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Oct 23

OCT 23

6:00 PM–7:30 PM


Sex, Politics, and Silence in Restoration France

6:00 PM–7:30 PM    East Gallery, Buell Hall


Sex, Politics, and Silence in Restoration France

Talk by Andrew Counter

The famous ellipses that punctuate Stendhal’s Le Rouge et le noir tend to intervene when the story comes too close to one of two topics: sex and politics. Andrew Counter argues that Stendahl's use of ellipses to designate forbidden sexual or political topics was a basic convention of early 19th-century public discourse. The parallel rhetorical treatment of sex and politics, meanwhile, intensified the pre-existing association between the two, producing doubly subversive textual ‘hotspots’ that reveal much about the cultural fault-lines of the era. Counter explores these hotspots in fiction writers of the Bourbon Restoration (1815-1830), including Stendhal, to show how silence becomes politically and erotically productive in an era of censorship.

Andrew Counter teaches French at King’s College London. His book Inheritance in Nineteenth-Century French Culture: Wealth, Knowledge and the Family appeared in 2010, and he is currently finishing his second, The Amorous Restoration: Love, Sex and Politics in Early Nineteenth-Century France.

Sex, Politics, and Silence in Restoration France