Available at: https://digitalcommons.calpoly.edu/theses/2511
Date of Award
MA in History
Throughout the eighteenth century the Age of Enlightenment transformed public discourse across Western Europe. In France, the salons of Paris became the primary institutions of Enlightenment thought. Hosted by women, the salons possessed a unique atmosphere in which men and women were regarded as intellectual equals. My thesis focuses on the role the female hostesses, salonnières, had in initiating French movements for gender equality that continued with great momentum throughout the French Revolution. By using popular artwork, literature, and memoirs I show how the efforts of French women to achieve gender equality helped give early rise to feminism.