Australian Journal of French Studies

A Carefully Curated Collection: Female Figures as Sites of Inscription in Gautier's Émaux et Camées

Australian Journal of French Studies (2013), 50, (3), 349–360.

Abstract

This article examines the ways in which female figures function as additional sites for poetic inscription in Gautier's Émaux et Camées. Although considerable attention has already been paid to the numerous and varied objects catalogued in the collection and, indeed, to the notion of the poems themselves as objects, the present study aims to expand upon such interpretations of the work by focusing on three texts, "Le Poëme de la femme", "Étude de mains : Impéria" and "La fellah". In these poems, female figures who, while they may at first be granted some agency (and be represented going about the business of daily, if highly stylized, life), are finally immobilized within the verse as their bodies, and particularly their pristine skin, ultimately function as an additional paper-like surface for the poet, permitting their assimilation into Gautier's diminutive private collection.

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Author details

Edgington, Erin

Edgington, Erin