Unnatural women and uncomfortable readers?
Clotilde Escalle’s tales of transgression
in Women’s writing in contemporary France

Clotilde Escalle is remarkable among new writers for the dispassionate way in which she presents violent sexual and familial dramas. This chapter talks about her four novels: Un long baiser, Pulsion, Herbert jouit and Où est-il cet amour. Each one of her four novels challenges the reader to bear with her as she relentlessly anatomises the lives of women who have lost their way, both figuratively and literally. These novels are tales of oppression, of violence and abuse, of masochism, of cruelty and despair, of lancinating indifference, and ultimately of transgression. Georges Bataille's reading of feminine sexuality seems appropriate when reading Escalle's work. Since many of her characters are highly promiscuous, having easy sex with many men and putting themselves in the role of passive recipient of male desire, violence and abuse is shown. Bataille's analysis of eroticism offers a useful perspective on how one lives an intense sexuality.

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Women’s writing in contemporary France

New writers, new literatures in the 1990s

Editors: Gill Rye and Michael Worton

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