The Family in Crisis in Late Nineteenth-Century French Fiction examines how novels represent the problems of family life at a key moment in modern social history. Nicholas White provides close readings of texts by popular novelists such as Zola and Maupassant as well as by hitherto neglected figures including Huysmans, Bourget and Armand Charpentier. His analysis, informed by a wider cultural perspective, shows how tales of adultery, illegitimacy, incest and divorce exemplify and interrogate the crisis in "family values" of late nineteenth-century France.
Table of Contents
Acknowledgements; Introduction: fin de siècle, fin de famille?; Part I. The Promiscuous Narrative of 'Pot-Bouille': 1. Demon lover or erotic atheist?; 2. The rhythms of performance; Part II. Pleasures and Fears of Paternity: Maupassant and Zola: 3. Bel-Ami: fantasies of seduction and colonization; 4. Incest in Les Rougon-Macquart; Part III. The Blindness of Passions: Huysmans, Hennique and Zola: 5. The conquest of privacy in A Rebours; 6. Painting, politics and architecture; Coda: Bourget's Un Divorce and the 'honnête femme'; Notes; Bibliography; Index.