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Abstract

This article compares Catherine Millet’s La vie sexuelle de Catherine M. (2001) to another work of erotic “fiction:” Pauline Réage’s Histoire d’O (1954). The scandal surrounding the publication of both works focused on the taboo subject of sexuality, and more significantly, on the role of the female author in writing such a graphic work. While Réage’s fictional account of one woman’s sexual experiences is told through a third-person narrator, Millet describes her own experiences in the first-person. However, the continual multiplication of this first-person narrator complicates a reading of her work that would presuppose that one is reading an autobiographical account. Instead, this contemporary work of “erotobiography” foregrounds woman’s quest for identity tied to sexuality.

Bio Note

Adrienne M. Angelo is a Visiting Instructor of French at Auburn University and earned a Ph.D. in French from Emory University. Her research interests focus on questions of woman’s subjectivity in contemporary French literature and theories of authorship in contemporary European cinema.

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