“Oh! Non, je ne pourrai jamais te le dire … j’aime un homme!”: Hermaphrodite et l’esthétisation de l’homosexualité dans Mademoiselle de Maupin

This article examines Gautier’s novel Mademoiselle de Maupin (1835) as an example of nineteenth-century French society’s interest and reluctance regarding male homosexuality, and the subsequent strategy of allusion that is used to discuss this topic. It analyses the method used by the male protagonist d’Albert to render his feelings for “Théodore” (the cross-dressed woman Madeleine de Maupin) culturally acceptable. D’Albert turns his allegedly monstrous homoerotic desire into an aesthetic quest by comparing “Théodore” to the god Hermaphroditus, who embodies perfect neoclassical beauty and whose harmonious combination of masculine and feminine traits idealizes sexual ambiguity. This article also contrasts d’Albert’s discursive strategy of discretion with Madeleine’s own openness regarding her lesbian feelings, thus highlighting the difference in treatment between male homosexuality and lesbianism in the nineteenth century. (In French)

Géraldine Crahay
Volume 45.1-2