According to Du Bosc, women must read in order to inform their natural reason and introspection, which will then inform their conversation. Indeed, his own arguments might be seen as examples of the sort of reasoning in which he wants his readers to engage. Typically, Du Bosc presents both sides of an argument and then ends by advocating moderation.
In the case of reading, for example, he begins by encouraging the practice; then restricts the activity severely citing St.
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Du Bosc concerns himself very much with appearance: he cites the example of the appearance of vice in the relationship of Socrates to Alcibiades:. The kind of love that Socrates felt for Alcibiades is regrettable, Du Bosc notes; even more regrettable, however, is that the philosopher was indiscreet and this appearance of vice enabled his neighbors to talk about him. She does not need a spiritual guide, for, through learning and knowledge, she can guide herself morally and understand better the consequences of her actions.
From Theory to Practice: The Nouveau recueil de lettres des dames de ce temps. Du Bosc targets elite worldly women, who might frequent the Court, salons, or socialize in le monde. In addition, Du Bosc shows us women using their powers of reason to judge the world and act morally.
On the whole, it is unclear how many women are a part of this writing group, or if there are indeed several groups, and no identifiable personalities emerge through the style or content of the letters.
The reader knows only that the collection stages the correspondence of a dense network of women devoted to writing each other. Thus, the reader is left with much confusion about who these women writers actually are and must instead focus exclusively on their words. In this series of 96 letters, the overwhelming majority are written by women to other women only five are written to men ; the first thirty-four letters are coupled with a response to the initial letter except in two cases and Letters 35 to 65 stand alone with no response included.
Thus, it is not surprising that these letters reflect the language of patronage found in contemporary correspondences. The letters do far more than compliment, however; they demonstrate how to negotiate properly elite social relationships through correspondence.
5 adresses, 5 histoires
She became what A. The letters of the Nouveau recueil are replete withthe language and topoi found in published courtly letters of the time. The missives themselves serve to strengthen social bonds during prolonged absences by keeping the friend present in the memory of her benefactor. If letter writing is a new cultural ritual for women, it is perhaps not surprising that the anonymous correspondents of the Nouveau recueil express frequent anxiety about the appropriateness of their epistolary practices and their wish not to inconvenience their correspondents.
Within the letters, the women fret about whether sending a letter will be seen as an imposition or a gift; whether they can demand letters of others; or whether they should despair over the lack of news from a good friend.
In fact, many of the women try to gauge just how often to write others. These fictional women frequently express the concern that their letters may not be eloquent enough to please. While a pose of modesty was necessary for women displaying their social skills, letter writing, as a new medium of communication used to cement the bonds of friendship or patronage, must have genuinely made many women nervous as they attempted to ingratiate themselves to others.
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In letter 5, a lady writes:. In addition to eloquence, Du Bosc expects the gentlewoman to be able to judge for herself and reason gracefully with others. Indeed the first fifty-six of ninety-six letters are paired letters and responses which debate two sides of an issue. The two perspectives are left open-ended; no correct stance emerges. The ladies of this collection debate questions such as whether one is less troubled to be stupid or wise letter and response 2 ; whether it is just for a young man to marry an older woman letter and response 3 ; whether one should entertain the company of free thinkers letter and response 10 ; or whether a woman should be learned letter and response 12 , , , , respectively.
Other discussions revolve around questions of social judgment such as what is the appropriate kind of company to keep letter and response 16 ; how to judge a good book letter 60 ; how to judge a friend letter and response 1 ; or whether it is preferable to live in the country, city, or at Court letter and response 8, letter 7, letter and response 31 , , , , , , respectively. Numerous letters allude to the difficulty of socializing with others who do not share their social practices.
Reading, writing, and reflection come into conflict with the traditional rules of civility and conformity for women. The imperative to conform may make it dangerous for a learned woman to display the qualities admired by her friends in Paris. She reasons these men are worse than bad books, for at least one can put down a bad book when it gets tiresome. In the response, Du Bosc offers a corrective to this desire to withdraw from society to the company of books. Her friend reminds her she must take care of her reputation by avoiding public scandal or disapproval. She must endure her guests to maintain her good reputation.
While letter 12 defends women who study, the correspondent in the response cautions:. Women who reason about what they have learned in books are seen as displaying fragments of purloined goods that could never be their own. What set the feminist writers apart was their advocacy of widespread ennoblement. If existing rank did not confer virtue, existing virtue in the feminist view should confer rank. Significantly, letters 32 and 65 that broach the topic are both addressed to Mademoiselle only 9 letters in total address a Mademoiselle.
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In Letter 32, a woman responds to her cultured friend who laments her own lack of wealth. Indeed, she does not disdain riches; rather she believes that no matter how virtuous she is, she will be at a disadvantage in society without it. Indeed, what sets the Nouveau Recueil apart from other epistolary collectionsis its vision of female solidarity.
A Modern before his time, Du Bosc promoted both a feminocentric space for women and the discursive practices—reading, conversation, letter writing—that would propel them to the center of the literary public sphere for the next century and a half. Rather, he proposes a way for elite women to perfect themselves for social interaction through the practices of reading, reflection, and conversation.
Altman, Janet Gurkin. Bonneau-Avenant, A. Paris: Didier, Bury, Emmanuel. Paris: Presses universitaires de France, Chapelain, Jean. Paris: Imprimerie nationale, Chartier, Roger. Paris: Flammarion, Cohen, Michele. London: Routledge, DeJean, Joan. New York: Columbia UP, D'Orssaud, Suzanne. Ratcliff College, Du Bosc, Jacques. Paris: Sommaville, Paris: Jean Jost, Paris: PUF, Faret, Nicolas. Paris: Toussaincts du Bray, Fitzgerald, Colleen.
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University of Saskatchewan, Du Bosc and Fenelon on Women. Barbara J. New York: Garland, As you may have seen during your short visit, this house has been left unchanged for the last six decades to make it a memorial, a memorial without an architect. We believe that any change in the Casbah that would not come directly from its inhabitants and community would need, at least,to demonstrate an acute knowledge and respect of its past and its present, well beyond the instructions that the Wilaya of Algiers itself seem to have can provide or understand.
The announcement of cultural projects in particular, while many homes experience leaks and problems of water evacuation, which is nowadays one of the major problems of the neighborhood, seems to be, particularly problematic and yet again, disconnected from the everyday concerns of the residents. Similarly, the release of a staggering budget to finance this study can only contrast with the blatant lack of resources that the associative community of the Casbah has to confront daily to carry out its initiatives.
In this sense, do we need to remind you that the decisions of the latter weigh every day a little more on the lives of the most precarious Paris inhabitants who, for many, are people who directly or through their family history suffered from french colonialism, especially the one at work during years in Algeria? The same one who, in addition to her unequal policies, did not hesitate to join an Islamophobic crowd who pushed around Muslim devots in Clichy when they were praying in the street so as to protest against the transformation of their library prayer room by the municipality in November The same person who also did not hesitate to declare that she would be in favor of a law aimed at doubling the prison sentences for acts committed in certain neighborhoods, in contempt of all constitutionality October We let you evaluate the link that such actions and speeches can have with the French colonial history and its continuation through other forms.
However, we, architects, historians, electricians, cleaners, academics, artists and other activists, for whom the Casbah continues to represent one of the strongest symbols of revolutionary architecture, appeal to your political conscience to give up this project. Do not accept to be complicit in a fourth wave of brutal French transformation of the Casbah.
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