Marie Cardinal

  • Elizabeth Fallaize
Part of the Women in Society book series (WOSO)


Born in 1929 into a family of white French settlers in Algeria, Marie Cardinal began writing in 1960 at what she calls the ‘late’ age of 31. Her desire to write sprang in part from her sense of exile from her native country, which had plunged into war with France in 1954 and which she left definitively in 1956.1 However, the period in which she b egan to write also coincided with the beginning of a long period of psychoanalysis and her gradual emergence from a situation of virtual mental collapse. Her first novel Ecoutez la mer (‘Listen to the Sea’) was published in 1962, won a prize for first novels and sold quite well.2 With her health still in a precarious state and with three children to support, Marie Cardinal continued writing throughout the 1960s in extremely difficult conditions; she took on clerical jobs she could do at home and published three other novels which had only very mediocre sales.


Heroin Addiction French Woman Evil Nature Dialectical Structure Dung Heap 
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Marie Cardinal bibliography

Works by Cardinal

  1. Marie Cardinal, Ecoutez la mer (Paris: Julliard, 1962).Google Scholar
  2. Marie Cardinal, La Mule et le corbillard (Paris: Julliard, 1963).Google Scholar
  3. Marie Cardinal, La Souricière (Paris: Julliard, 1963).Google Scholar
  4. Marie Cardinal, Cet été-là (Paris: Julliard, 1967).Google Scholar
  5. Marie Cardinal, La Clé sur la porte (Paris: Grasset, 1972).Google Scholar
  6. Marie Cardinal, Les Mots pour le dire (Paris: Grasset, 1975); The Words to Say It, trans. by Pat Goodheart (Cambridge, Mass.: Van Vactor & Goodheart, 1983).Google Scholar
  7. Marie Cardinal, Autrement dit (Paris: Grasset, 1977).Google Scholar
  8. Marie Cardinal, Une vie pour deux (Paris: Grasset, 1979).Google Scholar
  9. Marie Cardinal, Au pays de mes racines (Paris: Grasset, 1980).Google Scholar
  10. Marie Cardinal, Le Passé empiété (Paris: Grasset, 1983).Google Scholar
  11. Marie Cardinal, Les Grands Désordres (Paris: Grasset, 1987); Devotion and Disorder, trans. by Karen Montin (London: The Women’s Press, 1991).Google Scholar
  12. Marie Cardinal, Les Pieds-Noirs (Paris: Editions Belfond, 1988).Google Scholar
  13. Marie Cardinal, Comme si de rien n’était (Paris: Grasset, 1990).Google Scholar

Prefaces, articles and interviews by Cardinal

  1. Marie Cardinal, ‘La Rentrée des prix’, Rouge, 22 November 1977.Google Scholar
  2. Marie Cardinal, ‘Le Trône percé’, Le Matin, 6 December 1977.Google Scholar
  3. Marie Cardinal, ‘Marie Cardinal parle de son dernier livre’, Rouge, 1 June 1978, p. 18. ‘Entretien avec Marie Cardinal: Une Femme et l’écriture’ by L. LévyDelplan, Diplomées, no. 110 (September 1979), pp. 61–3.Google Scholar
  4. Marie Cardinal, Préface’ to La Sexualité des femmes by Françoise Dolto (Paris: Grasset, 1980).Google Scholar

Books and articles on Cardinal’s work and selected reviews

  1. Bettelheim, Bruno, ‘Preface’ and ‘Afterword’ to The Words to Say lt, trans. by Pat Goodheart (Cambridge, Mass.: Van Vactor & Goodheart, 1983), pp. ix-xii, 297–308.Google Scholar
  2. Cairns, Lucille, Marie Cardinal: Motherhood and Creativity (Glasgow: University of Glasgow French and German Publications, 1992).Google Scholar
  3. Cairns, Lucille, ‘Passion and Paranoia: Power Structures and the Representation of Men in the Writings of Marie Cardinal’, French Studies, vol. XLVI (1992), pp. 280–95.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Chalon, Jean, ‘L’Enfer selon Marie Cardinal’, Le Figaro, 18 September 1987.Google Scholar
  5. Clouzot, Claire, ‘Marie Cardinal: Une pub vivante pour la psychanalyse’, Biba, October 1983, p. 44.Google Scholar
  6. Daverdin-Liaroutzos, Chantal, ‘La suprême loi de l’entropie’, Le Magazine littéraire, October 1987.Google Scholar
  7. Durham, Carolyn, ‘Feminism and Formalism. Dialectical Structures in Marie Cardinal: Une vie pour deux’, Tulsa Studies in Women’s Literature, vol. IV, no. I (1985), pp. 83–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Durham, Carolyn, ‘Patterns of Influence: Simone de Beauvoir and Marie Cardinal’, French Review (February 1987), vol. LX pp. 341–8.Google Scholar
  9. Durham, Carolyn, The Contexture of Feminism: Marie Cardinal and Multicultural Literacy (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1992).Google Scholar
  10. Elliot, Patricia, ‘In the Eye of Abjection: Marie Cardinal’s The Words to Say It’, Mosaic, vol. XX (1987), pp. 70–81.Google Scholar
  11. Hall, Colette, ‘“She” is more than “I”: Writing and the Search for Identity in the Works of Marie Cardinal’, in Redefining Autobiography in Twentieth-Century Women’s Fiction: An Essay Collection, ed. by Colette Hall, Janice Morgan and Carol Snyder (New York: Garland, 1991).Google Scholar
  12. Le Clézio, Marguerite, ‘Mother and Motherhood: The Daughter’s Quest for Origins’ Stanford French Review, vol. V (Winter 1981), pp. 381–9.Google Scholar
  13. Martin, Elaine, ‘Mothers, Madness and the Middle Class in The Bell Jar and Les Mots pour le dire’, French American Review, vol. V (Spring 1981), pp. 24–7.Google Scholar
  14. Minha, Trinh, ‘L’inécriture: féminisme et littérature’, French Forum, vol. 8 (1983), PP. 45–63.Google Scholar
  15. Poirot-Delpech, Bertrand, ‘Les Mots pour le dire de Marie Cardinal’, Le Monde des livres, 30 May 1975, p. 2.Google Scholar
  16. Powrie, Phil, ‘Reading for Pleasure: Marie Cardinal’s Les Mots pour le dire and the text as (re)play of Oedipal configurations’, in Contemporary French Fiction by Women, ed. by Margaret Atak and Phil Powrie (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1990), pp. 163–76.Google Scholar
  17. Renard, Marion, ‘Les Mots pour le dire’, La Quinzaine littéraire, 16–30 June 1975, p. 10.Google Scholar
  18. Roberts, Colin, ‘Cardinal: La Clé sur la porte’, in Gilbert Cesbron: Chiens perdus sans collier/Marie Cardinal: La Clé sur la porte by Colin Roberts (Glasgow: University of Glasgow French and German Publications, 1988).Google Scholar
  19. Savigneau, Josyane, ‘Dévoilements: Les Grands Désordres de Marie Cardinal’ Le Monde, 11 September 1987.Google Scholar
  20. Werner, Pascale, ‘Marie Cardinal et le sexe des mots’, Magazine littéraire, 21–27 March 1977.Google Scholar
  21. Yalom, Marilyn, ‘They Remember Maman: Attachment and Separation in Leduc, de Beauvoir, Sand and Cardinal’, Essays in Literature, vol. VIII (Spring 1981), pp. 73–90.Google Scholar
  22. Yalom, Marilyn, ‘La Souricière, Les Mots pour le dire’, in Maternity, Mortality and the Literature of Madness (Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania University Press, 1985), pp. 35–48, 49–67.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Elizabeth Fallaize 1993

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  • Elizabeth Fallaize

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