The Nieces of Marguerite

Novels by Women at the Turn of the Twenty-First Century
  • Catherine Cusset

Abstract

“O’s granddaughters are making strides out in the open,” we read in an article entitled “Quand les femmes disent tout” (“When Women Tell All”), which appeared in the May 24–30, 2001, issue of the Nouvel Observateur, after the phenomenal commercial success of Catherine Millet’s book La Vie sexuelle de Catherine M. Indeed, while Histoire d’O appeared in 1954 under the pseudonym Pauline Réage, and while its audacious treatment of sex made everyone think that it had been written by a man, today’s women no longer hesitate to deliver to the public the story of their own sexual adventures using their own name. In fact, they sometimes even give their own name to the narrator or to the main character, thus allowing for easy identification of author with narrator. We could take these “strides out in the open” as marks of progress, and the filiation of these women novelists with O would be nothing but honorable were it not for the appearance, here and there in the text of the Nouvel Observateur article, of a few terms connoting an otherwise absent disapproval: the author speaks of the “dropping of a gynecological bomb on the French publishing world”; later, we read: “Enough of hedonism, make way for hyperrealism and genital miserabilism”; and again (concerning my own book, Jouir): “It seems a little as if light porn were becoming the new floral art of the no-longer-so-uptight female bobo.”

Keywords

Steam Coherence Assure Smoke Stein 

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Copyright information

© Roger Célestin, Eliane DalMolin, Isabelle de Courtivron 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Catherine Cusset

There are no affiliations available

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