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Louise d’Epinay et Isabelle de Charrière


This article discusses the relationship between women’s discourse and economic considerations in so-called “sentimental novels”, traditionally focusing on marriage projects of the protagonists. A comparative reading of narrative fictions by Louise d’Epinay and Isabelle de Charrière shows the different strategies adopted by the novelists, allowing their heroines to discuss financial questions repeatedly and in some detail. Louise d’Epinay is shown having a more traditional and defensive attitude: the former opposition between morals and economy is still present. Isabelle de Charrière on the other hand presents a more complex reflection, reworking the financial question and contesting the quantitative perspective determining the flow of human relationships. Charrière in particular identifies an economic and quantitative inflexion, not only in matrimonial strategies, but also in individual and intimate choices for the object of love.

SvD, January 2014

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