Monsieur Venus: A Materialist Novel (Mla Texts and Translations)
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Monsieur Venus: A Materialist Novel (Mla Texts and Translations)

3.56 of 5 stars 3.56  ·  rating details  ·  127 ratings  ·  16 reviews
As a woman, Rachilde was a rarity among Decadent authors, and in Raoule de Venerande she created a Decadent heroine of singularly monstrous proportions. For the imperious Raoule, Amazon and expert fencer, scion of an aristocratic line that has engendered Sadean libertines and pious spinsters, lesbianism is merely a banal vice. She seeks to transcend the limits of sensual e...more
Kindle Edition
Published (first published 1884)
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Rowena
3.5 stars. One of the novels included in Asti Hustvedt's "The Decadent Reader", which I'm currently reading. Very well-written, bizarre story that explores gender roles, transvestism, and sado-masochism. Weird, yet I couldn't stop reading. I can't believe the author was only 20 when she wrote this.
Shawn
Excellent decadent novel: moving, disturbing, with an ending that echoes, in an abstract way, many later horror films and stories.

The perversions presented are, by this point in time, passe: mainly a dominant/submissive relationship between a masculine rich woman and her "kept" lover, an already effeminate male artist whom she further feminizes through the course of the novel. This is the crux, but the novel also strays into both vague and specific transvestism, wanton and calculated lust, prost...more
Anna

I have now finished reading Monsieur Venus, which I really enjoyed. I thought it was superbly written: the French just flows, the imagery and play on words (especially, you will have guessed, on masculine and feminine articles and pronouns) are just astounding.

I thought the story was well constructed, and could see a clear progression in the events and plot. You start off with this young woman who can get whatever she wants. She has no boundaries. Her aunt is an almost comic character: she is ou...more
Laura
Camille Paglia called this "one of the oddest things ever written by a woman", and I can see what she means. A hilariously twisted, over-the-top work of decadence, this novel deals with S&M, gender role reversals, and the material body, against a backdrop of heavy drapes and artificial flowers. The footnotes, while distracting at times, were very informative, and made me wish that I was reading the book in French, in order to appreciate first-hand the subtle play on personal pronouns (tu/ vo...more
Clare
I had to read this book for a course in university and while the French was sometimes challenging I ended up really enjoying it.
When it was released it was banned in Belgium and considered to be pornographic, although by today's standards it is not so shocking.The story is about a wealthy young woman called Raoule de Venerande who starts a relationship with a working class man named Jacques Silvert. The story raises questions of gender roles and identities, as they are often reversed. The chara...more
Betty
Jul 29, 2009 Betty rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Betty by: my french lit professor.
really creepy french book about transvestism and feminism... but ultimately fascinating. but creepy.
eva
"My friend," she said in a voice that trembled all at once with forced gaiety and contained passion, "I warn you I shall become drunk, because my tale cannot be told in the accents of reason, you would not understand it!"

"Ah! Very well!" muttered Raittolbe. "Then I shall contrive to keep my own head!"

Then he emptied a flagon of sauterne into an ornately chased drinking-cup. They considered one another for a moment. To prevent himself from losing his temper, Raittolbe was compelled to acknowledge...more
Catherine Siemann
I've listed this with Victorians because it's 19th century, but it's a clear example of why the French were so very *not* Victorian. The story of Raoule de Venerande, an wealthy aristocratic woman who makes Jacques Silvert, a poor young maker of artificial flowers into her "mistress," the novel is full of fascinating gender play and performativity, with the two characters slipping fluidly between gender roles. It features one of the most disturbing endings I've ever read.

I rather regret buying...more
Dfordoom
Raoule de Venerande, a young woman from an ancient noble family, has a taste for cross-dressing as well as fairly exotic sexual appetites. Her meeting with a poverty-stricken florist and would-be painter gives her the opportunity to indulge her tastes to the full. Jacques Silvert is a passive young man to begin with and is therefore ideal for Raoule’s purposes. She sets him up in a studio and begins an affair with him, but she is to be the man in the relationship while he is to be the woman. But...more
Steven Felicelli
had this on my readlist forever and finally read it - it's authentically transgressive (still - was written in late 19th Century) - Rachilde turns gender power-structure on its head without lapsing into easy feminism

this is a strange and violent book (if occasionally over-the-top, melodramatic) - surprised she's not a bigger name (yet - soon maybe) and that no one's made a film version of this book
Katie Petersen
I appreciate this book from a purely scholastic point of view. It wasn't the most well-structured or entertaining read but definitely interesting. More simply put, I could write endless papers about this novel but would only give a lukewarm recommendation of it to someone not actively involved in the study of 19th century French literature or Gender and Women's Studies.
Jack
A wealthy, aristocratic woman discovers a starving artist and literally makes him her bitch. Students of Eve Sedgwick take note, this novel is rife with gender performativity and intriguing sexual reversals. And it has a supremely creepy ending.
Vanessa
One of the more incredible studies of gender and class I've ever encountered.
Lauren
Disturbing but very interesting
pearl
Jul 08, 2013 pearl marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fraaance, scary
Consider me intrigued...
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51179
Rachilde was the nom de plume of Marguerite Vallette-Eymery, a French author who was born February 11, 1860 in Périgueux, Périgord, Dordogne, Aquitaine, France during the Second French Empire and died in April 4, 1953.
She is considered to be a pioneer of anti-realistic drama and a participant in the Decadent movement.
Rachilde was married to Alfred Vallette.
More about Rachilde...
The Juggler La Marquise de Sade Madame La Mort and Other Plays Madame Adonis tour d'amour

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“I have never been loved enough to gain the desire of reproducing a being in the image of my lover and I have never been given enough pleasure so that my brain has not had the leisure to seek better...I have wanted the impossible...” 48 likes
“All monsters have their fits of depression.” 16 likes
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