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Amongst Women

Literary Representations of Female Homosociality in Belle Epoque France, 1880–1914

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Giada Alessandroni

Second fiddle to love, fleeting and inauthentic, a disguise for sexual rivalry, a practice to be policed or, at most, a social mechanism aptly reinforcing traditional gender norms, female friendship did not always have a good reputation in canonical and didactic literature from nineteenth-century France. But how did French women imagine and represent their relationships in fiction, and to what ends?

Situated at the intersection of feminist cultural history and Belle Epoque literary studies, this book explores fictional representations of female homosociality in novels by Daniel Lesueur, Gabrielle Réval, Marcelle Tynaire, and Yver Prost, among others, including women’s writing of the Belle Epoque within the narratives of the literary and cultural history of friendship in the long nineteenth century.

Playing with the tension between traditional and modern womanhood and intersecting with topics as diverse as the female body, work, education, marriage, heterosexual love, and the moral regeneration of the French nation, the representation of female homosociality constitutes, in these texts, one of the literary devices through which the figure of the femme moderne comes into being on paper and reflects the authors’ engagement with a form of female modernism that problematizes the dichotomy between «high» and «popular» literature, helping to give shape to women’s experience of modernity.

This book was the joint winner of the 2019 Peter Lang Young Scholars Competition in Nineteenth-Century French Studies.

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Bibliographic information published by Die Deutsche Nationalbibliothek

Die Deutsche Nationalbibliothek lists this publication in the Deutsche National-bibliografie; detailed bibliographic data is available on the Internet at http://dnb.d-nb.de.

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Names: Alessandroni, Giada, 1987- author.

Title: Amongst women : literary representations of female homosociality in Belle Epoque France, 1880-1914 / Giada Alessandroni.

Description: Oxford ; New York : Peter Lang, [2021] | Series: French studies of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, 1422-7320 ; vol 39 | Includes bibliographical references and index.

Identifiers: LCCN 2020036596 (print) | LCCN 2020036597 (ebook) | ISBN 9781800790643 (paperback) | ISBN 9781800790650 (ebook) | ISBN 9781800790667 (epub) | ISBN 9781800790674 (mobi)

Subjects: LCSH: Female friendship in literature. | French fiction--19th century--History and criticism. | French fiction--20th century--History and criticism. | Women and literature--France--History--19th century. | Women and literature--France--History--20th century.

Classification: LCC PQ637.F46 A44 2021 (print) | LCC PQ637.F46 (ebook) | DDC 840.9/928709034--dc23

LC record available at https://lccn.loc.gov/2020036596

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