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Aimer et mourir

Love, Death and Women’s Lives in Texts of French Expression

Editor(s): Eilene Hoft-March, Judith Holland Sarnecki
Contributors: Patrice J. Proulx, Jane E. Edwards, Helena Chadderton, France Grenaudier-Klijn, Kathleen M. Llewellyn,

Book Description

Aimer et Mourir offers a wide-ranging selection of essays that collectively address how, from the Middle Ages to the present, the notions of love and death get inextricably associated with the narratives that are women’s lives. Some of the essays tackle male writers’ representations that link women and, in particular, women’s sexuality, with death, resulting in the figures of the femme fatale, the woman in parturition, and the desiring vampire. A number of essays reiterate that women’s hyper-sexualized bodies have been used as a social construct and a psychological screen upon which to project a fear of death. The challenges to this pat reduction of “woman’s” domain come from the mostly women writers represented here—and they span from Marguerite de Navarre to Amélie Nothomb. These women writers rework the old formulae, giving us instead death-defying memories of love, love regenerative of language (as of bodies), love forcing the frontiers of death, or love creatively redefined within the parameters of death. Nor are these new narratives imagined as belonging to women alone but rather as attesting to a richer, more varied, and greatly sensitized human experience.


ISBN-13: 978-1-4438-0445-5
ISBN-10: 1-4438-0445-2
Date of Publication: 01/04/2009
Pages / Size: 330 / A5
Price: £44.99


Eilene Hoft-March teaches French at Lawrence University in Wisconsin. Interested in contemporary life writing, she has published articles on such authors as Barthes, Beauvoir, Cardinal, Cixous, Kofman, and Perec. She is currently focusing on the ethical dilemmas implicit in the literary gestures of acknowledging, giving, forgiving, and bearing witness to others.

Judith Holland Sarnecki is Eilene’s colleague, working happily with her for years in both French and Gender Studies at Lawrence. Judy has published articles on various novels, plays, and films of authors and auteurs such as Yourcenar, Césaire, Malle, and Tavernier. She is currently working on a collection of articles on filmmakers of the Nazi Occupation of France.