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“Le corps petit, mais l’âme grande”

Title: “Le corps petit, mais l’âme grande”: Voicing a Woman’s Ambition in Louise de Keralio.
Name(s): Mistacco, Vicki, author
Type of Resource: text
Genre: Text
Journal Article
Date Issued: 2019-12-31
Physical Form: computer
online resource
Extent: 1 online resource
Language(s): English
Abstract/Description: Historian, translator, publisher, novelist, and journalist, polemicist and political activist during the French Revolution, Louise de Keralio (1756–1822) challenged prevailing gender roles by her ambitious incursion into areas considered the sole province of men. Yet, in apparent contradiction with her bold actions, authoritative voice and ambitious writing projects, she also reiterated gender stereotypes and made antifeminist remarks, much to the perplexity of recent critics such as Annie Geffroy (“Louise de Kéralio-Robert, pionnière du républicanisme sexiste”). I argue that this contrast between her “masculine” endeavors and authoritative voice, on the one hand, and her espousal of normative femininity, on the other, may best be understood by analyzing the discursive strategies she adopts to express her gender-nonconforming ambitions. From her earliest writings, a fundamental dilemma pits her female body, her “corps petit,” viewed in Rousseauian terms as consigned to modesty and domesticity, against her “âme grande” with its ambitious longing to do something for the benefit of society as a whole, to publish and enact her equally Rousseauian progressive ideas. They reveal that, for Keralio, writing is enabled by the repetition of restrictive gender norms, even as it is undercut by them. Her attempt to substitute for this binary thinking of gender in terms of either/or a utopian logic of both/and ultimately results in the silencing of her female-gendered, yet powerful, male-coded political voice during the evolution. Even so, her ideal of both/and endures.
Identifier: FSU_libsubv1_scholarship_submission_1578588553_f8cde7a6 (IID)
Persistent Link to This Record:
Host Institution: FSU
Is Part Of: Women in French Studies Special Conference Issue.

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Mistacco, V. (2019). “Le corps petit, mais l’âme grande”: Voicing a Woman’s Ambition in Louise de Keralio. Women In French Studies Special Conference Issue. Retrieved from