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Come and join us to learn more about us, play games, participate in a prize draw and maybe even win an amazing prize! More information about the festival: A protest movement launched by students and workers against traditional society and authority, May 68 is a movement of unprecedented magnitude that takes on the appearance of revolution.
At Nanterre University, students, claim a liberalization of morals. Speeches, debates and general assemblies take place on the streets, businesses, administrations and universities. During the Parisian events, photographers were numerous. Philippe Gras is one of those photographers who knew how to capture not only the moment and the getsure, but also the sign and meaning of this period of innovation and contest.
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The exhibition is accompanied by a documentary film entitled: Monday, May 28th, 5. Tuesday, May 22nd, 6 PM Director: Enter the universe of Theo Brode who, like so many in Louisiana, chose to learn, speak, and preserve the language of their Cajun, Creoles and other French ancestors. The director Thomas Cauvin will be there for a discussion after the screening! He is a History professor at Colorado State University. Make learning French fun again! Thursday, April 26th, 6. Friday, April 6th, Director: A young girl studies classical ballet.
As a young woman she turns to modern dance and choreography. Thursday, March 22nd, Wednesday, March 21st, 7. Very few pianists speak to the public about the pieces they play. Since a long time, Olivier excels in communicating and sharing emotions. But never by austere lectures or tricky analyses: The idea is to establish a living contact with the listener, allowing him or her to get in touch easily with the gorgeous world of piano music. Tuesday, March 13th, 7 PM Director: Patients is the story of a rebirth, a chaotic journey of victories and defeats, tears and bursts of laughter, but above all encounters: A hectic wedding party held in an 17th century French palace comes together with the help of the behind-the-scenes staff.
Saturday, February 10th, 10 am — 11 pm Sunday, February 11th, 11 am — 2 pm. More details on Facebook. The adventure of a Jewish kid and of his brother escaping the Nazi persecution in the occupied France. Marguerite Dumont is a wealthy woman, lover of the music and the opera. Both her friends and her husband have kept her fantasy.
The problem begins when she decides to perform in front of a real audience. Thursday, January 18th, Location: Come and celebrate the arrival of the three kings with us! Friday, November 24th, Director: Monday, November 20th, Location: Wednesday, November 15th, Director: Showing solutions, telling a feel-good story… this may be the best way to solve the ecological, economical and social crises that our countries are going through. During their journey, they met the pioneers who are re-inventing agriculture, energy, economy, democracy and education.
Her main fields of research include social mouvements and collective action, international political economy and alternative economies diverse, solidarity economies , globalization, power and global governance, food politics, as well as social and environmental justice. She is pursuing her research analyzing Brazilian and Mexican peasant movements and agricultural trade politics. Friday, Novmber 10th, Director: In s France, Gabrielle is a passionate, free-spirited woman who is in a loveless marriage and falls for another man when she is sent away to the Alps to treat her kidney stones.
Friday, October 27th, Director: Samuel likes to party in the Marseille area of France and is awoken one morning by a woman carrying a baby she claims is his. She leaves him the wailing infant and drives off to London; in an attempt to find her, he goes to London and ends up staying there, having to raise the child by himself…. Friday, October 13th, Director: She loves her job and does it competently but even in a greasy blue overall, a woman will be a woman, with her heart, her desires and seduction… In such conditions can an all-male crew really remain totally insensitive to her charms?
Friday, September 29th, Director: Wednesday, September 27th, Location: Her French-Canadian father told her stories of a bank robber and his dog, her American mother read to her every night, and the children in the Italian village where she grew up told her stories of the witch that lived at the end of the street.
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She studied literature and education before finding her true vocation as a storyteller, a career she has been pursuing full time since She also tells extensively to children. Erotic passion and murderous rage succeed each other in this medieval love story that keeps audiences enthralled until the cliff-hanging finale. King Marc of Cornwall, his wife Iseult of Ireland and his nephew Tristan are caught in a tragic love triangle. Watch as they weave their way through danger and delight, accompanied by a motley crew of secondary characters, lepers, dwarves and servants who add color and humour to the tale.
Love, laughter, sea voyages, dragons, beautiful green-eyed maidens and psychic dwarves, noble knights and cuckolded kings: Friday, September 15th, Director: A young French woman unexpectedly dies in Berlin, where she lives with her boyfriend. They struggle to find a new meaning of life in Paris, Annecy and New York. It takes place every 21st June, the day of the summer solstice in the northern hemisphere. The World Music Day is free and open to everyone. As a popular event — blending different musical types and dealing with the general public — it aims to popularise the musical practice as well as familiarise everyone from any social condition to musical expressions.
Django Libre was founded in by a group of Ottawa musicians who wanted to introduce gypsy jazz. The gypsy jazz was created in the thirties by the legendary gypsy guitarist Django Reinhardt and mixes the American orchestral swing with the exotic sounds of the songs of the gypsy folklore.
Django Libre approaches this style with a modern, technical sensitivity and love for this music. Friday, May 5th, Director: When five orphan girls are seen innocently playing with boys on a beach, their scandalized conservative guardians confine them while forced marriages are arranged.
Click here for the press release. Friday, May 19th, Director: Thursday, May 25th, Time: Sophie Cadieux and Marie Brassard Presentation: The recordings will be available on: Friday, April 7th, Director: Julie Wormser and her lover, writer and neighbour Jeff Marle, plan the assassination of her wealthy husband Louis, an impotent who drinks a lot. She hits him, and leaves…. Presented by our very own expert Maurice Graffin, member of the AFO board, each film will be introduced before the screening and discussed afterwards.
Maurice has been involved in the cinematic world for quite a while now, and he specialises in French cinema.
Paul is preparing to leave Tajikistan, while thinking back on his adolescent years. Click here for the trailer. Friday, March 24th, Director: Louis, a terminally ill writer, returns home after a long absence to tell his family that he is dying. Click here to view the press release. Thursday, March 30th, Guests: To be announced Time: Arnaud is a war correspondent.
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Pink Is The New Blog. The real tracks with Pharrell are Retrieved June 16, The Complete Studio Albums — The Virgin Tour Ciao Italia: Tears of a Clown. Oxford University Press, Wilhelm Hornbostel, Tomi Ungerer: Marie-Louise von Plessen, Marianne und Germania Frankreich und Deutschland Berlin: Robert Gildea, Marianne in Chains: Gildea, Marianne in Chains, 3.
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Cambridge University Press, Routledge, , 1. See Fuss, Essentially Speaking, 18— Doing Unto Others New York: Routledge, ; and James A. University of Chicago Press, See Miri Rubin, Mother of God: Yale University Press, Minority Groups in the Middle Ages London: Anderson, Imagined Communities, 5—7. Chapter 2 Sexual Crimes in the Early Modern Witch Hunts Maryse Simon The witch hunt was an essential element in early modern European poli- tics, setting the stage for a long historical preoccupation with gender and sexuality as central themes in ideological concerns about the place of women and of religion in society.
All of Europe was ablaze with witch persecutions in the early modern period, reaching across a vast territo- rial expanse. The bulk of the witch-hunting craze took place between and Around fifty thousand victims allegedly succumbed to these witch hunts, though precise numbers are difficult to calculate. The sheer number of victims is remarkable, but perhaps even more so is the preponderance of gender and sexuality.
On average, eighty percent of the accused were women, although, in a few regions, more men than women were executed French Normandy, Finland, and Iceland in partic- ular. But in reality, young married women, children, youths, and men were all entangled in the major hunts. This chapter considers the arguments that were often made in the early modern era for the hunting down of witches, for the preponderance of women among the accused, and for the peculiarly sexualized nature of their supposed crimes.
The common opinion amongst the elites was that women were weak and naturally prone to sin, driven by their strong sexual appetite. Sex, lust, and sexual deviancy were crucial themes in the witch craze, and were more generally prevalent in early modern society. According to the Malleus Maleficarum, the famous Hammer of Witches published in in Strasbourg to answer all the questions the judges could have about witchcraft cases, erotic magic was the most widespread form of magic because original sin was transmitted by sexual inter- course, and God allowed the devil to have more power in this field than in others.
Sexual magic could operate in both ways: Mention is made of the case of a man who was executed in Lorraine in for having used love potions and for having had sex with eighteen women in one day. There was an essential contradiction between the demonological discourse and the confessions made by the villagers accused of being witches. According to the theorists of the witch hunt, one of the reasons why Satan fornicated with witches was to seduce them and attach them to him by lust. It is only laughable to want to be loved in return and taste a shared love. More generally, the female body was commonly represented as a hidden monster devouring men.
However, the frantic search for lust and sexual pleasure supposedly attributed to women was not verified in the confessions, rather the opposite was often true. It was presented as a compulsory element of submission to the devil. Confessions made by villagers were considerably lacking in information concerning the inversion of sexual norms during the Sabbath: Theoretical depravity, accompanying all forms of deviancy, was envisaged by demonologists in lurid detail and with displays of horror; nevertheless, some of them even admitted that these deviancies they envisages were, in fact, rare in actual trials.
A reticence on the topic seems rather to come from the villagers themselves, who were less willing than the theorists judging them to envisage subverting the rules of the Christian code. The question of sexual intercourse and potential procreation was problematic for the demonologists. It was impossible to settle the question unanimously and this proved the discontent and difficul- ties caused by such belief. In some respects, the demonologists' thoughts were far from those of the villagers, who generally did not question the reality of the carnal act and its logical consequences, that is, monstrous babies.
Demonologists faced particular problems where human metamor- phoses of demons either into incubi or succubi were concerned. While this special incarnation was perfectly logical for the villagers, it raised insoluble problems for theorists because of the consequences of the supposed acts of intercourse. Popular belief established that children could be born of the union between human beings and demons, usually malformed or with a diabolical flaw.
For demonologists, however, demons could not procreate because God did not grant them this faculty and, consequently, the seminal seed often described by witches could only be cold water. They had to find a way to reconcile popular myth and theological dogma, without threatening the very belief framework that could lead to legitimate accusations. Thus theorists settled on a complex explanation: These mental gymnastics were necessary to explain the popular belief in monstrous babies imputed to the devil.
What might we infer from such permutations of logic? The villagers seem to have been more interested in impotence and fertility than in either questions of deviancy which remained hidden or unspoken or theoretical problems which they were not inclined to raise. Male sexual impotence was a more pressing problem in their lives, and especially the danger of a nouement d'aiguillette, a special impotence often quoted in French archives. It is, in fact, two cases which are linked. He declared that he took a young groom's virility when he got married in the Church.
He confessed that his motivation was to retal- iate against the bride, who had made fun of him and had refused to marry him. In order to cause this magical harm, he said that he used the noue- ment d'aiguillette, that is, a thread or a lace—usually used to tie up clothes or hose stockings—tied in a knot with magic spells. The ritual apparently worked because the groom said since his wedding on the twenty-sixth of July, , his belly was painful and he had lost his sexual strength. The accused was sent to jail, where he met another witch, Nicole Demenge.
The second case is even more detailed and explicit: Apparently, Nicole used poisonous wine to deprive men of their sexual strength. One of the men was harmed in this way the day after his wedding and another one directly accused the innkeeper. One of the witnesses during Nicole's interrogation stipulated that an Alsatian healer could save the impotent man: Nicole was involved in other magical rituals.
She offered her help to cure a young girl. She claimed in front of several villagers that she could heal the girl, as could a certain Pinade who knew a special art with an egg that could heal her. Nicole accomplished the whole ritual with an egg and the girl recovered.
In this case, her art had a positive effect, even if the method risked punishment. In the case of impotent men, the result was clearly negative for the victim and most of the people involved: Nicole was quite crude in her language: She was even more violent in her discourse when she said that she wanted to stab a man, to pull out his heart from his body and put it on the grill to devour it.
Apparently a woman could suffice to put everything back to normal without the need for any magical inter- vention. She was accused of using magical principles with her special art, which was a crime whatever the result, whether baleful or beneficial. Sexual Crimes in the Early Modern Witch Hunts 33 Another case illustrates perfectly the perceived gap between magical power and natural causes. The Bailli from La Wantzenau reported, in that, for many years now, several men had been mysteriously deprived of their sexual strength, and he accused women and children of being the culprits.
The result of the investigation was corporal punishment for the children and incrimination for the woman. She was put in jail and tortured several times, but because she never confessed her supposed crime, she was sent back home and locked in her house. Some other cases were not that simple. Female sterility, also often evoked in witchcraft trials, was more complicated in various ways.
Witches were said to use certain drugs to deprive women of the capacity of conceiving, which was a real crime. Jean Bodin, as a philosopher, a politician, and a demonologist who published the famous Demonomanie des sorciers in ,10 clearly expressed why witches, and particularly those who were midwives, posed a very serious threat. He stated that the security of a state, as well as its prosperity, depended on a flourishing population. He believed that witches operating through midwives could threaten Christendom and overthrow European prosperity.
The health of the state depended, in his opinion, on the control of birth. Midwives and, more generally, healers, were responsible for controlling birth by practicing abortions. These women were henceforth construed as having the knowledge and the ability to oppose masculine power. Midwives performed a necessary role, but their labor had to be regulated from above. In a statement reporting the nomination of a new midwife in a small town in ,12 it was stipulated that the midwife had to reveal and report illegal pregnancies of any kind.
The practices followed by the nominated midwife were not very different from the ones at work during the time of the witch hunts. This corresponded to a change in position on the part of the authorities, with a shift towards the criminalization of certain practices now deemed superstitious whereas previously they had been considered as pertaining to unnatural magic— magic that was recognized and sought after by all.
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This idea was shared by villagers as well, and even by women accused of being witches them- selves. This indication of how to abort was presented as the most reprehensible thing the devil could teach her. Sexual Crimes in the Early Modern Witch Hunts 35 Another crime associated with witchcraft and sexuality, or fertility, was infanticide. This was partly because witches were accused of killing babies in order to use the bodies in the rituals of the Sabbath or to make ointments and powders.
A baby died in , and then, in , a relative, Barbelline Chaponney, was accused of being a witch and having killed the baby. The infant died after being half burnt because he was left too close to the chimney, at a time when a woman named Didielle, the new wife of his grandfather, was looking after him. Nevertheless, Didielle then accused Barbelline of having killed the baby. The story of Barbelline deserves attention because she can be seen as a marginal character in several respects.
She was formally married, but had been abandoned by her Alsatian husband. Barbelline claimed that she had tried to live as honestly and wisely as possible, admitting that she had a daughter in in well-known circumstances, after she had been the victim of a collective rape by five soldiers who had been in the village. By her own account, the soldiers caught her near the paper mill in the village where they raped her; then, immediately afterward, when she was on the road home, she met the devil, who promised to help her straight away.
Later in the trial, she described the Sabbath as taking place in the exact place where she had been raped. Her failure to confess to any kind of sexual intercourse with the devil was very unusual because when she admitted to participation in the Sabbath she ought to have included in her tale this classic component of the relationship between demon and witch.
In her case, the sexual question, including the rape, was relegated to the background, and it was her relationships with the other villagers, especially her stepfather, Quentin de Verpelier, a leading figure in the village, that were foregrounded. During this period, the term sodomy could refer to different sexual deviancies, including bestiality.
He asked for the normal punishment, death by stran- gulation and burning at the stake. Because the events dated back thirty- six years, there is no mention in the trial of the animals associated with the crime. However, other victims appeared throughout the interroga- tions. First of all, the accused man involved young boys or servants in the crimes of his youth.
He claimed not to remember exactly who they were, although he gave details of his attempts to force sodomy anal intercourse on his wife. According to the wife, she courageously resisted her husband. A pattern of explanation was revealed in the trial. The crime of bestiality was linked to witchcraft, so could this have been a denunciation for an actual crime involving unnatural behavior where the accused was also suspected as a witch?
Demenge Nicolas Humbert was pressed to add a confession to the crime of witchcraft, since his mother, Denisatte Humbert, had been convicted of witchcraft in the year of the first witch- craft trials in the region, when he was fourteen years old. Around the same time, another case took place in a village where Jean Goeury was strangled and burnt, in , for the crimes of witchcraft and sodomy.
The judges asked him: The judges told him that, if he really did it, he must necessarily remember it! He persisted in saying he had no memory of such an act. Jean Goeury, like Demenge Colas Humbert, made vague responses to the accusation of sodomy, but firmly denied that of witchcraft. The act in itself was not considered as being unnatural and so was less severely punished. Neither the legal system nor the official judgments really took into account the actual situation of women who had been raped, but they did give great importance to unnatural acts. This was shown in , in the case of a man who had already been arrested several times for rape, two of these charges involving children aged five and seven years old one child was killed in the rape.
Yet it was because he had sexual intercourse with a sow that he was sent to the stake. The sow was killed by a blow to the head and the man was strangled, then both the bodies were burnt. There is one imaginary detail in this story; the sow is said to have given birth to monstrous children with the head and the feet of a pig. The French writer on marvels and monsters Pierre Boaistuau related a shameful story about a child conceived by a woman and a dog.
Another characteristic emerges from the compilation of trials, the rural aspect of the crime, and not only because there are more animals in the countryside than in town. The proof is that many criminal procedures led to appeals before the Parlement de Paris in this period. The reality of these sexually deviant practices is undeniable, but of course they were neither an invention nor a specificity of early modern society.
Zoophilia as we, but not they, might call it and witchcraft were categories of crime that changed status very gradually, moving from an abominable crime requiring a judicial procedure and the death penalty, to a pathology of the mentally ill whose sexually deviant behavior was still to be punished, but by confinement rather than by death.
In the eighteenth century, witches were considered insane rather than guilty. In some cases, sexual crimes during the witch hunt not only concerned sinners conscious of their crimes, but also children. Usually children were not persecuted as culprits because of their age, which meant that they were not responsible for the crime, and usually they were not involved in sexual crimes before the age of puberty.
But some radical demonologists thought even children should be executed without mercy because they were as guilty and dangerous as adults. Some judges shared this opinion and sent children to their death. A context that is particularly well documented is that of pupils in Jesuit schools. For instance, thirty-five children were executed for being young witches among two hundred and one executions in total in a town named Molsheim, where the Jesuits ran a school. Children reproduced adult discourse when asked the same questions about the evils they committed, reinforcing the usual stereotype.
But children could also be involved in sexual crimes connected to witchcraft by being accomplices to the crime of incest. On one hand, they could be active accomplices, like a teenager called Martin Heid, who confessed to having had sex with his mother, and, later in his trial, added to this charge that of bestiality with a sheep. A very interesting case brought to court between and tells the story of a wealthy peasant who was accused of being a rebel against authority, a blasphemer, a drunkard, a violent thief, and, in addition, an incestuous witch.
The latter was quite unclear when she testified before the court and the clerk of the court was unable to ascertain whether she had succeeded in preventing her new husband from incestuous acts or not. Another witness who lived in their house at that time said that the daughter kept her shirt on all night long, but other villagers testified that he often took her with him when he was on the road and slept in the same bed with her. This man, Miclin Parmentier, was also accused by his own son, aged eight, of having broken the Sabbath by bringing him to church on a horse.
In a way, it was easier to condemn people for the crime of witchcraft than for other crimes because, in the case of accusations of witchcraft, certain extraordinary measures were permitted judicial torture, legal lies purporting that the accused could be released whereas such procedures were forbidden for normal crimes. Thus, accusing someone of being a witch could be a way to reach a conviction against those who had succeeded until then in escaping from the judicial system.
No actual or material proof was required in witchcraft trials, and confessions extorted under torture alone were sufficient. Witchcraft could be a perfect accusation to get rid of someone who disturbed morality but was strong enough to defend himself against other crimes. But of course there is rarely one explana- tion for such a complicated situation involving religious concepts mixed with human feelings. Individuals lost in horrible behavior against God and nature could be accused, caught, and convicted more easily.
Also, in medieval and early modern times, magic and superstitious practices, real or supposed, became legal questions. But beyond legal and criminal issues, the place of women in society and the notion of feminine power elaborated by the elites showed an immense fear of women and of sexuality. Sexual acts had the potential to be seen as mortal sins and as crimes before the law, and actually punished by death. There was, of course, no psychologization of sexuality at this time. Witchcraft provided an opportunity to reveal crimes that surely existed but could otherwise stay hidden, covered by secrecy, shame, and fear.
It thus represented one of the first documented imbrications of gender and sexuality in the increasing intrusion of the state into early modern society. He published his famous Daemonolatreia in the first edition in Lyon in Presses Universitaires de Nancy, , All passages quoted English in this chapter have been translated from original sources by the author. Le Livre d'Histoire, , — Case studied by Robin Briggs. Pierre Boaistuau, Histoires prodigieuses Paris: Travelling on a horse on Sabbath was considered a violation of Sabbath in early modern Christian practice in France.
Chapter 3 The Renaissance Androgyne and Sexual Ideology Katherine Crawford In the cultural encounter that is typically taken to mark the beginning of the French Renaissance, the French invaded Italy and found a society steeped in the classical past in ways that were both fascinating and repellent. The combination of Italian mores and the startling knowl- edge of classical antiquity, brought to the cultural fore by Italian human- ists, initiated a long and—at least on the French side—fraught series of conversations.
Many of the vicissitudes of French responses and reac- tions to Italy have been explored before. This essay considers the collision of French culture with the Italian Renaissance in terms of sexual ethics as articulated through the figure of the androgyne. The sexual possibilities, however, gradually collapsed into a normative discourse, with the androgyne relegated to a figural life as, at best, a standin for marital heterosexuality and, at worst, a disciplinary figure marking the limits of sexuality.
Almost from the start, the androgyne appealed for its deceptive simplicity. The speech by Aristophanes rests on the premise that people feel complete when in love. His just-so story featured doubled bodies with two faces and eight limbs that tumbled rather than walked or ran because they were so spherical in shape.
These originary humans came in three genders: As the story goes, the ambitious, strong humans attacked the gods. Rather than deprive the gods of the honors the humans provided, Zeus cut them in half. Despairing over their lost wholeness, the humans started to die off, so Zeus moved their genitals around to the front and now the search for completion—for the lost half—could begin. The male and female halves could combine to reproduce and the male-male couples could enjoy intercourse. Aristophanes ignored the female-female couples at this point, but he suggested later that they are morally less problematic than those who seek completion in the opposite gender.
Despite their utility, the male-female unions are prone to sexual misbehavior: Those men who are cut from the combined gender the androg- ynous, as it was called then are attracted to women, and many adulterers are from this group. Similarly, the women who are attracted to men and become adulteresses come from this group. These are bold and brave, and love as the pursuit of wholeness is also completion through likeness, rather than difference.
The general moral of the tale, Aristo- phanes avers, is that love is the pursuit of wholeness. The primordial halves seem to be long gone, but balancing that is the hope of finding someone with whom one is compatible and happy. Both the idea of achieving unity in love and the androgyne intrigued readers because Plato left room for a number of questions that partic- ularly exercised Renaissance thinkers.
Is the androgyne configured in advance of generation? In other words, are the souls of lovers linked by God or can a lover simply find beauty in any soul? Why are completed heterosexual couples so prone to error? Are those errors a function of the desire of unlike halves—that is, men and women? Is love, in a sense, predestined? Is the androgyne an example of ancient wisdom that is compatible with Christian belief? If, as some came to suggest, the androgyne is an allegory of the fall of man, how can man achieve salva- tion without free will?
Does the sexual completeness of the prelapsarian androgyne require imagining sexual partners in expansive terms—that is, outside the heterosexual model? To approach these questions, I begin with the premise that the contes- tation over the persistent problems containing the meanings of the androgyne is a case study in emergent sexual ideology. And is recognition enough? The story of the androgyne as a referent in Renaissance France allows recognition to become visible, even if that visibility cannot answer the question of sufficiency. The introduction of antiquity as refracted through Italian Neoplatonism and reworked to satisfy French cultural imperatives partakes of transformation, misrecognition, and legitima- tion.
Several collisions between Christian humanism and pagan sexuality in early modernity have been fruitfully explored in related areas. From at least the Middle Ages, Ganymede was also a term for a young man who was the object of homosexual desire. The friction between Greek, pagan ideas of love and Christian suspicions of eroticism, Saslow argues, produced a wide array of meanings and images around this sexu- alized figure. In contrast, Renaissance humanists regarded Socrates as almost entirely shorn of possible associations with sex, according to George Huppert.
Proponents of humanism cast him as the asexual opponent of the pretenses of scholas- ticism, immune to the hypocrisy of self-interested Catholic theologians. The Renaissance Androgyne and Sexual Ideology 47 Italian Neoplatonists, led by Marsilio Ficino, were aware of the poten- tial for theologically and philosophically dangerous readings of the androgyne.
Ficino awkwardly contends that the story means that the two parts into which the original creatures are divided represent the human soul, and: When they are created by God, are whole, they are provided with two lights, one innate and the other infused, in order that by the innate light they may perceive inferior and equal things, and by the infused, superior things.
We call the sun male, since it receives light none and gives to all. The moon giving and receiving—receiving from the sun it gives to the elements—we call mixed. And the earth, since it certainly receives from all and gives to none, we call female. The androgyne for Ficino is the blending of these qualities within each lover, rather than a fusion of two separate individ- uals.
If lovers find their partners and completion on the basis of a quality that existed in them before genera- tion, human agency, or in theological terms, free will, was for naught. His focus was on the androgynous beings: The androgynes present an imme- diate and pressing sexual problem: On arrival, the soul will be happy beyond measure. In this account, the problematic gender is the one that unifies male and female.
I use the anachronism heterosexual with a purpose. In using heterosexual, my intention in part is to recall that it, too, is constructed in context. The French insistence on the heterosexual androgyne in fact opened up the homoerotic subtexts of the original figure. Making the androgyne safe for French consumption ultimately required explicit repudiation of sexual polymorphous possibility.
The androgyne, as part of Neoplatonic philosophy, offered many potential readings, as both Renaissance writers and modern critics have discovered. Charity seeketh not her own [profit]. Jerome Schwartz argues, against Carpenter and M. Screech, that the key to understanding this passage is in deciphering the relationship between the image and the motto. Schwartz contends that Rabelais is commenting on the relationship between agape Christian love and self love, a tension that goes back to, at least, St. The androgyne, in this reading, stands for orderly society within a Catholic ethos.
Marguerite de Navarre used the figure in several ways within her corpus. No man can know where his other half is to be found, this other half with whom he may find a union so equal that between [the parts] there is no difference; which being so, a man must hold fast where Love constrains him and, whatever may befall him, he must remain steadfast in heart and will. For if she whom you love is your true likeness, if she is of the same will, then it will be your own self that you love, and not her alone. That one who Is in this love I see, He is what Is, his own life is in him, Although he is son of the great God of abundance, He took human flesh and indigence; His power comes from the divinity And his torment from our humanity, Thus comes Love, this divine brilliant fire Which causes all other loves to be annulled The one who Is, to whom well imagined Is seen also within this Androgyne, Which his half does not cease to search for Not finding it can not but blaze: The lover searches for his other half, whose origin, as such, is in heaven.
Marguerite mediated between an understanding of the androgyne as an impossible aspiration of perfection in corporeal comple- tion and conflicting notions of efficacious human will. Where Marguerite de Navarre flirted with Calvinism in her use of the androgyne as a proxy in the dispute over free will, poets worked to incor- porate the androgyne into specifically French traditions around gender and desire.
The term initially indicated a sexually neutral entity, as in the Blason du nombril, written sometime after by Bonaventure des Periers: Which, against all pity, was divided in half, and the fact of a whole so happy two half bodies too languishing, which of late are always wandering, And the one always looking for the other And great is their desire to reunite…].
If this is a single entity, it could be a hermaphrodite; if it is instead a conjoined being, it is already heterosexual. The emphasis on the androgyne as both male and female in one obviated the possibility of reading the figure in terms of sodomit- ical male-male union. French repudiations of the Italian association with male homosexual sodomy recurred as the Renaissance settled in.
When seeing it, I think over The sweet bond Which, in happy alliance, Supports the ancient man-woman When the [female] lover and the [male] lover Do not come seeking their other half. Tyard initially deployed the androgyne as the figure for homosocial union. Tyard used the sonnet form— quintessentially addressed to a female love object since Petrarch—for a relationship with a man. Completion is imagined as both choice: Perfection in unity is a partial reflection of lovers joined because of heavenly recursive prescription: I do not want to know if it was kindness To be taken by the maker, who long ago pitied, The poor ones all split in half, From their celestial origin You hope as much good to me, You value as much as I ought, Having you as the price of my faith, There is my Androgyne.
Du Bellay downplayed any embodied notion of the androgyne, reading the union as a spiritual one with the soul finding its other half. That is, the language of desire with scant reference to corporeal form allows for a unity of souls in heaven that is consistent with Augustinian ideas about simultaneous creation and predestination. Augustine held that the universe was created by God in an instant the division of creation into days was simply a framework for more limited human minds , and so all souls were, in a sense, one and united with each other and God.
The first fire of my lesser pleasure Made gasping my altered desire Then of our hearts the celestial Androgyne You bind my faith more righteously: Unity is still heavenly, but unlike the alternating I and you in the first poem, the emphasis on I Je in the second implies more personal, individual fulfill- ment, rather than the soul rejoining God.
In neither poem did Du Bellay specify the object of his desire, allowing room for imagining his vision of unity in either homoerotic or hetero- erotic terms. Although Du Bellay retained a level of abstraction in his language about completion, others proceeded to reduce the religious, psychological, and philosophical complexities and, in so doing, opened up the androgyne to criticism. Most significantly, Merrill assumed that the expression of insis- tent heterosexual desire implied a longing for marriage. But is this appro- priate? The specificity of the attachment is in the halves rejoined in mutual love.
Nowhere is this defined as marriage. Ronsard took minor orders, but that never stopped him from casting himself as a lover, and his love objects were women. Using both the Petrarchan love tradition, with its emphasis on the unattainable female love object, and the French courtly love tradition, in which love is found outside of marriage, Ronsard brings out the impermanence of pleasure rather than its idealized codification in marriage.
To be fair, some did try to shoehorn the androgyne into a marital formula. Where Ficino—along with Giovanni Pico della Mirandola and Baldas- sare Castiglione, to name just three of the most influential voices on the subject—considered beauty in men or women to be a reliable guide to transcendent love, Le Roy insists otherwise. Le Roy moves immediately to a specifically gendered reading of the halves that fits his purpose: The intellectual, rational male part governs but combines with the corpo- real, impassioned female part.
The combination is both hierarchical and complementary. Marriage provides an orderly locus for desire. Outside of marriage, bad sex threatens: Le Roy replaced the Neoplatonic notion of perfection through fulfillment in another with completion in a socially sanctioned context. This was precisely the problem: Desire, however, remained far too capacious. For some, the androgyne was fraught with lascivious but exciting possibilities. Philippe Desportes used the language of predesti- nation associated with the androgyne as a seduction technique: Because my heart, which heaven has predestined for you, Loves better to consent to the ordained decree, And die by your hands of an honorable plague, Than to prove itself the contrivance of another, more favorable love.
Rather than lovers finding their other halves, finding a lover means she is his other half. The possibilities could be, if not endless, as least prolific. Because his wife is not his other half, he feels free to seek love elsewhere: Because the Androgyne is always separated, And by us our halves are less often chosen. The half sometimes the other part lost Without its other half, without thinking there to find And then one who is by the other ardently desired.
The androgyne becomes an invi- tation to move on, to keep searching by means of desire for completion. And it is both impossible completion and endless searching because the androgyne is always in parts. The Antineopla- tonist Jean de Serres c. Henri Estienne, the Protestant humanist printer, published three massive volumes in which Serres translated all the dialogues of Plato from Greek into Latin. Describitur ergo amoris vis atque impetus in animantium venereo congressu.
Itaque miror prae- posteram interpretum diligentiam in hoc Androgyni explicando: Thus are described the power of love and the drive to animate beings to sexual union, which is, obviously, the ardent passion for reproduction in order to give birth to future generations and prop- agate the human race. But the vile Aristophanes here describes a vile and restrained love. To explain it at greater length would only be to increase its infamy.