Liberté, égalité, sororité : a study of the theatrical works of Olympe de Gouges 1748-1793
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Marie Olympe de Gouges was born Marie Gouze in Montauban, France on the seventh of May 1748. Widowed at the age of eighteen, she left her native Montauban accompanied by her young son to pursue a career as a writer in Paris in 1766. Changing her name to Olympe de Gouges, she forged a new identity for herself as a political pamphleteer, social activist, revolutionary sympathiser and playwright. Throughout her time as a writer she courted controversy for her proto-feminist principles and uncompromising advocacy of the cause of the abolitionists. De Gouges is principally remembered for her political and feminist writings, however she wished above all to be considered as a femme de lettres. This thesis involves a detailed study of the complete dramatic works of Olympe de Gouges, and aims to increase awareness of an important area of the playwright’s literary repertoire which is deserving of greater critical attention. Olympe de Gouges was found guilty of ‘pro-royalist’ sentiment by the revolutionaries and was thus executed on the third of November 1793. Altogether it is believed that she wrote around nineteen plays, twelve of which remain for posterity, and it is these plays which are examined in this thesis under the thematic headings of liberté, égalité and sororité.
KeywordsMarie Olympe de Gouges