We are unable to display your institutional affiliation without JavaScript turned on.
Browse Book and Journal Content on Project MUSE

Find using OpenURL

Rent from DeepDyve Rent from DeepDyve

Words to the Wise: Reappropriating the Widow in Early Modern Didactic Literature

From: Parergon
Volume 21, Number 1, January 2004
pp. 39-63 | 10.1353/pgn.2004.0091



Widows figured prominently in the prescriptive literature of early modern Europe. Although many widows were left destitute and defenceless, a significant number attained independence and even a certain measure of authority. France, though strongly patriarchal, saw widows rise to positions of considerable power. Manuals of comportment written by men reveal efforts to contain the early modern widow, to limit her influence on her society. However, women who penned such manuals, widows advising widows, borrowed the masculine tradition of moral didactic literature in order to teach their readers to negotiate and succeed in early modern French society.

You must be logged in through an institution that subscribes to this journal or book to access the full text.


Shibboleth authentication is only available to registered institutions.

Project MUSE

For subscribing associations only.