In the aftermath of the French Revolution, three women who have fled France--the straitlaced aristocrat Emilie, her lighthearted maid Josephine, and the worldly Constance--try to make new lives for themselves in Altendorf, Germany. Their experiences, difficulties, and choices address the philosophical question, Are moral theories adequate guides to good conduct?
In her introduction to this late-eighteenth-century novel by Charriere, Emma Rooksby discusses the sentimental tradition, Enlightenment ideas, epistolary fiction, Charriere's career, and the difficult situation of women and women writers in postrevolutionary France.
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