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Anne-Birgitte Rønning

Self-positioning and genre-negotiating in female-authored Robinsonades


In 1824 Madame de Montolieu published a sequel to Johann David Wyss's The Swiss Family Robinson (1813), which she had translated from German to French 10 years earlier (her translation had also served as source text for the first English translation). In a preface she pleads for her sequel, in which she had inscribed female characters, with reference to female readers. Madame de Montolieu was at the time a well established translator from English and German, as well as writer of novels and short stories, and the preface demonstrates an interesting combination of humbleness and self-assurance. By her translation, continuation and prefaces Madame de Montolieu intervenes in and discusses the robinsonade genre, and my paper will examine both self-positioning and genre-negotiating as related to gender. The main focus of the paper will be Madame de Montolieu’s rewriting of Wyss’ family robinsonade as well as the reception of it, but I will also rapidly bring in other female authored robinsonades for the sake of contextualising.

AsK, September 2012

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