Cartwright, Sally

Project title: On and Off the Stage: Exploring Women’s Status in 18th Century Theatre

Department: French

Faculty supervisor: Dr. Sara Harvey

"The feminine voice in 18th century French theatre has largely been neglected in studies and excluded from what is considered canonical literature. As a living art with significant political and social implications and a moral function, theatre can communicate powerful ideas, creating a need to explore the nature of female perspective within the genre. As we cannot expect this perspective to be uniform among all women - but rather varied and multifaceted - a comparison of Françoise de Graffigny’s Cénie and Anne-Marie du Boccage’s Les Amazones will seek to explore the range of these voices; in what ways do these works and their authors engage with the ideas of their time, particularly with regard to their development of female empowerment in a literary community that generally sought to exclude them? The commentary these authors provide through their personal correspondence will further develop this analysis and distinguish their approaches to the issues of their time. This project seeks to connect the private and professional dimensions of two female authors’ lives in the 18th century in order to better understand the positions of women within their community, using the stories they create and their real-life experiences."