Title

The feminine affective universe in Vernon Subutex of Virginie Despentes

Campus Units

World Languages and Cultures

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

5-7-2019

Journal or Book Title

Contemporary French and Francophone Studies

Volume

22

Issue

4

First Page

475

Last Page

483

DOI

10.1080/17409292.2018.1545733

Abstract

Ever since the publication of her first novel Baise-moi (1993), gender identities have constituted a leitmotivin Virginie Despentes’ work. Vernon Subutex, her latest novel published as a trilogy from 2015 to 2017, pursues this exploration. The three volumes portray intermittently twenty-six characters and, in addition to their social experiences, Despentes exposes us to their interiority as, in her fiction, the social can never be divorced from the personal. At first glance, the novel seems to reinforce the gender-based division of the univers affectifs. The novel actually reveals how the gendered dichotomy assigning reason and the public sphere to men and binding women to emotions and the private sphere still shapes identities. Women in particular seem mostly preoccupied with personal relationships, just as they are reduced to their gender, if not sex: love and their (self-)objectification prevail. Despentes does not explicitly denounce the persistence of gender-based ideals or of the gendering of the univers affectifs. On the contrary, the faithful rendition of the female characters’ interiority raises the readers’ awareness as to this phenomenon. The critique occurs, therefore, on the metadiscursive level.

Comments

This link is to the article that is published as Scale, M.A., The feminine affective universe in Vernon Subutex of Virginie Despentes. Contemporary French and Francophone Studies. May 2019, 22(4); 475-483. doi: 10.1080/17409292.2018.1545733. Posted with permission.

Copyright Owner

Taylor and Francis Online

Language

en

Published Version

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