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Olympe de Gouges (1748–1793)

Author of Declaration des droits de la femme et de la citoyenne

Includes the names: Marie Gouze Gouges, Marie Olympe de Gouges

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Olympe de Gouges was a nom de plume. Her birth name was Marie Gouze.

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A heroine of the French Revolution: Marie Olympe Gouze was born in the southern French province of Languedoc, the daughter of a butcher. She later claimed to be the illegitimate daughter of the poet Jean-Jacques Lefranc, marquis de Pompignan. In 1764, she married Louis Aubury, with whom she had a son (who became General Pierre Aubry de Gouges), and from whom she separated two years later, taking the name Olympe de Gouges. She went to Paris, where she participated in the artistic and philosophical salons and was noted for her beauty and romantic affairs. She first achieved serious public attention with her anti-slavery play, L’Esclavage des nègres (1784), and several popular comedies. She also wrote a semi-autobiographical novel called Mémoire de Madame de Valmont contre la famille de Flaucourt (1788). She greeted the outbreak of the French Revolution in 1789 with enthusiasm, and became politically prominent by writing the Declaration of the Rights of Woman and the Female Citizen (1791), the first truly universal bill of human rights. Olympe de Gouges openly criticized the revolutionary leaders Marat and Robespierre, which led to her downfall. When she printed the political pamphlet Les trois urnes, ou le salut de la Patrie, par un voyageur aérien (The Three Urns, or the Salvation of the Country, By an Aerial Traveler) in 1793, advocating a plebiscite to allow the French people to decide what sort of government they wanted for themselves, she was arrested and sent to the guillotine.
Disambiguation notice
Olympe de Gouges was a nom de plume. Her birth name was Marie Gouze.

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