Violette Leduc The Times Literary Supplement - Essay

The Times Literary Supplement

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

There are a number of similarities, both literary and personal, between Violette Leduc and Jean Genet…. Both are brilliant writers without the slightest interest in constructing a coherent work of narrative prose. Both use literature for essentially personal and autobiographical motives, and both write virtually the same book again and again. Both feel themselves rejected by normal society through the misfortunes of their childhood and the nonconformity of their sexual tastes, but, both have been surprisingly successful in reintegrating themselves into society through literature. Both are completely indifferent to conventional moral values, and describe their thefts, homosexual exploits or black market profiteering with a strange innocence that is only partly the result of a deliberate pose. And both of them, in England at least, are probably bought in the first place for what moralists would describe as the wrong reasons….

La Bâtarde may be bought by voyeuristic readers in search of salacious details. Such purchasers, it need hardly be said, are in for a disappointment. There are descriptions of women making love to each other, as there are references to menstruation and abortions, but these take up only a very small part of the book. The love affairs, moreover, are described with such a wealth of poetic images that only the most determined immoralist could find them sexually exciting….

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(The entire section is 583 words.)