This is the most complete critical survey to date of women's literature in nineteenth-century France. Alison Finch's wide-ranging analysis of some 60 writers reflects the rich diversity of a century that begins with Mme de Stael's cosmopolitanism and ends with Rachilde's perverse eroticism. Finch's study brings out the contribution not only of major figures like George Sand but also of many other talented and important writers who have been unjustly rejected, including Flora Tristan, Claire de Duras and Delphine de Girardin. Her account opens new perspectives on the interchange between male and female authors and on women's literary traditions during the period. She discusses popular and serious writing: fiction, verse, drama, memoirs, journalism, feminist polemic, historiography, travelogues, children's tales, religious and political thought - often brave, innovative texts linked to women's social and legal status in an oppressive society. Extensive reference features include bibliographical guides to texts and writers.