The Femme Fatale in American Literature

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Challenging the Stereotype: The Femme Fatale in Fin-de-Siècle Art and Early Cinema | SpringerLink

Through careful close readings, Farrimond demonstrates time and again a concern with trying to match behaviour and identity. Especially interesting here are the chapters on bisexuality, where Farrimond argues that:.


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The bisexual woman and the femme fatale both complicate the idea of a straight-forward reading of women and sexual pleasure no pun intended. In the case of the bisexual woman, her sexuality refuses to settle into a binary structure. As for the femme fatale, we cannot necessarily match motives and desires in any sustained way.

Femme Fatales of English Literature

Issues of knowledge, deception and the unseen, invisibility and disguise hover over the femme fatale and queer cinematic representation, allowing Farrimond a bracing intervention which reclaims mystery and duplicity as a feminist approach to sexuality, not as a way of deciding between categories gay or straight? Authentic or duplicitious? Pleasure or power?

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In this book, Farrimond favours a hopeful and optimistic reading of the femme fatale, although she acknowledges the admixture of the reactionary and the progressive we may well expect in such a frequently deployed type. Across all eight chapters, what emerges is the energising leakiness of the figure.

Farrimond frequently finds the femme fatale in a liminal place: caught between life and death as a beautiful corpse; as an adolescent; as bisexual; as a cyborg. Perhaps it is this very liminality which makes the femme fatale such an engaging and useful figure for working through complex questions about the representation of female agency, sexuality and desire in the current cultural landscape. The book raises important questions about female agency and how, in American cinema, this is still above all represented by powerful women who meet highly normative standards for female beauty.

My Five Favorite Femme Fatales in Fiction

That these women are themselves beginning to turn the spotlight on the abusive sexual practices which may well underline some of these representations makes this book all the more timely. She is book reviews editor for Feminist […]. Click here to cancel reply.

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Essay about Femme Fatales of English Literature

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An Analysis of the Femme Fatale in The Maltese Falcon

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