Femmes de Lettres: New Book Series to Release Works of Forgotten Female Authors

Secession Verlag is a small publishing house based in Zurich and Berlin. They just celebrated their tenth anniversary at the gallery P98A, which is located in Berlin. But what’s even more impressive is their new book series.

Femmes de Lettres celebrates works of mostly forgotten female authors from the 16th to 18th centuries. The FONTE Foundation partially funded the series.

The first book in the series, Torheit und Liebe (eng. Foolishness and Love) contains the complete works of the French author Louise Labé. Originally written in Middle French, they were translated into German by Monika Fahrenbach-Wachendorff. In the books both versions of the text are present.

The book series is even more significant because it reveals the falsehoods of a male-dominated literary canon. Renate Kroll, a literary scholar and a member of the FONTE Foundation, said on that matter: “The European history of literature is wrong. Its narration is dominated by men, although even back in the early modern period a lot of women surpassed men by far in their writing. If we acknowledge them, we have to rewrite our history of literature.”

The article closes with the following words: “This very well made book series is a consolation for all, who fear, that beautiful books will disappear in these crisis-ridden times. And it expresses a twofold resistance. Firstly against the male-dominated history of literature. Secondly against one-dimensional digitization, because it replaces the printed book and therefore the chance to connect to these texts, to listen to them, and to read them carefully again and again.”

Secession Verlag will release the second book in November 2019.

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