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Queer Galanterie: Accommodating Histories and Bodies in Early Modern France

Dahl, Caitlin (2023) Queer Galanterie: Accommodating Histories and Bodies in Early Modern France. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Over the centuries, galanterie has played a decisive role in informing prominent national stereotypes of Frenchness and French practices of flirtation and seduction. Seventeenth-century galanterie advocates a particular ideal relation between the sexes, where the reciprocity and mixing of men and women leads to refined sociability and discursive finesse. Yet galanterie’s investment in what we now call heterosexual and heterosocial relations did not preclude its incorporation of portrayals of queer identities and desires. Employing a methodology of “accommodation,” this dissertation identifies early modern texts and authors that rework galanterie’s precepts to produce textual environments that incorporate queerness, defined as all that resists, eludes, or exceeds the heteronormative and cisnormative ordering of gender and sexuality that galanterie is widely understood to uphold. An attention to textual environments—from editorial remarks and prefaces to typographical details—reveals how the texts and authors that figure in this dissertation accommodate queer intimacies and forms of gendered embodiment.
The chapters of this dissertation situate different modes of accommodation in seventeenth-century galant prose fiction. Madame de Villedieu’s Mémoires de la vie de Henriette Sylvie de Molière (1672) deploys the playful tonality of the badin to critique the male-female relations, and the potential sexual aggression and disregard for female consent of galant sociability. Badinage emerges as an innovative mode of “galant femininity” that admits female-female intimacy. My analysis of Catherine Bernard’s Fédéric de Sicile (1680) outlines “dysarticulation” as moments of intentional linguistic disorder that permit the communication of difference. Through articulating differently—or “incorrectly,” according to some critics—Bernard’s text stages queer gender and inclination. Read over its three early modern editions, Choisy’s Histoire de la Marquise-Marquis de Banneville (1695) accommodates queer community as it includes gender diverse personages across different versions. Donneau de Visé’s presentation of “queer tales” in various issues of the Mercure galant permits a new mode a relationality engaged around queer stories which I term “intimediacies.” The details of queer intimacies are shared through Donneau de Visé’s interactive mediatic enterprise. Ultimately, this project illustrates that as a norm, galanterie comprises its queer outliers, and thus revises histories of French heteronormativity and cisnormativity.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Dahl, Caitlincmd166@pitt.educmd1660000-0001-6536-0187
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairHogg, Chloéhoggca@pitt.eduhoggca
Committee MemberReeser, Toddreeser@pitt.edureeser
Committee MemberMecchia,
Committee MemberSeifert,
Date: 6 September 2023
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 21 April 2023
Approval Date: 6 September 2023
Submission Date: 14 June 2023
Access Restriction: 1 year -- Restrict access to University of Pittsburgh for a period of 1 year.
Number of Pages: 288
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > French
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: nouvelle historique, nouvelle galante, Mercure galant, queer community, queer accommodation
Date Deposited: 06 Sep 2023 14:11
Last Modified: 06 Sep 2023 14:11


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