Modern historians have found it difficult to disrupt the narrative inherited from past scholars, who argued that even prominent women lacked any genuine political role in the early modern world. However, in many ways, the personal influence that women exercised in court and salon society was highly political, as was that of men. An examination of the power of highly visible women, for example, famous mistresses such as Madame de Montespan and Madame Tallien, suggests that historians should broaden their understanding of the “political” and more carefully interrogate the activities of female historical figures, rejecting the moralistic accounts that have come down to us.
Copyright © 2016 Christine Adams
Adams, Christine "Mistresses and Merveilleuses: The Historiographical Record on Female Political Players of the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries." Medieval Feminist Forum: A Journal of Gender and Sexuality 51, No. 2 (2016) : 95-103.