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Apology for the Woman Writing—: to a Prelate1

Apology for the Woman Writing—: to a Prelate1

(p.111) Apology for the Woman Writing—: to a Prelate1
Apology for the Woman Writing and Other Works
University of Chicago Press

Marie le Jars de Gournay dedicates her novel, “The Apology for the Woman Writing,” to a prelate, who may have been her cousin, Charles de Hacqueville, Bishop of Soissons. She narrates how other people are accusing her of ruining her finances or of other kinds of extravagance, and asks the prelate to defend her against the follies of popular gossip. Gournay says it is wholly impossible that persons of ill fortune should live in esteem, “especially in this age and with our mores.” People who live according to pure inclination are ordinarily less estimable as they age; the contrary is the case with those who live by reason, because the driving forces of mere inclination, which are physical, deteriorate with age, as those of reason improve with it. Gournay, who aspires to be among the adherents of the latter group, also talks about virtue, letters and learning, and the general condemnation of intellectual women.

Keywords:   Marie Gournay, Woman Writing, prelate, gossip, virtue, Charles de Hacqueville, women, learning, inclination

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