Date of Award

May 2023

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Carolyn J Eichner

Committee Members

Lisa Silverman, Nigel Rothfels


D'Epinay, Dacier, French, Riccoboni, Translator, Women


This paper examines women translators in Enlightenment France for their strategies to achieve publication. Elite, French Enlightenment women appropriated oppressive structures and norms, redeploying them to expand their own roles. This paper examines Marie-Jeanne Riccoboni, Louise d’Epinay, and Anne LeFevre Dacier as exemplars of elite women translators who exploited gendered assumptions to gain access to print. Each of these women came from differing backgrounds, received differing levels of support from their patriarchal relations and expressed differing societal concerns through their writing. Despite such differences, Riccoboni, Dacier and d’Epinay all utilized similar strategies alongside translation to disseminate their concerns. Operating within the existent systems of patronage and networks of privlège, Riccoboni, LeFevre Dacier, and d’Epinay all exploited their elite reputations and connections to prominent men, sometimes their own fathers or husbands. Each of these women was dependent on male favor and sympathy to gain a higher education or access print, as legally they were dependent on male consent for their contracts and legal activities. Each woman corresponded with established male intellectuals to widen their network of connections, and received support and legitimacy for their work through introductions written by male editors. Both in creating these networks and in presenting themselves and their work, Riccoboni, LeFevre Dacier, and d’Epinay all employed self-deprecating rhetoric and language to appropriate existing traditional gender assumptions. The combination of these strategies allowed each of these women to gain access to print and exert their literary and gendered critiques.