"Honorez-moi souvent de vos lettres ; servez-moi de guide dans le chemin de la vertu.": Marie Leprince de Beaumont's epistolary fictions

Abstract : In 18th century Europe, the epistolary novel was very popular. In France, a great number of authors used this literary genre to spread, across supposedly real letters, the philosophical, and often critical ideas on society (of the time) between a growing readership.At that time, a significant number of authors, whose works were very appreciated by the public, were (was?) female. Among them were for example Françoise de Graffigny with the Peruvian Letters or Marie-Jeanne Riccoboni with serveral epistolary novels like Fanny Butler’s Letters or Julie Catesby’s Letters.From the 19th century, these authors often disappeared from the cultural memory and have been neglected by literary research for a long time. Amongst them we can find Marie Leprince de Beaumont, a catholic governess, who was, in the 19th century primarily known for her educational works for children, young girls and poor people. However, she has published a surprisingly divers œuvre : it consists of fairy tales for children, the Nouveau Magasin français, one of the first monthly journals edited by a woman, a considerable correspondence and several epistolary novels.The work of this female author who, even though she was catholic and believing, tried to pass on in her books new perspectives on the possibilities women had to live a vertous and simple life in a society that was shaped by male predominance, is only recently in the center of enhanced literary research. This thesis wants to analyse an interpret this tension between a profound christianism and the desire to improve womens acces to knowledge and education in the fictions of Marie Leprince de Beaumont who « had a predilection for the epistolary genre ». We will first range the works in their literary and historical context and place then the idea of „narrated education“ in the center of our research: how does Marie Leprince de Beaumont employ the epistolary genre to communicate philosophical ideas and behavioral patterns to her readers ?This thesis wants to show that in the 18th century it was possible to reconcile christianism with the desire to help developping the society by facilitating women’s acces to education ; that believing in God didn’t obligatorily mean that one rejected new ideas and that Marie Leprince de Beaumont and her epistolary fictions deserve their place among the authors of the Enlightenment
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http://docnum.univ-lorraine.fr/ulprive/DDOC_T_2018_0199_MELCHER.pdf
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https://hal.univ-lorraine.fr/tel-02086315
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Submitted on : Monday, April 1, 2019 - 12:01:46 PM
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Christina Melcher. "Honorez-moi souvent de vos lettres ; servez-moi de guide dans le chemin de la vertu.": Marie Leprince de Beaumont's epistolary fictions. Littératures. Université de Lorraine; Universität Augsburg, 2018. Français. ⟨NNT : 2018LORR0199⟩. ⟨tel-02086315⟩

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