Volume 24, Issue 3/4
  • ISSN: 1388-3186
  • E-ISSN: 2352-2437



Isabelle de Charrière/Belle de Zuylen was born in the Netherlands, where she lived until her marriage at age 30. We know her therefore best as Belle van Zuylen (in spite of nearly all her work having been written and published in French, when she was living in Switzerland and known as Isabelle de Charrière). She tends to be represented in the Low Countries as an ever-young woman, the focus often being on her need of finding an appropriate marriage candidate. It was her particular attitude towards some of these marriage candidates that has led to the frequent use of one ‘quote’ that is often supposed to be representative of her feminism. This essay suggests that more attention should be paid to the whole of her personality. Her correspondence, which covers her entire life, allows for a more complete understanding of Van Zuylen as a person and as an author. These letters will soon be accessible online.


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