ABC-CLIO/Greenwood - Reference

French Women Writers

A Bio-Bibliographical Source Book

by Eva Martin Sartori, ed., Dorothy Wynne Zimmerman, ed.


This book's 51 essays cover the lives and works of the most important women writers in the history of French literature with an emphasis on their experiences as writers, a discussion of their major themes, and brief surveys of critical reactions.

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November 1991


Pages 656
Volumes 1
Size 6 1/8x9 1/4
Topics The Arts/World Literature
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This bio-bibliographical reference book will acquaint the reader with the lives and works of some of the most important women writers in the history of French literature. Fifty-one essays cover the lives and works of individual writers with an emphasis on their experiences as writers, a discussion of their major themes, and brief surveys of critical reactions. The names of many of the writers included will be familiar to students of literature for they have long been included in the French literary canon. Some, however, will be unknown even to the specialist. Each essay is followed by a bibliography of primary works, a list of titles translated into English, and a selection of critical studies. An additional essay describes the trobairitz, the women troubadours of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. The volume ends with a chronology which features the dates of events and trends of special significance to French women. The chronology also serves to place their writings in the context of important literary movements and alongside the productions of their usually better-known male contemporaries.

Like other Greenwood bio-bibliographical source books, French Women Writers is intended for use by general readers as well as students and scholars of French and world history and literature.

Table of Contents

PrefaceIntroductionFrench Women WritersAppendix A: Situating Women Writers in French History--A ChronologyAppendix B: List of Authors by Date of BirthTitle IndexSubject Index



This well-edited and well-written biographical dictionary provides excellent introductory information on the 52 French women writers selected for inclusion--some well-known, some, as the editors admit, 'unknown even to the specialist.' The major criterion for inclusion was a substantial body of published work. Readers may question whether this was consistently applied (Elsa Triolet, for example, was not included), but most names one would expect to find are there. Editorial principles are clearly stated in a brief preface, and an introduction surveys the position of women in French literary life from the 12th century to the current period. The signed articles that follow are each approximately ten pages long, and all follow the same format: a biography, a discussion of major themes, a survey of criticism, and a bibliography of primary works, English translations, and selected critical studies. An effort has been made to provide more extensive bibliographical information for the lesser-known authors. Since the articles appear in alphabetical order by biographee, the chronology and list of authors by date of birth at the end of the volume are helpful. Title and subject indexes are also included. Although many of these authors will be discussed in volumes of the ongoing Dictionary of Literary Biography series there is nothing else like this compilation currently available. Highly recommended at all academic levels.—Choice

Intended for general readers, students, and scholars, this volume should be in any collection of French literature.—ARBA


Choice Outstanding Academic Book, 1992

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