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Eve-Marie Lampron

From Venice to Paris: Fame, Gender and National Identities in the Female Republic of Letters

At the end of the eighteenth century and beginning of the nineteenth, Paris and Venice were considered important centres of learned conversations. Some influent French women authors, such as Germaine de Staël (1766-1817), traveled in Italy while prominent Italian women of letters, such as Paolina Grismondi (1746-1801) and Isabella Teotochi Albrizzi (1760-1836) visited Paris, thus creating the conditions for them to encounter male and female personalities of the Republic of Letters. These contacts were also reinforced and sustained by correspondences, dedications and recommendations.

Focusing specifically on the development of networks amongst women of letters, this presentation highlights both the width and the cultural and political significance of those contacts. Indeed, in the time period under study, the number of women authors increased (Hesse 2001) and political events combined with the gradual shift from Enlightenment to Romanticism contributed to the development of gender-based and regional/national-based discourses. This paper examines the venitian “salonnières” and authors Isabella Teotochi Albrizzi, Giustina Renier Michiel (1755-1832) and Paolina Grismondi’s connections with French women of letters. I argue that the relationships developed by French and Venitian women amongst themselves enabled them to sustain a prominent place in the Republic of Letters. These networks also worked both to shape a “woman of letters identity” and as an experimental space for the definition of a regional/national identity, therefore highlighting national distinctions and differences in conceptions of the role of female members of the Republic of Letters.

SvD, April 2008

  • Conferences > NEWW international conferences > Chawton 2008 > Lampron

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