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Satanic FeminismLucifer as the Liberator of Woman in Nineteenth-Century Culture$
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Per Faxneld

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780190664473

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190664473.001.0001

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Subversive Satanic Women in Decadent Literature and Art

Subversive Satanic Women in Decadent Literature and Art

Chapter:
(p.251) 7 Subversive Satanic Women in Decadent Literature and Art
Source:
Satanic Feminism
Author(s):

Per Faxneld

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780190664473.003.0007

Chapter 7 discusses Decadence as a highly visible counter-discourse, which popularized tactics of counter-reading. Félicen Rops’s enthusiastically debauched engravings and paintings of Satanic women are examined. Next, J.-K. Huysmans’s novel Là-bas (1891) is considered, especially the female Satanist Mme Chantelouve who is portrayed in it. She is a self-governing woman with modern ideas about free love and described as hysterical. Hysteria carried connotations of feminism, and the independent Chantelouve can be seen as a caustic caricature of an emancipated New Woman. Certain bohemian females were undaunted and approached her as an object of identification. Finally, Stanislaw Przybyszewski’s highly ambivalent attitude towards the demonic feminine is read in view of his œuvre at large, which makes it difficult to understand his at times quite ghastly descriptions of female Satanists as a simple condemnation. At times unwittingly, Decadents contributed to a destabilization of gendered categories and ideals.

Keywords:   Decadence, Satanism, Félicien Rops, J.-K. Huysmans, Stanislaw Przybyszewski, art, literature, feminism, New Woman

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