Marguerite Cret manuscript Les Aventures d'Agnes d'Avrancourt Voyages dans le Guatemala  1888
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Biography

Adventure stories have long appealed to the tastes of Americans and Europeans, particularly when set in an exotic locale. While nothing is known about Marguerite Cret, the presumed author of Les Aventures d'Agnes d'Avrancourt: Voyages dans le Guatemala, it seems that she was intimately familiar with the romance-adventure genre as written for a younger readership, and appears that she, herself, was an adolescent. Her story is an elaborate one, involving the pleasures and perils encountered by a young French girl, Agnes d'Avrancourt, while traveling through the jungles of Guatemala, including encounters with Toltecs and their arch-enemies, the Aztecs, a brush with Amazonian women, and especially with the handsome Don Pablo d'Albares, whom Agnes eventually marries.

Although at one level the novella is a formulaic exercise in the genre, it is written in a particularly appealing style and the water color and pencil illustrations that Cret includes truly complete the picture. On another level, Cret's novella creates a fascinating running commentary on gender roles in a context in which an imperial European presence interacts with an indigenous, non-white population, all as seen by a (presumably) adolescent woman author.