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Feminizing the Fetish

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Feminizing the Fetish

Psychoanalysis and Narrative Obsession in Turn-of-the Century France

Emily Apter

294 Pages
Paperback
ISBN: 9781501727740
Cornell University Press

Shoes, gloves, umbrellas, cigars that are not just objects—the topic of fetishism seems both bizarre and inevitable. In this venturesome and provocative book, Emily Apter offers a fresh account of the complex relationship between representation and sexual obsession in turn-of-the-century French culture. Analyzing works by authors in the naturalist and realist traditions as well as making use of documents from a contemporary medical archive, she considers fetishism as a cultural artifact and as a subgenre of realist fiction. Apter traces the web of connections among fin-de-siècle representations of perversion, the fiction of pathology, and the literary case history. She explores in particular the theme of "female fetishism" in the context of the feminine culture of mourning, collecting, and dressing.

Reviews

"In light of recent critical debate, one might say that of the perversions fetishism is the most widely shared. Its subjects and objects are ubiquitous, and include male and female writers, patients, and literary characters and critics. The publication of such an in-depth analysis of fetishism in turn-of-the-century French literature seemed necessary in such a climate, and Apter's insightful book fulfills the perverse reader's expectations."

- Marie Lathers, French Review

About the Author

Emily Apter is Professor of French and Comparative Literature and Chair of Comparative Literature at New York University. She is coeditor of Fetishism as Cultural Discourse: Psychoanalysis and Narrative Obsession in Turn-Of-The-Century France, also from Cornell University Press, and the author of Against World Literature: On The Politics of Untranslatability, The Translation Zone: A New Comparative Literature, and Continental Drift: From National Characters to Virtual Subjects.

This work can be downloaded for non-commercial purposes:

Creative Commons License
Feminizing the Fetish is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.