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Title: The figure of the Detraquee: femininity and modernity in inter-war modernist writings
Author: Ferreboeuf, Rebecca Lucie
Awarding Body: University of Leeds
Current Institution: University of Leeds
Date of Award: 2012
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The aim of this thesis is to explore and compare representations of femininity in modernist writings of inter-war France: Andre Breton's Nadja, Cendrars' Dan Yack, Paul Morand's Tendres Stocks and Ouvert la nuit, Colette Peignot's Ecrits de Laure, EIsa Triolet's Camouflage and Bonsoir Therese. This comparison seeks to undermine gender categorisation which, in the study of modernism and Modernity, either marginalises women's writings or accuses male modernism of misogyny. Questioning this gender categorisation is crucial to an analysis of female modernist writers which takes into account the influence of male modernism on their writings, and also highlights their specificity. It enables a new reading of two neglected female writers (Colette Peignot and EIsa Triolet) who are still very much remembered as the Muses of two influential male writers of the inter-war period (respectively: Georges Bataille and Louis Aragon). The need to question any absolute division between male and female modernism becomes apparent when we examine inter-war representations of femininity. The figure of the detraquee (literally the woman 'off-track') recurs throughout inter-war male modernist writings. The detraquee is a character through which male writers represent the pervasive inter-war malaise about subjectivity and gender. She crystallises at once a conservative view of gender roles and a radical desire to break away from tradition. This ambivalence symbolises the challenges faced by writers who want to create and enact the New. It permeates through the semi-autobiographical writings of Colette Peignot and EIsa Triolet who oscillate between a sharp criticism of patriarchal violence against women and the desire to correspond to stable definitions of identity and gender. Through their representation of femininity, modernist writers of both sexes reflect on the possibility of breaking away from the past.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available