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Week 3 Activities

2. Louise Bourgeois 1

Watch the screen cast of the lecture here.

Read the Au Lecteur and A la Royne prefaces, and the Récit véritable (pp. 6 - 14). The reading material is available from the module reading list here.

Au Lecteur / A La Royne

Think about ONE of the following concepts and how it applies to these texts:

  • structure of argument: Ella
  • Use of imagery: Kate
  • feminism: Marianne
  • professionalism: Chloe
  • individuality: Nic
Récit véritable

Read Bourgeois's account of the birth of Louis XIII (Récit véritable, p. 6: ‘je fus donc le lendemain, selon le commandement […]’ to p. 14). In the light of the ambitions stated in the Au Lecteur and A La Royne, think about the following questions:

  • How does Bourgeois present her relationship with the royal family?
  • How successful is Bourgeois in highlighting her own expertise and the expertise of the good midwife in general? What particular skills does she emphasize?
  • What devices, thematic and stylistic, does she employ to achieve this and to ensure that she holds her readers' attention? (Amongst other things you may wish to think about the way in which the text is structured; the order of events presented; points of view given; use of direct and indirect speech)
  • Is Bourgeois a good storyteller? Why (not)?
  • Is Bourgeois a good self-publicist? Does she present herself as heroic?


3. your research

Glossary challenge

Each of you should identify 3 terms / ideas emerging from either the Cholakian extract or the Louise Bourgeois material that they consider to be significant and log them in the glossary. Some ideas:

  • Public and private spaces. Is the organisation of space in the text important? Does it link with particular ideas about social hierarchy?
  • 17th century vocabulary : are particular words / lexical fields significant? Are 17th-century French meanings different from current meanings? How could you find out?
  • 20th century vocabulary. Does the Cholakian text take a particular theoretical approach?



Take a look at the bibliographies listed on the wiki. See if you can come up with more items to add. Take a quick look at the abstract for the item concerned to ensure it is relevant.

  • All references should be complete according to MHRA referencing conventions set out here.


To access the bibliographies and the glossary please use the Family Way Wiki.