Women's Rights and the French Revolution: A Biography of Olympe De Gouges (Hardback)Sophie Mousset (author)
Hardback Published: 15/12/2006
- Not available
Women played a major part in the French revolution of 1789, but have received very little recognition for their contributions. The many claims and protests put forth by women at that time were suppressed, women's clubs were banned, and Olympe de Gouges, a leading contemporary advocate for women's rights, was silenced. De Gouges, author of the "fundamental Declarations des droits de la femme et de la citoyenne" ("Declaration of the Rights of Woman and of the Female Citizen"), has been left out of dictionaries and history books. But in 1993, French women demanded that she be interred in the Pantheon. Sophie Mousset's is the first biography of this astonishing woman. De Gouges dared to write and publish her "Declarations" in 1791, and was sent to the guillotine for having had the courage to mount the rostrum on behalf of women. Despite her contributions, she remains an obscure figure, even in France. Unlike many who have captured posterity's attention, de Gouges had great sympathy but no indulgence for her sex. Instead of considering her female colleagues as eternal victims, she understood that they were to some extent responsible for their misfortunes, and that if they united and devoted themselves to changing their image, they could become great. De Gouges called for the advent of a new woman, one who would relinquish cupidity and the "nocturnal administering" of men. She demanded education for girls, the prevention of arranged marriages and forced vows, the right to divorce, and the legitimization of children born out of wedlock. She advocated the feminization of professional titles, wrote a social contract between man and woman that foreshadowed other legislation, and reflected upon the problem of prostitution and the violence inflicted upon women. She also actively opposed slavery. Olympe de Gouges rightly deserves the title of pioneer, prophet, and heroine. This long-overdue biography pays her due homage. It will be of interest to students of the French Revolution, women's studies, and biography.
Publisher: Transaction Publishers
Weight: 336 g
Dimensions: 233 x 161 x 15 mm
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