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Gabrielle Suchon was born into the minor French gentry in Dijon in 1632, making her a contemporary of Baruch Spinoza and John Locke. Her father was a lawyer who served as king's prosecutor ("procurere de roi"). Soon after his death, she was placed by her family in a convent in Burgundy. Gabrielle protested against her life as a nun, and managed to travel to Rome, where she obtained a papal dispensation releasing her from her vows. On her return to France, her family started legal proceedings to force her to return to the convent. Somehow she avoided this fate and went back to live in Dijon, devoting the rest of her life to study, writing, and teaching. Her book Traité de la Morale et de la Politique (Treatise on Morality and Politics), one of the first feminist philosophical works, was published in 1693 under the pseudonym G.S. Aristophile. Her next book, Du célibat volontaire, ou la Vie sans engagement (On Voluntary Celibacy or A Life Without Commitment, 1700) and a few others appeared under the name Damoiselle Suchon. Gabrielle Suchon's work and reputation as an advocate for women’s freedom and access to learning were revived by feminist scholars in the 1970s.
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