Australian Journal of French Studies

Jeanne and Charles: Les Fleurs du Mal as “uncertain fables”

Australian Journal of French Studies (2017), 54, (1), 45–57.

Abstract

This article explores the constantly evolving status of “Jeanne Duval” within the various discourses that constitute French studies. Travelling back and forth between invisibility and hyper-visibility, legibility and opacity, at times relegated to the margins of Baudelaire’s poetry, and sometimes moving to the forefront of feminist and postcolonial literature, Jeanne Duval is an elusive subject and object. In this text, the two words Jeanne Duval will be considered as an interpreting machine that helps readers to reframe both the object of their interest or desire and the theoretical tools that Jeanne Duval, as a function, implicitly authorises or disallows. Depending on whether we wish to focus on Baudelaire’s poetry, the black female subject, the Black Venus or an eroticised muse, a different scene of address appears, that reveals our current understanding of French studies.

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Author details

Rosello, Mireille