Labé’s work becoming much more well known than the occasional poetry of the des Roches and Gournay. Their poems contain interesting references to their intellectual kin, which provide further insight into their relationships which might be classified under this umbrella term.

My conclusion uses the examples I analyse in order to attempt to provide a clearer definition of the idea of early modern intellectual kinship and to indicate the direction that future scholarship in this area might take.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Award:Master of Arts
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Modern Languages and Cultures, School of
Thesis Date:2018
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:27 Mar 2018 10:44

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