|The Gendered Lyric argues that poetic conventions and movements
cannot be fully understood without an appreciation of the role played
by gender. It illustrates that both canonical and marginal poets of the
major poetic movements of nineteenth-century France relied on sexual difference
to define their poetic values.
Gretchen Schultz analyzes works by the male leaders of the Romantic,
Parnassian, and Symbolist Colleges to show that their implicit conceptions
of gender were central to the formulation of their aesthetics. Romantic
poets such as Victor Hugo and Alphonse de Lamartine sought to appropriate
feminine cultural values in their construction of an empathic male poet,
while the Parnassians of the following generation, including Charles de
Leconte de Lisle and Théophile Gautier, repudiated Romantic doctrine
for a more "muscular" and masculinist poetic practice.
Women poets writing in the shadows of these great men devised varying
strategies, ranging from assimilation to satire, with which to gain access
to poetic subjectivity. Schultz devotes chapters to the Romantic Marceline
Desbordes-Valmore, as well as to several lesser-known Parnassian women,
and through close readings explores their accommodations of and revolts
to the dominant movements.
Symbolist poets began to readmit feminine values and allowed for a broader,
more fluid understanding of lyric subjectivity. Schultz shows that the
notoriously misogynist Charles Baudelaire nonetheless permitted the oblique
representation of otherness in his more abstract verse. She then analyzes
the gay male poetry of Paul Verlaine and the innovative free verse of
Marie Krysinska, which in different ways fought with poetic convention
and in so doing fulfilled the promises of Symbolism's open poetic stance.
The Gendered Lyric is recommended for scholars and students of
nineteenth-century French studies, poetry and poetics, and women's studies.
"This is a well-written, cogently argued, and very engaging study.
It deals with a wide array of material, some of it familiar, some far
less so, and it makes a convincing case for its general thesis, which
is that gender, an officially disregarded category, cannot be ignored
in evaluating poetry. It will give added impetus to the growing movement
to reexamine assumptions about the nineteenth-century canon in terms
of its undeniable gender bias." Rosemary Lloyd, Indiana University
"Gretchen Schultz, in The Gendered Lyric, begins to fill
this 'rather astonishing gap in existing criticism' (1) with her stimulating
book on gender and modern French poetry....Her ambitious and original
study, which juxtaposes male- and female-authored poetry, aims to 'demonstrate
that while masculinity dominates lyric production, femininity is always
present as a foil , an appropriation, or a threat' (2)....The Gendered
Lyric, which provocatively exposes the work of gender in nineteenth-century
French poetry, will become a valuable resource for future study of gender
difference in poetry--and the difference that poetry makes in gender
studies." Adrianna M. Paliyenko, Nineteenth-Century French Studies
For the complete review, see Nineteenth-Century French Studies 29.1&2
(Fall-Winter 2000-01): 186-89.
"L'ouvrage est complété par une riche bibliographie
et un index très utile. Les poèmes reproduits dans l'appendice
sont de première importance pour les spécialistes de poésie
française écrite par des femmes. La plupart de ces textes
n'étant plus édités depuis très longtemps
sont aujourd'hui d'accès très difficile. Nous ne pouvons
qu'applaudir l'initiative de les reproduire ici 'in the spirit of disseminating
difficult-to-find texts' (251).... Pour conclure, Gretchen Schultz
aura non seulement prouvé avec succès que la question
du genre est essentielle au renouvellement de la poésie dans
le courant du XIXème siècle mais elle aura aussi redonné
une voix aux nombreuses femmes qui ont écrit de la poésie
et participé à l'établissement du paysage poétique
française 'dans l'ombre et sans [se] nommer' (Desbordes-Valmore
[, Schultz] 248). En outre, The Gendered Lyric servira les lecteurs
cherchant une vue lucide sur la poésie du XIXème siècle
dans son ensemble." Sandrine Harismendy-Lony, French Forum
For the complete review, see French Forum 26.1 (Winter 2001):
For more reviews, see
Book News 14 (Aug. 1999): 56.
Gretchen Schultz, Brown University, focuses on nineteenth-century
French poetry and gender studies. She is the author of articles on Desbordes-Valmore,
Baudelaire, Verlaine, Villard, and Valéry.
1999. PSRL 17. xiv, 334 pp. Cloth $29.95 PRICE REDUCED