Introduction : Women, solidarity and solitude

Hugueny-Léger, Elise and Verdier, Caroline (2015) Introduction : Women, solidarity and solitude. In: Solitaires, Solidaires. Cambridge Scholars Publishing, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, pp. 1-6. ISBN 978-1-4438-8025-1

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Abstract

This volume stems from the 2013 joint Women in French (U.K.) and Women in French in Scotland conference which attracted over thirty speakers from around the globe. It includes sixteen contributions on the representation of female solidarity and solitude in French and Francophone literature and history. Through a series of historical and literary case studies, this volume contends that the construction of ‘female solidarity’ in a French-speaking context has depended not only on networks, dialogues and correspondences, but also (and often simultaneously) on confrontations and rivalry between women, and on marginal, unconventional representations of femininity and motherhood. This volume therefore offers a nuanced insight into the place of women in French and Francophone societies and literatures, by exploring a variety of factors which have favoured the emergence of women in the public sphere in France – and other French-speaking countries. The selected contributions show that some of the most remarkable examples of women’s liberation have depended on the refusal to conform to representations of female solidarity or identity. Built around two main sections – a socio-historical one and a more contemporary literary one – this volume sheds light on contemporary perspectives on estrangement, isolation and alternative representations of femininity by looking at historical antecedents of women who negotiated their own trajectory through tension and isolation.