By Wendy Gibson

This publication goals to track the lifetime of the seventeenth-century Frenchwoman from cradle to the grave via often modern basic resources which come with almost about every thing from collections of legislation to traveller's stories. instead of remodeling and refuting the twentieth-century specialists within the box, the writer works without delay via from delivery and early life via matrimony, ladies at paintings, and in political existence, manners and faith to conclusive death.

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Extra info for Women in Seventeenth-Century France

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Beyond that supposition it is at present impossible to proceed. The only women about whose educational standards anything can be said with certainty are those members of the aristocracy and of the bourgeoisie whose 'quality' or connections assured for their accomplishments a paragraph in collections of Femmes Illustres, Education 35 verbal portrait galleries, and the like. These documents, though subject to caution because of their primarily laudatory nature, nevertheless make repeated mention of proficiency in certain subjects and pass over others in silence, a circumstance which gives some indication of priorities and lacunae in female education of the time.

The curriculum was dominated by religious instruction. This was administered both directly in the form of explanations of the catechism, training in prayer, and preparation for confession, communion and confirmation; and indirectly through the pious observations that mistresses were encouraged to introduce discreetly into their remarks at every possible opportunity. Moral training formed an indispensable complement. Pupils had instilled into them not only the Christian love of virtue, hatred of vice and contempt for worldly goods, but also an admiration for the conventual way of life and a deep mistrust of the wicked ways of the opposite sex.

Marriage was regarded essentially as a family concern, not that of two private individuals. The choice of husband or wife had repercussions on the social standing and material welfare of the family. A household would gain not only a whole new set of allies and social relations, but ultimately a series of heirs to perpetuate the family name. It stood to acquire the financial advantages that would ensure general prosperity and facilitate advancement in the social hierarchy - or a legacy of debts and mortgages that might drag it into the mire.

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