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Title:The dreams that snuff is made of: "Le conte fantastique" and its lethal implications
Author(s):Diliberti, Julia Maureen
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Talbot, Emile J.
Department / Program:French
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Literature, Modern
Abstract:Two themes that predominate in la litterature fantastique of the nineteenth century appear quite contradictory and almost mutually exclusive. One set of short stories seems to indicate that le fantastique is nothing more than (sanctioned) nineteenth century pornography. Another set of short stories indicates that there seems to exist within the male characters an unconscious call to becoming an androgynous being such as the one who existed before the Great Literary Separations (Adam and Eve, the Yin and the Yang, etc.) Using current feminist theory, the dissertation looks at the female-male dynamics of the contes fantastiques in an attempt to discover if le fantastique is to be read as a desire for androgyny or if it is merely pornography. How does one genre produce two such varying scenarios for women: one which dismantles the notion of gender, and another which insists on strictly imposed and defined gender roles?
The first chapter of the dissertation looks at texts which suggest androgynous readings. In this chapter, the notions of identity, gender, and the Other are explored as a way to understanding why the "androgynous" texts ultimately give way to a "pornographic" vision. In chapter two, the parallels and similarities between the fantastic and pornography are detailed. The stories discussed in this chapter clearly establish the equation of sex to violence and we begin to understand that the fantastic is a genre about male power and female otherness. Finally, chapter three looks at texts in which women are the fetishizers and not the fetishized to try to determine the extent to which the fantastic is a male-driven discourse. By looking at what happens when fantastic authors attempt to reverse the female-male dynamics of contes fantastiques, the gender biases within the genre are made clear.
Issue Date:1994
Rights Information:Copyright 1994 Diliberti, Julia Maureen
Date Available in IDEALS:2011-05-07
Identifier in Online Catalog:AAI9512347
OCLC Identifier:(UMI)AAI9512347

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