Abstract

Nineteenth century France demonstrated a fascination with wax replicas of women in both the medical and literary realms. The late eighteenth century developed anatomical Venuses, or wax pedagogical models with highly detailed removable interior layers but idealized and sexualized exteriors, that reinforced patriarchal hierarchies and women's sexual objectification. These models infiltrate the next century's literature concerned with interrogating sexual difference and the relations between art and science. Villiers de l'Isle-Adam's The Future Eve, Rachilde's Monsieur Vénus: A Materialist Novel, and Champfleury's "The Man of Wax Figures" feature waxy human figures that serve as objects of desire as they explore the limits of science and humanity, necrophilic desires, and the uncanny. Villiers's android, Rachilde's sexual automaton, and Champfleury's doll enact their century's fascination with fragmenting and dominating the female body, while the stories' fluctuations in literary form demonstrate the failure of attempts to do so.

pdf

Additional Information

ISSN
2162-6294
Print ISSN
0742-5562
Pages
pp. 29-53
Launched on MUSE
2017-07-14
Open Access
No
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.