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Politics and Narratives of Birth
Gynocolonization from Rousseau to Zola


Part of Cambridge Studies in French

  • Date Published: November 2006
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521030984

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About the Authors
  • 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, Rousseau, 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 Régime 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.

    • Bold feminist approach to some of the big names of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century France: Rousseau, Constant, Stendhal, Zola
    • Makes full use of psychoanalytic theory
    • Also of interest to those pursuing cross-disciplinary approaches to political science (democratic theory)
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    Product details

    • Date Published: November 2006
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521030984
    • length: 272 pages
    • dimensions: 216 x 138 x 15 mm
    • weight: 0.36kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    A note on translations
    Introduction: conception of this book
    Part I. Stendhal: Delivering a Plot:
    1. Death and transfiguration in the Vie de Henry Brulard
    2. Palimpsest and pregnancy: reading across Stendhalian autobiography
    3. Stendhalian fictions: plotting the unspeakable
    Part II. Production, Reproductions and Narrative Form: Adolphe:
    4. Introduction
    5. The economy of production: the paternal and narrative form
    6. Reproduction: (de)composing mother
    7. Rebirth and the performance of matricide
    Part III. Gynocolonization: Rousseau, Michelet, Zolar and the Nineteenth-Century French Novel
    Section 1:
    8. Introduction: toward a bodied politics
    9. For unto us a son is born: Emile
    10. Birthing the body politic: Du contrat social
    11. The politic in the body Rousseau: Emile revisited and 'La Reigne Fantasque'
    Section 2:
    12. Introduction: birth, motherhood and the disease of democracy
    13. The flesh made word: Enfants du siècle and pathologies of reproduction in the nineteenth-century French novel
    14. Liberty, equality, maternity: Michelet as body snatcher
    15. Into Africa: Zola and gynocolonization

  • Author

    Carol A. Mossman

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