In Writing Ambition: Literary Engagements between Women in France, Katharine Ann Jensen analyzes the work of three pairs of women writing in French—Genlis and Lafayette, Colette and Annie de Pène, and Nancy Huson and Leïla Sebbar—to assess how their literary ambitions affected their engagements with each other. Focused on the psychological aspects of the women’s relationships, the author combines close textual readings of their works with attention to historical and biographical contexts to consider how and why one or both women in the pair express contradictory or anxious feelings about literary ambition.
Katharine Ann Jensen is professor in the Department of French Studies at Louisiana State University.
Chapter One, Rewriting for Moral Improvement: Genlis Competes with Lafayette
Chapter Two, Friends and Writers: Annie de Pène and Colette
Chapter Three, Exile, Loss, and Anxiety: Literary Ambition in Huston and Sebbar's
In Writing Ambition: Relations between French Women in their Letters and Fiction, Katharine Ann Jensen explores women’s relationships to authorship, to creativity, to other women writers, past and present, and to their readers. A renowned specialist of French women writers, especially of the early modern period, Jensen’s latest book is the culmination of years of work and reflection on female literary creativity. The result is a new vision of literary history, one that incorporates the concept of female authorship as women themselves conceived of it. Throughout this book, Jensen’s own strong authorial voice joins those of her female exemplars to refashion how we write about and analyze female literary production. Jensen provides a model for other scholars on how to do feminist scholarship.