«A Mind of No Common Order»
Constance de Salm uses a variety of genres to address issues of particular importance to women, such as equal access to educational opportunities, the cost to women’s health of reproduction, and lack of economic resources for single and widowed women. She displays a surprising modernity in her awareness of the difficulty of resolving relationship, career, and motherhood problems that continue to plague women in the twenty-first century and points to a future in which women will have access to educational and employment opportunities.
3. THEEARLYYEARS: Championing the Women’s Cause 47
Huguette Krief begins her introduction to Vivre libre et écrire, an anthology of novelists of the revolutionary period, with the following comment on the moral, political and aesthetic significance of women’s writing at the time that Constance Pipelet was composing Sapho, Epître aux femmes, Epître sur les dis- sensions des gens de lettres and other poems of the 1790s: Par delà la complexité d’une production romanesque considérée naguère comme sans intérêt ni profondeur, se révèlent des lignes de force, des continuités et des ruptures dans la création littéraire. La Révolution française est un moment où les questions se font plus pressantes, où la littérature féminine est porteuse d’une signification morale, politique et esthétique. La diversité des thèmes et des choix des formes ne saurait faire oublier que ces oeuvres participent à une subtile remise en cause de l’espace réservé à l’expression des femmes.1 While her championship of women’s causes is a constant theme underlying all her work, the key text that everyone mentions in any discussion of Constance de Salm is Epître aux femmes, the importance of which she herself recognized as crucial to the on-going debate regarding women’s writing that was raging par- ticularly fiercely at the time.2 · 3 · THE EARLY YEARS Championing the Women’s Cause Hine Intro thru 6_T3.qxd 11/28/2011 1:16 PM Page 47 While she derived satisfaction from her first major foray into public author- ship in...
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