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Women Reading Corneille

Feminist Psychocriticisms of "Le Cid</I>


Claire L. Carlin

Women Reading Corneille: Feminist Psychocriticisms of 'Le Cid' is a series of readings from the famous seventeenth-century French play, Pierre Corneille’s Le Cid (1637). Using a reader-centered approach, this study applies five different examples of feminist psychoanalytic literary criticism to Corneille’s masterpiece in order to illustrate the enduring interest of the play. At the same time, it explores several issues in the ongoing debates within feminist criticism. Topics such as biological essentialism, identity construction, and the conflict between Anglo-American and French feminist theory are discussed in the work of Carol Gilligan, Jessica Benjamin, Jane Gallop, Juliette Mitchell, Luce Irigaray, and Julia Kristeva. Le Cid furnishes the framework for five divergent readings grounded in the seventeenth-century context, despite their emphasis on feminist reading practices of our era.