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1 4 Women in French Studies Allied Organization status was an exemplary document. During those busy years as Chair, Colette still found time to share her recommendations for reading on women in French society, in the WIFNewsletter, and to continue her own research — notably through her recent book on Violette Leduc, Violette Leduc: la mal aimée (Amsterdam: Rodopi, 1999). All WIF members have been touched by Colette's quiet and warm encouragement , her generosity with her time and ideas, her efficiency, and her modesty. For her many contributions to an organization whose importance — if it required further proof— was underscored this spring by the remarkable conference organized by Dana Strand and Joëlle Vitiello, we salute and applaud Colette Trout, WIF Vice-Chair and Editor-in-ChiefofWIF Studies, from 1 993-1995, Managing Editor from 1 996- 1 998, and WIF Chair, 1 995- 1 999. Merci du fond du coeur, chère Colette. Occidental College SPECIALSECTION Béatrice Coron : City Rain Papercutting (15.7" ? 1 1 .4") (Permission to reproduce granted by the artist) Toczyski15 Feminine Theatricality: Woman and Her Masks Suzanne C. Toczyski In 1973, Florence Howe and Ellen Bass published an anthology ofpoetry by women entitled No More Masks; their goal was to give voice to female poets writing about women and, in particular, to eradicate the "mask ofmaleness"* from the anthologized canon. Laudable as this goal might be, literature across the ages amply demonstrates that human identity is intricately linked to theatricality, to the masks we wear; each ofour various life roles requires a new visage, a new persona with which to confront or hide from the world, and often these roles are not chosen, but imposed. Indeed, literature has long existed as the quintessential space within which to explore the theatrical nature ofhuman existence, the use or abuse, assumption or rejection ofmasks as modes ofsurvival and success. Beginning with Eve, the female was long associated with dissimulation and deception; medieval fabliaux propagated this conception, and manifestations of the stereotype can be found in contemporary literature as well. Yet masks and their accompanying performances are not necessarily negative: donning a mask may allow Woman to assert a voice heretofore unheard; performance may permit her to dispel stereotypes associated with her sex. The papers in this special section of Women in French Studies examine Woman's particular and varied relationships to the masks which inform human interaction and social identity. Each article suggests a different source or origin of feminine theatricality; taken together, they prompt us to pose the following questions : under what circumstances is Woman's mask created through complicity with the surrounding community? when is it a product of internal or personal impulses, ofa need for constant change or a desire for empowerment? under what conditions is it rather a manifestation ofmisogynist discourse, imposed from without in order to control Woman-as-other? And, finally, what are the individual, social, and ethical consequences of performance upon Woman's essential identity , ifsuch an identity may be said to exist? does the mask enhance or destroy that which is fundamentally female or feminine? Rather than advocating for "no more masks," the broad scope ofthe articles included here allows us to benefit from the richness ofliterary representations offeminine theatricalization and theatricality in order better to understand Woman's complexity on the world-as-stage. Sonoma State University *Florence Howe and Ellen Bass, eds. No More Masks: An Anthology ofPoems by Women. (Garden City, NY: Anchor Press/Doubleday Anchor Books, 1973) xxviii. ...


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