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Title: The novels of French noblewomen émigrées in London in the 1790s : memory, trauma and female voice in the émigré novel
Author: Philip, Laure
ISNI:       0000 0004 5923 9171
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2016
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French émigré literature is both under-explored and under-valued by scholars. This thesis aims to rehabilitate the female émigré novel within its nineteenth-century landscape, putting to the fore its originality and pertinent contribution to contemporary movements such as Romanticism and the realist novel. Recent work has unearthed the émigré-specific way of narrating the Revolution; yet no clear definition has yet been established. This thesis defines what the émigré novel is based on the dichotomy for novelists of having experienced the exile first-hand or not. The memoirs and novels of three émigré noblewomen, Madame de Boigne, de Souza and de Duras, who all spent a decade in London during the 1790s, are scrutinized for this purpose. Three angles of research frame this comparative analysis: the search for the genre of the émigré novel, or how several genres intertwine in this ‘sub-genre’; trauma of the emigration as the core characteristic of the novels; and gender questions, or how the émigrée is using her stay in Britain as inspiration to convey more genuine relationships for post-revolutionary French society. This thesis goes against the idea that to interpret a novel based on the life of the author is reductive: instead it rediscovers the creative potential of the autobiographical which the émigrées chose to inject in their fiction works. Likewise, it establishes that the trauma of the Revolution and exile is visible in the selected émigré novels in the way it is camouflaged, enhanced and fictionalised, which constitutes their originality and distinguishes them from non-authentic émigré fictions. Finally this thesis considers the gender modernisation asked for in the plots, based on the fact that the selected novelists had enjoyed more freedom of action, uprooted from French social etiquette and within British society.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: PQ Romance literatures