Twentieth-Century French women novelists /
by Lucille Frackman Becker.
Boston, Mass. : G.K. Hall, c1989.
211 p. --
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Boston, Mass. : G.K. Hall, c1989.
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Includes bibliographical references and index.
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Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 1990-02:
Becker's approach to her subject is historical, or, more precisely, chronological. Beginning with a chapter on Colette and De Beauvoir, she moves through a consideration of 15 major French women novelists of the 20th century. Each of the seven chapters is centered on a theme that crystallizes authors' contributions to what Becker sees as the gradual development of a literary corpus in which women become the subject and not the object of desire. The wealth of biographical information and the detailed summaries of a large number of the novels underline the overwhelming diversity and the very human individuality of the writers. They also focus attention on authors such as Claire Etcherelli and Zoe Oldenbourg, who have been less extensively treated elsewhere. Yet the sheer weight of this material often makes one wish Becker's point of view were more focused and personal. Her book lacks an interrogation of the texts, an engagement with the very volatile and difficult issues they raise. In this respect, M.N. Evans's Masks of Tradition (CH, May'88) seems a more insightful introduction to the subject, although only for more advanced undergraduates. The primary-source selections in E. Marks and I. de Courtivron's anthology New French Feminisms (CH, May'80), whose dialectical (rather than chronological) organization seems better suited to the subject matter, would allow Becker's readers a more immediate feel for these writers. Welcome nonetheless, Becker's volume is a useful introduction for undergraduates. Valuable primary and secondary bibliographies. -G. Moskos, Swarthmore College
This item was reviewed in:
Reference & Research Book News, August 1989
Choice, February 1990
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