Early Developments of Ecofeminist Thought in French Women’s Early Romantic Fiction

Christie Margrave

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Ecocritical analysis of women’s sentimental novels has thus far been overlooked, yet, as this paper argues, we can trace the development of ecofeminist thought to early Romantic women writers. Cultural ecofeminist arguments that ‘[t]he ancient identity of nature as a nurturing mother links women’s history with the history of the environment and ecological change’ (Merchant, 1990, p.xx) ring true in Cottin’s Malvina and Amélie Mansfield and in Staël’s Corinne. Traces of radical ecofeminism are also evident, since the novelists use ecological devastation to highlight patriarchal oppressive treatment of women. However, like Souza’s Adèle de Sénange, these novels go further, bringing us towards a social ecofeminist perspective, by showing how women and nature are dominated by a combination of hierarchical ideologies.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEssays in French Literature and Culture
Publication statusPublished - 31 Oct 2018


  • ecocriticism
  • french literature
  • French Culture
  • nature
  • nineteenth-century
  • eighteenth-century


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