Gender and Justice
Violence, Intimacy, and Community in Fin-de-Siècle Paris
Publication Year: 2010
Published by: The Johns Hopkins University Press
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In preparing the research and writing of this book, I received financial support from a Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowship (U.S. Department of Education), a Chinard Fellowship (Institut Français de Washington), the Frederik B. M. Hollyday Instructorship in History (Duke University), and an Ernestine Friedl Fellowship (Duke Program in Women’s Studies). In the spring of 2008, a semes-...
Introduction: Problematizing Crimes of Passion
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...“Today I regret what happened, but anger did not allow me to be master of myself,” testified Joseph Maxant, two days after shooting his wife Margot. “She had caused me too many troubles.”¹ Maxant was accused of murder, but in finde-siècle France, his act would have been understood as a “crime of passion.” Exactly what constituted a crime of passion was and is open to debate, and it has ...
1. La Vie Intime
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2. Material and Symbolic Household Management
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The word most frequently used by witnesses in the cour d’assises to designate the domestic unit was not “family” (la famille) but “household” (le ménage).¹ Though the term le ménage usually refers to the people who comprise the domestic group, it can also denote household goods—furniture, linens, utensils—that they own and use. At once a set of people and a set of material goods, the house-...
3. Networks of Knowledge
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The cases of violence tried in the cour d’assises reveal ruptures between domestic partners, but they also reveal networks of alliance and assistance among the friends, neighbors, and family members surrounding the couple, sometimes even extending through time and space into the rural regions of the couple’s origins. Disputes between couples were common knowledge for their surround-...
4. Reciprocity and Retribution
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...“Kill her!” Thus Alexandre Dumas fils concluded his infamous 1872 essay, L’Homme-femme, on what a husband should do to his adulterous wife.¹ His was the most famous publication in a debate on adultery and the legitimacy of violence, prompted by the notorious case of an aristocrat named Charles-Arthur Leroy du Bourg. He had surprised his wife and her lover half-dressed in a room ...
5. Local Knowledge and State Power
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In 1894, a top statistician from the French Ministry of Justice exposed a shocking increase in the rate of acquittal for cases tried by jury in French assize courts. Emile Yvern
6. Reading and Writing Stories of Intimate Violence
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... “To begin with,” continued Piouffle, without seeming to notice the interruption, “no matter how skilled the hand that wields it, one is not always sure of hitting the target precisely . . . One false move, caused by the slightest thing, and the attempt is botched! . . . In this case, three quarters of the time the aggressor is arrested . . . Jail, trial, scandal! . . . When the investigating magistrate sticks his nose ...
Conclusion: “Men Who Kill and Women Who Vote”
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In 1880, Alexandre Dumas the younger revised his earlier stance on the implications of intimate violence with a new publication, Les Femmes qui tuent et les femmes qui votent.
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Page Count: 280
Publication Year: 2010