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Seminar Reading: Week 17

Week 17: Women, Gender and the Family

Core primary reading

* Mason & Rizzo, FRDC:

  • Chapter 8, Petition from Revolutionary Republican Women to the National Convention (August 1793), doc. 47
  • Chapter 10, Decree Regulating Divorce (September 20, 1792), doc. 61

* D.G. Levy (ed.), Women in Revolutionary Paris, 1789-95 (1979): pp. 156-74, 182-196 (reserve and short-term loan in library)

Core secondary reading

S. Desan, 'War between brothers and sisters. Inheritance law and gender politics in revolutionary France', French Historical Studies 20 (1997), pp. 597-634.

Colin Jones, 'French Crossings IV: Vagaries of Passion and Power in Enlightenment Paris' Transactions of the Royal Historical Society vol 23, Dec 2013, pp. 3-35.


Further reading

For a recent overview of the literature on gender and sexuality in the French Revolution, see McPhee, CFR, 'Gender, Sexuality, and Political Culture', pp. 196-211.


Women, Gender and the Salons

  • J. Landes, Women and the Public Sphere in the Age of the French Revolution (1988)
  • M. Steinbrugge, The Moral Sex: Women’s Nature in the French Enlightenment (1995)
  • B. Craveri, Madame du Deffand and her World (1994)
  • B. Craveri, The Age of Conversation (2005)
  • D. Goodman, The Republic of Letters: A Cultural History of the French Enlightenment (1994)
  • K. Loiselle, Brotherly Love: Freemasonry and Male Friendship in Enlightenment France (2014)
  • D. Z. Davidson, France after Revolution: Urban Life, Gender, and the New Social Order (2007)
  • A. Lilti, The World of the Salons: Sociability and Worldliness in Eighteenth-century France (2015)
  • S. D. Kale, ‘Women, Salons and the State in the Aftermath of the French Revolution’, Journal of Women’s History 13: 4 (2002), pp. 54-80.
  • E.C. Goldsmith & D. Goodman (eds), Going Public: Women and Publishing in Early Modern France (1995)
  • L. Schiebeinger, The Mind Has No Sex? Women in the Origins of Modern Science (1989)
  • N.R. Gelbart, Feminist and Opposition Journalism in Old Régime France: The ‘Journal des Dames’ (1987)

Women & Revolutionary Politics

  • Suzanne Desan, ‘Constitutional Amazons: Jacobin Women’s Clubs in the French Revolution’ in B. T. Ragan Jr. and E. A. Williams (eds.), Re-Creating Authority in Revolutionary France (1992), pp. 11-35.
  • Gregory Brown, "The Self-fashioning of Olympes de Gouges, 1784-1789', Eighteenth-Century Studies, vol. 34, n. 3 (2001), pp. 383-401.
  • John R. Cole, Between the Queen and the Cabby (2011) [About Olympe de Gouges's Declaration of the Rights of Women]
  • Sophie Mousset, Women's Rights and the French Revolution: A Biography of Olympe de Gouges (2017)
  • Katie Jarvis, Politics in the Marketplace: Work, Gender, and Citizenship in Revolutionary France (2019)
  • D. Outram, The Body and the French Revolution (1989)
  • D.G. Levy et al. (eds), Women in Revolutionary Paris, 1789-95 (1979)
  • S.E. Melzer & L. Rabine (eds), Rebel Daughters: Women and the French Revolution (1992)
  • M. Yalom, Blood Sisters: The French Revolution in Women’s Memory (1995)
  • C.R. Montfort, Literate Women and the French Revolution of 1789 (1994)
  • D. Godineau, The Women of Paris and their French Revolution (1998)
  • J. Landes, Women and Politics in the Age of the French Revolution (1988)
  • O. Hufton, Women and the Limits of Citizenship in the French Revolution (1992)
  • O. Hufton, ‘Women in Revolution, 1789-96’, Past and Present, 53 (1996)
  • C. Hesse, The Other Enlightenment: How French Women became Modern (2001)
  • S. Desan, Reclaiming the Sacred: Lay Religion and Popular Politics in Revolutionary France (1990)
  • W. Sewell, ‘Le citoyen/la citoyenne: activity, passivity and the revolutionary concept of citizenship’, French Revolution and the Creation of Modern Political Culture, vol. 3
  • J.W. Scott, Only Paradoxes to Offer: French Feminists and the Rights of Man (1996)
  • G.S. Brown, ‘The self-fashionings of Olympe de Gouges’, Eighteenth-Century Studies, 34 (2001)
  • L.H. Walker, ‘Sweet and consoling virtue: the memoirs of Madame Roland’, Eighteenth-Century Studies, 34 (2001)
  • N. Mirzoeff, ‘Revolution, representation, equality: gender, genre and emulation in the Académie royale de peinture et sculpture, 1785-93’, Eighteenth-Century Studies, 31 (1997-8)
  • J.E. Mitchell, ‘Picturing sisters: 1790 portraits by J.L. David’, Eighteenth-Century Studies, 31 (1997-8)
  • S. Malsan, ‘Susannah at her bath: surveillance and Revolutionary drama’, Eighteenth-Century Studies, 34 (2001)
  • S.P. Conner, ‘Politics, prostitution and the pox in Revolutionary Paris’, Journal of Social History, 22 (1989)
  • L. di Caprio, ‘Women workers, state-sponsored work and the right to subsistence during the French Revolution’, Journal of Modern History, 71 (1999)
  • W.C. Nielsen, ‘Staging Rousseau's Republic: French revolutionary festivals and Olympe de Gouge’, in Eighteenth Century: Theory and Interpretation, 43 (2002)
  • S. Dalton, ‘Gender and the Shifting Ground of Revolutionary Politics: The Case of Madame Roland’, Canadian Journal of History, 36 (2001)
  • L. Baker ‘Survival Strategies of Widows in Dijon during the French Revolution’, Women’s Studies 31 (2002).
  • D. Godineau, The Women of Paris and their French Revolution (1998).
  • S. E. Melzer and L. W. Rabine (eds.), Rebel Daughters: Women and the French Revolution (1992)


  • The Family
  • S. Desan, The Family on Trial in Revolutionary France (2006)
  • S. Desan and J. Merrick, Family, Gender, and Law in Early Modern France (2012)
  • S. Desan, ‘The French Revolution and the Family’ in McPhee (ed.), A Companion to the French Revolution (2013), 470-485
  • J. Heuer, The Family and the Nation: Gender and Citizenship in Revolutionary France, 1789-1830 (2007)
  • L. Hunt, The Family Romance and the French Revolution (1992)
  • James Traer, Marriage and the Family in the Eighteenth-Century France (Ithaca, N.Y., 1980)
  • Roderick Philipps, Family Breakdown in Late Eighteenth-Century France: Divorces in Rouen, 1792-1803 (Oxford, 1980)
  • Margaret Darrow, Revolution in the House: Family, Class, and Inheritance in Southern France, 1775-1825 (Princeton, N.J., 1989)
  • Louise Tilly, "Women's History and Family History: Fruitful Collaboration or Missed Connection?', Journal of Family History, 12 (1987), pp. 303-15.
  • Lynn Hunt, The family Romance of the French Revolution (Berkeley, 1992)
  • Elisabeth Claverie and Pierre Lamaison, L'impossible mariage: violence et parente en Gevaudan (Paris, 1982)
  • Isser Woloch, The New Regime: Transformations of the French Civic Order, 1789-1820s (New York, 1994), pp. 307-20.