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Book Reviews227 Helynne Holstein Hansen. Hortense Allart: The Woman and the Novelist. Lanham: University Press of America, 1998. Pp. 295. ISBN: 0-7618-1213-X. This volume is the first full-length study of the nineteenth-century writer HortenseAllart to appear in English, and the first book to be published on Allart in nearly three decades. As her title suggests, Helynne Hansen emphasizes the interconnections between the writer's life and her literary works. In so doing, she builds upon biographical sources like Léon Seché's Hortense Allart de Méritens dans ses rapports avec Chateaubriand, Béranger, Lammenais, Sainte-Beuve, George Sand, Mme d'Agoult, Andre Billy's Hortense Allart et ses amants, and Juliette Decreus' Hortense Allart et Henri Bulwer-Lytton, but moves well beyond the usual portrait of Allart as muse, lover and friend to establish that she was without question a significant literary figure in her own right. The interface of life and writing is evident in the book's structure. After an introduction subtitled "An Unconventional Life," there follows a series of chapters whose titles reflect at once the major periods in Allart's life and the major literary works she produced in those years. Included among the first few are "Gertrude: The Young Writer Acts Out ( 1 825- 1 828)," "Jerome: The Modernity of a Romantic Heroine (1829-1830)," and "Sextus: The Channel Crossings (18301832 )." Other chapters take as their focus L 'Indienne, Settimia, the Petits Livres, Clémence, Les Enchantements de Prudence and Les Nouveaux Enchantements together, and in conclusion, Les Derniers Enchantements. Hansen traces Allart's personal and professional development with attention to the ways in which lived experience informs the novels but is also transformed in fiction. Thus Allart's passion for and disillusionment with the father of her first child, Count Anthony Teixeira Sampayo, is written into her first novel, Gertrude, and rewritten inJérôme ou le jeune prélat; her many sojourns in Italy provide material for the Italian characters and settings in Sextus; English politics and social structure play an important role in L 'Indienne, a novel written when Allart was living with Henry Bulwer-Lytton in London. In later years, after the break-up ofher own unhappy marriage to a domineering husband, Allart increasingly denounced the situation of married women in her day. Allart emerges in this volume as a representative ofhigh Romanticism tempered by a lucid, unapologetic feminism. The passions, poetry, admiration, andjealousy Allart inspired are the stuffof legend and have often attracted more attention than her writing, as the studies in French cited above attest. She is best known for her relationships to key figures in nineteenth-century letters, many ofwhom appear in some form in her semi-autobiographical fiction, Les Enchantements de Prudence, a succès de scandale when it appeared in 1 873. Hansen demonstrates that these emotional ties and the literary influence they engendered were reciprocal, generally the result ofgenuine professional and intellectual respect as well as affection. While Allart often wrote novels that can be read as romans à clef, it is to Hansen's credit that she never treats them as transparent representations of the author's life. Her textual analyses ground Allart's works in the Romantic tradition that originates with Rousseau and continues in the works of Chateaubriand and Staël, reaching its fullest expression by 228Women in French Studies 1 830. Staël's influence in particular can be seen in Allart's affinity for Italy and in strong, superior heroines who resemble Corinne and Delphine. Unlike her more celebrated precursor, however, Allart imagined positive, independent futures for the spirited heroines she created. Allart's 1825 collection ofcritical essays, Lettres sur les ouvrages de Mme de Staël, reveals her deep connection to her literary predecessor. Through Staël, Hansen not only situates Allart within the context of the nineteenth-century literary canon, she also asserts her place in the tradition of feminist writing. If Staël figures as as major influence, George Sand occupies an equally significant position as a friend, fellow novelist, and rival. Hansen's assessments ofAllart's novels frequently contain comparisons to Sand's works and cite Sand's remarks on the...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2166-5486
Print ISSN
1077-825x
Pages
pp. 227-228
Launched on MUSE
2016-04-06
Open Access
No
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