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Book Reviews22 1 trope ofthe much like a compendium ofbibliographic references. Good editing would have weeded out the many mirror. For example, "Renée, son Je et son Moi" are described as "trois différentes 'personae'" in a perceptual game that renders Renée "incapable de conceptualiser l'unité de son Moi" early in La Vagabonde (27). Schlenoff's use oflacanian precepts here, while not new, is a strong moment in the study, but a discussion of Renée's subsequent use of letter writing as a "mirror" should have appeared in this section, rather than in chapter three. In the following chapter, the role ofprofessional work and erotic pleasure in bringing Renée and Léa, respectively, to"circumstantial happiness" is explored. There are some suggestive points about the dynamics of the sexual "gaze" involved in Renée's music-hall performance. It is, however, hard to sort through the relations Schlenoff outlines between desire, love and happiness. Does Renée consent to a "relation normale" with Jean at the end ofL 'Entrave (6 1) and thereby accept defeat? If, as Schlenoff claims, "la femme amoureuse chez Colette n'est jamais heureuse" (65), how are we to interpret the statement several pages later that "à travers l'amour de Chéri, Léa tire un bonheur qui lui procure toute sa puissance dynamique" (74)? Finally, in the last chapter, Schlenofflooks at the "choix libre" both heroines exercise at the end oftheir stories - Renée opts for writing or "la force du mot" in La Vagabonde (80), Léa for post-menopausal freedom from sexual prescriptions in La Fin de Chéri - choices that make for their "noncircumstantial happiness." By far the best part ofLe Bonheur, this chapter applies to the fate of Colette's heroines Mari McCarty's concept of female "boundary zones" and Teresa De Lauretis's notion of a "space-off or movement beyond the frames of conventional gender representations. Late in life, Renée and Léa enter "une zone mentale et ouverte" (78) whose existence allows them to both escape from and challenge the existing social order. I wish Schlenoffhad really probed this exciting question of"writing beyond the ending" (DuPlessis), of Colette's fictional encounters with the constraints offemale reality - whatAdele King terms the "topographical imperative" (quoted p.l 12) - instead ofjust brushing past it. For the most part, Le Bonheur chez lafemme colettienne stays on the surface. This, along with the frequent repetition of ideas, buzz words such as "l'ordre phallique" and "la culture patriarcale," and misuse ofterms such as "linguistique" make for a frustrating reading experience. This well-intentioned book is still very much a "premierjet" (an un-reworked dissertation?) in need ofconsiderable additional reflection, elaboration, organization, and correction. Elissa GelfandMount Holyoke College Elizabeth Fallaize, ed. Simone deBeauvoir: A Critical Reader. London and New York: Routledge, 1998. 224 Pp. ISBN: 0-415-14703-4. Price: $28.99. ElizabethFallaize's excellent collection, critical readings ofSimonede Beauvoir's work ranging across three and a half decades, is a happy addition to the recent 222Women in French Studies material published at the fiftieth anniversary of the Deuxième sexe. Following Fallaize's lucid introduction to Beauvoir's career and the collected essays, thebook is divided into three parts. The longest is the first, which addresses The Second Sex and occupies halfofthe volume, followed by sections on Beauvoir's autobiographical and fiction writings. Not always following in chronological order, Fallaize has arranged the essays into what is in effect a conversation: not only do the themes and issues ofjuxtaposed essays often overlap, but they frequently make reference to each other. Fallaize offers an excellent preface to each piece, making them very readable, and therefore appropriate for students as secondary reading. Overall, the volume is not only extremely interesting to read, but it provides fruitful connections for students and scholars, even those who have previously read these essays separately. Part one consists oftexts by Judith Okley (1986), Judith Butler (1986), Sonia Kruks (1990), Toril Moi ( 1994), and Eva Lundgren-Gothlin ( 1996). Okley's text is a conversation in itself, as she compares her reading ofLe Deuxième sexe made as a student in France in 1961 to...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2166-5486
Print ISSN
1077-825x
Pages
pp. 221-223
Launched on MUSE
2016-04-06
Open Access
No
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