Isabelle de Charrière Criticism - Essay

Geoffrey Scott (essay date 1926)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: An Introduction to Four Tales, by Isabella A. (Van Tuyll) de Charrière, translated by Sybil Marjorie Scott, Books for Libraries Press, 1926, reprinted 1970, pp. xi-xxvii.

[In the following essaya 1970 reprint of a work originally published in 1926Scott connects numerous events in the author's life to those which appear in her fiction.]

The four tales here translated [The Nobleman, Mistress Henley, Letters from Lausanne, and Letters from LausanneCaliste] have, I think, a dual interest. As literature they possess a quiet but genuine merit, and fill a graceful if inconspicuous niche in the cold temple of...

(The entire section is 3718 words.)

Susan K. Jackson (essay date 1985)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "The Novels of Isabelle de Charrière, or, A Woman's Work is Never Done," in Studies in Eighteenth-Century Culture, Vol. XIV, 1985, pp. 299-306.

[In the following essay, Jackson discusses the theme of women 's work in Charrière 's novels, noting that her conveying of "Everywoman 's experience of everyday life . . . provides a shining example of feminist revisionism already at work in the eighteenth century. "]

If, as popular wisdom would have it, a woman's work is never done, then the eighteenth century witnessed no more womanly works than the novels of Isabelle de Charrière. In his Portrait of Zélide, Geoffrey Scott singles out Caliste, where...

(The entire section is 3204 words.)

Marie-Paule Laden (essay date 1986)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "'Quel Aimable et Cruel Petit Livre': Madame de Charrière's Mistriss Henley," in French Forum, Vol. XI, No. 3, September, 1986, pp. 289-99.

[In the essay that follows, Laden discusses Mistriss Henley as an epistolary autobiography in which Charrière provides a detailed account of living in a male-dominated society.]

The socio-literary issues surrounding the status of women writers in the 18th century come together in the epistolary works of Madame de Charrière.1 Born in Holland, Mme de Charrière spent most of her life in Switzerland and wrote in French. Her literary reputation is as ambiguous as the nature of her literary form; she...

(The entire section is 5484 words.)

Alix S. Deguise (essay date 1989)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "Mme de Charrière: Travel and Uprooting," in Eighteenth-Century Life, Vol. XIII, No. 1, February, 1989, pp. 42-8.

[In the essay below, Deguise traces the themes of travel and displacementimportant literary devices for the epistolary novelthroughout Charrière's oeuvre.]

The valuable introduction to the ten-volume edition of Isabelle de Charrière's Oeuvres complètes reveals that the author traveled more in reality and in spirit than had been previously thought. At the age of ten she spent several months in France and Geneva with her governess, Mlle Prévost. Many of the letters she wrote during her six-month stay in England in 1767...

(The entire section is 3507 words.)

Susan S. Lanser (essay date 1989)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "Courting Death: Roman, romantisme, and Mistress Henley 's Narrative Practices," in Eighteenth-Century Life, Vol XIII, No. 1, February, 1989, pp. 49-59.

[In the following essay, Lanser discusses Mistriss Henley in relation to Samuel de Constant's novel of 1783, Le Mari sentimental, contrasting the triviality of Charrière's domestic detail with the larger questions of adultery and death found in Constant's work.]

In 1972, when PMLA was still publishing in foreign languages, Janine Rossard's "Le Désir de mort romantique dans Caliste"1 inaugurated on this side of the Atlantic what has become a steadily growing...

(The entire section is 5714 words.)

Joan Hinde Stewart (essay date 1989)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "Isabelle de Charrière Publishes Caliste" in A History of New French Literature, edited by Denis Hollier, Harvard University Press, 1989, pp. 553-7.

[In the essay below, Stewart lauds Charrière 's form and style, and observes specifically that her novel Caliste "glosses the most urgent concerns of the female novel of the late 18th century."]

The 18th century—and especially its last few decades—saw the publication of a surprising number of novels by women, most of which have been excluded from the canon. Although students of French literature can usually identify Marie-Madeleine de La Fayette, who wrote in the 17th century, and Germaine de...

(The entire section is 2643 words.)

Nadine Bérenguier (essay date 1991)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "From Clarens to Hollow Park, Isabelle de Charrière's Quiet Revolution," in Studies in Eighteenth-Century Culture, Vol. XXI, 1991, pp. 219-43.

[In the following essay, Bérenguier compares Mistriss Henley with Jean-Jacques Rousseau's 1761 work Julie; ou la Nouvelle Héloïse, contrasting Charrière 's narrative innovation with Roussea's more traditional approach.]

"Love is more pleasant than marriage for the reason that novels are more amusing than history."1 In this lapidary maxim, Chamfort effectively captures what characterizes the plots of eighteenth-century novels. By placing novels on the side of love, this observer...

(The entire section is 11730 words.)

Kathleen M. Jaeger (essay date 1994)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "Charriére and the Androgynous Ideal," in Male and Female Roles in the Eighteenth Century: The Challenge to Replacement and Displacement in the Novels of Isabelle de Charriére, Peter Lang Publishing, Inc., 1994, pp. 197-218.

[In the essay below, Jaeger argues that Charriére strives for the equality of male and female voices in her work, rejecting the notion of sex-based difference, and advocating instead the full development of androgynous individual potential]

In her introduction to the feminist edition of Caliste ou Lettres écrites de Lausanne [Paris: Editions des Femmes, 1979] Claudine Herrmann states the following:


(The entire section is 10543 words.)

Jenene J. Allison (essay date 1995)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "New Heroines: Countering Women's Fiction(s)," in Revealing Difference: The Fiction of Isabelle de Charrière, University of Delaware Press, 1995, pp. 19-39.

[In the following essay, Allison compares Charrière 's work to other eighteenth-century fiction, noting that she not only condemns the existing stereotypes of women but also challenges the very force of stereotyping itself]

The success of Lettres portugaises [The letters of a Portuguese nun] (1669), probably authored by Gabriel de Guilleragues (d. 1685), illustrates well the way in which representations of women can serve to perpetuate a stereotype of woman.1 This brief, monophonic...

(The entire section is 12140 words.)