Masochism and Decadent literature: Jean Lorrain and Joséphin Péladan

Sato, Kanshi Hiroko (2009). Masochism and Decadent literature: Jean Lorrain and Joséphin Péladan. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.


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This study explores the masochistic aspects of Decadent literature, which to date have been relatively neglected, or have received only sporadic attention as merely the passive forms of sadism, or sadomasochism (Mario Praz). As Jennifer Birkett suggests, Decadent sensibility and sexuality have arguably less affinity with Sade than Sacher-Masoch. Following Birkett, and utilising Gilles Deleuze’s idea of the independence of masochism from sadism and description of the distinctive aesthetic features of masochistic texts, I investigate masochistic formations in French Decadent texts; the work of Jean Lorrain and of Joséphin Péladan. This study also involves a review of relevant writings by Freud and post-Freudian psychoanalysts (Leo Bersani and Kaja Silverman); an engagement with current literary-critical scholarship in Decadence (Emily Apter, Charles Bernheimer, Bram Dijkstra and Rita Felski), and in Sacher-Masoch (Nick Mansfield, John K. Noyes, and Anita Phillips), and his influence on Decadent writers.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
School or Department: School of Languages, Cultures, Art History and Music, Department of Modern Languages
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PQ Romance literatures
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN0441 Literary History


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