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Missing the Marc: Censorship and Gender Identity in Fin-de-Siècle France

Posted by on Friday, February 14, 2020 in Uncategorized.

Rachel Mesch, Guest Lecturer
Professor of English and French;
Chair, English Department, Yeshiva University
National Endowment for the Humanities Public Scholar Fellowship, 2017-18

April 2, 2020
5:30 pm • Central Library, Community Room
Followed by reception

Missing the Marc: Censorship and Gender Identity in Fin-de-Siècle France

Marc de Montifaud, born Marie-Amélie de Chartroule, was a renowned art critic before
she began publishing titillating works that were repeatedly censored for “oense to
public decency.” Montifaud was bewildered by punishments she felt didn’t t the crime,
and continued to write erotic tales as well as passionate treatises in self-defense. She was
as angry about being censored as she was about being sent to a women’s prison rather
than the one where male artists and writers were sent for similar infractions.
This talk explores Montifaud’s eorts to express her gender nonconformity, arguing
that the disproportionate response to her by the forces of authority was a function of
their inability to identify the precise nature of her aront. Montifaud refused to concede
because she thrived on this perpetual misunderstanding, which allowed her to make
visible her state of tension with a world that had not yet imagined her.

Photo credit: Image courtesy of the Bibliotheque Marguerite Durand
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