Review by Choice Review
Roussel studies a group of ``femocentric'' literary works, about women but by men, which have in common the theme of seduction, in order to explore ``that area of ambivalence which is created between a man and a woman when his sense of the fixed opposition of their sexual identities is put into play.'' Intimate erotic and romantic confrontation enables the sexes to move from opposition to equality in relationships which disclose to both men and women that they have access to qualities and experiences conventionally associated with the opposite sex. Roussel is interested too in the way the reading of these books offers a comparable revelation to the reader, and his analysis of Fanny Hill is especially interesting in this regard. His discussions of Donne's ``The Flea,'' of Pamela and Les Liaisons dangereuses, and of the comedies of Congreve are subtle and stimulating. Nancy K. Miller's The Heroine's Text (CH, Jan '81) studies these same novels, but as historical documents providing insight into the conditions of women's lives in the 18th century. Useful mainly to graduate students.-M.B. Friedman, California State University, Hayward
Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.
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