By Marlène Barsoum
Théophile Gautier explores language in Mademoiselle de Maupin; therein lies his modernity. he's looking a language that could convey a fact that's not partial and hence embeds within the novel the mythic determine of the androgyne to rouse a idea of excellent expression, or «the androgynous discourse». Gautier has this recalcitrant referent soaring within the interstices of repetitions and the interaction of symptoms to illustrate that the androgyne is non-demonstrable yet that it exists as an concept and that the textual content of the androgyne is a story at the irremediable barriers of language.
Gautier’s quandary in Mademoiselle de Maupin, although, isn't constrained to the expression of the writer’s inevitable frustration while faced with the unrepresentable. He additionally provides voice to a longing that's greater in scope, particularly, the want for completeness in oneself. the parable of the androgyne, evoked in Mademoiselle de Maupin, serves to indicate to the common tale of the human striving for wholeness.
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Extra resources for Théophile Gautier’s "Mademoiselle de Maupin": Toward a Definition of the "Androgynous Discourse"
This process of dédoublement is evident both in d’Albert and Madeleine-Théodore’s letters. D’Albert writes to Silvio in chapter 2: “Tout ceci est fort loin de notre sujet, qui est, si je m’en souviens bien , l’histoire glorieuse et triomphante du chevalier d’Albert au pourchas de Daraïde, la plus belle princesse du monde, comme disent les vieux romans” (67–68); and further on, “Il n’y a rien de sinistre dans notre roman; il est couleur de rose, et l’on n’y verse d’autres larmes que celles du plaisir; .
Created in MadeleineThéodore’s image yet not her biological product leads the reader to question her significance. In addition to alluding to the master-pupil relationship among Classical artists, Gautier might be evoking a symbolic “pregnancy” with the “child”representing the culmination of a process of spiritual maturation. The linking of the artistic and the spiritual process is a known one. As Rank reminds us, the development of the soul began in art and the process of the humanization of the soul completed itself in art (Rank16).
Madeleine-Théodore appears as the character, Théodore, for the first time in chapter 5, in a description given by d’Albert, and does not assume her status as writer before chapter 10. Whereas d’Albert waxes poetic in describing his ideal of beauty in the first four chapters, MadeleineThéodore’s discourse, in chapter 10, offers a striking contrast in her systematic, logical and organized quest for a lover. Whereas no change is perceptible in d’Albert’s mode of writing throughout the novel, the same cannot be asserted of Madeleine-Théodore’s epistolary style.