Open Forum: Rachilde’s Monsieur Venus (1884)

As always, the Open Forum is your chance to post completely (or partially) random observations, comments, questions, or links to various materials you’ve looked up for this novel or Rachilde, such as biographical or other relevant literary or cultural information.

Go ahead, and enjoy!  I’ll start us off with a picture of “Mademoiselle Baudelaire,” Rachilde herself:

I broke off reading this novel with ten pages to go to have dinner before the dining hall closed. I was talking incessantly about the novel throughout dinner, and literally ran back to my room to finish reading. The gender dynamics, especially in the ambiguity of how, why, and when characters’ genders change (both in how they perceive themselves and in how others perceive them) throughout the novel, are absolutely fascinating, and would still be relevant in conversations today about gender and sexuality. –M.P.

Woo-hoo, M.P.!  I agree 100% that this novel is absolutely relevant to talking about gender and sexuality today–gender fluidity, gender mind/body relation, trans(gender, -sexual) issues, ideas about hegemony, violence, and gender binarism, queer theorist Eve Sedgwick’s ideas about the hetero-homoerotic triangle (in Between Men), and so much more … I am tickled you ran back to finish reading it–I had a similar experience when I first read it.  Absolutely astonishing work of literature.  From 1884!  I’m also thinking a lot about Faust (Goethe) and Frankenstein (Shelley) with regard to the ending.  -petradt

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