© 2016

Ruling Women, Volume 2

Configuring the Female Prince in Seventeenth-Century French Drama

  • Authors

Part of the Queenship and Power book series (QAP)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-ix
  2. Derval Conroy
    Pages 1-4
  3. Derval Conroy
    Pages 131-135
  4. Back Matter
    Pages 137-214

About this book


Ruling Women is a two-volume study devoted to an analysis of the conflicting discourses concerning government by women in seventeenth-century France. In this second volume, Configuring the Female Prince in Seventeenth-Century French Drama, Conroy analyzes over 30 plays published between 1637 and 1691, examining the range of constructions of queenship that are thrown into relief. The analysis focuses on the ways in which certain texts strive to manage the cultural anxiety produced by female rule and facilitate the diminution of the uneasy cultural reality it represents, while others dramatize the exercise of political virtue by women, explode the myth of gender-differentiated sexual ethics, and suggest alternative constructions of gender relations to those upheld by the normative discourses of sexual difference. The approach is underpinned by an understanding of theatre as fundamentally political, a cultural institution implicated in the maintenance of, and challenge to, societal power relations. Innovative and stimulating, Conroy’s work will appeal to scholars of seventeenth-century drama and history of ideas, in addition to those interested in the history of women in political thought and the history of feminism.


equality France French gender government politics quality state women

About the authors

Derval Conroy is Lecturer at the School of Languages and Literatures at University College Dublin, Ireland.

Bibliographic information


“In this innovative study, Derval Conroy documents and analyzes the political debate concerning female governance in seventeenth-century France. … Ruling Women, written in an engaging and accessible style, present scholars, teachers, and students alike with a formidable resource to explore representations of queenship in seventeenth-century France. With this work Conroy makes an invaluable contribution to the study of women and gender issues in early modern Europe.” (Kathleen M. Llewellyn, Renaissance Quarterly, Vol. 70 (1), 2017)