Trajectoires et mémoires des engagées volontaires de la Révolution et de l'Empire
Presses Universitaires de Rennes (february 2021)
why do women join the armies under the Revolution and the Empire? What are the specificities of their female experience in the military world? What speeches do they produce on their experience when they return to civilian life? Between 1791 and 1815, several dozen women joined the revolutionary, counter-revolutionary and imperial troops to defend their country. Their extraordinary backgrounds illustrate the involvement of women in revolutionary events and the multifaceted nature of their commitment. The study of their passage in the army testifies to the recognition which they were able to profit from the part of the military institution, in spite of the transgressive character of their approach. By commenting on their military past in their autobiographical accounts, they transmit their own representations of the military world and take charge of the narrative of their history. Confronting military sources, revolutionary iconography, personal writings, articles published in the press, Maria Goupil-Travert examines some fifty biographical itineraries of women in the armies. She questions the nature of their engagement, their relationship to the military world and to violence, as well as their capacity for individual action to circumvent gender-related constraints.