This article explores the women’s interventions in an overlooked eighteenth-century quarrel about how to reform literary teaching in the boys’ collèges. It begins by introducing this quarrel, here called the querelle des collèges, that involved more than 120 actors, just 3 of whom are known to be women. After presenting the quarrel texts written by Adelaïde d’Espinassy; Joséphine de Monbart; and Anne d’Aubourg de La Bove, comtesse de Miremont; the article explores why and how these women engaged in such a highly publicized, male-dominated quarrel. They intervened, the article shows, to redirect public interest in reforming boys’ schools toward reforming girls’ education. And they employed creative strategies to minimize the risk they ran, as women, by quarreling. By embedding their texts in other, existing disputes concerning women, and by engaging creatively with agonistic discursive practices usually reserved for men, these women destabilized this masculine dispute. In so doing, they reclaimed some room in this quarrel (and others like it) for women.

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