Politics and Narratives of Birth: Gynocolonization from Rousseau to Zola

Overview

This book is a feminist analysis which combines a psychoanalytic perspective on catastrophic birth with the politics of reproduction in the emergent democracy of nineteenth-century France. It focuses on three major thinkers whose personal relation to origins is problematic - Roussea, Constant, and Stendhal - and also includes a broad reading of the nineteenth-century novel within the frame of pathological generation, giving special attention to works by Michelet and Zola. Professor Mossman identifies important ...
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Overview

This book is a feminist analysis which combines a psychoanalytic perspective on catastrophic birth with the politics of reproduction in the emergent democracy of nineteenth-century France. It focuses on three major thinkers whose personal relation to origins is problematic - Roussea, Constant, and Stendhal - and also includes a broad reading of the nineteenth-century novel within the frame of pathological generation, giving special attention to works by Michelet and Zola. Professor Mossman identifies important areas of interaction between production and reproduction at the level of aesthetic form, and between private, birth-related discourse and the ideology of the birth of democracy. Within the context of the collapse of ancien regime France, the nascent ideology of motherhood collides with modes of discourse that invade and colonize the maternal body, generating a considerable burden of anxiety expressed in the nineteenth-century French novel.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Mossman's presentation, while demanding, rewards the reader by providing an innovative contribution to feminist criticism. Her study has the merit of introducing a measure of balance to traditional interpretations of nineteenth-century fiction that focus on the father." Hollie Markland Harder, Nineteenth-Century French Studies
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521030984
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 9/28/2006
  • Series: Cambridge Studies in French Series , #41
  • Pages: 272
  • Product dimensions: 5.43 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.63 (d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements
A note on translations
Introduction: conception of this book 1
Cycle 1 Stendhal: delivering a plot 19
Death and transfiguration in the Vie de Henry Brulard 19
Palimpsest and pregnancy: reading across Stendhalian autobiography 40
Stendhalian fictions: plotting the unspeakable 54
Cycle 2 Production, reproductions, and narrative form: Adolphe 72
Introduction 72
The economy of production: the paternal and narrative form 82
Reproduction: decomposing mother 96
Rebirth and the performance of matricide 120
Cycle 3 Gynocolonization: Rousseau, Michelet Zola and the nineteenth-century French novel 139
Introduction: toward a bodied politics 139
For unto us a son is born: Emile 153
Birthing the body politic: Du Contrat social 161
The politic in the body Rousseau: Emile revisited and "La Reine Fantasque" 176
Introduction: birth, motherhood, and the disease of democracy 181
The flesh made word: Enfants du siecle and pathologies of reproduction in the nineteenth-century French novel 191
Liberty, equality, maternity: Michelet as body snatcher 205
Into Africa: Zola and gynocolonization 216
Conclusion 225
Notes 228
Bibliography 241
Index 249
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