ABOUT THIS BOOK
Two volumes by a seventeenth-century French gentlewoman and teacher, published in English for the first time.
According to the few historical records that mention Marguerite Buffet, she lived her entire life in seventeenth-century Paris where she taught French to aristocratic women. Buffet’s vivid example of proper language use in New Observations on the French Language offers a rare glimpse into the life, habits, and culture of seventeenth-century France. She describes common errors in contemporary language use and gives examples of correct expressions for speaking and writing all the while encouraging women to aspire to higher levels of intellectual achievement.
In addition, her Praises of Illustrious Learned Women, a catalog of biographies of women who displayed exemplary intellect, wit, and conversation, includes a number of the author’s contemporaries such as Anna Maria van Schurman and Madeleine de Scudéry. Buffet’s collected praises of these women, many of whom were connected to the court of Louis XIV, show her unique position as both a participant in and historian of the intellectual and social world of the French salon.
This volume presents Buffet’s work in its near entirety for the first time in English, bringing to light Buffet’s unique contribution to the centuries-long debate concerning the status of women known as the querelle des femmes.