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Dialogues and Addresses

Edited and Translated by John J. Conley, S.J.
Born Françoise d’Aubigné, a criminal’s daughter reduced to street begging as a child, Madame de Maintenon (1653-1719) made an improbable rise from impoverished beginnings to the summit of power as the second, secret wife of Louis XIV. An educational reformer, Maintenon founded and directed the celebrated academy for aristocratic women at Saint-Cyr. This volume presents the dialogues and addresses in which Maintenon explains her controversial philosophy of education for women.

Denounced by her contemporaries as a political schemer and religious fanatic, Maintenon has long been criticized as an opponent of gender equality. The writings in this volume faithfully reflect Maintenon’s respect for social hierarchy and her stoic call for women to accept the duties of their state in life. But the writings also echo Maintenon’s more feminist concerns: the need to redefine the virtues in the light of women’s experience, the importance of naming the constraints on women’s freedom, and the urgent need to remedy the scandalous neglect of the education of women.

In her writings as well as in her own model school at Saint-Cyr, Maintenon embodies the demand for educational reform as the key to the empowerment of women at the dawn of modernity.

216 pages | 1 halftone | 6 x 9 | © 2004

The Other Voice in Early Modern Europe

Education: Philosophy of Education

History: European History

Philosophy: History and Classic Works

Religion: Christianity

Women's Studies

Table of Contents

Series Editors’ Introduction
List of Abbreviations
Volume Editor’s Introduction
Volume Editor’s Bibliography

Volume Editors’ Introduction
On the Cardinal Virtues
On Courage
On True Glory
On True Wit
On Eminence
On Reason
On Piety
On Privilege
On Constraint
On the Necessity of Dependence
On the Drawbacks of Marriage
On the Different States in Life
On Current Discussions
On Education at Saint-Cyr
Addresses to Students
Volume Editors’ Introduction
Of the Cardinal Virtues
Of Politeness
Of Civility
Of True Glory
Portrait of a Reasonable Person
Of the Utility of Reflection
Of Religious Vocations
Of the Single Life
Of Friendship
Of the World
How to Maintain a Good Reputation
Of Avoiding the Occasions of Sin
Against Religious Innovations
Of Education and of the Advantages of a Demanding Upbringing

Addresses to Faculty
Volume Editors’ Introduction
Of the Education of Ladies
Of Solid Education
Of the Danger of Profane Books
Of the Proper Choice of Theatrical Pieces for Pupils

Series Editors’ Bibliography

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