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From Bad Boys to New Men?

Masculinity, Sexuality and Violence in the Work of Éric Jourdan


Owen Heathcote

This book is the first critical survey of the work of Éric Jourdan. Jourdan first came to public attention as a schoolboy in 1955, when he published Les Mauvais anges, a sulphorous novel of adolescent male-to-male love, which was banned by the censors in 1956 and again in 1974. It did not officially appear until 1984. Despite the ban, and despite ongoing censorship, Jourdan continues to write novels, short stories and plays. His many books include the ‘trilogy’ Charité, Révolte and Sang, and other equally uninhibited texts such as Le Garçon de joie, Aux gémonies and Le Jeune soldat. More recent publications include short stories, historical novels ( Sans lois ni dieux, Lieutenant Darmancour) and the more autobiographical text Trois cœurs.
This study charts Jourdan’s writing career from Les Mauvais anges to the present day, situating his work in the context of writers from Peyrefitte and Montherlant to Guibert, Dustan and Guyotat. The analysis concentrates on three main themes: boyhood and masculinity; sex and (homo)sexuality; and violence and death. Throughout, a number of questions are paramount. What is the connection between masculinity and violence? How does Jourdan reconcile joie de vivre with pain and punishment? Do his young male protagonists progress from bad boys to new men? In what ways can his texts be seen as homoerotic, homosexual, gay or queer? What, ultimately, is the connection between sex, sexuality and writing in Jourdan?
The book includes detailed bibliographies of Jourdan’s works and, for the first time since its original, controversial publication in Arcadie, his short story ‘Le Troisième but’.


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Alain: review of Les Mauvais anges 36, 62 American Psycho (film) 197 Anderson, Eric 61, 152 Angst and jouissance 87 Anzieu, Didier 135n9 Arcadie 34–35, 36, 219n1 review of Les Mauvais anges 36, 62 Arendt, Hannah 74n8 Ariňo, Philippe 90n7 Armbrecht, Thomas J. D. 5, 36 Armstrong, Nancy, and Tennenhouse, Laurence 15n39 Arnold, John H., and Brady, Sean 53n80 Askew, Susan 203n25 ‘bad boys’ 187–88 maturing to ‘new men’ 5, 148, 168, 188–89, 214 violence of 187–88 Baglione, Giovanni 37 see also Fig. 4 Baker, John Roman 109n25 Balzac, Honoré de 16, 20, 149, 149n37 Le Lys dans la vallée 40 Modeste Mignon 4 barebacking 197 Barthes, Roland 109n26 Bataille, Georges 1, 15, 19 Les Larmes d’Éros 16n40, 19, 203 souverainté 26n78 Bathory, Erzébet 15, 15n40 Baudelaire, Charles 13, 31–32, 32n11 Baudry, André 34–35 Beckman, Frida, and Blake, Charlie 24n73 Bénichou, Paul 14 Bersani, Leo 23, 57, 108n24, 139n19, 198 bestiality 23, 71 Biegler Vandervoort, Edith 52–53 Birr, Frédéric 6 Bordas, Éric 2, 20, 54n85, 195 Borgia, César 178, 178n10 Boulé, Jean-Pierre 197n12 boyhood and boys 45–52 as angels or fallen angels 47 bodies subject to pain 202–04 in groups 47–48, 49, 50 in Jourdan’s later novels: ‘inclusive masculinity’ 152 morality of 46–47 portrayal of in Mauvais anges 61–62 proliferation of 51 sexual prof ligacy and violence 51 in tears 19–20, 19n52, 122–23, 142, 145, 203; see also...

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