Authors/Contributors

Amy S. WyngaardFollow

Document Type

Article

Date

2006

Embargo Period

11-18-2011

Keywords

Restif de la Bretonne, Nicolas-Edme (1734-1806), libertine fiction, fetishism, prose, sexology, French literary history

Language

English

Disciplines

French and Francophone Language and Literature | French and Francophone Literature | Modern Literature | Other Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

Description/Abstract

This essay examines the role of Rétif's writings in the development of the concept of erotic fetishism and in the formation of the French literary canon in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Rétif explored foot and shoe fetishisms more than a century before the phenomena were medically recognized, anticipating the modern psychosexual use of the term fetishism and making important contributions to the invention of the theoretical concept. Rétif's works were accorded a privileged place in early pathologies of fetishism, which provoked a series of polemics among German and French medical doctors and literary scholars centered on notions of national supremacy and literary value. Marked as bad literature, in both senses of the term, Rétif's writing was subsequently excluded from the French literary canon on moral grounds and became a kind of fetish object in the French literary corpus. (ASW)

Additional Information

Article appeared in PMLA: Publications of the Modern Language Association of America, vol. 121, no. 3, pp. 662-86, 2006 May.

Source

PMLA: Publications of the Modern Language Association of America, vol. 121, no. 3, pp. 662-86, 2006 May