Sortir du labyrinthe du monde? Fuir la Terreur de la Révolution pour mieux affronter celle du patriarcat

Christie Margrave

Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationArticle


The novels of Sophie Cottin are largely forgotten today; however, they were amongst the most popular in France, at the time of publication. Worthy of reconsideration, they reveal how a woman, writing during one of the most troubled periods of French history, tackles notions which arise during and often because of the Revolution, its ideals, and its failures. Her family persecuted (some even executed), herself an émigrée, Cottin withdraws into her fictional creations to escape the chaos and t/Terror of the real world. Yet, as she does so, she finds herself not only subtly responding to the traumas of the Revolution itself, but also, through addressing the oppression of patriarchal society, highlighting the fact that the ideals of the Revolution failed women long before they failed men. During her short writing career, Cottin addresses topics such as patriarchal dominance, abuse, anti-Revolutionary sentiment, and the roles of men and women, and all come together to show a call both for a successful return from exile, and for the moral regeneration of society itself in the wake of the Revolution. She also turns our attention to the power of women to help with these matters.
Original languageEnglish
Specialist publicationCahiers de la Révolution française
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 12 May 2022


  • women's writing
  • Sophie Cottin
  • émigrée
  • French Revolution

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