This interdisciplinary study, which combines the sociohistorical approach with insights from feminist literary criticism, sheds new light on male bourgeois mythologies in nineteenth-century French society. Drawing on texts by Balzac, Flaubert, Maupassant, Zola, and the Goncourt brothers, the author examines contemporary constructions of women as reflected in the portrayal of the humble -½bonne +á tout faire-+, from P+¿re Grandet's -½pearl-+ of a servant, Grande Nanon, to the -½sluts-+ of Zola's Pot-Bouille. The book concludes with an analysis of relations between maid and mistress, shown as governed sometimes by the laws of class difference, but also, in several of these texts, by a profoundly felt feminine complicity.
Maid and Mistress
Feminine Solidarity and Class Difference in the Private Sphere
Age of Revolution and Romanticism
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