Can you imagine a world without reading, if you were a woman? At the time listed, women were little more than a breeder, servant, a stay-at-home mother and wife.
Why were women discouraged from reading? “In Madame Bovary, I think Flaubert is channeling a century of worries about young women as particularly susceptible to the fantasies they find in novels and the seductions of reading,” Margaret Cohen, a professor of French language, literature and civilization, told Op-Talk.
From the late 18th century through the middle of the 19th, she added, women “were considered to be in danger of not being able to differentiate between fiction and life.”