L’Histoire d’Hypolite, Comte de Duglas

Madame d’Aulnoy, edited by Shirley Jones Day, and introduction by Shirley Jones Day
1 January 1994
229 × 152 mm
173 pp
Paperback: 978-1-899042-00-5
First published in 1690, and one of the most popular novels in the eighteenth century, L'Histoire d'Hypolite, Comte de Duglas, was subsequently expunged from the literary canon. L'Histoire d'Hypolite confronts us with the novel at the dawn of the eighteenth century, and with the problems of a woman writer. Madame d'Aulnoy shows her powers as a literary artist in her image of England as a land of violence and passion, in the creation of the heroine Julie, a subtle mixture of subversiveness and passive acceptance of a morally compromised social order, and, above all, in the character of Hypolite, the archetype of the passionate rebel who was at one with the natural world. The historical disenfranchisement of the woman writer means that reading L'Histoire d'Hypolite is like travelling through an unknown country whose language is familiar yet not wholly comprehensible. This differentness has meant that criticism, traditionally concerned with the establishment of norms, has failed to acknowledge the intrinsic value of such writing. These journeys into unfamiliar territory show us texts which are an integral and essential part of the landscape occupied by women writers and their men contemporaries.