Michèle Roberts, The Looking Glass

Julie Mellor (Sheffield Hallam University)
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Set in France in the early 1900s, The Looking Glass is narrated by five women, all linked by their various relations to the poet Gérard Colbert. Geneviève is the central female character and the opening section of the novel shows her looking back on her time at Blessetot where she was employed as a maid by Madame Patin. Her yearning for the sea at Blessetot is punctured by nightmares warning her to stay away. She is haunted by a ghost resembling a drowned body, possibly her own: “[h]er eyes were open and staring, her face bruised and bloated. Black ribbons of seaweed draped her shoulders. Water streamed from the sodden rags of her dress. I had not managed to kill her after all” (2).

Geneviève has been brought up in an orphanage run by the nuns. To the nuns, girls mean chaos and

2250 words

Citation: Mellor, Julie. "The Looking Glass". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 04 December 2002 [https://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=10500, accessed 10 December 2023.]

10500 The Looking Glass 3 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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