© 2016

Ruling Women

Government, Virtue, and the Female Prince in Seventeenth-Century France

  • Authors

Part of the Queenship and Power book series (QAP)

Table of contents

About this book


Ruling Women is the first study of its kind devoted to an analysis of the debate concerning government by women in seventeenth-century France. Drawing on a wide range of political, feminist and dramatic texts, Conroy sets out to demonstrate that the dominant discourse which upholds patriarchy at the time is frequently in conflict with alternative discourses which frame gynæcocracy as a feasible, and laudable reality, and which reconfigure (wittingly or unwittingly) the normative paradigm of male authority. Central to the argument is an analysis of how the discourse which constructs government as a male prerogative quite simply implodes when juxtaposed with the traditional political discourse of virtue ethics. In Government, Virtue, and the Female Prince in Seventeenth-Century France, the first volume of the two-volume study, the author examines the dominant discourse which excludes women from political authority before turning to the configuration of women and rulership in the pro-woman and egalitarian discourses of the period. Highly readable and engaging, Conroy’s work will appeal to those interested in the history of women in political thought and the history of feminism, in addition to scholars of seventeenth-century literature and history of ideas.


equality France monarchy women female rulers

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)