526 Biography 25.3 (Summer 2002) allowed her to exert some control over the public’s reception of her private letters by showing her own magnanimity, and by setting it in stark contrast to her lover’s callous veniality. Interestingly, Goldsmith sees this publishing strategy as a model for sub- sequent publications of fictional women’s epistolary narratives. The fiction- al female author of love letters was purportedly not responsible for their pub- lication. This topos of stolen texts, Goldsmith argues, became the standard convention and fictional frame for epistolary novels, and the basis for their claim to authenticity. In this convincing, well-documented, and cogent account of early female autobiographical writing in France, Goldsmith points out that the passage from voice to print, from private shelter to public exposure, carried with it a series of risks. She perceives the women authors examined in her work as pio- neers, setting out on unchartered territory to escape physical, emotional, or spiritual confinement, and to find an alternate habitable space within the male-marked public domain. For these women, going public was indeed a courageous act. This book, which adds greatly to our understanding of the development of the early novel in France, should be of invaluable
Biography – University of Hawai'I Press
Published: Jun 1, 2002
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