The Romanic Review

A quarterly journal devoted to the study of Romance literatures. Articles cover all periods of French, Italian, and Spanish-language literature. Published by the Department of French and Romance Philology of Columbia University.

Articles from Vol. 107-4, No. 1, January-November

Avant-Propos
This special issue of the Romanic Review is dedicated to the memory of Gita May (1929-2016), who taught at Columbia University from 1956 until her retirement in 2006. Gita's professional trajectory was exemplary; in 1961, she became one of the first...
Books Received for 2016
Albert, Nicole G. Lesbian Decadence: Representations in Art and Literature of Fin-de-Siecle France. Trans. Nancy Erber and William Peniston. New York: Harrington Park P, 2016. Annuario de estudios filologicos XXXIX-2016. Caceres: Universidad de...
Britannicus or the Secrets of Space
Il faut que, lorsque le mouvement cesse sur la scene, il continue derriere. --Diderot, De la poesie dramatique Gita May concludes her seamless biography of Elisabeth Vigee Le Brun by pointing out that she "presents the unique case of a great woman...
Editor's Introduction: "Feminism's Abject Selves"
There have not been a great number of feminist conferences held at the Maison Francaise of Columbia. The previous one, which may also have been the first one, took place over thirty years ago, in November 1984. Organized by Nancy K. Miller and Michael...
Female Friendship as a Literary Fact
The Bechdel Test, sometimes called the Mo Movie Measure or Bechdel Rule, is a simple test which names the following three criteria: (1) it has to have at least two women in it, (2) who talk to each other, about (3) something besides a man. ...
Fragments of Future History: On Violette Leduc
I When I try to remember my childhood, or when memories of my childhood strike me, against any decision of my own, it is the rage that hits me the strongest. The story of my childhood is a story of rage and anger. I don't recall a single day...
George Sand, George Eliot, and the Politics of Difference: For Gita May, with Admiration, Gratitude, and Affection
In 1876, the year of George Sand's death and the publication of Daniel Deronda, George Eliot's last novel, the distinguished critic Sidney Colvin observed: "The art of fiction has reached its highest point in the hands of two women of our time. One...
Gita May, a Belated Tribute
As is often the case when life separates the living, it is upon their death that one realizes how important the departed have been to one's personal development--and wishes they were still here to listen to a tribute that should not have been in memoriam....
Gita May: A Life
Gita May, professor emerita of French at Columbia University, died at her home in Morningside Heights on January 29,2016. She was 86 years old. Known in her youth as Brigitte (Gitele) Jochimek, she was born in Etterbeek, near Brussels, on September...
Homage to Gita May: A Woman of Valor
I first met Professor May at a 1986 American Society of Eighteenth Century Studies (ASECS) conference in Cincinnati, Ohio, during her tenure as president of the organization. I had decided to continue my studies in French literature and particularly...
In the Footsteps of Gita May
In 1988, when I was in search of a dissertation topic to feel enthusiastic about, I took Gita May's course on Rousseau. Professor May (as I called her at the time) introduced Rousseau's Discourse on the Origin of Inequality by discussing the concept...
La Bonne, la Brute et la Truande
L'Invitee, La Batarde et L'Opoponax ont ete pour moi des romans d'apprentissage. Ma formation, ajouterai-je immediatement. Car c'est grace a eux, avec d'autres romans, films, photographies, ou emissions de television, que j'ai decouvert un tresor de...
My Friend Monique
Monique Wittig and I met in November 1984 shortly before Thanksgiving, at Michael Riffaterre's annual poetics colloquium. That year, the colloquium was devoted not to structural or semiotic issues but to poetics of gender. Nancy K. Miller and Michael...
On Reading Gita May's Last Book
When Gita May retired from Columbia in 2006, around the same time I had left Columbia for UC Santa Barbara, she published her last book: a biography of the eighteenth-century portrait painter Elisabeth Louise Vigee Le Brun, Elisabeth Vigee Le Brun:...
Playing with Variables: Leduc Au Village
Violette Leduc is known for books, fictional and autobiographical to varying degrees (Ravages, Therese et Isabelle, La Batarde), that include scenes recounting in detail sexual relations between women. Her books also include accounts of her unrequited...
Simone De Beauvoir et Violette Leduc : Retour Sur Un Parallele Biaise De L'histoire Litteraire
Desireuse d'ecrire durant l'ete 1946 un << essai-martyr >> semblable a L'Age d'homme de Michel Leiris, Simone de Beauvoir pensa regler sans trop de difficulte la question de savoir ce qu'avait signifie pour elle le fait d'etre une femme....
The Rape of Roxane and the End of the World in Montesquieu's Lettres Persanes
Catastrophe is oddly comforting--Hollywood thrives on the genres that the concept produces. The sped-up time of lurching toward a cataclysmic event allows for many grand cliches around life and death. --Srinivas Aravamudan, "The Catachronism of Climate...
Trouble in Argus City: Peacocking, Invisibility, and Masculinity
Decades of feminist scholarship have taught us a great deal about the harm that traditional gender hierarchies do to women. What specific patriarchal ideologies and practices do not just for but also to particular kinds of men has garnered far less...
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