Women’s Literary History in Late Eighteenth- and Nineteenth-Century France: Louise de Kéralio and Henriette Guizot de Witt
This chapter will examine women’s literary histories produced by Louise de Kéralio (1756–1822), the first female editor of a French newspaper, Journal de l’homme et du citoyen, established in 1789, and Henriette Guizot de Witt (1829–1908)––the daughter of the prominent politician and historian François Guizot––who published over one hundred volumes on history and other subjects. On the eve of the French Revolution, Kéralio published some of the planned volumes of Collection des meilleurs ouvrages françois: composés par des femmes, dédiée aux femmes françoises [Collection of the Best French Works Composed by Women, Dedicated to Frenchwomen] (1786–88), a multi-volume history of women’s literature in France. A century later, Guizot de Witt wrote Les Femmes dans l’histoire [The Women in History] (1888), which included women writers—both French and English––active during the French Wars of Religion and the English Civil Wars. While Kéralio’s history was inflected by the historical context of the French Revolution, Guizot de Witt’’s was inflected by her experience of the Revolution of 1848 during which she, along with her father, was exiled in England. Both writers’ careers were enabled by the precedent of their fathers and mothers who were also writers, though the fathers had a much greater impact––both positive and negative.