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Madeleine de Scudery on Love and the Emergence of the 'Private Sphere'

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Madeleine de Scudery played a previously unrecognized part in the development of modern ideas of married friendship, and the eighteenth-century version of the distinction between the public and private spheres, through the influence of her novels on the political views of Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Her development of the notions of tender friendship and tender love between the sexes helped change the way in which married love was conceptualized. She transformed the chivalric idea that women rule men through love, by making it compatible with marriage, and her ideas concerning the appropriate relationship between husband and wife were adapted by Rousseau, without acknowledgement, in his account of the relationship between Emile and Sophie.

Keywords: Christine de Pizan; Jean-Jacques Rousseau; Madeleine de Scudery; Marguerite of Navarre; carte de tender; chivalric love; love in marriage; public/private discussion; romantic love; tender friendship

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: School of Philosophy and Bioethics, Monash University, Melbourne 3800, Australia, Email:

Publication date: January 1, 2009


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