Abstract

Women's musical contributions have, throughout history, consistently been either downplayed or forgotten. The widespread cultural conviction that a woman's musical sensibility is inherently immoral became particularly problematic in late eighteenth-century France. The role ofmusic in Isabelle de Charrière's Caliste and Germaine de Staël's Corinne has been similarly downplayed. I foreground the textual evidence that these authors were aware that music, of all the arts, posed a particular problem for women. By creating the first musical and moral heroines in French literature, Charrière and Staël forge a positive role model for women who seek to enter musical fields. By downplaying the heroines' musical talents, we significantly detract from the efficacy of the authors' social critique.

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Additional Information

ISSN
2166-5486
Print ISSN
1077-825x
Pages
pp. 40-54
Launched on MUSE
2016-04-06
Open Access
No
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