The Dark Side of Daumier's Comedy
Gretchen Van Slyke, Professor, UVM Department of Romance Languages
Much of Daumier's humor is plain to us now, and while some of us may laugh at some of these politically incorrect representations of writing women, others may want to grit their teeth. Still, we cannot fully understand Daumier's satires without knowing something about the expectations for bourgeois women in mid-ninteenth century France and how the norms of femininity were enforced. We'll take a look at Barbey d'Aurevilly's 1878 book on Les Bas-bleus to explore the virulent reaction of a man who defined himself as a staunch Catholic conservative and felt deeply threatened by the bluestockings' refusal to stay in the place that society defined for them.
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