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Psyche of Feminism

Sand, Colette, Sarraute

by Catherine Peebles

Publication Year: 2004

The Psyche of Feminism argues that a feminist ethics, in order to be both feminist and ethical, needs to embrace psychoanalysis. After reviewing the relation between feminism and psychoanalysis and arguing for the centrality of psychoanalysis to feminist thought, the study offers an analysis of two attempts by George Sand to reimagine the sexual relationship (Letters to Marcie, Lelia), where the emphasis is on political injustice and the impossibility of women's desires. Moving from rights and desires to the question of pleasures, Peebles then takes up a relatively little-read work by Colette, The Pure and the Impure, in which the narrator suggests that pleasure and its corporeal language hold the key to any understanding of masculinity and femininity.

Published by: Purdue University Press

Series: Purdue Studies in Romance Literatures


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Title Page, Copyright Page, Dedication

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pp. iii-v


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p. vii

List of Abbreviations

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p. viii

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pp. ix-xiv

George Sand's heroine Lelia explores, painfully, the impossibility of love between men and women given that their relation is characterized by the domination of the former and the submission of the latter. Shoshana Felman argues that the relation of psychoanalytic thought to literature is fundamentally impoverished when one discourse sets itself up as the master of the...

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p. xv

The Psyche of Feminism began to take shape while I was a graduate student of Comparative Literature at the State University of New York at Binghamton. I thank the professors there who patiently guided and challenged the development of my thinking: Chris Fynsk, Marilyn Gaddis Rose, Tom Keenan, and Steven David Ross. The work could not have been completed...

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Introduction-Psychoanalytic Feminism:Sexual Difference and Another Love

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pp. 1-32

Psychoanalytic feminism is a field that has only begun to emerge over the past three decades, and the question of what constitutes its approach is still being negotiated. Works by Luce Irigaray, Juliet Mitchell, and Sarah Kofman, as well as more recent explorations of the question of femininity in psychoanalytic theory such as Teresa Brennan's Interpretation of the...

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Chapter One-George Sand and the Impossible Woman

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pp. 33-86

It would be difficult to think of an author as important to the development of women's writing and feminism in France as George Sand, the more so because her relation to both of these categories is ambiguous. If she wrote "as a woman," then she also wrote "as a man." If she was a feminist, arguing for the right of women to divorce and for an end to their social and...

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Chapter Two-What Does a Woman Enjoy? Colette's Le pur et l'hnpur

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pp. 87-125

Toward the end of his career, Freud famously told his one-time analysand, then friend and benefactress, Marie Bonaparte,1 that the most important question for psychoanalysis was the one he had not been able to answer throughout all his research and practice: "The great question, which has never been answered and which I have not been able to answer, despite my thirty...

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Chapter Three-Nathalie Sarraute: After the Feminine Subject

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pp. 126-162

In this chapter, I argue that Nathalie Sarraute's writing can offer an important direction to contemporary thinking about ethics and sexual difference. To elect Sarraute as a writer who speaks to the question of "ethics and sexual difference" or even "women's writing" may seem perverse, and calls for some sort of initial explanation. Sarraute's work, from Tropismes (1939)...

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Conclusion-The Psyche of Feminism

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pp. 163-172

In recent discussions of the current state of feminism,1 contemporary feminist thought is largely divided between an "old guard" primarily concerned with equality, and a "new guard" associated with various "posts" (-modern, -colonial, -feminist). The post- group challenges the stable identity of "women," while the old guard widens its eyes in alarm at the inverted...

Appendix-English Translations

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pp. 173-195


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pp. 197-209


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pp. 211-225


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pp. 227-232

E-ISBN-13: 9781612490892
E-ISBN-10: 1612490891
Print-ISBN-13: 9781557533296
Print-ISBN-10: 1557533296

Page Count: 248
Publication Year: 2004

Series Title: Purdue Studies in Romance Literatures
Series Editor Byline: Patricia Hart See more Books in this Series

OCLC Number: 603906584
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Psyche of Feminism

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Sarraute, Nathalie -- Criticism and interpretation.
  • Feminism and literature -- France -- History -- 20th century.
  • Psychoanalysis and feminism -- France.
  • Sand, George, -- 1804-1876 -- Criticism and interpretation.
  • Colette, 1873-1954 -- Criticism and interpretation
  • French fiction -- Women authors -- History and criticism.
  • French fiction -- 20th century -- History and criticism.
  • Feminism and literature -- France -- History -- 19th century.
  • Women and literature -- France -- History -- 19th century.
  • French fiction -- 19th century -- History and criticism
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