#MeToo in France and French literary and academic publications

The #MeToo movement exposes and confronts sexual abuse and harassment. Its hashtag spread virally on social media in the context of accusations of sexual assault held against the American film producer Harvey Weinstein in the autumn of 2017. The movement has had huge international social and political repercussions, and has inspired or shaped academic works in a variety of fields, including history, philosophy and literature.

In the field of library classifications, the Library of Congress subject heading “MeToo movement” was created in 2020, and uses sources defining it as a movement “launched in 2006 in the United States to assist survivors of sexual violence, especially females of colour” (Encyclopedia Britannica online), which “burgeoned across social media, moving beyond Twitter and into living rooms and courtrooms” (Routledge handbook of the politics of the #MeToo movement, 2021), “revealed sexual abuse in every sphere of society” (Ruth Everhart, The #metoo reckoning, 2020), and intends “to create solidarity among survivors of sexual harassment” (Center for American Progress website). As social media played such an important role in the spread of the #MeToo movement, the Library of Congress also contributed to recording it through the compilation of a Web archive. We can also mention the #metoo Digital Media Collection built by the Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, at Harvard University.

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The armchair traveller’s virtual Grand Tour seen through the eyes of women

The research I did for last year’s post on the Alhambra awoke my interest in the subject of the Grand Tour, traditionally a rite of passage for wealthy young gentlemen to complete their education, usually involving travel to France and Italy. As more people made the trip to continental Europe during the 18th century there was a proliferation of both guidebooks for grand tourists and books describing the places visited to be consumed by armchair travellers back home. Now in 2020, with many of us unable to travel abroad and missing out on summer holidays, it seems to be a good time to revisit some of these texts, teasing out contrasts and parallels with our time, concentrating on resources that are currently available to view online (by Raven account holders). I have narrowed the focus of this post to women travellers – although the Grand Tour is perhaps still regarded as a male preserve, some women of means did undertake trips abroad. Women made a significant contribution to the flourishing genre of travel writing, offering valuable insights, covering sightseeing highlights, the art, the architecture and the antiquities but just as likely to touch on social customs, domestic life or even shopping. Continue reading