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The Last TabooWomen and Body Hair$
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Karin Lesnik-Oberstein

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780719075001

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: July 2012

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719075001.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM MANCHESTER SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.manchester.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Manchester University Press, 2019. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in MSO for personal use.date: 23 October 2019

‘La justice, c’est la femme à barbe!’: the bearded lady, displacement and recuperation in Apollinaire's Les Mamelles de Tirésias

‘La justice, c’est la femme à barbe!’: the bearded lady, displacement and recuperation in Apollinaire's Les Mamelles de Tirésias

Chapter:
(p.83) 5 ‘La justice, c’est la femme à barbe!’: the bearded lady, displacement and recuperation in Apollinaire's Les Mamelles de Tirésias
Source:
The Last Taboo
Author(s):

Stephen Thomson

Publisher:
Manchester University Press
DOI:10.7228/manchester/9780719075001.003.0005

In Salvador Dali's joking aphorism, the virility of the concept of justice clashes with the grammatical gender of the word, ‘la justice’. Justice persists in the notion of a normal, adjusted, fitting, right division of sexual characters that the bearded lady contravenes. For, although she figures sexual ambiguity, in so doing she also keeps it at arm's length as freakish. This chapter explores the currency of the bearded lady in late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century French literature. In particular, it examines ways in which that currency is caught up in techniques of unexpected juxtaposition and displacement associated with avant-garde movements of the period, in particular Surrealism and Dada. The avant-garde is not entirely uninvolved with ladies with whiskers. The chapter considers the bearded lady, displacement and recuperation in Guillaume Apollinaire's play Les Mamelles de Tirésias (1917). It also comments on the feminine body in Apollinaire's first published book, L'Enchanteur pourrissant (1909), and Tristan Tzara's play Le Coeur à gaz, first shown in 1921.

Keywords:   bearded lady, feminine body, justice, Salvador Dali, French literature, displacement, Surrealism, whiskers, recuperation, Mamelles de Tirésias

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