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This part of the site deals with the particular kind of source represented by "prefaces", accompanying either the original texts, or receptions (such as translations) of the texts. Roughly they can be of several kinds:

  • added to the original text by the author herself (autograph preface),
  • added to the original text by another person, who can be of course either male or female (allograph preface),
  • added to the translation (adaptation etc.) by the translator (male or female),
  • added to the translation (etc.) by another person (again male or female).

In particular the latter three categories seem to be relevant when studying reception questions, the first one providing mainly an occasion to the author for specifying her intentions while publishing the book.

Up to now this particular source has not yet been widely used in the NEWW project, although in some cases the information about the existence of a preface has been included in the database. Listings can be provided of:

Specific research has shown that in some cases well known and well reputed women authors were ready to help younger female colleagues. Examples are:

  • Stéphanie de Genlis writing a preface for Marie-Elisabeth La Fite's Eugénie et ses élèves, which in fact she also helped publishing, in 1787,
  • George Sand writing prefaces not only for French colleagues such as Pauline Flaugergues, but also for translations such as the one of Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom.

These questions are currently further researched.

Suzan van Dijk, May 2010

  • Note that when arriving in the database WomenWriters your status will be "not logged on", meaning that your access to the database is limited. For complete access (and participation in the project), contact Suzan van Dijk.

  • Sources > Prefaces

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