Resources Challenges to Traditional Authority: Plays by French Women Authors, 1650-1700 Connect Now
Challenges to Traditional Authority: Plays by French Women Authors, 1650-1700

"Perry Gethner is indeed the best person to edit and translate selected plays by French women authors of the second half of the seventeenth century. He has done an excellent job of situating and contextualizing the plays historically and with reference to the conventions of the theatrical genres of the period. Gethner underscores that these female authored plays were staged and published, often with great success. Gethner’s translations are accurate, lively, and written with a view to the play’s performance."

Anne R. Larsen
Lavern ’39 and Betty De Pree ’41 Van Kley Professor of French
Chair of the French Section, Department of Modern and Classical Languages, Hope College

The second half of the seventeenth century marked the first major breakthrough for women playwrights in France, as some of them succeeded in getting their works staged, published and taken seriously by critics and authority figures. The four works included here, translated into English for the first time, represent the diversity of genres cultivated by these writers, while reflecting both the cultural milieu of the era and a concern for the status of women. Françoise Pascal’s Endymion, a tragicomedy with special effects, daringly reexamines a classical myth. Marie-Catherine Desjardins’s Nitetis, a historical tragedy, focuses on the plight of a virtuous and astute queen married to an evil tyrant. Antoinette Deshoulières’s Genseric, also a historical tragedy, rejects prevailing models of male heroism and of conventional tragic plots. Catherine Durand’s proverb comedies contain a scathing critique of aristocratic mores and give voice to women’s desires for emancipation.

PERRY GETHNER, who holds a doctorate from Yale, is Regents Professor of French and chair of the Department of Foreign Languages at Oklahoma State University. He has published critical editions and translations of many early modern French plays, as well as numerous articles dealing with French drama and opera of that period.

Iter and the Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, 2015

The Other Voice in Early Modern Europe: The Toronto Series 36
Medieval and Renaissance Texts and Studies 477

978-0-86698-530-7 (print)

978-0-86698-531-4 (online)

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