Foreign Languages & Literatures ETDs

Publication Date



Between 1836 and 1848 there appeared in La Presse, one of the most important French newspapers, a series of weekly articles entitled Le Courrier de Paris. They were signed by the Vicomte de Launay, a pseudonym for Madame de Girardin, the wife of Emile de Girardin, the owner of this influential publication. These articles generally enjoyed great success.

The author, a young woman of 32, was already well known for her precocious and remarkable poetic talent. Not only had she already been acclaimed for her poems, but she had also manifested her literary talent in some very successful novels and afterwards in comedies.

However, her most significant accomplishment was the Courrier de Paris, published later by her husband under the title of Lettres Parisiennes. These enlightening, witty and intellectual letters gave evidence of the fact that their remarkable lady-author was at once an excellent observer, an incomparable psychologist and one of the best moralists of her times. Among the most felicitous episodes depicted in these Lettres were the era of the bourgeois king, Louis-Philippe, the luxurious but empty life of the high Parisian society, the political unrest which finally exploded with the Revolution of 1848, and the evolution of the Romantic movement. By observing and criticizing the vices and the low moral standards, Madame de Girardin fought in defense of certain high principles like honor, honesty, dignity, and self-respect. In her ironical and satirical letters, she achieved her purpose of criticizing by means of paradoxes;

The Lettres Parisiennes, consisting of 165 letters ,is a significant work that has already lived on for more than a century because it has the important qualities of universality, psychological insight and wit. Les Lettres Parisiennes, is such a vivid portrayal of the turbulent times of the middle of the nineteenth century, that anyone wishing to familiarize himself with this, era, would do well to read them.

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Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures

First Committee Member (Chair)

Claude Marie Bork

Second Committee Member


Third Committee Member

Patricia Murphy