Madame de Graffigny, ‘femme de lettres’


Madame de Graffigny, signed by Levêque, in Jean Restout, ‘Galerie française’ (Paris, 1771), vol. 1, p. 27 (source of image: The Voltaire Foundation).

Today’s publication in EMLO of the correspondence of Françoise de Graffigny (1695–1758), the pioneering French writer and salon hostess, heralds the inaugural catalogue in an exciting new partnership between the Voltaire Foundation and Cultures of Knowledge. Following an agreement made earlier this year, metadata has been prepared from the Voltaire Foundation’s exquisitely and meticulously produced edition, Correspondance de Madame de Graffigny, ed. †J. A. Dainard and English Showalter, 16 vols (Oxford: Voltaire Foundation, 1985– ) for publication in our union catalogue.

Preparatory work on this calendar was carried out in its entirety during the closing month of CofK’s second phase and involved Stephen Ashworth working on site at the Voltaire Foundation to input metadata in collaboration with EMLO staff, while scholarly input and oversight was provided by de Graffigny’s editor English Showalter and the Foundation’s in-house editorial team. We hope very much indeed that you will consult the edition itself; Madame de Graffigny’s letters are of particular interest to scholars for their use of everyday language — the correspondence is conducted entirely in French — and, in their genuine spontaneity, they offer a unique glimpse into the social, literary, and political issues of eighteenth-century France.