Erin Williams Hyman (Cornell University)
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Prudish pornographer, gender-bending anti-feminist, anarchist reactionary, “Queen of the Decadents” yet nemesis to the Surrealists, Rachilde was a fin-de-siècle French author who embodied antithetical extremes, and whose life of notoriety spanning nearly a century ended in a death in near obscurity in 1953. Known primarily for novels such as

Monsieur Vénus


Madame Adonis

(1888), and

La Marquise de Sade

(1887), whose titles announce the gender switching and sexual theatrics central to her


, she was also a playwright, essayist, biographer, journalist and


, a force behind the influential literary journal

Le Mercure de France

, which she helped found in 1891 alongside her husband Alfred Valette and other significant Symbolist writers and critics. Responsible for…

2980 words

Citation: Hyman, Erin Williams. "Rachilde". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 05 March 2007 [https://www.litencyc.com/php/speople.php?rec=true&UID=11777, accessed 13 April 2024.]

11777 Rachilde 1 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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