Fantasies of Partial Selves in Rachilde's Le Demon de l'absurde

In her collection of fantastic "contes" Le Demon de l'absurde (1894), Rachilde explores a means of female self-redefinition whereby the body's fragmentation and the loss of psychic wholeness suggest the painful process the character must work through before an autonomous identity can be achieved. In her study of Fantasy: The Literature of Subversion, Rosemary Jackson discusses how this disassembling of "character," its resolution into body parts, is an effort to deform "a `realistic' language of unified, rational selves'" (90). By positing that "reality" had become an authoritarian male construct, and that in turn-of-the-century literature, the language expressing the real was male, one can see that in Rachilde a recourse to this fracturing of identity provided a means of breaking the mirror of the objectifying male "regard." (REZ)

Ziegler, Robert E
Volume 1990 Fall; 19(1): 122-31.