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Abstract

The figure of the exotic woman in eighteenth-century fiction, as Julia Douthwaite has argued, enabled certain writers "to imagine unconventional ways of negotiating women's concerns within the boundaries of ancien régime culture." Lettres d'une Péruvienne exemplifies this paradigm through the figure of Zilia, who, as the exotic female other, offers an alternative model for the construction of female subjectivity within eighteenth-century French culture. In addition to "negotiating women's concerns," however, Zilia's letters explore the ways in which the question of the gaze, of seeing the other and of being seen, in both the literal and the figurative senses, underscores the organization of the social and the feminine.

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