The Unintended Reader: Feminism and Manon Lescaut

Series: Cambridge Studies in French (v. 13)

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This 1986 study of Manon Lescaut draws on various debates in the fields of psychoanalysis, feminism and literary criticism. It has two principal aims: to analyse this story of a young man's passion for a femme fatale as it is presented by the narrator; and to suggest ways in which feminist criticism can help explain how the text operates. The volume is in three parts. In Part I, Dr Segal offers a close reading of Manon Lescaut in which the narrator's relationship with language is the key issue. Part II considers four central themes which are present in the text's language and structure: money, the image of the woman, the concept of the double, and fatality. In the final part the author presents a feminist critique of Freud and Lacan, and develops thereby a fascinating version of the Oedipus Complex which is brought to bear on Manon Lescaut.