The Rhetoric of Sexuality and the Literature of the French Renaissance

The Rhetoric of Sexuality and the Literature of the French Renaissance

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This 1991 book examines the relationship between psychoanalytic theory and the literature of the French Renaissance by exploring the issues of gender, the body, and repression in many of the key literary texts of the period, including Sceve, Rabelais, Marguerite de Navarre, Ronsard, and Montaigne. By means of detailed readings of individual texts, Lawrence Kritzman examines how sexuality functions as a rhetorical trope through which desire is represented. Professor Kritzman's study concentrates on three major objectives: the issues of gender identity and sexual difference in French Renaissance texts; the question of how the body is represented in the blasons, love poetry and prose of the period; and the way in which figural language depicts the libidinal, political and social tensions at work in texts. It was the first wide-ranging theoretical study to provide reading models to investigate the taboo subject of sexuality underlying literary production in the French Renaissance.

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"Kritzman's writing blends psychoanalytical models of our time with the rhetoric of the Renaissance...the study affords rich speculation on the affinities of eros and literary creation." Journal of the History of Sexuality "...an original, erudite, but scandalous vision of European Culture...gives new depth to the transatlantic debate on the interpretation of culture." Julia Kristeva "Hermeneutic rigor, admirably tempered by sensitive readings." Michael Riffaterre "...full of exciting insights and sustained cogent arguments that will force scholars to rethink old assumptions about France's greatest writers of the Renaissance." Patrick Henry, Philosophy and Literature "...the value of Kritzman's book lies in the dialogue it will generate as well as in the intrinsic merit of the essays themselves..." Alice Berry, Renaissance Quarterly

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