acts have any authority? And, finally, they show that the difficulties of literary representation are also difficulties of political representation.
I wish to thank those who at various points have read and whose ideas
have fed this essay: Guy and Marge Cardwell, Patrice Higonnet, Regina
Barreca, Cornelia Nixon, Barbara Rosen, and the editors of this volume.
That arbitrariness cannot be acknowledged. In order to mask the swift
transformations of men's and women's roles, an organicist discourse naturalizes the politics of gender. Similarly, the gendering of politics gives an
illusion of naturalness. See Higonnet and
Higonnet, "The Double Helix," 37-41.
External wars indeed are often initiated in order to derail internal dissension and to justify the repression of dissidence. Similarly, the occupation of a country both creates and masks internal political divisions. It is
important to avoid the complacent faith that the French Resistance under
the Vichy regime was a struggle against a foreign nation rather than a civil
Marat, for example, links aristocrats to women, and more generally
the clerical and peasant resistance to the French Revolution was thought to
be supported by women.
Jakobson, "Closing Statement: Linguistics and Poetics,"358.
Staël, Delphine, 1:467. All translations from Madame de Staël are my
own; hereafter volume and page numbers are given in text in parentheses.
While Delphine is active, Léonce is passive in his suicide. Delphine's
act is deliberate; Léonce depends on others to complete his act. It is perhaps not an accident that Delphine, like Dido, suffers from calumny and
that her lover abandons her for battle.
The political and personal conflicts also intersect in the conclusion of
the second version, published posthumously. Léonce announces his marriage to Delphine the very day that the news of the September massacres
arrives in the province where they have taken refuge (near the Vendée). As
a defrocked nun about to marry, Delphine represents the anticlerical revolutionary tendencies that had just climaxed in the slaughter on the streets
of Paris. In a chain reaction, the popular condemnation of the marriage
causes Léonce to faint, and his inability to embrace her in the face of social
prejudice deals a mortal blow to Delphine. She is a victim of the counterrevolution.
Simone de Beauvoir, 38-40, 66-68.
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Book title: Arms and the Woman:War, Gender, and Literary Representation.
Contributors: Helen M. Cooper - Editor, Adrienne Auslander Munich - Editor, Susan Merrill Squier - Editor.
Publisher: University of North Carolina Press.
Place of publication: Chapel Hill, NC.
Publication year: 1989.
Page number: 95.
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