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Writing In Female Europe (WIFE)
Women’s authorship and peripheral cultures: participation in supra-national 19th-century developments

WIFE is presently being prepared as a collaborative research project that will study the dynamics of cultural processes between various countries during the long 19th century, and the roles women played here. Focus is on countries usually considered as “peripheral”, where women’s writing from abroad was received and influenced also women authors, whose works in turn were “exported”. Women played important roles to further these processes, as intermediaries or translators. When studying this complex, the objective is to move away from the current approach which takes into account first and foremost women’s writing published in the “dominating” cultures – most particularly France and England.

In different ways focus will be on (1) collective (transnational) female identity as possibly opposed to national identity; (2) female remembrance and women’s place in the international literary canon; and (3) specific female cultural practices, such as the use of French language for reading and writing. All this will be studied in the context of the male-dominated 19th-century literary field.

Outcome will address academics as well as non-academics. The series of monographs and dissertations will provide new perspectives on literary and women’s history. And a more general public will also be given new insights and information about women’s presence and activity in history; this will, finally be “translated” for larger dissemination and use in secondary teaching.

Participating in the preparation of this project: Henriette Partzsch, Zsuzsanna Varga (both UK, working on Spanish and Hungarian literature), Anne-Marie Mai (Denmark/Danish literature), Katja Mihurko (Slovenia/Slovenian literature), Lizet Duyvendak and Suzan van Dijk (Netherlands/Dutch literature). Interested colleagues can contact us (for e-mail-addresses, see: "Participants").

SvD December 2009

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