1766: Une année de choix dans la production féminine

  • Olga Cragg The University of British Columbia


This article studies the reception given to two novels written in the 18th century, and uses the theory of reception of H. R. Jauss. 1766 is a choice year because it sees the publication of Mme Riccoboni's novel Lettres d'Adélaïde de Dammartin, comtesse de Sancerre, à M. le Comte de Nancé, son ami and Mme Benoit's Célianne. Specifically, I apply in detail the concept of the reader's horizon of expectation in three journals of the period: L' année littéraire, the Journal encyclopédique and the Journal des dames to contrast the reception of Mme Riccoboni's novel with that of the reader of the 20th century. The analysis of passages quoted from the novel in the reviews of the three periodicals shows the masculine bias of two of them. Within this theoretical framework I give reasons why the two novels merit our attention today in the form of a critical edition and how the theory of reception can be a useful framework in evaluating the cultural context of the time of publication.
Original Research