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A Belle Epoque?: Women and Feminism in French Society and Culture 1890-1914

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Volume 9

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A Belle Epoque?

Women and Feminism in French Society and Culture 1890-1914

Edited by Diana Holmes and Carrie Tarr

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364 pages, 30 illus., bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-84545-021-2 25% OFF! $120.00/£85.00 $90.00/£63.75 Hb Published (January 2006)

ISBN  978-1-84545-094-6 25% OFF! $34.95/£24.00 $26.21/£18.00 Pb Published (February 2007)

eISBN 978-0-85745-701-1 eBook

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“…this volume makes a welcome contribution to the history of women, gender, and feminism…The essays, while brief, suggest interesting lines for further inquiry based on their creative use of printed sources…, as well as visual materials.”  ·  H-France Review

“…many of the essays are extremely interesting and historians will find them valuable. The book’s brief conclusion emphasizes the achievements of the Belle Epoque: it altered ‘the sense of what it was to be a woman’ (307). Women did have a ‘Belle Epoque’, it seems, albeit a different one from men.”  ·  European History Quarterly


The Third Republic, known as the ‘belle époque’, was a period of lively, articulate and surprisingly radical feminist activity in France, borne out of the contradiction between the Republican ideals of liberty, equality and fraternity and the reality of intense and systematic gender discrimination. Yet, it also was a period of intense and varied artistic production, with women disproving the critical nearconsensus that art was a masculine activity by writing, painting, performing, sculpting, and even displaying an interest in the new "seventh art" of cinema. This book explores all these facets of the period, weaving them into a complex, multi-stranded argument about the importance of this rich period of French women’s history.

Diana Holmes is Professor of French at the University of Leeds, UK. She has published widely on French women writers, including Colette, Rachilde, Renée Vivien, and bestselling romantic authors of the Belle Epoque. Her recent publications include Rachilde – Decadence Gender and the Woman Writer (Berg, 2001), and she is working on a study of romance in 20th century France.

Carrie Tarr is a Research Fellow in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Kingston University London. She has published extensively on gender and ethnicity in French cinema. Her recent publications include Cinema and the Second Sex: Women’s Filmmaking in France in the 1980s and1990s (with B. Rollet, 2001) and Reframing Difference: beur and banlieue cinema in France (2005).

Subject: Gender Studies General Cultural Studies 18th/19th Century History
Area: France


List of Illustrations

Diana Holmes and Carrie Tarr


Chapter 1. New Republic, New Women? Feminism and Modernity at the Belle Epoque
Diana Holmes and Carrie Tarr

Chapter 2. 1890–1914: A ‘Belle Epoque’ for Feminism?
Máire Cross

Chapter 3. Marguerite Durand and La Fronde: Voicing Women of the Belle Epoque
Maggie Allison

Chapter 4. The Uncompromising Doctor Madeleine Pelletier: Feminist and Political Activist
Anna Norris

Chapter 5. Clans and Chronologies: The Salon of Natalie Barney
Melanie Hawthorne


Chapter 6. Vélo-Métro-Auto: Women’s Mobility in Belle Epoque Paris
Siân Reynolds

Chapter 7. Popularising New Women in Belle Epoque Advertising Posters
Ruth E. Iskin

Chapter 8. An American in Paris: Loïe Fuller, Dance and Technology
Naoko Morita

Chapter 9. Becoming Women: Cinema, Gender and Technology
Elizabeth Ezra


Chapter 10. Spectacles of Themselves: Women Writing for the Stage in Belle Epoque France
Kimberly van Noort

Chapter 11. Being a Dancer in 1900: Sign of Alienation or Quest for Autonomy?
Hélène Laplace-Claverie

Chapter 12. Visions of Reciprocity in the Work of Camille Claudel
Angela Ryan


Chapter 13. Feminist Discourse in Women’s Novels of Professional Development
Juliette M. Rogers

Chapter 14. Daniel Lesueur and the Feminist Romance
Diana Holmes

Chapter 15. Virginal Perversion/Radical Subversion: Rachilde and Discourses of Legitimation
Jeri English

Chapter 16. Decadence and the Woman Writer: Renée Vivien’s Une femme m’apparut Tama
Lea Engelking

Chapter 17. Sensual Deviations and Verbal Abuse: Anna de Noailles in the Critic’s Eye
Catherine Perry

Chapter 18. Proletarian Women, Proletarian Writing: The Case of Marguerite Audoux
Angela Kershaw


Chapter 19. Coloniser and Colonised in Hubertine Auclert’s Writings on Algeria
Edith Taïeb

Chapter 20. The Chivalrous Coloniser: Colonial Feminism and the roman à thèse in the Belle Epoque
Jennifer Yee

Chapter 21. Marcelle Tinayre’s Notes d’une voyageuse en Turquie: Creating Solidarity among Women
Margot Irvine


Select Chronology 1870–1914
Notes on Contributors

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