«Nerfs de femmes». Briefroman, Briefsteller und die Autorfunktion bei Guilleragues, Richelet und Gellert
In: Cultura tedesca, 2019
From the Seventeenth Century on, starting with French letter writing guides like those of Pierre Richelet (Les plus belles lettres des meilleurs auteurs français, first edition 1689), the idea of a particular female talent for writing letters in an unaffected and natural manner became a commonplace in European literature. Various interchanges between epistolary novels and letter writing guides tend to show that the fictional status of female letters, even if they were written by male authors, did not keep them from being considered as exemplary. The Letters of a Portuguese Nun (1669) ended up in Richelet’s Plus belles lettres, the letters Richardson atttributed to Pamela in his eponymous novel (1740) were originally meant to form a letter writing guide or conduct book, while Gellert even goes so far as to feminize the male authorial voice in his Praktische Abhandlung von dem guten Geschmacke in Briefen (1751) in order to strengthen his case against the German letter writing tradition of the „Kanzleistil“ (stylus curiae), still much in use in Germany in the first half of the Eighteenth Century.