Cover: Only Paradoxes to Offer: French Feminists and the Rights of Man, from Harvard University PressCover: Only Paradoxes to Offer in PAPERBACK

Only Paradoxes to Offer

French Feminists and the Rights of Man

Add to Cart

Product Details


$37.00 • £29.95 • €33.50

ISBN 9780674639317

Publication Date: 09/01/1997



In her subtle and provocative new book, Joan Scott convincingly argues that the exclusion of women was central to the logic of French republicanism in the 19th century, and she traces the workings of this logic through the eyes of its most persistent feminist critics.—Joshua Cole, The Village Voice Literary Supplement

Readers of this book will enjoy discovering (or rediscovering) four compelling women, while marveling at how the terms of earlier feminism are at once familiar and strange. Rather than taking the category of women for granted as the subject of feminist discourse and politics, Scott argues that feminist agency is itself profoundly paradoxical… [T]his book contributes a probing intellectual history of the central questions in modern feminist thought which will also add much to contemporary feminist inquiry.—Joan B. Landes, American Political Science Review

Those interested in feminism, postmodernism, historiography, and/or the fundamental assumptions that sustain contemporary political debates will find this book richly rewarding. Philosophers of science concerned with the methodological production of facticity will find this work exemplary of the contributions of postmodernism to the construction of the past.—Mary Hawkesworth, Canadian Philosophical Reviews

The four feminists examined in this book all had differing ideas about [the] problem of women’s ‘equality’ or ‘difference’, ideas that Scott clearly shows to be a product of the dominant political discourses of their time… [Only Paradoxes to Offer] is successful and important in its exposure of the internal contradictions, dilemmas and ‘obsessive repetitions’ of the feminist experience.—Jane Freedman, Modern and Contemporary France [UK]

Only Paradoxes to Offer is a valuable and stimulating book which synthesises a number of theoretical issues and applies them in original ways to specific historical contexts. It will be of great value to scholars engaged in feminist critical theory, women’s studies and French history.—Felicia Gordon, Women’s Philosophy Review [UK]

Joan Scott’s tour de force is written with clarity, grace, humor, trenchant knowledge, imagination, and a sense of the politically extravagant… After Scott’s brilliant book, none of us will be able to read French feminism in the same way again.—Judith Butler, University of California, Berkeley

It is the sense of feminism as dynamic, searching, inventive, historically specific, and often divided against itself, rather than abstract, timeless, or doctrinaire, that gives this story its spin.—Laura Englestein, Princeton University

A feminist’s history of feminist history, one that is likely to shape the debate not simply over the history of gender but over the larger questions of political and cultural history.—Mark Poster, University of California, Irvine

Recent News

Black lives matter. Black voices matter. A statement from HUP »

From Our Blog

logo of the MacArthur Foundation

Nicole Fleetwood and Monica Muñoz Martinez Awarded MacArthur Fellowships

Harvard University Press congratulates its authors Nicole Fleetwood and Monica Muñoz Martinez for being named to the 2021 class of 25 MacArthur Fellows. The prestigious no-strings-attached $625,000 awards are given to individuals “who have shown extraordinary originality and dedication in their creative pursuits and a marked capacity for self-direction.”