posted May 1, 2006

Anne Larsen Edits Book on Mother-Daughter Team

Dr. Anne Larsen of the Hope College French faculty is editor and translator of a book that features work by Madeleine and Catherine des Roches, mother-daughter 16th century French authors.

"From Mother and Daughter: Poems, Dialogues, and Letters of Les Dames des Roches" has been published in English in the "Other Voice in Early Modern Europe" series of the University of Chicago Press.

Madeleine and Catherine des Roches were among the best-known and most prolific French women writers of the 16th century, publishing their works between 1578 and 1586. According to Larsen, they excelled in a variety of genres, including poetry, Latin and Italian translations, correspondence, prose dialogues, pastoral drama and tragicomedy.

Madeleine and Catherine spent their entire lives in civil war-torn Poitiers, where a siege of the city, vandalism and desecration of churches fueled their political and religious commentary. They addressed the issues of the day, including the ravages of religious civil wars, the weak monarchy, education for women, marriage and the family, and the status of women intellectuals.

They held a salon that hosted numerous writers, poets and professionals, and Catherine refused to marry so that she could go on writing and publishing with her mother. They both died of the plague in 1587.

Larsen had previously produced an annotated, three-volume edition of the Des Roches's writings, the first since their original printing in the 16th century. Larsen's work in preparing the three-volume edition was supported through both a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and an NEH Travel to Collections grant.

Larsen's scholarship has continued to focus on women intellectuals in Early Modern Europe. During 2004-05 she held a second NEH fellowship that supported her study of Anna Maria van Schurman (1606-1678) of Utrecht and the debate on women's learning and education in the 17th century. Larsen's books also include "Renaissance Women Writers: French Texts/American Contexts" and "Writings by Pre-Revolutionary French Women," co-edited with Colette H. Winn and published in 1994 and 2000.

Larsen joined the Hope faculty as an associate professor in 1984, and was promoted to full professor in 1993. She graduated from Hope with a Bachelor of Arts degree, and holds a master's and doctorate from Columbia University.

Copies of "Madeleine and Catherine des Roches: From Mother and Daughter" are available through the college's Hope-Geneva Bookstore, which is located on the ground level of the DeWitt Center on Columbia Avenue at 12th Street.