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The Story of Sapho

The Story of Sapho

(p.13) The Story of Sapho
The Story of Sapho
University of Chicago Press

This chapter presents the translation of the story of Sapho, a woman writer who deems marriage slavery and who is conventionally identified with Scudéry herself. Sapho's story is told by Democedes, who appears in Artamène; ou Le grand Cyrus and figures importantly in the tale as the brother of Sapho's closest friend, Cydnon, as well as one of the accomplished young men who frequent Sapho's “salon.” Although Sapho's story has a narrative with a beginning, middle, and end, it is more importantly a series of conversations on civilité and is related to the long tradition of dialogues and treatises concerned with the definition and education of a courtier or prince. Sapho and her circle debate, discuss, and define the nature of galanterie, the question of female beauty, what constitute appropriate topics of conversation, the nature of marriage, the education of women, love and courtship, and right conduct or bienséance.

Keywords:   Sapho, Madeleine de Scudéry, civilité, education, galanterie, female beauty, love, marriage, right conduct

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