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Paris at the time of Marguerite Buffet


Marguerite Buffet (d. 1680) was a French writer, grammarian and teacher.

Her date and place of birth are unknown, and very little is known about her life. She is generally believed to have lived in Paris where she taught French grammar.

Buffet’s only extant work is the Nouvelles observations sur la langue françoise, Où il est traitté des termes anciens & inusitez, & du bel usage des mots nouveaux. Avec les Éloges des Illustres Sçavantes, tant Anciennes que Modernes [New Observations on the French Language, in which Ancient and Unusual Terms are Discussed, and the Appropriate Use of New Words. With Praises of Illustrious Learned Women, both Ancient and Modern] which was published in 1668 and dedicated to the queen of France. The first part, New Observations on the French Language, is a pedagogic treatise on grammar addressed specifically to a female audience. This work is said to have been influenced by Claude de Vaugelas, a French grammarian. The second part, In Praise of Illustrious Learned Women, is composed of an “apology” (or argument) for the equality of women in which Buffet defends women’s intellectual capacities, and an epideictic discourse in which she praises illustrious women.

Buffet died in 1680.



Ducharme, Isabelle (2003), “Marguerite Buffet,” in Société internationale pour l’étude des femmes de l’ancien régime (SIEFAR), (accessed August 1st, 2016).

Ducharme, Isabelle (2005), “Marguerite Buffet lectrice de la querelle des femmes,” in I. Brouard-Arends (ed.), Lectrices d’ancien régime, Presses Universitaires de Rennes.