Lucie Delarue ( 1880-1945) was the sixth daughter of a Norman lawyer. 1 In 1900 she married Dr. Mardrus, the French translator of the 1001 Nights; she left him in 1914. Although she is primarily remembered as a poet, Delarue‐ Mardrus was also a novelist and a dramatist, in addition to devoting herself to painting, music, and Arabic. She was one of the members of the first jury for the "Vie Heureuse" Prize, which subsequently became the prestigious Prix Fémina. In 1936 she was the first recipient of the Renée Vivien Prize for poetry. She spent much of her life traveling extensively, lecturing in Europe, Brazil, and the United States, but she died in poverty, making a deathbed reconversion to Catholicism.
Marie, fille-mère ( Marie, the Unmarried Mother [ 1906]) was Lucie Delarue-Mardrus 's first novel. In it, she opposes maternal love to sexual passion, suggesting that a woman cannot love both man and child but must choose between them. Marie, a country girl, falls in love with a man who rapes her, becomes pregnant, and must run away to Paris, where she works in terrible conditions. After the birth of her son (Alexandre), she is obliged to allow her brother to raise the child as his own, although the boy always prefers his "Aunt Marie." In the second part of the book, she is courted by a Sicilian who becomes jealous of her affection for the child, whom she has now claimed openly; in his passion for Marie, he kills Alexandre. Marie's suffering, her feelings, and her situation are developed strongly, with technical nicety, in both sections of the novel.
The most interesting parts of the novel today are the description of Marie's rape, her pregnancy, and especially the birth of Alexandre. These