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Gendered Lyric

Subjectivity and Difference in Nineteenth-Century French Poetry

by Gretchen Schultz

Publication Year: 1999

The Gendered Lyric argues that gender difference contributes to the definition of aesthetic values and, indeed, shaped the representation of masculine and feminine subjectivity in nineteenth-century French poetry. Gretchen Schultz analyzes works by the leaders of the Romantic, Parnassian, and Symbolist schools to show that their implicit conceptions of gender were central to the formulation of their aesthetics.

Published by: Purdue University Press

Series: Purdue Studies in Romance Literatures

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. vii-viii

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pp. ix-xii

Gender played a determining role in the aesthetic and ideological values associated with the dominant poetic tendencies of nineteenth- century France. From Romanticism through Symbolism, both the sex of the author and textual inscriptions of gender shaped poetic doctrine and practice in inextricably related ways. ...

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pp. xiii-xiv

Since the work that would coalesce into this book dates back to my graduate studies at Cornell University and beyond, I have over a decade of appreciation to express and many people to thank for the intellectual exchanges and human kindness that nurtured my research. ...

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pp. 1-18

The Gendered Lyric aims to fill a rather astonishing gap in existing criticism. While feminist scholars have devoted considerable attention both to the nexus of femininity and the French novel, and to the role of gender in Anglo-American lyric traditions, there exist no equivalent studies of gender ...

Part 1 Romanticism's Genders

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pp. 19

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Chapter One Femininity and the Renewal of the Lyric

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pp. 21-42

A return to the beginnings of what would become a reflowering of poetry in nineteenth-century France leads us to a critical curiosity: Romanticism, which inaugurated a major poetic renaissance and prepared the way for later Symbolist poetry considered among the most original of the French tradition, ...

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Chapter Two "Women's Poetry": The Case of Marceline Desbordes-Valmore

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pp. 43-80

Marceline Desbordes-Valmore's career as a published poet spanned nearly fifty years.1 It began in 1813 with the appearance of solitary pieces in various almanacs (Almanach des muses, Chansonnier des gr

Part 2 Parnassian Impassivity and Frozen Femininity

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pp. 81

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pp. 83-86

Although Baudelaire is more often considered a precursor of Symbolism than a proponent of neoclassicism, he became Parnassian in name the year before his death by contributing sixteen poems to the 1866 volume of Le Parnasse contemporain.1 And his insistence that "Je hais le mouvement qui ...

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Chapter Three Leconte de Lisle's Hardening Arteries

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pp. 87-110

Charles de Leconte de Lisle (1818-94), the Pamassians' most distinguished and impassible elder, was a Creole (one of European descent born in the colonies) from the

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Chapter Four Parnassian Obsessions

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pp. 111-139

Obsession (obsidere: to sit down before, besiege): "Compulsive preoccllpation with a fixed idea or unwanted feeling or emotion, often with symptoms of anxiety."1 "Obsessional ideas are invariably transformed self-reproaches which have re-emerged from repression and which always relate to some sexual act ...

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Chapter Five Moving Statues: Les Parnassiennes

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pp. 140-168

The Parnassian vision of femininity as sterile, contained, and impassive functioned on a symbolic level to petrify it by controlling its representation. And yet the critical and poetic texts of the overwhelmingly masculine school of the Parnasse also reveal this inherent contradiction: that the predominating image ...

Part 3 Symbolist Fluidity

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pp. 169

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pp. 171-177

Parnassianism did not enjoy a long-lived success and, indeed, was soon overwhelmed by the diverse and fragmented poetic moment now known globally as Symbolism. As the events of 1848, which presaged the Second Empire, fueled the then-young Parnassians, so did the end and tumultuous aftermath of ...

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Chapter Six Baudelaire's Frontiers

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pp. 178-207

As the voluminous body of criticism devoted to him suggests, Baudelaire is one of the most intriguing and endlessly revisitable poets ofthe Western tradition. And yet his work has not attracted the kind of sustained and rigorous attention that feminist critics have devoted to other major authors from Balzac to Zola, ...

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Chapter Seven Loose Ends

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pp. 208-246

In this chapter, I attempt to answer Berger's question by considering the broadening possibilities for lyric expression in the late nineteenth century and their relationship to a new poetics of fluidity in the works of Paul Verlaine (1844-96) and Marie Krysinska (1864?-1908). These two poets exemplify, ...

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Conclusion: Poetry Matters

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pp. 247-250

My aim in The Gendered Lyric has been to demonstrate that gender is not only implicated in, but central to the transformations of poetry. Nineteenth-century France witnessed an important period of poetic renewal, a moment that crystallized the synonymy of "lyric" and "poem," a time when traditional ...


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pp. 251-280


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pp. 281-300


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pp. 301-320


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pp. 321-334

E-ISBN-13: 9781612491004
E-ISBN-10: 1612491006
Print-ISBN-13: 9781557531353
Print-ISBN-10: 1557531358

Page Count: 256
Publication Year: 1999

Series Title: Purdue Studies in Romance Literatures

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Authorship -- Sex differences -- History -- 19th century.
  • French poetry -- 19th century -- History and criticism.
  • Sex role in literature
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