Marie Madeleine Jodin 1741–1790: Actress, Philosophe and Feminist (Women and Gender in the Early Modern World)

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9780754602248: Marie Madeleine Jodin 1741–1790: Actress, Philosophe and Feminist (Women and Gender in the Early Modern World)
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The life story of Marie-Madeleine Jodin opens an exciting new perspective on the world of 18th-century women, European court theatres, and, most strikingly, entails the remarkable discovery of a previously unknown French feminist. In 1790, Jodin, a protégée of Denis Diderot and a former actress, published a treatise entitled Vues législatives pour les femmes (Legislative Views for Women), which can lay claim to being the first signed, female-authored feminist manifesto of the French Revolutionary period, and which reveals Jodin's wide reading in women's history and feminist writing since ancient times. This new critical and contextual biography traces the turbulent life of an extraordinary woman, focusing particularly on her transformation from artisan's daughter, to tragic actress, to Enlightenment intellectual and feminist. The authors analyze the confrontations and scandals that beset her career, and read her feminist treatise-here reproduced, for the first time in English, in its entirety-as the summation of a chaotic but passionate existence. Also presented for the first time in English, fully set in their biographical and historical context, are the twenty-one letters that constitute Diderot's correspondence with Jodin. The varied and fascinating documentation concerning Jodin, which has only recently been discovered, provides a window on the world of 18th-century women. While memoirs and biographies of aristocratic women and upwardly mobile salonières such as Mme. Geoffrin and Mme. Roland are legion, chronicles of the lives of individual women lower down the social ladder are far fewer in number. A contemporary of Mary Wollstonecraft and Olympe de Gouges, Jodin argued for the social reform of working-class women, particularly prostitutes, to render them worthy to exercise the rights of citizenship.

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About the Author:

Felicia Gordon, Anglia Polytechnic University, UK and P.N. Furbank, The Open University, UK

Review:

'Thanks to Felicia Gordon and P. N. Furbank for rescuing from the shadows the remarkable Mlle Marie Madeleine Jodin (1741-1790) - strong-willed adolescent, impetuous, high-handed and talented actress, and feisty feminist pamphleteer. Their beautifully-crafted and well-contextualized study of this "daughter of a citizen of Geneva" is a triumph of successful pan-European archival detective work, tracing Jodin's turbulent career from Paris to Warsaw, Dresden, Bordeaux, London, Angers, and back to Paris. An added bonus in an already very valuable book is their complete English translation of Mlle Jodin's long revolutionary tract, Vues legislatives pour les femmes.' Karen Offen, Institute for Research on Women & Gender, Stanford University 'In Marie Madeleine Jodin, Felicia Gordon and P.N. Furbank have discovered a previously unknown pioneer of feminism in 18th-century France...[They] shed light on a variety of aspects of 18th-century social history, from the theatre to education, from the nature of platonic friendship in the Enlightenment to the rules of sexual intrigue in the minor courts of Europe...In exploring her history, Gordon and Furbank also explore the roots of feminist ideology in personal experience. They have...come up with a vivid and convincing picture of the life, loves and thoughts of a figure who deserves to come out of the wings of history and into the limelight.' Richard J. Evans, Professor of Modern History, University of Cambridge 'It is a genuine contribution to scholarship, an interesting account of a life, and would, I suspect, make good material for a film.' British Journal of Eighteenth-Century Studies 'The appendix alone justifies the publication of this fascinating woman's biography... Gordon and Furbank are to be congratulated for translating and annotating these unique documents. They have enriched our understanding not only of 'Ranging from recently imported oriental religions, through Christian sects such as Quakers and Jehovah's Witnesses, to modern UFO-cults and Rock Stars, Stephen Hunt provides an accessibly written and useful introduction to many of the alternative religions to be found in the contemporary West.' Eileen Barker, Emeritus Professor of Sociology, London School of Economics , UK 'Hunt explores a wide range of systems of belief, behaviour and of organisations very broadly understood as religion or quasi-religion; the question of defining religion and, therefore, of the boundaries of the topic are discussed in a clear and balanced way. This will be a book that will prove enormously useful for courses in the sociology of religion and religious studies. It addresses issues and contemporary developments which are at the forefront of religious and spiritual life in contemporary society. Few if any other surveys of this sort set quasi-religion and what the author calls popular religion alongside the more usually covered sects and cults.' Malcolm Hamilton, Reading University, UK 'This idea of this book is good: it seeks to present within the confines of one manageable volume a basic introduction to alternative religions in the West. Some of these 'alternative religions' are splinter groups of older, more established religious bodies [...] while others are basically new in the culture in which they now exist... Both the beliefs and the behaviour of such groups are examined in an accessible style and the book has been well produced by Ashgate.' Theological Book Review 'The appendix alone justifies the publication of this fascinating woman's biography... Gordon and Furbank are to be congratulated for translating and annotating these unique documents. They have enriched our understanding not only of European women's history but also of the French Revolution.' History of Political Thought 'This book is the first full-length study of Jodin. It provides a vivid account of her theatrical years, includes the twenty-one surviving letters that Diderot wrote to her, and gives the complete text of the Vues legislatives together with replies to two critics.' Gender and History

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