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Re-assessing Female Representation in the Print Trades in Sixteenth-Century France* Susan Broomhall Historians have devoted a number of studies to women's work in the book trades in sixteenth-century France.' In particular, they have focussed on w o m e n trading as independent businesswomen, such as Charlotte Guillard, Yolande B o n h o m m e or Francoise de Louvain and her daughter Marie L'Angelier in Paris w h o 'managed the business, took on n e w works and sustained, even initiated, heavy * I would like to thank Patricia Crawford, Beverley Ormerod-Noakes and the anonymous readers for their constructive suggestions on earlier versions of this paper 1 B. Beech, 'Charlotte Guillard: A Sixteenth-Century Business Woman', Renaissance Quarterly, 36 (1983), 345-67; N. Zemon Davis, 'Women in the Crafts in SixteenthCentury Lyon', Women and Work in Preindustrial Europe, ed. B. A. Hanawalt (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1986), pp. 167-97; S. Postel-Lecocq, 'Femmes et presses a Paris au XVIe siecle: quelques exemples', in Le Livre dans TEurope de la Renaissance: Actes du XXVIIIe collogue international d 'Etudes humanistes de To ed. H-J. Martin and F. Dupuigrenet Desroussilles (Nantes: Promodis, 1988), pp. 25363 ; M-J. Beaud, 'A propos des editions grecques de trois officines parisennes (15391549 )', Le Livre dans TEurope de la Renaissance, pp. 197-208; Des Femmes et des livres: France et Espagne, XlVe-XVIIe siecles, ed. D. de Courcelles and C. Val Julia (Paris: 1999). 56 Susan Broomhall investments' whilst at the helm of printing businesses.2 Furthermore, historians have highlighted the numerous references made to such businesswomen on title pages and colophons of printed texts. Generally, there has been an emphasis upon the particularities of the environment of the print trades as one which enabled certain w o m e n to succeed. Historians have argued that the print trades could provide women with increased opportunities for literacy. Indeed, Nicole Estienne, the daughter of the printer Charles Estienne, mixed in literary circles and was a poet whose works were published in several texts.3 In a private letter to his son, the publisher Henri II Estienne praised the extensive learning of his mother, Perette, the daughter of bookseller-printer Josse Badius, and of his sister Catherine: 'As for your grandmother, except one made use of some very unusual word, she understood what was said in Latin with the same ease as if it had been French.'4 'And your aunt, Catherine, far from needing an interpreter to understand this language [Latin], knew how to express herself in it in such a way as to be perfectly clear to all'.5 W o m e n involved in aspects of the printing trade, outside of therichand powerful families such as the Estiennes whose daughters received an education above the standard for most men and women, might learn to read by their surroundings in the workshop. The historian Natalie Zemon Davis has observed 2 Michel Simonin, 'Trois Femmes en Librairie: Francoise de Louvain, Marie L'Angelier, Francoise Patele (1571-1645)', in Des Femmes et des livres, p. 173. 3 Nicole Estienne's poetic works were included in both manuscripts and three first editions, which were Les Apprehensions spirituelles, Poemes & autres Philosophiques: Avec l Recherches de la pierre philosophe, F.B de Verville (Paris: Timothee louan, 1583); Les Miseres de la femme mariee (ou se peuvent voir les peines et tourments qu 'elle rvco durant sa vie) (Paris: Pierre Menier, 1587?); and in Devotes meditations chresticnnvs sur la Mort et Passion de notre Seigneur Jesuschrist: Extraictes de I 'Escriture sain par Monsieur Dorron, Maistre des Requestes du Roy. Et depuis mises en vers f'rancois: Avec plusieurs Prieres et Oraisons: Par Baptiste Badere Parisien, Advocat au Parleme de Paris (Paris: Guyon Giffard, 1588). 4 Mark Pattison's translation in 'The Stephenses', in Essays by the late Mark Pattison, ed. H. Nettleship (Oxford: 1889), p. 71, in E.Armstrong, Robert Estienne. Roval Printer: An Historical Study of the Elder Stephanus (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1954), p. 16. 5 Lettres d Henri Estienne (1585), in F. Brunot, Histoire de la langue francoise, vol. 2 (1967), p. 8, in E. Berriot-Salvadore, 'Les Femmes...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1832-8334
Print ISSN
0313-6221
Pages
pp. 55-73
Launched on MUSE
2013-04-03
Open Access
No
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