The work of memory: sexuality, violence and writing in Balzac's Touraine
Author: Heathcote, Owen
Source: Journal of Romance Studies, Volume 3, Number 2, Summer 2003 , pp. 15-29(15)
Publisher: Berghahn Journals
Abstract:<title>Abstract</title> This article examines the nature and the role of gendered violence in the representation of Balzac's Touraine. Although, for a character like Félix de Vandenesse in Le Lys dans la vallée, Touraine seems to represent freedom and joy, it is also a site of violence: its waters, landscapes and vegetation either merge or submerge identities - hence leitmotivs of incest and adultery - or, via the theme of the desert, leave them vulnerable to exposure, attack and even death. By being associated with Touraine, violence is, however, not only naturalized but also feminized: it is Balzac's women who tend both to suffer and inflict violence in a similarly feminized Touraine. Given, moreover, that the naturalized, feminized violence of a violent, feminized Touraine is remembered and perpetuated through art, the article then asks whether Balzac's art exorcizes or yet further naturalizes the nexus of sexuality, violence and writing.
Document Type: Research article
Publication date: 2003-06-01
- Journal of Romance Studies promotes innovative critical work in the areas of linguistics, literature, performing and visual arts, media, material culture, intellectual and cultural history, critical and cultural theory, psychoanalysis, gender studies, social sciences, and anthropology. The primary focus is on those parts of the world that speak, or have spoken, French, Italian, Spanish or Portuguese, but work on other cultures may be included. Issues cross national and disciplinary boundaries in order to stimulate new ways of thinking about cultural history and practice.
Published in Association with the Institute of Germanic & Romance Studies, School of Advanced Study, University of London.
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