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Syracuse University

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Full-Text Articles in Modern Literature

The Fetish In/As Text: Retif De La Bretonne And The Development Of Modern Sexual Science And French Literary Studies, 1887-1934, Amy S. Wyngaard Jan 2006

The Fetish In/As Text: Retif De La Bretonne And The Development Of Modern Sexual Science And French Literary Studies, 1887-1934, Amy S. Wyngaard

Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics

This essay examines the role of Rétif's writings in the development of the concept of erotic fetishism and in the formation of the French literary canon in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Rétif explored foot and shoe fetishisms more than a century before the phenomena were medically recognized, anticipating the modern psychosexual use of the term fetishism and making important contributions to the invention of the theoretical concept. Rétif's works were accorded a privileged place in early pathologies of fetishism, which provoked a series of polemics among German and French medical doctors and literary scholars centered ...