Homosocial Bonds and Narrative Strategies in Adolphe Belot’s <i>Mademoiselle Giraud, ma femme</i> (1870)



Abstrakt

Adolphe Belot’s bestseller Mademoiselle Giraud, ma femme (1870) is a striking example of narratological tension between implied readers and the narrator. Adrien’s narrative, recounting the story of his unhappy marriage to a lesbian Paule Giraud, is significantly influenced by homosocial bonds with the male reading public — the implied readers of the text. Conscious of clear expectations towards a heterosexual man and a husband, the narrator reverts to hyperheterosexual narration in order to give legitimacy to his story and his desires. However, his narrative strategies backfire on him and, in consequence, undermine his credibility. The paper shows how tension in the choice of narrative tools subverts the blatantly anti-lesbian message of the text. By using René Girard’s theory of triangular desire and mimesis, the article also proves that the narrator is a male lesbian who had to subscribe to 19th-century convention of a husband.


Key words: 19th-century literature, French literature, queer studies, male lesbianism, lesbian, narratology, René Girard, mimesis, triangular desire, Adolphe Belot, implied reader, homosocial bonds, manipulation.


Abbott, H. Porter, 2008: The Cambridge Introduction to Narrative. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Belot, Adolphe, 2002: Mademoiselle Giraud, ma femme. New York: The Modern Language Association of America.

Dijkstra, Bram, 1986: Idols of Perversity. Fantasies of Feminine Evil in Fin-de-Siècle Culture. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press.

Federman, Lilian, 2001: Surpassing the Love of Men: Romantic Friendship and Love between Women from the Renaissance to the Present. New York: Perennial.

Felski, Rita, 1995: The Gender of Modernity. London and Massachusetts: Harvard University Press Cambridge.

Genette, Gérard, 1997: Paratexts. Thresholds of Interpretation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Gill, Miranda, 2007: “The Myth of the Female Dandy.” French Studies: A Quarterly Review 61, 2: 167—181.

Girard, René, 1978: Des choses cachées depuis la fondation du monde. Recherches avec Jean-Michel Oughourlian et Guy Lefort. Paris: Bernard Grasset.

Girard, René, 1961: Mensonge romantique et vérité romanesque. Paris: Grasset.

Iser, Wolfgang, 1976: Der Akt des Lesens. München: Wilhelm Fink Verlag.

Kosofsky SedgwicK, Eve, 1985: Between Men, English Literature and Male Homosocial Desire. New York: Columbia University Press.

Kristeva, Julia, 1983: Histoires d’amour. Paris: Éditions Denoël.

Livingston, Paisley, 1992: René Girard and the Psychology of Mimesis. Baltimore and London: The John Hopkins University Press.

Matlock, Jann, 1994: Scenes of Seduction. Prostitution, Hysteria and Reading Difference in Nineteenth Century France. New York: Columbia University Press.

Micale, Mark S, 2008: Hysterical Men. The Hidden History of Male Nervous Illness. London and Cambridge Massachusetts: Harvard University Press.

Nünning, F. Ansgar, 2005: “Reconceptualizing Unreliable Narration: Synthesizing Cognitive and Rhetorical Approaches.” In: A Companion to Narrative Theory. Ed. James Phelan and Peter J. Rabinowitz. Malden and Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, 89—107.

Perrot, Michel, and Georges Duby, 1999: Histoire de la vie priveé. De la Révolution à la Grande Guerre. Paris: Éditions du Seuil.

Prince, Gerald, 2003: A Dictionary of Narratology. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press.

Rivers, Christopher, 2002: “Introduction.” In: Mademoiselle Giraud, ma femme. New York: The Modern Language Association of America, IX—XXXVI.

Schor, Naomi, 2001: “Male Lesbianism.” GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies 7, 3: 391—399.

Schultz, James A., 2006: Courtly Love, the Love of Courtliness, and the History of Sexuality. Chicago and London: The University of Chicago Press.

Silverman, Kaja, 1992: Male Subjectivity at the Margins. New York and London: Routledge.

Wilson, Emma, 1996: Sexuality and the Reading Encounter. Identity and Desire in Proust, Duras, Tournier, and Cixous. Oxford: Clarendon Press.


Janicka, I. (1). Homosocial Bonds and Narrative Strategies in Adolphe Belot’s <i>Mademoiselle Giraud, ma femme</i&gt; (1870). Romanica Silesiana, 8(1). Pobrano z https://www.journals.us.edu.pl/index.php/RS/article/view/5867

Iwona Janicka  I.Janicka@warwick.ac.uk