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Two Goncourt women and frustration 1979

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TWO GONCOURT WOMEN AND FRUSTRATION by BRENDA L. MARLES-OSBERG THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS m THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES DEPARTMENT OF FRENCH UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA We -accept t h i s t h e s i s as conforming to the r e q u i r e d standard THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA October 1979 0 Brenda L. Maries-Osberg, 1979 I n p r e s e n t i n g t h i s t h e s i s i n p a r t i a l f u l f i l m e n t o f t h e r e q u i r e m e n t s f o r an a d v a n c e d d e g r e e a t t h e U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h C o l u m b i a , I a g r e e t h a t t h e L i b r a r y s h a l l make i t f r e e l y a v a i l a b l e f o r r e f e r e n c e a n d s t u d y . I f u r t h e r a g r e e t h a t p e r m i s s i o n f o r e x t e n s i v e c o p y i n g o f t h i s t h e s i s f o r s c h o l a r l y p u r p o s e s may be g r a n t e d by t h e Head o f my D e p a r t m e n t o r by h i s r e p r e s e n t a t i v e s . I t i s u n d e r s t o o d t h a t c o p y i n g o r p u b l i c a t i o n o f t h i s t h e s i s f o r f i n a n c i a l g a i n s h a l l n o t be a l l o w e d w i t h o u t my w r i t t e n p e r m i s s i o n . n +. * FRENCH D e p a r t m e n t o f The U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h C o l u m b i a 2075 W e s b r o o k P l a c e V a n c o u v e r , C a n a d a V6T 1W5 1 1 Abstract This t h e s i s was commenced wi t h the idea of studying woman as she i s portrayed by Edmond and J u l e s de Goncourt i n the mid-nineteenth century. The two novels under d i s c u s s i o n , Germinie Lacerteux and Renee Mauperin, were chosen to provide examples of two very d i f f e r e n t kinds of woman: one, a servant g i r l from a p r o v i n c i a l background, and the other, a younger g i r l from the bourgeoisie. This study i s d i v i d e d i n t o three s e c t i o n s : such an arrangement i s i n keeping with the way the Goncourt Brothers saw the development of t h e i r c haracters. The f i r s t s e c t i o n presents a study of woman i n the nineteenth century; more p a r t i c u l a r l y , i t i s a study of Renee and Germinie i n r e l a t i o n s h i p to t h e i r environments. The second part i s a study of the f r u s t r a t i o n which motivated them both and played a l a r g e part i n the development of t h e i r character. The f i n a l p o r t i o n i s a study of death, which i s seen as t h e i r u l t i m a t e f r u s t r a t i o n and which nonetheless provided them with i n s i g h t i n t o the reasons f o r t h e i r u l t i m a t e acceptance of t h e i r f a t e . In a d d i t i o n to these s t u d i e s , an a n a l y s i s of the r o l e of Natu- r a l i s m with respect to the works of the Goncourt Brothers i s included. I t i s hoped that some l i g h t i s thus shed upon the female character i t s e l f , and that t h i s w i l l lead to a greater understanding of the Goncourt Brothers as p a i n t e r s of r e a l i s t i c p o r t r a i t s of people of the nineteenth century. i i i To Ted With Love. i v Table of Contents Page Abs t r a c t i i De d i c a t i o n i i i Acknowledgement v I n t r o d u c t i o n 1 Chapter I - The P o r t r a i t of the Women 1^ Chapter I I - Two Heroines i n F r u s t r a t i o n 32 Chapter I I I - The P o r t r a i t of Death 75 Conclusion 102 B i b l i o g r a p h y 109 V Acknowledgement Many thanks to Dr. Floyd St. C l a i r and Dr. David Niederauer f o r t h e i r t h o u g h t f u l help and encouragement during the p r e p a r a t i o n of t h i s t h e s i s . 1 I n t r o d u c t i o n The Goncourt Brothers u t i l i z e d the v e h i c l e of the novel to p o r t r a y r e a l people of the mid 1800's. They were not the f i r s t to do so, but t h e i r novels were unique i n the approach they took to such a p o r t r a i t . Their subject matter, that of woman, was innovative and c l e a r l y showed t h e i r concern w i t h and a t t i t u d e towards the female character. Their v i s i o n of woman i n the novels Germinie Lacerteux and Ren6e Mauperin i s an important step i n the development of character p o r t r a y a l w i t h i n the v e h i c l e of the novel. They look at woman wit h open eyes and po r t r a y each woman's stru g g l e against the f r u s t r a t i o n s which beset her w i t h honesty and sympathy. These works e x h i b i t an intimate p i c t u r e of each woman. They are esthe- t i c a l l y v aluable works to succeeding generations i n that the reader i s permitted to view both the e x t e r n a l and the i n t e r n a l s t r u g g l e s to which each woman was subjected. The purpose of t h i s d i s s e r t a t i o n i s to examine these novels with an eye to e s t a b l i s h i n g where the women represented f i t i n t o the s o c i e t y of the time. The theme of f r u s t r a t i o n i s important here since i t s e f f e c t s encroach upon the day-to-day l i v e s of each of these women. Since these novels are important to the r e p r e s e n t a t i o n of woman i n the nineteenth century, they deserve a close examination today. Edmond and J u l e s de Goncourt wrote t h e i r novels i n order to attempt an accurate d e s c r i p t i o n of an event so as to evoke the same emotional response i n the reader as that perceived 2 a t the occurrence of the o r i g i n a l event by the authors. This was t h e i r goal. During the p e r i o d i n which they wrote, the major l i t - e rary trend was r e a l i s m . I t s tenets were"as f o l l o w s : 1° l e d r o i t pour l ' a r t i s t e de f a i r e ce q u ' i l veut; 2? l e d r o i t de c h o i s i r des s u j e t s con- temporains; 3°le d r o i t de reprSsenter avec v£rite l e s moeurs a c t u e l l e s , pour en l a i s s e r un document.i This r e a l i s t i c view permitted the Goncourt Brothers to a t t a c h s i g n i f i c a n c e to each gesture and each statement w i t h i n t h e i r novels but t h e i r wholehearted d e s i r e was to co n t r i b u t e more than mere documentation to the l i t e r a t u r e of the p e r i o d . They sought a means to i n j e c t a tone of s e n s u a l i t y i n t o t h e i r l i t e r a t u r e . This l e d them to adopt r e a l i s m as the basi s of t h e i r works, and '. then to s t r i v e f o r another, more emotional, dimension. This new dimension was the f i r s t step towards the concept of natura- l i s m . Peut-etre parce q u ' i l s sont venus plus t a r d , i l s ont plus completement r e a l i s e ' l e s a s p i r - a t i o n s p r i n c i p a l e s et diver s e s de l a do c t r i n e r£aliste, qui se ma n i f e s t a i e n t depuis une quinzaine d'ann§es: l e roman so c i o l o g i q u e de Balzac; l e gout pour 1'information minu- tieuse et m£thodique a l a maniere de Fl a u b e r t ; l a pr£f'6rence pour l e s tableaux et l e s per- sonnages emprunt<§s aux m i l i e u x p o p u l a i r e s , comme l e v o u l a i t Champfleury; l a conception de l a monographie s c i e n t i f i q u e formulae par Taine... I l s ont a i n s i presents, vers 1865, un systeme l i t t e " r a i r e f o r t coherent, q u i e s t , a v r a i d i r e , l a premiere forme de l a do c t r i n e n a t u r a l i s t e , et non plus r§aliste.2 The f o l l o w i n g formula by P. Martino espresses quite w e l l the s p i r i t of nat u r a l i s m : L ' i d S a l du roman: c'est de donner avec l ' a r t 3 l a plus v i v e impression du v r a i humain, quel q u ' i l s o i t . 3 Thus, the Goncourt Brothers a l s o sought to add the dimension of the v r a i humain to the concept of a r t i n l i t e r a t u r e . They had to define both the v r a i humain and the a r t which they intended to incorporate i n t o t h e i r works i n order to f u l l y develop the doc- t r i n e of n a t u r a l i s m . For the Goncourt Brothers, the v r a i humain centred on the p e r c e p t i o n of l i f e as a whole, and the p e r c e p t i o n of intimate and d i s c r e t e occurrences, both i n t e r i o r ( c e r e b r a l ) and e x t e r i o r ( s o c i o l o g i c a l ) . This appears as the keynote of t h e i r works i n the form of an a n a l y s i s of the r e l a t i o n s h i p of the e x t e r i o r and the i n t e r i o r . They sought to m i r r o r the e x t e r i o r on the i n t e r i o r , to give a t a n g i b l e p o i n t of reference to the p e r c e p t i o n of an event, since the i n t e r i o r , w i t h i t s sensations and v i s i o n s , more of t e n than not'dominates the p e r c e p t i o n of the e x t e r i o r . What i s perceived by one person w i l l not have the same p o i n t of r e f e r - ence as t h a t which i s perceived by another. Therefore, the Gon- court Brothers devoted t h e i r l i v e s to the search f o r a v e h i c l e capable of reproducing t h e i r own emotions and sensations so that they could be f e l t by the reader. Their path towards t h i s g o a l , however, was arduous and long. I n t h e i r search f o r the v r a i humain and a manner i n which to express themselves and t h e i r thoughts, they t r i e d many d i f f e r e n t media, both a r t i s t i c and l i t e r a r y , but a l l were deemed u n s a t i s f a c t o r y . They o r i g i n a l l y concentrated on the v i s u a l a r t s of p a i n t i n g and s c u l p t u r e . However, they found that t h e i r works were e s s e n t i a l l y a p l a s t i c v e r s i o n of t h e i r p e r c e p t i o n of an object or a person. They could not capture the myriad sensations and impressions which were evoked by the meeting of a r t i s t and canvas, but could only choose one or two of the more outstanding impressions. For them, the v r a i humain was a momentary glimpse i n t o a person's r e a l i t y , a f l e e t i n g s e n s a t i o n which a p a i n t i n g on a canvas could never succeed i n f i x i n g . They were a l s o documentors of h i s t o r y and s o c i e t y . By w r i t i n g and c o r r e l a t i n g a true p i c t u r e of s o c i e t y , complete w i t h i t s s i t u a t i o n s , i t s mores and i t s standards, they had thought to capture the i n t e r i o r p e r c e p t i o n as i t mirrored the e x t e r i o r . This, however, d i d not take i n t o account t h e i r own perceptions and sensations, and they found w'ithinlthemselves "...un c e r t a i n k me"pris pour l a t r a n s c r i p t i o n du v r a i , du non imaging. . . " Thus, they d e s i r e d to communicate a c e r t a i n d u a l i t y of thought, . . .une double fid<§lit£, au monde des objets et a l a p e r c e p t i o n q u ' i l s en ont comme a r - t i s t e s ... 5 H i s t o r i c a l documentation d i d not possess the scope w i t h which to deal w i t h t h i s double f i d g l i t e " ; an emotional or sensual response could not be repeated as i t was f e l t at the time described by the document, since perceptions and biases are i n a constant s t a t e of f l u c t u a t i o n . Thus, the v e h i c l e s of a r t and h i s t o r i c a l documentation were not p r a c t i c a l forms of l i t e r a r y and a r t i s t i c expression. The Goncourt Brothers, t h e r e f o r e , became n o v e l i s t s . Through f i c t i o n they f e l t they could convey to others, by means of minute a n a l y s i s and intimate d e s c r i p t i o n , a l l those physical.and emotion- a l sensations. F i c t i o n permitted them to add t h e i r personal i n - 5 t e r p r e t a t i o n s of the events they described, to give t h e i r w r i t i n g the added dimension of emotional response. Notre chemin l i t t S r a i r e e s t assez b i z a r r e . Nous avons passe" par l ' h i s t o i r e pour a r r i v e r au roman. Ce n'est guere 1*usage et pourtant nous avons a g i logiquement. Sur quoi S c r i t - on l ' h i s t o i r e ? Sur des documents. E t l e s /• documents du roman, qu'est-ce sinon l a v i e ? I n examining s o c i e t y , they looked at the various s o c i a l c l a s s e s as they e x i s t e d at the time. Their own c l a s s , the bour- g e o i s i e , they considered to be a r t i f i c i a l and u n n a t u r a l l y con- scious of moral and s o c i a l conduct. The bourgeoisie as a whole appeared to be emotionally stunted and an adequate d e s c r i p t i o n of any emotions or sensations there would be" d i f f i c u l t to note. This l e d the Goncourt Brothers to commence an examin- a t i o n of the basses c l a s s e s , those people i n s o c i e t y who are employed as menial labour. Edmond wrote i n 1871 that ...c'est dans l e bas, dans l'effacement d'une c i v i l i s a t i o n , . . . que se conserve l e caractere des choses, des personnes, de l a langue, de tout,...7 They were convinced that the unfortunate and the miserable of s o c i e t y gave the c l e a r e s t p o r t r a i t of the i n t e r i o r and the ex- t e r i o r . These people's s i t u a t i o n could be mirrored i n t h e i r a c t i o n s , so engrossed were they i n the r e a l i t i e s of l i v i n g . Their emotions were openly expressed, t h e i r l i v e s attuned to the s i t u a t i o n surrounding them. In documenting these people, the Goncourt Brothers were aware of the openness of t h e i r l i v e s . D e t a i l s of t h e i r emotions, sensations, perceptions and m i l i e u x enabled the Goncourt Brothers to see these people as they r e a l l y were but i t was t h e i r a c t i o n s 6 which d i v u l g e d t h e i r innermost s e c r e t s . Each nuance, each care- f u l l y preserved a c t i o n , served to crumble a p o r t i o n of man's f r a - g i l e concept of s e l f and gave an opportunity to perceive l i f e a t i t s very r o o t s . . . . i l s se re"f'ugient dans l e s u b t i l , l e domaine des r S a l i t S s fuyantes et apparement i n s a i s i s - s a b l e s , de ce q u ' i l s nomment des nuances. Nuance, d e t a i l minuscule de l a couleur ou de l a forme, mais s u r t o u t d e t a i l en mouvement, i n f l e x i o n , passage; c'est seulement dans 1 ' S c l a i r de 1' i n s t a n t que 1'observateur a des chances de l a surprendre: L ' a r t i s t e peut prendre l a nature au pos<§, l ' S c r i v a i n e s t oblige" de l a s a i s i r au v o l , et comme un v o l - eur.° Thus, at the cornerstone of Naturalism was the n e c e s s i t y to capture each nuance, to l e a d the reader i n t o sacrosanct and p r i v a t e sectors of each character's mind. This allowed the reader to examine each character as he r e a l l y was and to r e a c t to emo- t i o n a l s t i m u l i presented by the w r i t e r . ...dans des l e t t r e s , dans l e roman s u r t o u t , c'est l a c o n t i n u e l l e c o m p i l a t i o n des documents humains, c'est l'humanite" vue et p e i n t e , re"- sumge en des c r e a t i o n s r S e l l e s et S t e r n e l l e s . Tout notre s i e c l e e s t l a , tout l e t r a v a i l gigantesque de notre s i e c l e . . . 9 By p o r t r a y i n g s o c i e t y , the Goncourt Brothers were i n essence p o r t r a y i n g each and every one of us. That they could e l i c i t an emotional response from t h e i r readers i s obvious. How- ever, they d e s i r e d to ca r r y t h a t response one step f u r t h e r . . . . i l s sont venus au re*el pour l ' a t t a q u e r , pour l e d£masquer,' en:.un. sens, meme pour l e n i e r . En quoi i l s montrent q u ' i l s n'ont pas tellement <§volue"; en quoi l e u r r£alisme porte b i e n l e s traces de ses o r i g i n e s : car c'est au nom du reve q u ' i l s p r o t e s t e n t contre l a v i e ; au nom de l e u r id£al q u ' i l s honissent l e r§el contemporain; au nom d'un passe" re f a i t 7 a l e u r usage q u ' i l s m§prisent l e present, leur' r^alisme e s t n o u r r i sur l e p l a n humain, par une arriere-pensee de polemique et de vengeance lie"e a une v i s i o n de l a c o n d i t i o n humaine, q u i , e l l e , n'est pas du tout r e a - l i s t e , m a i s b i e h p l u t o t i d e a l i s t e , romantique, utopique me'me.lO Using r e a l i t y as a b a s i s f o r t h e i r works, the Goncourt Brothers i n j e c t e d f l e e t i n g glimpses of the subconscious and the unconscious, s t i m u l a t e d by t h e i r personal experiences i n s e l f - examination. They sought to b r i n g t o l l i f e those,macabre, margin- a l impulses which i n f l u e n c e man and to set free man's most i n t i - mate being. Through t h e i r own s e l f - a n a l y s i s , they were aware of a deeper consciousness of being when under s t r e s s or when i n f l u - enced by what they termed t h e i r maladie nerveuse. Notre oeuvre repose sur l a maladie nerveuse; l e s p eintures de l a maladie, nous l e s avons t i r e e s de nous-me'mes, e t , a force de nous dissSquer, nous sommes a r r i v e s a une s e n s i - t i v i t y supra-aigue que b l e s s a i e n t l e s i n f i n i - ment p e t i t s de l a v i e . H This maladie nerveuse gave the Goncourt Brothers a h y p e r s e n s i t i - v i t y to a l l s t i m u l i . Under i t s i n f l u e n c e , they were aware of a more f e r v e n t need f o r s e l f - a n a l y s i s , and were confronted by f l e e t i n g sensations of the mind and body which transformed t h e i r p e r c e p t i o n of the e x t e r i o r . In the novels, characters cursed w i t h a maladie nerveuse become a n i m a l - l i k e : they are governed e n t i r e l y by the e x t e r n a l world as a r e s u l t of i n t e r n a l pressures. They are incapable of f o r e s t a l l i n g t h e i r d e s t i n y and they become p r i s o n e r s of t h e i r own s e n s i t i v i t y . . . . p r i s o n n i e r du m§me monde instantan£, s u p e r f i c i e l et fragmentaire, ou. nous l e s 8 avons vus depuis l e depart enfermgs. Since man was thus o f t e n a p r i s o n e r , without any means of s e l f - examination, he could not escape h i s s i t u a t i o n . The i n a b i l i t y to disengage hi m s e l f from h i s s i t u a t i o n r e l i e v e d him of...the moral r e s p o n s i b i l i t y to j u s t i f y h i s a c t i o n s to others. Man no longer ; had to pretend that he was i n c o n t r o l , e i t h e r of h i m s e l f or of hi s s i t u a t i o n . He could e x p l a i n and excuse hi m s e l f by o f f e r i n g the reader a s o r d i d d e s c r i p t i o n of h i s s i t u a t i o n and h i s i n a b i l i t y to a c t. This v i s i o n can give the reader i n s i g h t i n t o the very character of man. The Goncourt Brothers had f i n a l l y a r r i v e d a t t h e i r s t y l i s t i c approach and were s a t i s f i e d that t h e i r formula would be convincing and adequate f o r t h e i r needs.. However, they lacked a subject w i t h which to experiment. They had to guard not only against overwhelming t h e i r reader w i t h a new genre but a l s o against choosing an area of study which would be too f a r away from t h e i r own experience. Too, they r e q u i r e d a subject that could be c l o s e l y s t u d i e d . Their choice of woman was not a whim but a seriou s attempt on t h e i r p a r t to s e l e c t a subject which would stand up to t h e i r d e t a i l e d survey. Woman seemed an i d e a l subject on which to study the e f f e c t s of the i n t e r i o r and e x t e r - i o r phenomenon i n c l u d i n g the maladie nerveuse. Because of t h e i r experience w i t h c e r t a i n l o r e t t e s , those elegant women dedicated to-the pleasure of man, the Goncourt Brothers were l e d to consider woman to be l i t t l e more than a toy. For them, she was f u l l of c o n t r a d i c t i o n s and incapable of handling h e r s e l f when presented w i t h an unusual s i t u a t i o n . They were con- 9 vinced that woman was an emotional, i r r a t i o n a l creature whose only thoughts were of her t o i l e t t e and of her conquests. She was weak, c a p r i c i o u s , inane and t o t a l l y at the mercy of her up- b r i n g i n g . Here i s how they described her i n t h e i r J o u r n a l . La femme semble toujours a v o i r a se dSfendre de sa f a i b l e s s e . C'est a propos de tout e t de r i e n un antagonisme de d S s i r s , une r e b e l - l i o n de menu v o u l o i r s , une guerre de p e t i t e s r e s o l u t i o n s incessante et comme f a i t e a p l a i - s i r . La combativit<§ e s t a. ses yeux l a preuve m£me de son e x i s t e n c e . La caprice e s t l a fagon d'exercice de sa volontS. La femme gagne a. ces b a t a i l l e s sourdes, c o u r t o i s e s , mais i r r i t a n t e s , une domination abandonnSe, des v i c t o i r e s sur l a l a s s i t u d e , en m£me temps qu'un peu de m<§pris de l'homme qu i n'aime et ne s a i t de"penser sa force et son gouvernement en d e t a i l , a toute heure et sur tout.13 However, as they devoted themselves to t h e i r research, they r e a l i z e d that the women of t h e i r aquaintance were not t y p i - c a l of a l l women: c e r t a i n l y there was a woman whose only thought was of her amorous conquests, but'there was a l s o a woman who was capable of wisdom and forethought. I t i s i n t e r e s t i n g to examine the Goncourt Brothers' philosophy concerning woman i n a s t a t e of t r a n s i t i o n w i t h i n the context of two:-.of t h e i r novels. RenSe Mauperin, w r i t t e n i n 186^, and Germinie Lacerteux, w r i t t e n i n I865j are s i m i l a r and yet d i f f e r e n t novels. They describe i n d e t a i l the l i v e s of two women l i v i n g a t d i f f e r e n t l e v e l s of s o c i e t y and yet who deal w i t h s i m i l a r problems and f r u s t r a t i o n s . These are s t o r i e s taken from r e a l l i f e , and the characters des- c r i b e d are based on persons the Goncourt Brothers knew. Ren£e Mauperin was based on the l i f e of a childhood f r i e n d whose sphere was that of the bourgeoisie. Germinie Lacerteux was drawn from 10 the l i f e and a c t i o n s of t h e i r maid, Rose. Thus, these novels are a study of s o c i e t y , a s o c i o l o g i c a l p o r t r a i t of two women of the pe r i o d . Given the Goncourt Brothers' own s o c i o l o g i c a l bent, the major theme of t h i s d i s s e r t a t i o n w i l l a l s o he s o c i o l o g i c a l . By conc e n t r a t i o n on the characters of RenSe Mauperin and Germinie Lacerteux, many of the c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of the s o c i e t y i n which they l i v e d w i l l he revealed. S i m i l a r l y t h e i r b i t t e r f r u s t r a t i o n s w i l l be catalogued. This study looks at three important areas i n the l i v e s of these women, and thus w i l l be d i v i d e d i n t o as many s e c t i o n s : the f i r s t w i l l be a b a s i c character study of each of the women, to s i t u a t e them w i t h i n s o c i e t y and to deter- mine t h e i r e s s e n t i a l i d e n t i t y ; the second s e c t i o n of t h i s work w i l l study t h e i r f r u s t r a t i o n s ; f i n a l l y , the l a s t s e c t i o n w i l l focus on the death of each woman. By d i v i d i n g the work i n t h i s manner, the development and downfall' of each woman becomes a l o g i c a l p r o g r e s s i o n of events, based on each woman's i n t e r p r e t a t i o n of her s i t u a t i o n . Their d e c i s i o n s , however, u l t i m a t e l y r e f l e c t the a t t i t u d e s and biases of t h e i r own time. I t i s important to s i t u a t e these women w i t h i n t h e i r own m i l i e u x f o r s e v e r a l reasons. The concern of t h i s study i s wi t h these two women of the nineteenth century, a century very d i f f e r e n t from our own. I n order to examine the theme of f r u s - t r a t i o n from an unbiased p o i n t of view, i t i s e s s e n t i a l to e s t a - b l i s h these women w i t h i n t h e i r own s o c i e t y and not l e t the change which have occurred since then i n f l u e n c e the reading of the novel 11 An examination of the environment i n which they l i v e d a l s o serves to s p o t l i g h t each woman's character, since i t has become l a r g e l y accepted that environment i n an i n t e g r a l p a r t of a person's p e r s o n a l i t y . F i n a l l y , those people who exert a major i n f l u e n c e on the l i v e s of these women w i l l be studied i n order to determine t h e i r r o l e s and t h e i r - spheres of i n f l u e n c e . In the second s e c t i o n of t h i s d i s s e r t a t i o n , the theme of f r u s t r a t i o n as a major i n f l u e n c e on the l i v e s of both women i s s t u d i e d . Again, we must c l a r i f y and e s t a b l i s h these f r u s t r a - t i o n s as they p e r t a i n to the l i v e s of both RenSe and Germinie, and i t w i l l be seen that the st r u g g l e s of these women bear a close resemblance to the stru g g l e s to which women are subjected i n the twen t i e t h century as w e l l . The frustrationsoo'feeachwoman are examined from two p o i n t s of view: the i n t e r i o r , t h a t i s , those f r u s t r a t i o n s r e s u l t i n g from a personal i n a b i l i t y to cope w i t h t h e i r s i t u a t i o n , and the e x t e r i o r , those f r u s t r a t i o n s r e s u l t i n g from s o c i e t y ' s pressures and a r t i f i c i a l standards. The f i n a l s e c t i o n i s a study of the deaths of RenSe and Germinie. The f o c a l p o i n t of t h i s s e c t i o n i s the c o n t r a s t be- tween the p o r t r a y a l of death as a- r e l e a s e and a p u r i f i c a t i o n on the one hand, and i t s p o r t r a y a l as a condemnation and an escape on the other. The r i t u a l of death to which these women subject themselves and to which they are subjected by s o c i e t y w i l l be examined and discussed w i t h reference to the theme of f r u s t r a t i o n , since death i s an important f a c e t of t h i s theme. By studying i n d e t a i l the l i v e s of Ren£e Mauperin and Germinie Lacerteux, i n s i g h t i n t o the ebb and flow of human l i f e 12 as w e l l as an i n t e r p r e t a t i o n of the Goncourt Brothers' philosophy becomes apparent, and w i t h i t , a convincing p o r t r a i t of the s o c i e t y of a s e c t o r of France i n the 1860's. 13 NOTES: 1. P. Martino, Le Roman r 6 a l i s t e sous l e Second Empire ( P a r i s : L i b r a i r i e Hachette et C i e , 1913), P« 77- 2. I b i d . , p. 228. 3. I b i d . , p.. 235- i-A. B i l l y , Les Freres-Goncourt (Paris? Flammarion, 195^), p. 86. 5« ,E. Caramaschi, Realisme et Impressionnisme dans l'oeuvre des Freres Goncourt ( P i s a : L i b r a r i a G o l i a r d i c a , s. d.), p. 30. 6. A. B i l l y , p. 98. 7. I b i d . , p. 172 8. ;J-P. Richard, "Deux E c r i v a i n s €pidermiques: Edmond e t J u l e s de Goncourt," L i t e r a t u r e et Sensation ( P a r i s : E d i t i o n s du S e u i l , 195^), p. 269. 9. SE. Zo l a , Le Naturalisme au theatre ( P a r i s : B i b l i o t h e q u e Charpentier, 1912), p. I83. 10. E. Caramaschi, p. 1*4-2. 11. J-P. Richard, p. 280. 12. A. B i l l y , p. 227. 13. A. B i l l y , p. 227. 14 Chapter I The P o r t r a i t of the Women The i n f l u e n c e of environment and surrounding upon the conduct of man cannot be denied, and i t i s a challenge to deter- mine the pervasiveness of t h i s i n f l u e n c e . For Edmond and J u l e s de Goncourt, t h i s challenge became a f o c a l p o i n t i n t h e i r w r i t i n g and t h e i r philosophy. I t i s important, then, to consider p h y s i c a l environment as w e l l as the personal c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of each woman when d e a l - ing w i t h the works of the Goncourt Brothers. Chosen f o r t h i s study of woman i n the nineteenth century were the novels Ren£e Mauperin and Germinie Lacerteux because they present' two very d i f f e r e n t environments which produced two exceedingly d i f f e r e n t women. To begin, one must ask and answer s e v e r a l questions. F i r s t , who were these women that they became so important to the Goncourt Brothers? What type of environment surrounded them and how d i d t h i s environment a f f e c t t h e i r p e r c e p t i o n of the world around them? What a t t i t u d e d i d they have towards themselves and towards t h e i r r e l a t i o n s h i p s w i t h others? And f i n a l l y , how d i d others around them see these women? These questions must be answered before any study of the f r u s t r a t i o n s and u l t i m a t e death of these women can be commenced since the d i f f e r e n c e i n a t t i t u d e and thought between the nineteenth century and the twen t i e t h have become too great to simply embark upon a study of women. The great c o n t r a s t must be made v i s i b l e . 15 The Goncourt Brothers were men who wrote of what they knew, what they saw, and what they s t u d i e d . The characters i n t h e i r novels, e s p e c i a l l y t h e i r female c h a r a c t e r s , were not j u s t composite p i c t u r e s of many d i f f e r e n t people, r a t h e r they were p o r t r a i t s fashioned from one s i n g l e model, and from people whom the Goncourt Brothers had known i n t i m a t e l y . Their p o r t r a i t s were possessed of a p e r s o n a l i t y , i n t e r e s t i n g i n i t s complexity and a s t o n i s h i n g i n i t s v i v i d n e s s . The v e h i c l e of h i s t o r i c a l doc- umentation, which served as the ba s i s of t h e i r works, was high- l i g h t e d by the Goncourt Brothers' a b i l i t y to i n t e r p r e t and demand an emotional response.from themselves and from t h e i r readers. The e f f e c t was, e s p e c i a l l y when i t concerned the female element i n t h e i r novels, v i g o u r , enthusiasm and v i t a l i t y i n what might otherwise have been simply b i o g r a p h i c a l data l a i d out to be read by others. In order to accomplish t h i s goal the Goncourt Brothers had to analyse t h e i r choice of woman as subject of t h e i r novels. I t was not whimsical fancy which motivated them, but the i n t r i - guing aspects of a unique j u x t a p o s i t i o n : they had to come to terms w i t h t h e i r own and s o c i e t y ' s views on women and meld t h i s w ith a b a s i c d e s i r e to p o r t r a y .a contemporary, t r a n s i t i o n a l s o c i - ety which was s t i l l only on the verge of accepting women as i n - t e l l i g e n t , s e n s i t i v e beings. There were s t i l l problems a s s o c i a t e d w i t h t h i s e f f o r t . Looking at t h i s s o c i e t y from the vantage p o i n t of our own era, i t i s r e l a t i v e l y easy to see the changes t a k i n g place i n the mid 1800's. However, a t the time, the pre v a l e n t philosophy of con- 16 f'ormlsm and the normal r e t i c e n c e to changes i n the stat u s quo made p o r t r a y i n g a 'modern' s o c i e t y a r e l a t i v e l y d i f f i c u l t f e a t . I t meant that previous concepts had to be reanalysed and r e a r - ranged; i t meant too, t h a t s o c i e t y as a whole had to be subjected to a rigourous examination of i t s s o c i a l elements. As Martino e x p l a i n s , . . . i l f a u t envisager " l e cot<§ s o c i a l de l'homme, qui e s t l e plus v i s i b l e , l e plus comprehensible e t l e plus varie", . . .repro- duire l e s choses qui touchent a l a v i e du plus grand nombre"; i l f a u t reprSsenter l e peuple, et non pas en se bornant aux ha b i - tue l i e s ave.ntures sentimentales, ou meme aux tracas d'argent, comme f a i s a i t Balzac; qu'on nous montre l ' o u v r i e r au t r a v a i l , l e commer- gant dans son magasin, toutes l e s manifesta- t i o n s de 1 ' a c t i v i t S s o c i a l e . . . M a i s ce n'est pas assez de peindre l a s o c i e t y , i l f a u t i n s t r u i r e ; l ' a r t a un but, non pas avant tout a r t i s t i q u e et l i t t S r a i r e , mais p r a t i q u e ; . . . l e rSalisme a t t r i b u e a 1 ' a r t i s t e un but philosophique, p r a t i q u e , u t i l e , e t non un but d i v e r t i s s a n t , . . . 1 7 The Goncourt Brothers had to accept the t r a d i t i o n a l concepts of f e m i n i n i t y and convey them v i a t h e i r l i t e r a t u r e to a new space and a new v i s i o n of r e a l i t y . They looked at the woman of t h e i r era, r e s t r i c t e d by convention and unable, i n the main, to a s s e r t h e r s e l f or to develop a unique or p r i v a t e a t t i - tude towards the world around her. On t h e i r own admission, t h i s woman c o n t r i b u t e d l i t t l e of s i g n i f i c a n c e . She was confined to r o l e p l a y i n g ; innocent young g i r l , marriageable young woman and then wife and mother. She was heldi to the t r a d i t i o n a l con- ' cept of a woman's l i f e . . . . [jj e mariage e s t bon, c'est l a l o i de l a nature. Un Spoux, des enfants: v o i l a l a destinee normale d e ' l a femme.2 17 She was given l i t t l e opportunity to voice her own d e s i r e s . This had to change, and the Goncourt Brothers were becoming more and more aware of what t h i s i m p l i e d . I n t h e i r search f o r a 'modern' woman, they found that academic l e a r n i n g , so e s s e n t i a l to the coming changes i n s o c i e t y , was then i n e f f e c t u a l and was l i t t l e more than rudimentary. A r t i s t i c p u r s u i t s , which were considered s u i t a b l e f o r the female e s t a t e , were encouraged. This, n a t u r a l l y , d i d not give woman a s o l i d b a s i s from which to deal w i t h men., i n a predominantly male world, and i t caused the Goncourt Brothers to remark i n t h e i r J o u r n a l (tome I ) : I I e s t rare que l a pens<§e de l a femme trouve compagnie a l a pens§e de l'homme. Ou e l l e est a l a pens§e de son sexe, t o i l e t t e , c h i f - fons, e t c . A l o r s , vous avez l e b r u i t et 1'occupation d'un corps en a g i t a t i o n et en f r o u f r o u . . Ou b i e n s i e l l e veut f a i r e l a cour a ce que vous pensez, l ' e t r e f r e l e se trouve a v o i r de s i grosses mains, des mains s i maladroites, q u ' e l l e touche a cote ou qu ' e l l e f a i t mal quand e l l e h eurte. 3 Woman's i n a b i l i t y to i n t e r r e l a t e e f f e c t i v e l y caused the Goncourt Brothers a c e r t a i n amount of concern. They discovered that a s i n g l e - f a c e t e d character d i d not possess the q u a l i t i e s necessary to a 'modern' s o c i e t y . Instead of a f l a t , s t a t i o n a r y character, they r e q u i r e d an e x t r a o r d i n a r y woman, whose l i f e was a s e r i e s of remarkable events not only i n the f a c t of t h e i r occurrence, but a l s o because she was c e n t r a l to t h e i r occurrence. The a n a l y s i s of t h i s event could y i e l d a wealth of m a t e r i a l under examination by two men i n t e r e s t e d i n the unique and the unconventional. In t h e i r search f o r a 'modern' woman, they o f t e n found a woman i n a st a t e of r e v o l t , whether against the s o c i e t y as a 18 whole,..or a g a i n s t her own i n a b i l i t y and f r a i l t y . She was f r u s - t r a t e d by the sluggishness and obstinacy of s o c i e t y ' s t r a n s i t i o n . Too o f t e n she was considered abnormal and perhaps s l i g h t l y deranged. However, i n that age of r e a l i s m i n l i t e r a t u r e woman was j u s t beginning to examine the r e a l i t y of her s i t u a t i o n . This abnormal woman, r a i l i n g a g a i n s t a r t i f i c i a l b a r r i e r s became the object of the Goncourts' sympathetic a t t e n t i o n . She l e d them toward ...l'Stude des cas anormaux, ces cas sont v r a i s d'une v£rit§ p a r t i c u l i e r e m e n t r i c h e , qu'on peut e t u d i e r a l o i s i r , comme on f e r a i t dans une c l i n i q u e ; a c o n d i t i o n de l e s b i e n c h o i s i r , i l s ne sont que des deformations estranges, i l s sont l e grossissement de tendances normales de l a soci<§te.^ The Goncourt Brothers thus f e l t t h a t t h i s woman, was' the p e r s o n i f i c a t i o n of s o c i e t y . The e n t i r e f a b r i c of s o c i e t y was becoming frayed and weakened. There was no escaping the i n e v i - t a b l e disappearance of a l l t hat was f a m i l i a r and the r i s e of a new and more l i b e r a l era. C'est pourquoi l e u r schema romanesque l e plus f a m i l i e r , et a v r a i d i r e meme l e s e u l a trav e r s l e q u e l i l s se sentent capables d'an- imer un l i v r e e t de f a i r e avancer une i n t r i - gue, e s t c e l u i de l a decomposition. I l s nous presentent-des personnages en t r a i n de se dSsagr§ger et dont 1'essence s'affirme a t r a v e r s c e t t e d e s t r u c t i o n elle-meme.5 In the f i n a l a n a l y s i s , woman was, through the medium . of her own f a t e , permitted to dis c o v e r her own e s s e n t i a l i n t r i n - s i c value. She was permitted to make a statement about h e r s e l f , which, even i n the throes of torment, proved that she had fr e e d h e r s e l f from conforming to a mold of s o c i e t y ' s making. 19 . . . l e s Goncourt s'elevent contre l'esclavage de 1 ' e s p r i t et de l a parole dans l e q u e l on t e n a i t l a jeune f i l l e de l e u r temps.° Their woman showed determination and character, a f a r cry from the f l a t , monotonous woman condemned to a r t i f i c i a l and bourgeois conformism. While they could have portrayed t h i s woman as harsh and hardened by her experiences, they d i d not. The Goncourt Brothers saw t h i s woman as r e q u i r i n g sympathy and extended t h e i r humanity to her. I t was she who was going a g a i n s t the g r a i n , she who was t a k i n g the f i r s t step towards a b e t t e r world, she. who was c l a s h i n g w i t h s o c i e t y ' s r e p r e s s i v e m o r a l i t y . S i l e u r p i t i e _,s' a d r e s s a i t en general a l a classe pauvre, e l l e a l l a i t plus p a r t i c u l i e r e - ment a M a femme, etre f a i b l e , q u i s u b i t plus douloureusement l e s contre-coups de l a mi- sere. C ' e s t done a e l l e q u ' i l s ont consacrS l e u r s pages l e s plus p i t o y a b l e s . Nous verrons comment i l s l a jugeaient. A defaut d'amour, l e u r preference a l l a i t a l a jeune f i l l e . E t l e u r p i t i e , aux femmes que l e s c o n d i t i o n s m a t e r i e l i e s de l a v i e et l a souffranee morale fon t miserables.7 The q u a l i t i e s of t h i s woman caused Z o l a to remark that the novels have ...une indomptable energie, un mepris souver- a i n du jugement des sots et des t i m i d e s , une audace lar g e et superbe, une vigueur extreme de c o l o r i s et de pensee, un s o i n et une con- science a r t i s t i q u e s rare en ces temps de productions h a t i v e s et mal venues." Two women who f i g u r e d l a r g e l y i n the above quotation are Renee Mauperin and Germinie Lacerteux. Their s t o r i e s exa- mined i n d e t a i l woman's stru g g l e f o r r e c o g n i t i o n and t r u t h . Each of these heroines made an undeniable c o n t r i b u t i o n to the p o r t r a i t of the era; t h e i r s t o r y revealed a mass of i n f o r m a t i o n 20 h i t h e r t o l a c k i n g i n most novels and presented i n a way. which engendered a b i n d i n g emotion of sympathy and understanding. As w i t h a l l of the Goncourt Brothers' c h a r a c t e r s , the g i r l who became Ren§e Mauperin i n the novel was w e l l known to them. The c r i t i c P. Martino remarks that Ren§e Mauperin a StS f a i t e a l a ressemblance d'une amie d'enfance, "Mile M..., l a c o r d i a l - i t y e t l a loyaute d'un homme a l l i ^ e s a des graces de jeune f i l l e ; l a r a i s o n murie et l e coeur f r a i s ; un e s p r i t enleve, on ne s a i t comment, du m i l i e u bourgeois ou i l a et<3 61ev§, et tout p l e i n d ' a s p i r a t i o n s a l a grandeur morale, au denouement, au s a c r i f i c e ; un app£tit des choses l e s plus dedicates de 1 ' i n t e l l i g e n c e et de l ' a r t . " 9 The woman described here was the epitome of the 'modern' woman, and thus was deserving of the s p o t l i g h t i n t o which she was t h r u s t by the Goncourt Brothers. I n the s t o r y , Renee was born the t h i r d and l a s t c h i l d of Charles-Louis Mauperin and h i s wi f e . I n t h i s p o s i t i o n , Ren£e became the f o c a l p o i n t of her parents' l i v e s , the youngest c h i l d and therefore much petted and cossetted. However, she was a l s o the p i v o t p o i n t i n the r e l a t i o n s h i p between Monsieur Mauperin, who found undisguised joy w i t h t h i s c h i l d , joy he never had with h i s e l d e r daughter and h i s son, and.Madame Mauperin, who viewed Renee as an i n t r u s i o n who would d i m i n i s h the fortunes of the two e l d e r c h i l d r e n . Mme Mauperin, e l l e n ' a v a i t p o i n t s i b i e n a c c u e i l l i cette derniere f i l l e . Bonne femme, bonne mere,.Mme Mauperin S t a i t d<§vor5e de cet o r g u e i l de l a province, l ' o r g u e i l de l'argent. E l l e s ' 6 t a i t arrange"e pour a v o i r deux enfants; l e troisieme §tait mal venu d ' e l l e , comme d6rangeant l a fortune des deux autres, comme rognant su r t o u t l a p a r t de son 21 f i l s . La d i v i s i o n des t e r r e s r ^ u n i e s , l e partage des biens amasses, et par l a une dech£ance future de p o s i t i o n s o c i a l e , une dimin u t i o n de l a f a m i l l e dans l ' a v e n i r , v o i l a . ce que cette p e t i t e f i l l e r e p r e s e n t a i t a sa mere.10 This a t t i t u d e must have "been d i f f i c u l t f o r the c h i l d Ren<§e to understand: on the one hand, a f a t h e r whose l i f e r e - volved around her, i n whose eyes she could do no wrong, and on the other, a mother who t o l e r a t e d her only because i t was a duty, wi t h no p a r t i c u l a r sentiment attached. And too, p a r e n t a l r o l e s were reversed from the norm: i t was to her f a t h e r that she turned f o r love and a f f e c t i o n , while her mother's a f f e c t i o n was w i t h - held. Thus, l a c k i n g the normal upbringing of a young g i r l , almost c o n s t a n t l y i n the company of men, Ren§e was permitted the freedom to question the events around her and to become aware of many concepts forbidden to many of her female contemporaries. This open and c h a l l e n g i n g environment could not help but i n f l u e n c e Rente's a t t i t u d e towards her l i f e and the l i v e s of those around her. One of the most d i f f i c u l t things f o r her to accept was the f a c t that she was female. I t was not the a c t u a l p h y s i c a l i m p l i c a t i o n s of being female that she could not deal w i t h . I t was, instead,, a mental and s p i r i t u a l i n a b i l i t y to accept that others s t i l l looked upon her i n the t r a d i t i o n a l manner. Exposed as she was at an e a r l y age to the s o c i e t y of men and the subjects they discussed, she was unable to accept t h a t as she grew older she would have to regress to the t r a d i t i o n a l r o l e of the female. What she needed and de s i r e d above a l l e l s e was acceptance as a person r a t h e r than as j u s t a female. She searched and s t r u g g l e d f o r the r i g h t to view r e a l l i f e unhindered: 22 Renee hated the well-meaning concern of people around her which meant that she was guarded from exposure to subjects not' deemed f i t f o r an impressionable young g i r l . I t was only w i t h r e s i g n a t i o n that she accepted these circumstances, as i s shown when she wishes to see a new a r t a c q u i s i t i o n belonging to her godfather. -Peut-on v o i r , p a r r a i n ? -Non, f i l l e u l e , vous n'etes pas encore assez grande. E t i l l u i donna sur l a joue une p e t i t e tape d'amitiS. "Ah! c'est toujours comme c e l a ce que vous achetez!" d i t Ren£e en tournant l e dos au v i e i l l a r d . . . H The paradoxes which made up her l i f e caused Ren£e t o r - ment and f r u s t r a t i o n concerning her p a r t i c u l a r niche i n s o c i e t y . She was unsure of the nature of her r o l e i n the flow of events around her, but she had u n e r r i n g sense of r e a l i t y and a f l a i r f o r the t r u t h , and was w i l l i n g to make any s a c r i f i c e to preserve these concepts. For Ren£e, t h i s meant a personal e v a l u a t i o n of those people who made up her l i t t l e world. She regarded each of them wit h a d i s c e r n i n g eye, and was quick to r e v e a l t h e i r s m a l l decep- t i o n s both to themselves and to her. Only those who were passion- a t e l y loved by her escaped t h i s a n a l y s i s and were accepted on the s t r e n g t h of her love alone. Her f a m i l y was s c r u t i n i z e d w i t h no l e s d i s c r i m i n a t i n g an eye, although her f a t h e r ' s p o s i t i o n i n her l i f e was obvious: she was her f a t h e r ' s companion and sounding board, having a r o l e s i m i l a r to a wife. However unconscious i t might have been, Ren£e was c e r t a i n l y competing w i t h her mother f o r her f a t h e r ' s a f f e c t - i o n , and may have f e l t a t h r i l l of pleasure when she succeeded i n 23 c a p t u r i n g h i s a t t e n t i o n to the e x c l u s i o n of everyone e l s e . The stre n g t h of her love f o r Monsieur Mauperin made i t impossible f o r her to e n v i s i o n conjugal love. V o i s - t u , d i s a i t - e l l e a son pere, moi je ne pouvais aimer personne; t u me rendais trop d i f f i c i l e en f a i t d ' a f f e c t i o n . J ' S t a i s s i sure d'avance que personne ne m'aimerait comme t o i l Je voyais passer tant de choses sur ton visage quand j'<§tais l a , tant de joie'. E t quand nous a l l i o n s quelque p a r t ensemble, a v a i s - t u assez d ' o r g u e i l de moil E t a i s - t u assez f i e r de me donner l e bras I Va, pere, on a u r a i t eu-.beau m'aimer, je n'aurais jamais retrouv<§ mon papa; tu m'avais trop gat<§e...12 And there was c e r t a i n l y no questionodf her marrying s o l e l y f o r convenience. The 'rewards' of marriage, money, p o s i - t i o n , status and s e c u r i t y held no a t t r a c t i o n f o r her, and the possessors of these things were weak and c h a r a c t e r l e s s f o r her. Denoisel, her childhood mentor, described the type of man RenSe might consider marrying to her brother, Henri, i n t h i s manner. ...pourvu q u ' i l f'ut i n t e l l i g e n t , q u ' i l eut un c a r a c t e r e , une personnalite", quelque chose capable de dominer ou de remuer une nature feminine comme l a sienne,...l3 This s i t u a t i o n caused Rente's mother a good deal of unhappiness and was viewed w i t h humour by RenSe h e r s e l f . Uncon- cerned w i t h convention and f o r m a l i t y , RenSe was unimpressed w i t h her mother's adherence to custom and r i t u a l . Renee found the l i m i t i n g conformism impossible to handle and succeeded i n making i n bearable only through her own scandalous behaviour. The v i c i o u s c i r c l e e f f e c t of the s p a r r i n g between mother and daughter only made the mother more sure that Ren§e needed the d i s c i p l i n e of husband and f a m i l y , and Ren<§e more sure that such a s i t u a t i o n 2k would be i n t o l e r a b l e . Rente's view of her brother i s complex. She respected hi s p o s i t i o n as a s u c c e s s f u l lawyer and w r i t e r , but i t i s d i f f i - c u l t to determine how much he i n f l u e n c e d her l i f e . He l i v e d i n P a r i s , quite out of the f a m i l y sphere, although h i s many v i s i t s f o r dinner and the l i k e are mentioned i n the novel. His contact with the i n t e l l e c t u a l world brought Ren£e an awareness of p o l i t i c a l and s o c i a l problems. Through these people she was allowed to view the complexities of the thought process and the l o g i c a l development of modern s o c i o l o g i c a l changes. This i n f l u e n c e caused her to regard w i t h some d i s d a i n those whose thoughts were not so u p l i f t i n g . V o i l a l ' e f f e t que me f a i t l e monde, a moi. Peut-etre ga t i e n t a ce que je n ' a i pas eu de chance. Je s u i s tomb£e sur des jeunes gens sSrieux, des amis a mon f r e r e , des jeunes gens a c i t a t i o n s , comme je l e s a p p e l l Les jeunes personnes, on ne peut l e u r p a r l e r que du d e r n i e r sermon q u ' e l l e s ont entendu, du d e r n i e r morceau de piano q u ' e l l e ont etu- die", ou de l a derniere robe q u ' e l l e s ont mise: c'est borne, l ' e n t r e t i e n avec mes contemporaines.1^ Ren6e placed her s i s t e r , Madame Davarande, w i t h those people whose l i v e s were concerned w i t h t r i v i a l i t i e s . Ren£e con- s i d e r e d her s i s t e r an example of what she d i d not want to be: married f o r convenience and p o s i t i o n to an e l i g i b l e man. She found the fal s e n e s s of such a s i t u a t i o n contrary not only to her d e s i r e s but to her s e n s i b i l i t i e s as w e l l . I t was through '..Denoisel, a companion and f r i e n d , that many of Rente's thoughts and s e n s i b i l i t i e s were formed. He was the son of her f a t h e r ' s close f r i e n d , and had been r a i s e d l i k e a 25 son by Rente's f a m i l y . He was independent and long-seeing. His concept of the world was a unique one, and he endeavoured to i n s t i l l i n Renee a knowledge and a respect f o r her own c a p a b i l i - t i e s . He, even more than Rente's f a t h e r or her brother, r e a l i z e d the extent to which women would be challenged i n a new, modern world. On demande a une jeune f i l l e des impressions, des expressions personnelles et n a t u r e l l e s . E l l e peut p a r l e r , et e l l e d o i t p a r l e r de tout. C'est pass§ dans l e s moeurs. E l l e n'est plus tenue de jouer l'ing£nuit§, mais 1 ' i n - t e l l i g e n c e originale.15 Rente's background, while never being described i n d e t a i l i n the novel, i s c l e a r l y that necessary f o r the develop- ment of a 'modern' woman. This was the goal of the Goncourt Brothers when they undertook the work and t h e i r success i s due to the character of each woman they chose to document and'to- t h e i r own s k i l l as w r i t e r s . The character of Germinie. Lacerteux presents a d i f f e r - ent case to the reader. Germinie belonged to the basses c l a s s e s , p r e v i o u s l y described. She was a servant g i r l w i t h a p r o v i n c i a l background; orphaned at a tender age, she was soon sent to work f o r her keep i n P a r i s i a n establishments. The s t o r y , a true one based on the l i f e of t h e i r maid, Rose, l e d the Goncourt Brothers to w r i t e i n the preface to Germinie Lacerteux Vivant au dix-neuvieme s i e c l e , dans un temps de suffrage u n i v e r s e l , de democratie, de lib§ralisme, nous nous sommes demande s i ce qu'on appelle " l e s basses c l a s s e s " n ' a v a i t pas d r o i t au Roman; s i ce monde sous un monde, l e peuple, d e v a i t r e s t e r sous l e coup de l ' i n t e r d i t litt§raire ;.et des dSdains d'au- teurs q u i ont f a i t j u s q u ' i c i l e s i l e n c e sur 26 1' ame et l e coeur q u ' i l peut a v o i r . Nous nous sommes demande" s ' i l y a v a i t encore, pour l ' e c r i v a i n et pour ; l e l e c t e u r , en ces anne"es d'egalite" ou. nous sommes, des c l a s s e s indignes, des malheurs trop bas, des drames trop mal embouchSs, des catastrophes d'une t e r r e u r trop peu noble. I I nous e s t venu l a c u r i o s i - - te de s a v o i r s i cett e forme conventionnelle d'une litt<§rature oubliSe et d'une socie"te disparue , l a TragSdie, £tait d£finitivement morte; s i , dans un pays sans caste et sans a r i s t o c r a t i e l e g a l e , l e s miseres des p e t i t s et des pauvres p a r l e r a i e n t a l'int£ret, a 1'Amotion, a l a p i t i S , a u s s i "haut que l e s miseres des grands et des r i c h e s ; s i , en un mot, l e s larmes qu'on pleure en bas p o u r r a i e n t f a i r e p l e u r e r comme c e l l e s qu'on pleure en haut.1° By studying t h i s g i r l from the lower c l a s s , the Gon- court Brothers sought to e s t a b l i s h the d i f f e r e n c e s i n environment which made Germinie's l i f e so d i f f e r e n t from Renee's. I n a d d i t i o n , they wished to describe the l i f e of the lower c l a s s , aware th a t many of those who read t h e i r novels had no experience or under- standing of the circumstances surrounding such a person. By em- p h a s i z i n g Germinie's humanity and v u l n e r a b i l i t y , the Goncourt Brothers elevated an otherwise common servant g i r l i n t o a dynamic, i n t r i g u i n g character. L i k e Ren6e, Germinie was the l a s t c h i l d born to her parents. Although she added another mouth to an already poor and hungry f a m i l y , she too was petted and s p o i l e d . She saw l i t t l e of her f a t h e r , who was a labourer, and her mother died when she was f i v e years o l d . From th a t time onward, the f a m i l y seemed dogged by unfortunate circumstances. A s t r i k e , her f a t h e r ' s death, her brother's death, her s i s t e r s ' move to P a r i s and her own move to her aunt's v i l l a g e caused confusion and misery f o r young Germinie. Unable to s e t t l e i n her new s u r r o u n d i n g s ; w i t h 27 u n f a m i l i a r f a c e s , she was sent to P a r i s , aged fourteen, to l i v e w i t h her s i s t e r s . Once there, Germinie was sent to work i n a caf 6. There, she became aware of her burgeoning s e x u a l i t y , and yet she was not s u f f i c i e n t l y informed about such subjects to understand t h e i r i m p l i c a t i o n s . Germinie f e l t incapable of d e s c r i b i n g the horror to which she was subjected. This l e f t her open and vulnerable to the j i b e s and i n s u l t s of the men around her. I n the end, she was s e x u a l l y attacked by Joseph, an o l d r e t a i n e r who worked i n the caf6. The r e s u l t s of t h i s i n c i d e n t were many: Germinie became pregnant and t h e r e f o r e , an outcast, alone i n a h o s t i l e atmosphere. Her s i s t e r s , shamed by her "disgrace" b r u t a l l y r e v i l e d Germinie, both v e r b a l l y and phy- s i c a l l y . Germinie developed a morbid f e a r of any man and a p a r t of h e r s e l f became shuttered and denied. Germinie 1s confusion regarding h e r s e l f , her r e l a t i o n s h i p s w i t h others and her concept of l i f e i n general was profound and t r a g i c . In terms of emotional adjustment, Germinie never got over her unhappy childhood, her shame at the calumny of her s i s - t e r s nor her own i n s e c u r i t i e s . Even when she f i n a l l y found a... s o r t of permanence i n the employ of Mademoiselle de V a r a n d e u i l , she faced the world alone. With no close f r i e n d s and cut o f f from her f a m i l y , she had no one to t u r n to f o r advice. As a r e s u l t , w i t h each new s i t u a t i o n , she;:reacted i n a d i f f e r e n t way, and her confusion mounted. She could never, t h e r e f o r e , count upon her own resources and be ensured of a p r e d i c t a b l e outcome. [Germinie Lacerteux] , c'est l.'.histoire des 28 metamorphoses constantes du personnage dans des s i t u a t i o n s ou. l e changement brusque e t inexpliqu£ r e s t e constant.17 Her p e r s o n a l i t y was i n a constant s t a t e of t r a n s i t i o n and f l u c t u a t i o n , where her impressions depended upon her mood, her concept of how others viewed her and her own s i t u a t i o n . This i n s t a b i l i t y was a d i r e c t r e s u l t of unfavourable environmental c o n d i t i o n s . She was unsure of any r e a l i t y outside her own, but she was aware of the p o s s i b i l i t y of escape. She craved love and a f f e c t i o n to the p o i n t of degrading h e r s e l f and causing h e r s e l f misery and shame i n order to o b t a i n companionship, but she never- t h e l e s s r e t a i n e d a c e r t a i n concept of honour and l o y a l t y . These concepts, when juxtaposed with her l a t e r a c t i o n s i n the novel , caused her a great deal of p a i n , shame and f r u s t r a t i o n . Germinie, due to her deep need f o r love and care, was easy to dupe. Those around her made good use of her weakness, wit h Germinie g i v i n g her a l l i n order to o b t a i n any small favour o f f e r e d to her. Her one redeeming q u a l i t y was her o v e r r i d i n g devotion to Mademoiselle de Vara n d e u i l , which never f a l t e r e d . Germinie knew many people, l i v i n g as she d i d i n an honourable p o s i t i o n as Mademoiselle's maid. However, as her good judgement was clouded by her u n r e l e n t i n g need f o r l o v e , she o f t e n made f r i e n d s w i t h undesirable people. She could not see how these people i n g r a t i a t e d themselves i n t o her favour, nor could she see how she devoted h e r s e l f to them f o r l i t t l e i n r e t u r n . To her, anyone who professed to show concern .for her was deserving of anything she could o f f e r . On such person was Madame J u p i l l o n , the crgmiere on 29 the s t r e e t where Mademoiselle and Germinie made t h e i r home. Germinie's hunger f o r a f f e c t i o n and her w i l l i n g n e s s to be of se r v i c e to Madame J u p i l l o n made her needs obvious. Germinie's desi r e to confide her intimate s e c r e t s and exchange confidences with Madame J u p i l l o n , gave the l a t t e r a p e r f e c t opportunity to see her son, a good deal younger than Germinie, s e t up i n b u s i - ness f o r himself. Madame J u p i l l o n was quick to recognize i n Germinie a l l • t h e symptoms of unrequited l o v e , and with a l i t t l e persuasion, J u p i l l o n h imself saw the tempting rewards of a suc- c e s s f u l wooing of Germinie. Mother and son both had ...d§ja devine tous l e s avantages et toutes l e s s ^ c u r i t e s que cette conquete d'une femme plus ag6e que l u i , s^rieuse et en possession d'une place'honorable, assurera a son garne- ment de f i l s . 1 8 J u p i l l o n became a master of deception, pretending at once to love Germinie, and yet d i s d a i n f u l of a creature who could be so e a s i l y taken i n . His empty promises and fre q u e n t i n g of other women l e f t Germinie hurt and overwhelmingly j e a l o u s , but her f a i t h i n her own love f o r J u p i l l o n remained a l i v e . This love p e r s i s t e d even a f t e r Germinie f i n a l l y found out the t r u t h . R e a l i z i n g that she had been duped and used, she re t r e a t e d i n t o a p r o t e c t i v e s h e l l , u n w i l l i n g to r i s k intimate contact w i t h anyone. A f r a i d of her own need f o r devotion and lov e , she feared her need overpowering her innate s e n s i b i l i t i e s . However, her d e n i a l was f r u i t l e s s . Conscious of her considerable p h y s i c a l needs, she began to haunt the s t r e e t s using any man she could f i n d and o f f e r i n g what she could i n r e t u r n f o r h i s favours. The ul t i m a t e h u m i l i a t i o n s t r u c k Germinie 30 to the core of her existence and yet she no longer had the power to f i g h t a g a i n s t i t . Her r e l a t i o n s h i p w i t h MedSric Gautruche i n d i c a t e d the depths to which she had f a l l e n . Nights of a l c o h o l - i c debauchery followed days spent h i d i n g her double l i f e . Her mind became conditioned to her s i t u a t i o n , no longer d i f f e r e n t i a - t i n g m o r a l i t y and decadence. Her only remaing l o y a l t y was to Mademoiselle. Mademoi- s e l l was the one person who had tr e a t e d her wit h kindness and sympathy, who had given her a home and constant, honourable employment. I n a l l that she was to do, Germinie's one j u s t i f i - c a t i o n was that she had to p r o t e c t Mademoiselle from h e r s e l f becoming poisoned by Germinie's conduct. E t Germinie malgre son existence de plus en plus d§chir£e conserve a sa maitresse l e meme d£vouement, l e meme attachement t o t a l . . . . E l l e l a trompait uniquement par; res.pe.ct et pour garder sa tendresse. 19 ..... Whereas Ren£e Mauperin wanted to be accepted f o r what she was, Germinie wanted to be something she could never be. Both characters were searching f o r the e l u s i v e s t a t e of i n t e r i o r peace. Both d e s i r e d acceptance, knowledge and contentment, but they were both denied these things by the s o c i e t y i n which they l i v e d . The f r u s t r a t i o n of such d e n i a l i s portrayed i n great d e t a i l by the Goncourt Brothers and thus, having e s t a b l i s h e d some of the s o c i e t a l pressures of the nineteenth century, i t becomes important to study i n depth the b a s i c human emotion of f r u s t r a t i o n as i t r e l a t e d to the l i v e s and the characters of Ren§e Mauperin and Germinie Lacerteux. 31 NOTES: 1. P. Martino, Le Roman r e a l i s t e sous l e Second Empire ( P a r i s : L i b r a i r i e Hachette et C i e , 1913) , P> 9~l! 2. G. Reynier, La Femme au x v i i e s i e c l e ( P a r i s : E d i t i o n s J . T a l l a n d i e r , 1929). p. 196. 3« L. P r a j s , La F a l l a c i t e de l'oeuvre romanesque des Freres Goncourt ( P a r i s : A. G. N i z e t , 197*4-), p. 25*4-. k. P. Martino, p. 237- 5. J-P. Richard, "Notes sur l e s Goncourt," Revue des sciences humaines, (janv. - mars, 1953), P« 55» 6. M. Immergluck, La Question sociale^'dans l'oeuvre des Goncourt ( P a r i s ! Les B e l l e s L e t t r e s , 193°), p. 120. 7. I b i d . , p. 81. 8. -E.'Zbla, Mes Haines ( P a r i s : B i b l i o t h e q u e Charpentier, 1923), p. 67. 9. P. Martion, p. 2*4-1. 10. E. & J . de Goncourt, Ren£e Mauperin ( P a r i s : Artheme Fayard et C i e , 1875), P- 16.' 11. I b i d . , p. 18. 12. I b i d . , p. 118. 13. I b i d . , p. 26. 1*4-. I b i d . , p. 9. 15. I b i d . , p. 26. 16. E. & J . de Goncourt, Germinie Lacerteux ( P a r i s : Flammarion, 1929), P- 6. 17. L. P r a j s , p. 29. 18. P. S a b a t i e r , Germinie" Lacerteux des Goncourt ( P a r i s : S f e l t , 19*4-8), p. 6*4-. 19. I b i d . , p. 76. 32 Chapter I I Two Heroines i n F r u s t r a t i o n The theme of f r u s t r a t i o n i s one of the major themes • tr e a t e d by the Goncourt Brothers i n t h e i r novels concerning women. Their treatment of the p h y s i c a l and emotional e f f e c t s of t h i s theme gives a d e t a i l e d p o r t r a i t of each woman's s i t u a t i o n and an accurate p i c t u r e of p e r s o n a l i t i e s and backgrounds. The novels Germinie Lacerteux and Renge Mau-perin are e x c e l l e n t examples of the Goncourt Brothers' c a r e f u l n o t a t i o n of the character and r e a c t i o n s of women a f f e c t e d by f r u s t r a i o n . Each of these women comes from a d i f f e r e n t s o c i a l c l a s s and y et they have common goals: the respect of others and t h e i r own s e l f - f u l f i l l m e n t . Germinie and Ren£e had to deal with f r u s t r a t i o n on two l e v e l s : they had to come to terms w i t h t h e i r own i n t e r n a l f r u s - t r a t i o n s and they had to l i v e w i t h the f r u s t r a t i n g pressures which s o c i e t y placed upon them. I t becomes d i f f i c u l t to know e x a c t l y where each l e v e l assumes i t s importance, since the i n t e r n a l and e x t e r n a l pressures are so c l o s e l y i n t e r r e l a t e d . This too, pro- vided problems f o r each woman. Neit h e r Renee nor Germinie were aware that many of t h e i r problems stemmed from t h e i r u n f u l f i l l i n g day-to-day e x i s t e n c e . Although the concept was r e l a t i v e l y undefined i n t h e i r own minds, each woman c e r t a i n l y f e l t an emptiness and a malaise w i t h i n her- s e l f which prompted thought and questions. That the Goncourt Brothers were aware of t h i s phenomenon and noted i t i n t h e i r works serves to confirm t h e i r d e s i r e to p o r t r a y a 'modern' woman 33 d i f f e r e n t from the woman portrayed by other authors. Goethe, a German philosopher of the eighteenth century remarked that Le moindre i n d i v i d u peut etre complet a con- d i t i o n de se mouvoir dans l e s l i m i t e s de ses aptitudes e t de ses competences.1 This u n i v e r s a l philosophy was an example of the changing a t t i t u d e of the nineteenth century as w e l l . I t i n d i c a t e d t h a t f u l f i l l m e n t i s a r e a l i s t i c p o s s i b i l i t y i n s p i t e of the co n d i t i o n s contained i n the quotation, and i t c e r t a i n l y d i d not exclude women from i t s dictum. To achieve f u l f i l l m e n t , however, an a n a l y s i s of s e v e r a l f a c t o r s was i m p l i e d w i t h i n the statement. F i r s t , a person had to have a c e r t a i n concept of s e l f , i n order to be aware that the opportunity f o r advancement l a y w i t h i n the s e l f . Second, i t was necessary to understand one's c a p a b i l i t i e s and t a l e n t s . I n t h i s way, i t would be p o s s i b l e to define the parameters f o r a c t i o n without misjudging e i t h e r o n e s e l f f o r the p o t e n t i a l f o r a c t i o n . This was the task of each woman i n the novels. However, a woman's s e l f - a n a l y s i s o c c a s i o n a l l y came i n t o d i r e c t c o n f l i c t w i t h the precepts of s o c i e t y . I n general, a woman's own concept of s e l f r e l i e d on what s o c i e t y d i c t a t e d . She was not encouraged to define f o r h e r s e l f what she f e l t , how she thought or what she wanted. She could only accept those modes of conduct which she was given by s o c i e t y . I n a d d i t i o n , her l a c k of formal education l i m i t e d her p o t e n t i a l . She could not comprehend how s o c i e t y was duping her; she therefore was u n w i t t i n g l y a v i c t i m of circumstance. In viewing Renee and Germinie, we see the genesis of 3k self-awareness and s e l f - f u l f i l l m e n t . The pressures of s o c i e t y and t h e i r innate reluctance to break.with s o c i e t y ' s customs dominated t h e i r l i v e s . However, t h e i r w i l l i n g n e s s to come to a conscious d e c i s i o n based on t h e i r a p p r a i s a l of a s i t u a t i o n , whatever the outcome, was an i n d i c a t i o n of t h e i r optimism tinged w i t h a f r u s t r a t i o n caused by the minor accomplishments they appeared to achieve. In comparing the accomplishments of the two women, a s t r i k i n g d i s s i m i l a r i t y appears. While each woman searched f o r s e l f - c o n f i d e n c e and attempted to deal with the outside world on i t s own terms, the q u a l i t y of the achievement f o r each was quite d i f f e r e n t . Their d i f f e r e n t s o c i a l backgrounds made the challenge to each woman e n t i r e l y d i f f e r e n t . They each grappled w i t h the concepts of s o c i e t y as they perceived them and they a r r i v e d , throughr f r u s t r a t i o n , a t the same des t i n y . The Goncourt Brothers have examined i n t t h e i r works the v a r i o u s aspects of r e l i g i o n , l o v e , honour and j u s t i c e as they were viewed by each woman. These concepts are the f o c a l p o i n t of the challenge to each and by s p o t l i g h t i n g the u n i v e r s a l - i t y of the s u b j e c t s , the Goncourt Brothers have emphasized the o v e r r i d i n g pervasiveness of the s o c i e t i e s about which they w r i t e . A l s o , they have c o n t r i b u t e d t h e i r personal i n t e r p r e t a t i o n of each woman's s i t u a t i o n to t h e i r works i n order to encourage i n t h e i r readers an emancipation of t h e i r own l i v e s and thus of s o c i e t y as w e l l . The Goncourt Brothers' p o r t r a i t of r e l i g i o n as i t r e l a - ted to RenSe and Germinie was important. Since the m a j o r i t y of 35 t h e i r readers were Roman C a t h o l i c s , the Goncourt Brothers could be assured of an awareness on the p a r t of t h e i r readers: what they read and understood from the p o r t r a i t s i n the novels could apply to t h e i r own l i v e s . The reading p u b l i c would be forced to th i n k and to analyse the w r i t i n g of the Goncourt Brothers. They were themselves d i s i l l u s i o n e d and contemptuous of the C a t h o l i c f a i t h . I n t h e i r examination of the i n f l u e n c e of r e l i g i o n on the l i v e s of t h e i r c h a r a c t e r s , they r e v e a l the d i s - appointment they found inherent i n t h e i r own concept of the f a i t h . They attempted to give t h e i r female characters a c o n s o l i n g and comforting f a i t h , but the women only found the f r u s t r a t i o n s and anguish which had tro u b l e d the Goncourt Brothers. The f o l l o w i n g statement describes t h e i r f a i t h ' a s they d e s i r e d to see i t . A l a misere r S e l l e du peuple, l e s Goncourt donnent 1'adoucissement de l a r e l i g i o n , de cette r e l i g i o n q u i devient de plus en plus l e b i e n e x c l u s i f de ceux qui pl e u r e n t . "La plus grande force de l a r e l i g i o n chrStienne, c'est q u ' e l l e e s t l a r e l i g i o n des t r i s t e s s e s de l a v i e , des malheurs, des chagrins, des maladies, de tout ce q u i a f f l i g e l e coeur, l a tete e t l e corps. E l l e s'adresse aux gens q u i s o u f f r e n t . E l l e promet des consola- t i o n s a. ceux qui en ont besoin, l'esperance a ceux qui d£sesperent. - ... I l s estiment done l a r e l i g i o n comme une c o n s o l a t i o n . Sa n£cessite\ se presente a eux sous une forme d'ordre et de p i t i e . 2 But the Goncourt Brothers were unconvinced that com- p l e t e and unquestioning devotion to r e l i g i o n would provide s o l - ace and help. N e i t h e r Renee nor Germinie found a haven from t h e i r problems, nor d i d they f i n d the advice and the c o n s o l a t i o n they sought. Instead, they encountered f r u s t r a t i o n and d e c e i t . Germinie's concept of r e l i g i o n was an i n t e r e s t i n g f a c e t 36 of her character, and she demonstrated the emotions and devotion expected i n a simple, p r o v i n c i a l woman. Having only the education of the s t r e e t s , Germinie accepted w i l l i n g l y the teachings of the Church. I n not examining any of the precepts of the Church, .she became incapable df detaching h e r s e l f from i t . She was invaded by a s o r t of r e l i g i o u s ecstasy, not u n l i k e a form of p h y s i c a l pleasure. . . . [ L ] a r e l i g i o n pour l a femme n'est pas l a d i s c i p l i n e a l a q u e l l e l'homme se soumet; c'est un epanchement amoureux, une occasion de devouement romanesque. C'est dans l e s jeunes f i l l e s un e x u t o i r e l i c i t e , une per- mi s s i o n d ' e x a l t a t i o n , une a u t o r i s a t i o n d'avoir des aventures mystiques.3 For a woman such as Germinie, t h i s deep emotional a t t a c h - ment took on great meaning. Through the Church, Germinie found the channel of devotion she needed. Alone i n a s e e m i n g l y i f r i e n d - l e s s world, she found the a t t e n t i o n s of the Church and of the p r i e s t who heard confession enabled her to accept her f a t e . In t h i s one p l a c e , she knew she was welcome and there was always someone who was i n t e r e s t e d and was capable of d e l i v e r i n g guidance. In her penitance and her confessions, she found a sympathetic and understanding man i n p r i e s t l y and sacred robes. Les Goncourt ont not<§ avec d£licatesse ce r o l e de confident de l e u r s miseres que l e pr e t r e joue parmi l e s femmes du peuple; e l l e s trouvent, aupres d'un p r e t r e c h a r i t a b l e et p a t i e n t , un peu de douceur i n h a b i t u e l l e , qui l e s reconforte et peut-etre empeche ce r t a i n e s d'entre e l l e s de se l a i s s e r a l l e r au desespoir.^" Her close contact w i t h the Church had made i t impossible f o r her to examine her own p o s i t i o n . This man to whom she devoted her longings was bound by a sacred vow of c h a s t i t y . His was an 37 u n s e l f i s h devotion to the world which he could not forsake, and the r e a l i z a t i o n t h a t Germinie brought a more profane emotion i n t o the c o n f e s s i o n a l f o r c e d him to sever contact w i t h her. Her d i s t r e s s was magnified by her incomprehension of hi s a c t i o n . His r e j e c t i o n sapped her s e l f - c o n f i d e n c e . She was unaware that her devotion to the C a t h o l i c f a i t h was i n a c t u a l f a c t a devotion to the human r e p r e s e n t a t i v e of that f a i t h , the p r i e s t . Cette f i e v r e de r e l i g i o n dura p l u s i e u r s annees pendant l e s q u e l l e s Germinie vScut concentrSe, s i l e n c i e u s e , rayonnante, toute a Dieu, - au moins e l l e l e c r o y a i t . Cependant peu a peu son confesseur a v a i t cru s'apercevoir que toutes ses adorations t o u r n a i e n t vers l u i . A des regards, a des rougeurs, a/".des paroles q u ' e l l e ne l u i d i s a i t p l u s , a d'autres q u ' e l l e s ' e n h a r d i s s a i t a l u i d i r e pour l a premiere f o i s , i l comprit que l a devotion de sa p 6 n i - tante s'£garait et s ' e x a l t a i t en se trompant elle-meme. E l l e l ' e " p i a i t a l a s o r t i e des o f f i c e s , l e s u i v a i t dans l a s a c r i s t i e , s'at- tachant a l u i , c o u r a i t dans l'§glise apres> sa soutane. Le confesseur essaya d ' a v e r t i r Germinie, de detourner de l u i c e t t e f e r v e u r amoureuse. I I devint plus r£serv<§ et s'arma de f r o i d e u r . D§sol§e de ce changement, de cette i n d i f f e r e n c e , Germinie, a i g r i e et bless£e, l u i avoua un jour, en confes s i o n , l e s sentiments de haine q u i l u i venaient contre deux jeunes f i l l e s , l e s pgnitantes pr§f§r£es de l'abbe\ Le p r e t r e a l o r s , l o i g n a n t sans e x p l i c a t i o n s , l a renvoya a un autre confesseur. Germinie a l i a se confesser une ou deux f o i s a cet autre confesseur; puis e l l e n'y a l i a p l u s ; puis e l l e ne pensa plus meme a y a l l e r ; et de toute sa r e l i g i o n i l ne l u i r e s t a plus a l a pens<§e qu'une c e r t a i n e douceur l o i n t a i n e et comme 1'affadissement d'une odeur d'encens 6 t e,int.5 R e l i g i o n had o f f e r e d Germinie a c e r t a i n s o l a c e , but i t could never f i l l the v o i d l e f t by her c o n t i n u i n g need to f i n d someone to l o v e . I t was not w i t h i n her understanding to accept 3 8 a God whose existence was based on a b s t r a c t p r i n c i p l e s , and she could not as s o c i a t e s p i r i t u a l rewards wi t h her r e a l l i f e on earth. The p r i e s t o f f e r e d a p h y s i c a l e x i s t e n c e , but h i s devotion to h i s r e l i g i o n and to the precepts of h i s o f f i c e made i t impos- s i b l e f o r him to f u l f i l l the dreams and d e s i r e s of a l o n e l y and troubled woman. The f r u s t r a t i o n of t h i s incomprehension l e f t her con- fused and withdrawn. Her p r i m i t i v e being needed the r e l i g i o u s fervour which transformed her world and gave her hope and cour- age. She resented the forces which wrenched her from the bond of s e c u r i t y she had found w i t h i n the Church, to condemn her to her day-to-day e x i s t e n c e . I n removing the l i f e l i n e of the Church from Germinie, the Goncourt Brothers l e f t her a t the mercy of h e r s e l f and of f a t e . As w i l l be shown l a t e r i n t h i s d i s s e r a t i o n , that d e c i s i o n was a momentous one. R e l i g i o n f o r . t h e bourgeoisie u s u a l l y c a r r i e d w i t h i t none of the r e l i g i o u s ecstasy found i n the more p r i m i t i v e c l a s s e s . Their r e l i g i o n was no longer a sanctuary and a haven where d a i l y burdens could be l i f t e d f o r a time, since there were few burdens l e f t to bear. I t was r a t h e r a s o c i a l organization.designed as a higher a u t h o r i t y not j u s t f o r r e l i g i o u s matters, but a l s o f o r matters of a s o c i a l nature. I t s p o p u l a r i t y a a s a l a s t word on conduct and custom overrode i t s f u n c t i o n and the c o n s o l a t i o n i n i t s teachings became l i m i t e d . The Church became the f o c a l p o i n t f o r many bourgeois f a m i l i e s i n t h e i r search f o r the accumulation of wealth and f o r i m m o r t a l i t y . The p r i e s t functioned as a con- s u l t a n t i n s o c i a l matters r a t h e r than a healer of so u l s . 3 9 Leur abbe Blampoix, dans Renege Mauperin, e s t un "agent s o c i a l " q u i "exerce une i n f l u e n c e sur l a f a m i l l e et sur l a s o c i e t y . " Influence qui p£netre dans l e s f a m i l i e s , juge, pese l e s p o s s i b i l i t e s des vertus a. demander a. chacun, u n i t ces memes f a m i l i e s , l e s r e l i e par un mariage qui souvent n'est pas 1'union de deux ames, mais c e l l e de deux int£rets. Le p r e t r e • preche l a r e l i g i o n comme un apaisement aux passions, p r e t r e assez sceptique en..somme, q ui se s e r t de l a r e l i g i o n pour" a r r i v e r a ces fins.. I I e st presque J g s u i t e ; a coup sur, i l p r atique l a fameuse maxime des J g s u i t e s : " l a f i n j u s t i - f i e l e s moyens." Son r o l e e s t grand dans l e s f a m i l i e s bour- geoises. I I y maintient l ' o r d r e , passe l'£- ponge sur l e s scandales, l e s f a i t o.ublier en l e u r donnant une autre s i g n i f i c a t i o n , marie l e s f i l l e s , c o n s e i l l e utilement l e s meres. C'est l e f r e i n s o c i a l de l a bourgeoisie q u i use d'une r e l i g i o n aimable pour a r r e t e r l a c o r r u p t i o n . " The overt d e c e i t w i t h i n t h i s r e l i g i o n so i n t e n t on supporting the bourgeoisie gave RenSe grave doubts i n her own f a i t h . She was not a p r i m i t i v e woman searching f o r an escape from her dreary world. Ren£e was an i n t e l l i g e n t woman, capable of examining s o c i e t y and the concepts around her. She was not subjected to the r e l i g i o u s ecstasy Germinie f e l t and she was not therefore f i r m l y bound to the Church. She was abl e , i n t h i s way, to detach h e r s e l f from the Church, to examine I t , and to determine f o r h e r s e l f i t s f u n c t i o n i n her l i f e . Where Germinie found an object of devotion i n her p r i e s t , RenSe was able to look beyond the man and analyse h i s f u n c t i o n i n r e l i g i o n . Her confessor, the abbS•Blampoix mentioned above, was a man who l i v e d i n ease and graciousness while tending h i s f l o c k . The Goncourt Brothers describe him v i v i d l y . L'abbe" Blampoix a v a i t l e charme du p r e t r e q u i a 1'Education, des t a l e n t s et des graces. I I 40 s a v a i t mettre de l a causerie dans l a confes- s i o n , du s e l dans 1'exhortation, de l'agr§- ment dans l ' o n c t i o n . I I s'entendait a 6mou- v o i r et a i n t e r e s s e r . I I c o n n a i s s a i t l e s paroles qui touchent, l e s paroles qui c a r - ressent et l e s paroles qui c h a t o u i l l e n t . Sa v o i x e t a i t musicale, son ton f l e u r i . I I ap- p e l a i t l e d i a b l e l e "prince du mal" et l " E u - c h a r i s t i e " l ' a l i m e n t d i v i n " . I I abondait en periphrases c o l o r i e e s comme des images de s a i n t e t e . I I p a r l a i t de R o s s i n i , i l c i t a i t Racine, i l d i s a i t " l e b o i s " pour l e bois de Boulogne. I I p a r l a i t de 1'amour d i v i n avec des mots qui t r o u b l a i e n t , des v i c e s du jour avec des p a r t i c u l a r i t e s piquantes, du monde avec l a langue du monde. De temps en temps, l e s termes a. l a mode et tous f r a i s , l e s mots intimes de l a langue, passaient dans ses c o n s u l t a t i o n s s p i r i t u e l l e s , a i n s i que des morceaux de j o u r n a l dans un l i v r e ascStique. I I s e n t a i t agrSablement l e s i e c l e . Sa robe a v a i t comme l'odeur de toutes l e s j o l i e s fautes q u i l ' a v a i e n t approche. I I e t a i t pro- fond et a i g u i s e sur l e s t e n t a t i o n s s u b t i l e s , admirable de f i n e s s e , de f l a i r et de decence sur l a c a s u i s t i q u e des s e n s u a l i t e s . Les femmes en r a f f o l a i e n t . 7 Renee was r e v o l t e d by the obsequiousness of t h i s man who claimed to be a p e r s o n i f i c a t i o n of the holy r u l e s . She saw him f o r what he was: a s e l f i s h man who knew the advantages of pandering to the r i c h , and making t h e i r l i v e s more t o l e r a b l e to the p r o f i t of h i s own pocket. His r e f u s a l of a b i s h o p r i c was not a s a c r i f i c e to remain i n the s e r v i c e of those who needed him, but r a t h e r a d e s i r e on h i s p a r t to remain among those people who would reward h i s a i d i n the most p r o f i t a b l e manner. Le f r e t i n des fautes a l l a i t a. d'autres; a l u i , on a p p o r t a i t l e s peches de choix. Autour de l u i , c ' e t a i t un bruissement de grands noms, de grosses fortunes, de j o l i e s c o n t r i t i o n s ; et de b e l l e s robes. Les meres l e c o n s u l t a i e n t pour mener l e u r s f i l l e s dans l e monde, l e s f i l l e s s 1 e d a i r a i e n t aupres de l u i avant d'y a l l e r . I I e t a i t l'homme auquel on s ' a d r e s s a i t pour a v o i r 1 ' a u t o r i s a t i o n de se d e c o l l e t e r , kl l'homme qui r g g l a i t l a pudeur des robes de ba l e t l a dScence des l e c t u r e s , l'homme a. qui l ' o n demandait l e t i t r e des romans a g l i r e e t l a l i s t e des pieces morales a v o i r . His hold over the people he claimed to serve was a strong one. They consulted him on every matter p e r t a i n i n g to themselves and t h e i r r e l a t i o n s h i p s w i t h others. A h i n t or a bad word from him could be cause enoughtto sever a r e l a t i o n s h i p f o r e v e r . For Renee, the f r u s t r a t i o n of being c o n s t a n t l y r e i n e d i n or c o n t r o l l e d by such a man was intense. She needed the freedom to decide f o r h e r s e l f the manner i n which she l i v e d her l i f e ; having to con s u l t a man who l i v e d a l i f e of d e c e i t was impossible. Also Ren£e found that not only was he de c e i v i n g h i s f l o c k regarding h i s own conduct, but he was a l s o d e c e i v i n g them about the q u a l i t y of t h e i r own f a i t h . C ' e t a i t un homme de sens et d ' e s p r i t , un pre t r e f a c i l e e t q u i accommodait tout au ~ pre"cepte: La l e t t r e tue e t 1 ' e s p r i t v i v i f i e . I I £tait t o l e r a n t et i n t e l l i g e n t . I I s a v a i t comprendre et s o u r i r e . I I mesurait l a f o i au temperament des gens, et ne l a donnait qu'a p e t i t e dose. I I a d o u c i s s a i t l a p£ni- tance, i l o t a i t l e s noeuds de l a c r o i x , i l s a b l a i t l e chemin du s a l u t . De l a r e l i g i o n dure, l a i d e , rigoureuse des pauvres, i l d<§- gageait comme une aimable r e l i g i o n des r i c h e s , l£gere, charmante, e i a s t i q u e , se p l i a n t aux choses et aux personnes, a. t o u t e s l l e s conve- nances de l a societ§, a ses moeurs, a. ses habitudes, a. ses prejug£s meme. De l ' i d S e de Dieu, i l f a i s a i t . que.lque chose de con f o r t a b l e et d'e"l£gant.9 RenSe found i t hard to accept the concept of i n e q u a l i t y before God. A s i n was a s i n , no matter who had committed i t , and she saw no reason f o r making allowances simply because one was r i c h . The de c e i v i n g nature of the r e l i g i o n as preached by 42 abbe caused her to t u r n her back on the Church, and l i v e by her own understanding of r i g h t and wrong. RenSe, l i k e Germinie, was ev e n t u a l l y condemned f o r such a d e c i s i o n . ' This decision,- though, was pu r e l y hers, made of her own free w i l l , r e g a r d l e s s of the consequences. Whereas Germinie l e f t the Church because her own longings could never be s a t i s f i e d , RenSe l e f t because she knew she could never conform to the c o n s t r a i n t s placed upon her by the outside world. By l e a v i n g the Church, Ren6e and Germinie l o s t t h e i r f a i t h i n one form of devotion, that unconscious and e c s t a t i c surrender to the s p i r i t u a l world, which l e f t them s u s c e p t i b l e to doubt and questions concerning-that other, more conscious form of devotion which i s love. Both women had l i t t l e understanding of love and a l l i t s i m p l i c a t i o n s ; the j o y f u l experiences asso- c i a t e d w i t h the love of a man were not w i t h i n t h e i r comprehension. What they had experienced were the more negative aspects of such a r e l a t i o n s h i p , the boring, the f r i g h t e n i n g or the incomprehen- s i b l e . This had an u n s e t t l i n g e f f e c t upon t h e i r l i v e s and l e d to mental anguish and f r u s t r a t i o n . Each of these women was searching f o r d i f f e r e n t q u a l i - t i e s i n her love of a man. Ren§e sought a partner, a man who would deal w i t h her on equal terms, and who would accord her honour, respect and d i g n i t y . Not f o r her the man who would use her f o r no more than an object of h i s d e s i r e s . He had to be i n t e l l i g e n t and f a r - s e e i n g ; a man who would make the most of h i s a b i l i t i e s and t a l e n t s . I f he possessed these q u a l i t i e s , Rente's s t r e n g t h of character and p r i d e could d e a l w i t h almost anything k3 l i f e meted out. Germinie, on the other hand, i n s i s t e d on only two things i n l o v e : s e c u r i t y and u n s t i n t i n g devotion, not only on her p a r t , hut from her mate as w e l l . Her great c a p a c i t y f o r l o v i n g and g i v i n g became her curse. She was plagued by thoughts of love and devotion, yet she could not e x i s t without them. This l e f t her vulnerable and brought her only h u m i l i a t i o n , degradation and dishonour. The love i n Germinie's l i f e was a constant duel between the pleasant and- the s o r d i d , each warring w i t h the other to achieve u l t i m a t e supremacy. This constant v a c i l l a t i o n was a r e s u l t not only of s o c i e t y and i t s pressures, but a l s o of the inherent d u a l - i t y of Germinie's character i t s e l f . She was "un etre passionne et v i o l e n t , un etre tendre et dSvoug.""^ This p a r a d o x i c a l jux- t a p o s i t i o n of v i o l e n c e and passion tempered by tenderness and devotion l e f t Germinie confused and t o r t u r e d . The Goncourt Brothers l a b e l l e d t h i s phenomenon the mglancolie des v i e r g e s . They described t h i s c o n d i t i o n i n the novel by saying that En p a r l a n t maraage a. Germinie, M i l e de Varan- d e u i l t o u c h a i t l a cause du mal de Germinie. E l l e m e t t a i t l a main sur somennui. L ' i r r e - g u l a r i t y d'humeur de sa bonne, l e s dugouts de sa v i e , l e s langueurs, l e vide et l e mecon- tentement de son e t r e , venaient de cette mal- adie que l a medecine appelle l a mglancolie des v i e r g e s . La souffranee de ses v i n g t - quatre ans e t a i t l e d£sir ardent, i r r i t e , poignant, du mariage,...H The devotion which Germinie accorded to her mistress was unable to f i l l t h i s other l o n g i n g which she found so overpowering. Her need f o r the passion found i n the love of a man began to c o n t r o l her l i f e and i n t e r f e r e w i t h her day-to-day a c t i v i t i e s . This l e f t Germinie vulnerable and caused her to view love i n an u n r e a l i s t i c , impassioned manner. "En tou t , son coeur 6 t a i t exigeant e t des- 12 pote . " c She was unable to understand that a person has many d i f f e r e n t ways to loves s e l f - l o v e , love of a man, love of a c h i l d , even love of humanity as^ a whole and each d i f f e r e n t kind of love c o n t r i b u t e s i n a unique way-to the formation of the whole person. Because Germinie was con c e n t r a t i n g on only one form of l o v e , the desire f o r the love of a man, any i n t r u s i o n or i n v a s i o n of another kind of love caused her anguish and p a i n . Germinie, i n t r u t h , was subject of three very separate forms of l o v e , each of which was pervasive i n i t s i n f l u e n c e upon her l i f e . The f i r s t type of love was her love f o r and devotion to Mademoiselle de Var a n d e u i l , an emotion which was to o u t l i v e a l l others; the second was her love f o r a c h i l d , both f o r her niece and her own c h i l d r e n , born out of wedlock by J u p i l l o n ; and l a s t l y , her love of a man, f i r s t the youth J u p i l l o n and then the p a i n t e r , Gautruche. She reacted i n a very d i f f e r e n t way to each of these forms of l o v e . Her love f o r and devotion to Mademoiselle was a pure and u n s t i n t i n g a c t i o n . G r a t e f u l to Mademoiselle f o r p r o v i d i n g her honourable work and a decent home, Germinie d i d eve r y t h i n g i n her power to maintain the confidence and the respect which Mademoiselle had f o r her, even i n circumstances which were de- basing and dishonourable. Germinie found a c e r t a i n c o n f l i c t . . i n her v i s i o n of her r e l a t i o n s h i p w i t h Mademoiselle when she was confronted w i t h saving h e r s e l f or condemning h e r s e l f to Mademoi- s e l l e ' s wrath and disappointment. I n a l a t e r s e c t i o n of t h i s ^5 chapter, t h i s concept w i l l be discussed i n more d e t a i l w i t h respect to Germinie's personal concepts of honour and t r u t h . The love Germinie had f o r 'her' c h i l d r e n , her ni e c e , and then her own c h i l d r e n born out of wedlock, was the one r e l a - t i o n s h i p i n i w h i c h she found s e c u r i t y and happiness. They were people to whom she could devote h e r s e l f and l i v e f o r . Her own c h i l d , a a product of h e r s e l f and her l o v e r , J u p i l l o n , was a r e l a - tionshipwwhich would grow w i t h the passing years. There would never be any question of the l o y a l t y and devotion of the c h i l d ' s thoughts: a c h i l d ' s love f o r i t s mothers i s u s u a l l y unquestioning and profound. I n s p i t e of the scandal and the h u m i l i a t i o n asso- c i a t e d w i t h the b i r t h of her c h i l d , Germinie knew no greater joy than w i t h her precious daughter. La j o i e et l ' o r g u e i l d'avoir donnS l e jour a une p e t i t e creature ou sa c h a i r S t a i t mel§e a l a c h a i r de 1'homme qu ' e l l e a i m a i t , l e bonheur d'etre mere, l a sauverent des s u i t e s d'une couche mal soignee. E l l e r e v i n t a l a sante" et e l l e eut a v i v r e un a i r de p l a i s i r que sa maitresse ne l u i a v a i t jamais vu.^3 However, she approached the t h i r d s o r t of love i n her l i f e , the love of a man, from an a l t o g e t h e r d i f f e r e n t p o i n t of view. This was not a comfortable form of devotion. I n t h i s l o v e , she was insecure and f r i g h t e n e d by her mental and p h y s i c a l r e a c t i o n s over which she had no c o n t r o l and which seemed to per- vade her e n t i r e being. Coupled w i t h the medical d e f i n i t i o n of the mglancolie des v i e r g e s , the Goncourt Brothers emphasized her confusion and s u s c e p t i b i l i t y by p o r t r a y i n g i n great d e t a i l the anguish i n her s o u l as a r e s u l t of her innate s e n s i b i l i t i e s . And yet, De cette femme l a i d e s'Schappait une apre et myst£rieuse seduction. L'ombre, et l a lumiere, se heurtant et se b r i s a n t a son visage pie i n de creux et de s a i l l i e s , y mettaient ce rayon- nement de volupte jet§ par un p e i n t r e d,'amour dans l a pochade du p o r t r a i t de sa maitresse. Tout en e l l e , sa bouche, ses yeux, sa l a i d e u r meme, a v a i t une provocation e t une s o l l i c i t a - t i o n . Un charme aphrodisiaque s o r t a i t d'.elle, qui s ' a t t a q u a i t et s ' a t t a c h a i t a 1'autre sexe. E l l e d<§gageait l e d£sir et en donnait l a com- motion. Une t e n t a t i o n sensuelless&e^evait'na- turellement et involontairement d ' e l l e , de ses gestes, de sa>marche, du moindre de ses remuements, de l ' a i r ou son corps a v a i t laiss£ une de ses ondulations. A cote d ' e l l e , on se s e n t a i t pres d'une de ces creatures troublantes et i n q u i S t a n t e s , brulantes du^mal d'aimer et l'apportant aux autr e s , dont l a f i g u r e r e v i e n t a l'homme aux heures in a s s o u v i e s , tourmente ses pens§es lourdes de m i d i , hante ses n u i t s , v i o l e ses songes. 1^ U n w i t t i n g l y , Germinie's d e s i r e s and i n t r i n s i c s e n s u a l i t y were mirrored i n her every movement. She l a i d h e r s e l f open to being taken i n and used by unscrupulous and s e l f i s h people. They saw i n her overt seduction a means to i n g r a t i a t e themselves i n t o her favour, and to obta i n from her, on the p r e t e x t of love and devo- t i o n , a l l that she was capable of g i v i n g them. Mere J u p i l l o n , a devious and c l e v e r creature, employed t h i s p a r t i c u l a r f a c e t of Germinie's character to the f u l l e s t . Using a l l her w i l e s to dupe Germinie, the cremiere soon had Germinie i n the palm of her hand. By merely h i n t i n g of the p o s s i b i l i t y of a union between Germinie and her son, Madame J u p i l l o n made Germinie a w i l l i n g v i c t i m . Germinie f u t b i e n v i t e seduite e t apitoySe par c e t t e cremiere c a l i n e , bavarde, toujours emue, appelant a. e l l e 1'expansion des autres et p a r a i s s a n t s i tendre. 15 The cremiere was w e l l aware of Germinie's weaknesses. P l a y i n g up to the obvious g r a t i t u d e i n Germinie's obsequious ^7 patronage, Mere J u p i l l o n l a i d her plans w e l l . Sans jamais p a r l e r , sans prononcer un mot q u i put etre un engagement, sans s ' o u v r i r n i se l i e r , e t tout en r§p6tant que son f i l s S t a i t encore b i e n jeune pour e n t r e r en manage, e l l e encouragea l e s esp£rances et l e s i l l u s i o n s de Germinie par 1 ' a t t i t u d e de toute sa personne, ses a i r s de secrete indulgence et de compli- c i t y de coeur, par ces s i l e n c e s ou e l l e sem- b l a i t l u i o u v r i r l e s bras d'une belle-mere. E t deploy ant touseses t a l e n t s de fausset§, usant de ses mines de sentiment, de sa f i n e s s e bon enfant, de cette ruse ronde et envelopp£e qu'ont l e s gens gras, l a grosse femme a r r i v a i t a f a i r e tomber devant 1'assurance, l a promesse t a c i t e de ce mariage, l e s dernieres r e s i s t a n c e s de Germinie q u i a l a f i n se l a i s s a i t arracher par l'ardeur du jeune homme ce q u ' e l l e c r o y a i t donner d'avance a l'amour du mari. Dans tout ce jeu, l a cremiere n ' a v a i t voulu qu'une chose: s'attacher et conserver une domestique qui ne l u i c o u t a i t rien.16 Germinie guessed none of the deception inherent i n the cremiere's seemingly innocent f r i e n d s h i p . Germinie d i d not stop to examine the motives of those around her: to anyone who o f f e r - ed her the single-minded devotion f o r which she was searching, Germinie i n her t u r n gave a devotion which bordered on the fana- t i c . She became a n i m a l - l i k e i n her determination to preserve the r e l a t i o n s h i p and to p r o t e c t h e r s e l f a t the same time. La j a l o u s i e S t a r t l e fond de sa nature; c'S- t a i t l a l i e et l'amertume de ses tendresses. Ceux q u ' e l l e a i m a i t , e l l e v o u l a i t l e s a v o i r tout a e l l e , l e s possSder absolument. E l l e e x i g e a i t q u ' i l s n'aimassent q u ' e l l e . E l l e ne pouvait admettre q u ' i l s pussent d i s t r a i r e et donner-a. d'autres l a moindre p a r c e l l e de l e u r a f f e c t i o n : cette a f f e c t i o n , depuis q u ' e l l e l ' a v a i t merit§e, n'§tait plus a eux; i l s n ' e t a i t plus maitres d'en disposer.17 Jealousy ;was one of the e f f e c t s love had upon her p e r s o n a l i t y . Her love committed her to an i n e v i t a b l e course of s e l f - d e s t r u c - t i o n , simply because she was unaware of the powerful i n f l u e n c e 4-8 which love had upon her mind and her body. She was insecure i n her r e l a t i o n s h i p w i t h J u p i l l o n and t h i s impaired her judgement. I t was not u n t i l the twentieth century that anyone o v e r t l y remark- ed upon the d e s t r u c t i v e aspect of l o v e , and then Germaine Greer wrote i n her t r e a t i s e The Female Eunuch: Women must recognize i n the cheap ideology of being i n love the e s s e n t i a l persuasion to -̂ g take an i r r a t i o n a l and s e l f - d e s t r u c t i v e step. Germinie's course of s e l f - d e s t r u c t i o n commenced w i t h her overwhelming need f o r love and devotion. This began to man- i f e s t i t s e l f i n more harmful ways as time progressed. N a t u r a l l y , she was jealous of the freedom w i t h which J u p i l l o n conducted him- s e l f . She d e s i r e d to see r e f l e c t e d i n him the overwhelming pas- s i o n and love which she f e l t f o r -him. Instead, she never knew where she stood w i t h him; one day t h e i r r e l a t i o n s h i p would be a l l t hat she might hope, and the -next, there would be nothing. L'amour n' a v a i t et<§ pour l e jeune J u p i l l o n que l a s a t i s f a c t i o n d'une c e r t a i n c u r i o s i t e du mal, cherchant dans l a connaissance et l a possession d'une femme l e d r o i t e t l e p l a i s i r de l a mSpriser. Cet homme, s o r t a n t de 1'en- fance, a v a i t apporte" a. sa premiere l i a i s o n , pour toute ardeur et toute flamme, l e s f r o i d s i n s t i n c t s de p o l i s s o n n e r i e q u ' e V e i l l e n t chez l e s enfants l e s mauvais l i v r e s , l e s confidences de camarades, l e s conversations de pension, l e premier s o u f f l e d'impurete" q u i d£flore l e d<§sir. Ce que l e jeune homme met autour de l a femme qui l u i cede, ce dont i l l a v o i l e , l e s caresses, l e s mots aimants, l e s imagina- t i o n s de tendresse, r i e n de c e l a n ' e x i s t a i t pour J u p i l l o n . La femme n ' S t a i t pour l u i qu'une image obscene; et une passion de femme l u i p a r a i s s a i t uniquement je ne s a i s quoi de defendu, d ' i l l i c i t e , de g r o s s i e r , de cynique et de d r o l e , une chose e x c e l l e n t e pour l a d i s i l l u s i o n e t l ' i r o n i e . 1 9 As a r e s u l t of her r e l a t i o n s h i p w i t h J u p i l l o n , Germinie 4-9 f o r c e d to contemplate her s i t u a t i o n . She was becoming more and more aware of discr e p a n c i e s i n both h i s a c t i o n s and her own. She had begun to see her s i t u a t i o n as i t r e a l l y was, although a c t u a l acceptance was s t i l l a long way ahead of her. However, i t was a beginning, and her sudden understanding that momentary pleasures were j u s t that and that there was no way i n her power to change circumstances, gave her an added b o l s t e r . C ' S t a i t l a premiere f o i s q u ' e l l e a v a i t l e sentiment, 1'impression a. l a f o i s apre et douce, v i o l e n t e et d i v i n e , du jeu de l a v i e §clatantedans sa p l e n i t u d e , sa r e g u l a r i t y , sa puissance.20 Faced w i t h the r e a l i t i e s of her existence and the i n - e v i t a b i l i t y , by v i r t u e o o f her love f o r J u p i l l o n , of her impossible s i t u a t i o n , Germinie e x h i b i t e d signs of p h y s i c a l and emotional f a t i g u e . She was aware of her c o n d i t i o n and yet her love was s t i l l able to make p h y s i c a l and emotional s u f f e r i n g bearable. The Goncourt Brothers show t h i s w i t h . . . l a n o t a t i o n p a t i e n t e et c l a i r v o y a n t e des manifestations e x t S r i e u r e s de ce sentiment na i s s a n t et de ce de"sir q u i s ' i n t e n s i f i e dans un etre peu a. peu priv£ de l a volont<§ de r£agir et qui s'-enivre duu.bonheur dont l a f r a g i l i t y et l e danger ne l u i gchappent pas dans 1'obscurcissement de sa conscience.21 Other i n c i d e n t s , however, c o n t r i b u t e d to her t o t a l submission and subsequent acceptance of her f a t e . Germinie was a proud woman, proud of her st a t u r e as Mademo'iselle' s maid and proud of the obvious respect she re c e i v e d from the community. In her dealings w i t h the J u p i l l o n f a m i l y , she became the o b j e c t , of d i s c u s s i o n and spec u l a t i o n s of the community and the scandal- mongers among them made haste to inform the community of her 50 l i a i s o n s . A l o r s i l n'y eut plus doute dans l e g u a r t i e r sur l e s r e l a t i o n s de l a domestique de made- mo i s e l l e avec J u p i l l o n , r e l a t i o n s que quelques ames c h a r i t a b l e s c o n t e s t a i e n t encore. Le' scandale £clata e t , en une semaine, l a pauvre f i l l e , t r a i n e e dans toutes l e s me"disances du q u a r t i e r , baptised e t sa l u t e des plus s a l e s noms de l a langue des rues, tomba d'un coup, de l'estime l a plus hautement tSmoign£e, au This was., a blow to Germinie's self-esteem. She could do nothing to h a l t the gossip. Ce f u t pour e l l e une h o r r i b l e d£enhance d ' e l l e - meme. E l l e s o u f f r i t comme s i on l u i a r r a c h a i t , lambeau a. lambeau, son honneur dans l e r u i s - seau. Mais a. mesure q u ' e l l e s o u f f r a i t , e l l e se s e r r a i t contre son amour et se cramponnait a. l u i . 2 3 Only by b i n d i n g h e r s e l f i r r e v o c a b l y to J u p i l l o n could she, i n a small measure, p r o t e c t h e r s e l f from the j i b e s and the i n s u l t s of the m a j o r i t y of the community. At t h i s p o i n t i n her l i f e , as an undeniable l i n k between h e r s e l f and J u p i l l o n , she set him up i n business as ..a glove merchant. She provided a shop and rooms f i t f o r h i s p o s i t i o n as a businessman i n s o c i e t y . Ger- minie s a c r i f i c e d her t o t a l l i f e savings i n order to give her l o v e r the best t h a t could be provided. By g i v i n g J u p i l l o n what he wanted, Germinie ceased to be a t t r a c t i v e to him. There was no longer any reason f o r him to court her e x c l u s i v e l y , and he began to frequent the dance h a l l s and the bars w i t h women who were younger and more;.attrac- t i v e than Germinie. She was cas t aside l i k e the p r o v e r b i a l o l d shoe, and a l l her attempts to maintain the r e l a t i o n s h i p were greeted w i t h contempt and mockery. 51 Her Tove began to t u r n to hate: the j i b e s and the taunts of those around her began to i n f e c t her mind. Longuement empoisonnS, 1'amour se dficomposait e t se t o u r n a i t en haine. Germinie se m e t t a i t a. de"tester son amant, a chercher tout ce qui pouvait l e l u i f a i r e d Stester davantage. 2^ She was faced w i t h the f r u s t r a t i o n of her r e j e c t e d l o v e . She had s a c r i f i c e d , by her own a c t i o n s , the sympathy which might have been forthcoming from those around her, and she had placed h e r s e l f i n a h u m i l i a t i n g and degrading p o s i t i o n . She had l o s t her f i n e r e p u t a t i o n , had s a c r i f i c e d a l l her savings to support J u p i l l o n i n h i s venture and was l e f t w i t h the shreds of her ex- istence i n confusion and t u r m o i l . Her s u f f e r i n g was intense and b i t t e r . However, the power of her love f o r J u p i l l o n was not reduced by these u p s e t t i n g circumstances. She was s t i l l haunted by thoughts of him. This was made p e r f e c t l y c l e a r when he ap- • proached her f o r money to buy hi s way out of the army. She could not, e i t h e r p h y s i c a l l y or mentally, deal w i t h the thought of J u p i l l o n being i n j u r e d or p o s s i b l y k i l l e d through h i s s e r v i c e w i t h the army. As a f i n a l h u m i l i a t i o n , Germinie begged, borrow- ed and mortgaged her l i f e to f i n d s u f f i c i e n t funds to see him pai d out. L ' h u m i l i a t i o n d'avouer q u ' e l l e n ' a v a i t pas d'argent place", comme on l e c r p y a i t ' e t comme par o r g u e i l e l l e l e l a i s s a i t c r o i r e , l a com- m i s e r a t i o n des gens q u ' e l l e m S p r i s a i t , l e s r e f u s , l e s aumones, e l l e a v a i t tout s u b i , essuye" ce- q u ' e l l e n ' a u r a i t pas essuye" pour trouver du pa i n , e t non une f o i s aupres d'une personne, mais aupres de t r e n t e , de quarante, aupres de tous ceux qui l u i avaient donne ou dont e l l e a v a i t espSre" quelque chose. 2 5 52 This was the f i n a l breaking p o i n t of her s p i r i t . She had s a c r i f i c e d everything, even her l i f e to t h i s u n g r a t e f u l , c a l - c u l a t i n g man. She would no longer be l e a d i n g a l i f e of her own, but she would be e x i s t i n g f o r the b e n e f i t of those to whom she owed money. They would e x t r a c t from her a l l that she possessed, i n c l u d i n g f i n a l l y , her very l i f e . I I semble que, sous 1 ' i n f l u e n c e de cette mal- adie d' impressionnabilite", l e s sensations a i g u i s S e s , r a f f i n S e s , s p i r i t u a l i s e e s , dSpassent l e u r mesure et l e u r l i m i t e n a t u r e l l e s , a t - teignent au dela d'elles-memes, et mettent une sorte d ' i n f i n i dans l a jouissance et l a souffrance de l a creature.2o For Germinie, i t became necessary to lose h e r s e l f , to r e t r e a t from the r e a l i t i e s of the contempt of s o c i e t y and her own i n t e r n a l and unceasing r e c r i m i n a t i o n s . She sought a means of b l o t t i n g out the past and the f u t u r e , of becoming a pa r t of o b l i - v i o n , deep, dark and hidden away from t a u n t i n g eyes. Dans l a t o r t u r e de cette v i e , ou e l l e souf^/ f r a i t mort et passion, Germinie, cherchant a £tourdir l e s horreurs de sa pensee, S t a i t revenue au verre q u ' e l l e a v a i t p r i s un matin des mains d'Adele, et qui l u i a v a i t donnS toute une journ£e d ' o u b l i . De ce jour, e l l e a v a i t b u . . . . e l l e a v a i t bu avec Adele q u i buva i t comme un homme et qui p r e n a i t un v i l p l a i s i r a v o i r descendre a u s s i bas q u ' e l l e cette bonne de femme honnete.2? D r i n k i n g was a means to ignore the passage of time and to bar the i n t r u s i o n of people i n t o her l i f e . Car ce q u ' e l l e v o u l a i t ce n ' e t a i t p o i n t l a f i e v r e de t e t e , l e trouble heureux, l a f o l i e v i v a n t e , l e reve §veill£ et d S l i r a n t de l ' i v - resse; ce q u ' i l l u i f a l l a i t , ce q u ' e l l e de- mandait, c ' S t a i t l e n o i r bonheur du sommeil, d'un sommeily.sans m£moire et sans reve, d'un sommeil de plomb tombant sur e l l e somme un coup d'assommoir sur l a tete d'un boeuf: et e l l e l e t r o u v a i t dans ces l i q u e u r s melees q u i 53 l a foudroyaient et l u i couchaient l a face sur l a t o i l e cir§e de l a table de cuisine.2° But f o r her, the shock and d i s t r e s s of r e v i v i n g and f i n d i n g h e r s e l f i n the same place f a c i n g the same problems i n that f i r s t i n s t a n t of r e c o g n i t i o n , placed a great s t r a i n on her. At that p o i n t , the force of her decadence and dilemma was over- powering and she was b l i n d i n g l y aware of each a c t i o n , almost as i f she was r e l i v i n g i t again at that moment. Chez e l l e , une s e n s i t i v i t y maladive, une sorte d'Sr6thisme cerebral*? une d i s p o s i t i o n de tete a'toujours t r a v a i l l e r , a. s ' a g i t e r dans l'amer- tume, 1'inquietude, l e m£contentement d ^ e l l e - meme, un sens moral qui s ' S t a i t comme redressS en e l l e apres chacune de ses d§che"ances, tous l e s dons de d e i i c a t e s s e , d ' e l e c t i o n et de mal- heur s ' u n i s s a i e n t pour l a t o r t u r e r et r e t o u r - ner, chaque jour, plus avant et plus c r u e l l e - ment dans son desespoir, l e tourment de ce q u i n'a u r a i t guere mis de s i longues douleurs chez beaucoup de ses p a r e i l l e s . 2 ^ Perhaps at t h i s p o i n t i n her l i f e , had she been of a stronger character and able to face up to the r e a l i t i e s of her exis t e n c e , she might have been able to reverse the trend of her l i f e and r e g a i n her esteemed p o s i t i o n w i t h i n the community. How- ever, she was so convinced of her delinquency and of the impossi- b i l i t y of her redemption, t h a t she condemned h e r s e l f to the horrors of mental and p h y s i c a l demoralization. Here she conforms to a p a t t e r n of behaviour that Germaine Greer has noted. Too o f t e n the e r r a n t women abuse themselves with excessive shame and r e c r i m i n a t i o n , de- grading themselves more i n t h e i r own estima- t i o n than they do by t h e i r behaviour. The compulsiveness of t h i s behaviour i s the d i - r e c t r e s u l t of repressiveness i n education: women are drawn to sexual l i c e n c e because i t seems forbidden and e x c i t i n g , but the p r i c e they have to pay f o r such delinquency i s too _ n heavy. The r e s u l t i s f u n c t i o n a l nymphomania. 54 This too, was Germinie's f a t e . The search f o r love became no more than .an excuse f o r promiscuity and the s a t i s f a c t i o n of overwhelming p h y s i c a l d e s i r e s . She was plagued by the excess- es demanded of her by her p h y s i c a l nature. She became e s s e n t i a l l y a creature f o r whom l i f e was reduced to the next d r i n k or the next encounter w i t h a man. Malgre"^tout, e l l e 'ne pouvai't s'apaiser n i se r e f r o i d i r . Ses mauvaises pensSes se r a l l u - maient toutes seules, v i v a i e n t et s ' a g i t a i e n t sur elles-memes. A tpute heure, 1'idSe f i x e , du d 6 s i r se l e v a i t de tout son e t r e , devenait dans toute sa personne ce tourment fou qui ne f i n i t pas, ce t r a n s p o r t de sens au cer- veau: 1'obsession, - 1'obsession que r i e n ne chasse et r e v i e n t toujours, 1'obsession im- pudique, acharnSe, f o u r m i l l a n t e d'images, 1'obsession q u i approche 1'amour de tous l e s sens, de l a femme, l'apporte a ses yeux f e r - m£s, l e roule fumant dans sa t e t e , l e c h a r r i e tout chaud dans ses a r t e r e s : 3 i The constant s u f f e r i n g of Germinie's mind and body and the obsessive and possessive q u a l i t i e s of her p h y s i c a l nature tormented her. The f r u s t r a t i o n caused by her i n a b i l i t y to assu- age her p h y s i c a l needs grew w i t h each passing moment. But she was past conscious a c t i o n and she was content to l e t h e r s e l f be swept along by the current of humanity which surrounded her and bound her to i t s t u r b u l e n t flow. She sought out those people who could give her pleasure and make her f o r g e t h e r s e l f . She gave h e r s e l f up a bohemian existence of raucous and b i t t e r debau- chery. Et maintenant, quand e l l e s o r t a i t de son abrutissement, quand, dans l a d i s t r a c t i o n et l e p l a i s i r , e l l e se r e t r o u v a i t et r e n a i s s a i t , i l f a l l a i t q u ' e l l e put s'amuser avec des <§gaux a. sa port£e. E l l e v o u l a i t , autour d ' e l l e , des hommes q u i l a f i s s e n t r i r e , des gaiet§s v i o l e n t e s , de 1 ' e s p r i t s p i r i t u e u x 55 qui l a g r i s a t avec l e v i n qu'on l u i v e r s a i t . E t c'est a i n s i q u ' e l l e r o u l a i t vers cett e boheme c a n a i l l e du peuple, bruyante, £tourdis- sante^ enivrante comme toutes l e s bohemess „ ? c'est a i n s i q u ' e l l e tombait a un Gautruche.^ MSdSric Gautruche was the p e r s o n i f i c a t i o n of the bohe- main l i f e s t y l e . His was the l i f e of wine and women, pausing only momentarily to earn h i s d a i l y bread. The Goncourt Brothers describe him i n d e t a i l and i t becomes obvious why Germinie be- came a t t r a c t e d to t h i s type of man. Toujours un peu i v r e , i v r e de l a v e i l l e quand i l ne l ' S t a i t pas du jour, i l v o y a i t l ' e x i s - tence au t r a v e r s du coup de s o l e i l q u ' i l a v a i t dans l a t e t e . I I s o u r i a i t a. son s o r t , i l s'y l a i s s a i t a l l e r avec 1'abandon de l ' i v r o g n e , s o u r i a n t sur l e pas du marchand de v i n vague- ment aux choses, a l a v i e , au chemin q u i s'allonge dans l a n u i t . L'ennui, l e s s o u c i s , l a deche n'avaient pas p r i s e sur l u i ; e t quand par hasard i l l u i v e n a i t une id§e no i r e ou ser i e u s e , i l d£tournait l a t e t e , f a i s a i t un c e r t a i n p s i t t l q u i eVtait sa maniere de d i r e z u t l et l e bras d r o i t au c i e l en c a r i c a - t u rant l e geste d'un danseur espagnol, i l envoyait par-dessus l'£paule sa mil a n c o l i e " " a tous l e s d i a b l e s . I I a v a i t l a superbe p h i - losophie d'apres b o i r e , l a s§r£nit§ g a i l l a r d e de l a b o u t e i l l e . I I ne c o n n a i s s a i t n i erivie< : ne de"sir. Ses reves l u i i t a i e n t s e r v i s sur l e comptoir. Pour t r o i s sous, i l 6"fait sur d'avoir un p e t i t verre de bonheur, pour douze un l i t r e d'id£al. Content de tou t , i l a i m a i t t o u t , t r o u v a i t a. r i r e et a. s'amuser de tout. Rien ne l u i semblait t r i s t e dans l e monde - qu'un verre d'eau . 3 3 This man r e l i e v e d f o r the moment the t e r r i b l e pressures which Germinie was e x p e r i e n c i n g . Because he was unaffected by morose and depressing sentiments, he conveyed to Germinie a s m a l l measure of comfort, encouraging her to l i v e f o r the moment and to take from that moment a l l the pleasure p o s s i b l e . He came to Germinie (or Germinie to him) when the measure of r e l i e f was 56 c a r n a l and the n e c e s s i t y savage and v i o l e n t . E t c ' S t a i e n t , entre ces deux e t r e s , des amours t e r r i b l e s , acharn<§es, et funebres, des ardeurs et des assouvissements sauvages, des volupte"s f u r i e u s e s , des caresses qui avaient l e s bru- t a l i t y e t l e s c o l e r e s du v i n , des b a i s e r s qui semblaient chercher l e sang sous l a peau comme l a langue d'une bete feroce, des an£an- tissements q u i l e s e n g l o u t i s s a i e n t et ne l e u r l a i s s a i e n t que l e cadavre de l e u r s corps.3^ Together, these two creatures abandoned r e a l i t y i n p u r s u i t of a nebulous netherworld, where they could be as the dead, unconscious and unaware. They sought to h a l t the passage of time through t h e i r decadent encounters, hoping perhaps that t h e i r overwhelming emotions would be appeased through a l c o h o l and v i o l e n t debauchery. They were no longer searching f o r p l e a - sure i n t h e i r r e l a t i o n s h i p , but were^bound by an a d d i c t i o n as bi n d i n g as an a d d i c t i o n to potent drugs. Women are happy to replace spontaneous asso- c i a t i o n f o r pleasure's sake w i t h a d d i c t i o n because i t i s more binding.35 Gautruche and Germinie were i n e x t r i c a b l y bound to each other, Germinie as a r e l i e f f o r her f r u s t r a t i o n and p h y s i c a l agony, and Gautruche f o r the more p r o f i t a b l e aspect of the r e l a t i o n s h i p , a contemplated marriage. Here f o r the f i r s t time, Germinie was approached by a l o v e r who d i d want to marry her. She, however, had learned from her entanglement w i t h J u p i l l o n that men only wanted one t h i n g from her, and that was the s e c u r i t y of her p o s i t i o n as personal maid to Mademoiselle, and the accompanying f i n a n c i a l s e c u r i t y that i m p l i e d . She saw through the mask of s i n c e r i t y worn by Gautruche, and f i n a l l y made a conscious d e c i s i o n based on her 57 owri'-'personal values and her new found courage to look out f o r h e r s e l f . She refused h i s proposal. Even while she was aware that she had made the r i g h t d e c i s i o n concerning her future and her l i f e , she was f l u n g i n t o the depths of despair by the f a c t that she had l o s t a man who could, f o r a short whil^e, rama'kehher f o r g e t her s i t u a t i o n and her mental anguish. De cette rupture, Germinie tomba ou e l l e de- v a i t tomber, au-dessous de l a honte, au- dessous de l a nature meme. De chute en chute, l a miserable et brulante creature r o u l a a l a rue. E l l e ramassa l e s amours qui s'usent en une n u i t , ce qui passe, ce qu'on rencontre, ce que l e hasard des pavSs f a i t trouver a. l a femme qui vague. E l l e n ' a v a i t plus besoin de se donner l e temps du d e s i r : son capr i c e e t a i t f u r i e u x et soudain allum<§- sur 1 '"ins.tant. affamge du premier venu, e l l e l e r e g a r d a i t a peine e t n ' a u r a i t pu l e r e c o n n a i t r e . Beaut£, jeunesse, ce physique d'un amant, ou 1'amour des femmes l e s plus degrad£es cherche comme un bas id£al, r i e n de tout c e l a ne l a t e n t a i t p l u s , ne l a t o u c h a i t p l u s . Ses yeux, dans tous l e s hommes, ne voyaient plus que l'homme: l ' i n d i v i d u l u i i t a i t e g a l . La derniere pudeur et l e d e r n i e r sens humain de l a dSbauche, l a pr§f'Srence, l e choix, et jusqu'a ce qui r e s t e aux orostitue'es pour conscience et pour.per- s o n n a l i t e , l e d|gout, l e d£gout meme, - e l l e 1'avait perdu:3o Germinie was a creature condemned by her own desperate need f o r l o v e . In w r i t i n g a novel about her, the Goncourt Brot- hers have allowed t h e i r character to chart her own course through her l i f e of desi r e and debauchery. She was a f f e c t e d by f a t a l i t y alone, unable to e x t r i c a t e h e r s e l f even i f she wanted to. Yet Germinie was aware of her circumstances even though f r u s t r a t i o n and mental and p h y s i c a l anguish overruled a l l other sentiments. Love was Germinie's downfall. The Goncourt Brothers have s u c c e s s f u l l y shown t h e i r readers the treacherous course 58 t r a v e r s e d by Germinie, and have conveyed t h i s through . . . l a n o t a t i o n p a t i e n t e et c l a i r v o y a n t e des manifestations e x t S r i e u r e s de ce sentiment na i s s a n t et de ce de"sir qui s ' i n t e n s i f i e dans un etre peu a peu p r i v e de l a volonte" de r e a g i r et qui s 1 e n i v r e d'un bonheur dont l a f r a g i l i t y et l e danger ne l u i echappent pas dans 1'obscurcissement de sa conscience.37 This i s one aspect of the philosophy of Naturalism. I t i s the c l e a r documentation of the events of a character's l i f e , a p r o g r e s s i o n which leads to an awareness of s e l f , i n s p i t e of an i n a b i l i t y to change or c o n t r o l these events. In recounting the t a l e of Germinie's l i f e and l o v e s , the Goncourt Brothers placed t h e i r f a i t h i n the a b i l i t y of s o c i e t y to f e e l and to t h i n k , not only w i t h respect to themselves but with the whole of s o c i e t y as w e l l . The Goncourt Brothers u t i l i z e d the same approach when w r i t i n g of Renee Mauperin. In t h i s case, they were t e l l i n g the s t o r y of a young g i r l from t h e i r own s o c i a l background;,'1 a young g i r l of the bourgeoisie. Here, b e i n g - f a m i l i a r w i t h the a t t i t u d e s and l i f e s t y l e s of the people described, the reader could more e a s i l y a s s o c i a t e themselves w i t h the events described. They- would be able to see w i t h i n the s t o r y a small p o r t i o n of t h e i r own e x i s t e n c e , and therefore be b e n e f i t t e d by the observation of the anguish and f r u s t r a t i o n of a creature such as them. The a t t i t u d e towards love and the concept of love i n Renee's l i f e was very much d i f f e r e n t from t h a t i n Germinie's l i f e . RenSe l i v e d the s h e l t e r e d l i f e of a young bourgeoise and had therefore been exposed only to those men w i t h i n her f a m i l y or to whom her f a m i l y had introduced her. Ren§e was untouched 59 by the s o r d i d elements of love which had plagued Germinie, and thus was able to consider love from an e n t i r e l y d i f f e r e n t p o i n t of view. Rem§e was none the less, f r u s t r a t e d and angered by the concept of love and a l l i t represented, but she was f r u s t r a t e d f o r reasons not e n t i r e l y of her own design. In general, the concept of love and the concept of marriage i n the mind of the bourgeoisie were i n e x t r i c a b l y l i n k e d . I f one was loved, oner-married and i f one was married, one loved. However, i n a s o c i e t y where the maintenance of the stat u s quo and the u l t i m a t e conformity of the s o c i e t y were a l l - i m p o r t a n t concepts, marriage was not u s u a l l y solemnized because the p a r t i e s loved each other, but r a t h e r f o r f i n a n c i a l c o n s o l i d a t i o n or f o r t e r r i t o r i a l a c q u i s i t i o n s promised i n the female's dowry. This l e d to many marriages which were consummated merely to produce v.heirs and once accomplished, permitted each pa r t y to le a d a p e r f e c t l y unopposed l i f e . Only i n cases which smirched the f a m i l y name or place the fortunes i n jeopardy would anything be done to c o n t r o l or l i m i t one's personal conduct. The emptiness of such an arrangement caused RenSe g r i e f and f e a r . She was convinced that love was a sentiment only capable of being evoked by authors i n the books they wrote, that i t was not something encountered i n the r e a l world. ...tous l e s l i v r e s qu'on l i t sont remplis d'amour, i l n'y a que de. gal E t p u i s , dans l a v i e , on n'en y o i t pas...Moi, du moins, je n'en v o i t pas; je v o i s , au c o n t r a i r e , tout l e monde qui s'en passe, et t r e s b i e n . . . I l y a des jours ou je me demande s i ce n'est pas f a i t seulement pour l e s l i v r e s , s i ce n'est pas une imagination d'auteur, vraiment.3° There were no concrete examples of the j o i n i n g of two l i v e s i n 60 love r a t h e r than some baser purpose of which Ren§e was aware. Her parents had not married f o r l o v e . They had married to con- s o l i d a t e f a m i l y holdings and e s t a b l i s h i n p e r p e t u i t y f a m i l y and f i n a n c i a l s t a b i l i t y . M. Mauperin married h i s cousin, a choice which h i s mother had made to assure h e r s e l f of h e i r s once she died. Ce f u t par condescendance pour e l l e , par pieux respect pour ses d S s i r s de malade, q u ' i l se maria. I I Spousa sans grand gout une cousine d£sign§e" au choix de sa mere par une mitoyennetS de p r o p r i e t y , par des t e r r e s bout a bout, par tout ce 1 qui renoue et r e c r o i s e en province, l e s f a m i l i e s et l e s fortunes. 39 Even Rente's e l d e r s i s t e r , H enriette Davarande, had married i n order to achieve f o r h e r s e l f a p o s i t i o n , money and access to s o c i e t y . E l l e s ' e t a i t marine toute jeune. E l l e a v a i t p r i s l e premier homme "bien" qu'on l u i a v a i t p r e s e n t s , sans h e s i t a t i o n , sans t r o u b l e , du premier mouvement. Ce n ' S t a i t p o i n t M. Dava- rande, c ' S t a i t une p o s i t i o n q u ' e l l e epousait. Le mariage, pour e l l e , S t a i t l a v o i t u r e , l e s diamants, l a l i v r 6 e , l e s i n v i t a t i o n s , l e s connaissances, l a promenade au Bois. E l l e eut tout c e l a , se passa d'enfants, aima ses t o i l e t t e s , et f u t heureuse. T r o i s bals dans un s o i r , quarante cartes a mettre avant d i n e r c o u r i r des jo u r s , en t e n i r un, hors de' l a , e l l e n'imaginait p o i n t q u ' i l y eut de bonheur Renee d i d not want a man -sol e l y f o r the m a t e r i a l things with which he could provide her. She needed a man who could i n s p i r e her thoughts and who was capable of a c h i e v i n g great heights himself. Marriage to some respectable and e l i g i b l e man would not and could not al l o w her to be the person she des i r e d to be; free to make her own choices concerning the way she l i v e d her l i f e and the way she perceived s i t u a t i o n s and people around her. 61 Her parents' v i s i o n of Renee's future husband was clouded by the o b l i g a t o r y p r o v i n c i a l a t t i t u d e s which had c o n t r o l l e d t h e i r l i v e s . They could not e n v i s u a l i z e or perceive Rente's needs or d e s i r e s , only make assumptions based upon t h e i r personal previous exper- iences. RenSe might have married but only ...pourvu q u ' i l f u t i n t e l l i g e n t , q u ' i l eut un c a r a c t e r e , une personnalit£, quelque chose capable de dominer ou de remuer une nature de femme comme l a sienne,...^1 None of the men considered by her parents to be s u i t - able possessed these q u a l i t i e s , and n a t u r a l l y , Renie e x h i b i t e d her most scandalous behaviour i n t h e i r presence. In t h i s way, she was s u c c e s s f u l i n r e b e l l i n g against her parents' choice of s u i t o r , and made i t c l e a r that such a union would only come to g r i e f and destroy whatever her parents had hoped to achieve by such a marriage. This w i l f u l conduct d i d cause her much p a i n since she had no desi r e to w i l l i n g l y hurt e i t h e r parent, although she knew that she would never be able to f a l l i n with t h e i r wishes on the subject of marriage. Ren£e had a second and more dominant reason f o r r e j e c t - i n g the s u i t o r s introduced to her by her parents. She had f o r her f a t h e r an a l l e x c l u s i v e and possessive love and admiration. In him, she saw the p e r s o n i f i c a t i o n of a l l the v i r t u e s she h e r s e l f sought i n a man. No man, i n her eyes, could come close to the example set by her f a t h e r . Love of another man was impossible and, moreover, undesired. Mais moi, je ne s u i s pas un exemple. Je c r o i s que ces choses-la a r r i v e n t surtout aux personnes qui ont l e coeur v i d e , l e coeur inoccupe", q u i ne sont remplies, possSdSes, d§fendues par une de ces a f f e c t i o n s q u i vous 62 prennent et vous gardent toutes, par exemple 1 ' a f f e c t i o n qu'on a pour un pere.^2 This a f f e c t i o n f o r her f a t h e r d i d pose problems f o r her. She was unable to accept the love of another man out of the f e a r that t h i s man would not devote himself to her as her f a t h e r d i d - she was a f r a i d of becoming a c a s t - o f f or a possession deemed f i t only to s a t i s f y a man's baser i n s t i n c t s . From a s t r i c t l y s e l f i s h p o i n t of view, she coveted the e x c l u s i v e a t t e n t i o n p a i d to her by her f a t h e r and she r e a l i z e d perhaps that she would no-t be able to r e q u i r e such behaviour from another man. She would be beyond c o n t r o l l i n g such a r e l a t i o n s h i p , and she would be unable to pursue her chosen course i n l i f e . Her resentment of conformity and the overwhelming love she had f o r her f a t h e r became her banner and her r e t r e a t . S a f e l y surrounded by her t r u s t i n these two concepts, she f e l t secure enough to defend them against a l l odds, although she must have been aware of s o c i e t y ' s changing a t t i t u d e towards the main'^ tenance of the st a t u s quo, and the i n e v i t a b l e time l i m i t of l i f e i t s e l f . However, she was naive and as such, was unaware that she could not impose her own concept of love and honour on others. To do so was f o l l y . The Goncourt Brothers set out to p o r t r a y the bourgeoisie as they viewed them ...avec 1'idSe de montrer l e s t r a v e r s de l a jeune bour g e o i s i e , son egolsme, son h y p o c r i s i e , ses conventions, l e t i s s u d ' i n t r i g u e s moyennes qui f a i t sa v i e , et sa s o i f d'honneur et de r i c h e s s e s au mepris des a s p i r a t i o n s i n d i v i d u - e l l e s des ames. Dans ce m i l i e u g t o u f f a n t i l s ont place l e u r heroine Ren£e q u i sera natur- ellement en r g v o l t e contre lui,...comme eux- memes n'ont jamais cesse d'etre des r§volt£s 63 contre l e s i n j u s t i c e s et l e s l a i d e u r s de l a v i e . Ce theme de l a r ^ v o l t e l e u r sera tou- jours cher. ̂ 3 Ren§e p e r s o n i f i e d t h e i r desire to po r t r a y a more elevated charac- t e r , a character who had the courage to defend those v i r t u e s she t r u l y b e l i e v e d i n . I n doing so, RenSe brought on her own down- f a l l , but she e x e m p l i f i e d the philosophy which exposed l i f e as i t r e a l l y was and permitted a greater i n s i g h t i n t o the character of man and of l i f e as a whole. Her love was pure and unt a i n t e d by sexual overtones, and her commitment to the p u r s u i t of freedom undeniable. • She had a c e r t a i n concept of each of these t h i n g s , one to which she held no matter what the circumstances. The Goncourt Brothers describe a personal s i t u a t i o n which challenged a l l her concepts: love-r l o y a l t y , f a m i l y devotion and honour. I t i s i n t e r e s t i n g to examine i n r e l a t i o n to her i d e a l s and l i f e . As w i t h most bourgeois f a m i l i e s , parents d e s i r e d to see t h e i r sons-married f o r the same reasons as t h e i r daughters: establishment i n s o c i e t y , monetary gains or augmentation of lands and t i t l e s . This was the case with Henri Mauperin, Renee's o l d e r brother. However, Henri had taken the s i t u a t i o n i n t o h i s own hands, and only became a p a r t of h i s parents' plans-when i t s u i t e d h i s purpose to do so. Henri had e s t a b l i s h e d a l l i a i s o n w ith Madame Bourjot, the mother of Rente's childhood f r i e n d , No£mi, unbeknownst to any member of h i s f a m i l y , and w e l l before plans had been made to unite him to the Bourjot f a m i l y through marriage to No§mi. This r e l a t i o n s h i p was p r o f i t a b l e to him i n that i t e s t a b l i s h e d 64 him w i t h Madame Bourjot, and made i t impossible f o r her to object to the marriage of Noemi to him since she would be i n c r i m i n a t i n g h e r s e l f i f she d i d so. Thus pro t e c t e d , Henri had few worries concerning h i s s i t u a t i o n . A l l t hat was l e f t , then, was to f i n d a s i t u a t i o n which would serve to r e v e a l h h i m s e l f to Noemi, and to e x t r i c a t e h i m s e l f from h i s r e l a t i o n s h i p w i t h her mother. Such an occasion was the f a m i l y theatre production, suggested by Henri. A romantic comedy was s l a t e d and p l a y e r s were duly r e q u i r e d . However, there was a l a c k o o f female t a l e n t , and again Henri showed h i s f o r e s i g h t when he c a s u a l l y mentioned No£mi Bourjot, who happened to be i n residence i n the neighbourhood. He was assured of an i n t e r e s t on the p a r t of h i s mother, who wished to see him married and was a t t r a c t e d by the amount of Noemi's dowry. Henri's deception might have remained a c l o s e l y guarded se c r e t except that NoSmi found out about Henri's l i a i s o n w i t h her mother, and i n her shame and d i s t r e s s , had confided i n her close f r i e n d , Ren§e. Her b r o t h e r s attempts to secure i n t h i s f r a u d u l e n t way a wealthy and well-known bride angered and d i s t r e s s e d RenSe. She f e l t sympathy f o r her f r i e n d who had been so i l l - u s e d , and determined to r e c t i f y the s i t u a t i o n . By h e l p i n g Nogmi, she would a l s o be defending her own p r i n c i p l e s . E l l e se s e n t a i t l a force d'une femme et presque l e s devoirs d'une mere aupres de cette e n f a n t . ^ Even though Renee d i d not b e l i e v e that love e x i s t e d i n the r e a l world, she s t i l l d e s i r e d that marriage be entered i n t o f o r b e t t e r 65 reasons than simply money, and that the p a r t i e s i n v o l v e d have a c e r t a i n respect f o r each other which might grow i n t o love as the years passed. She b e l i e v e d that Henri had no f e e l i n g s f o r NoSmi and that NoSmi was simply a pawn to be played when i t s u i t e d him. Rente's concept of love was at stake i n the midst of t h i s s o r d i d i n t r i g u e . To marry Nogmi, Henri had pledged to replace h i s f a t h e r ' s name wit h a more noble one. This angered RenSe since she f e l t that i t was a d e n i a l of the love and respect of a man who had provided w e l l f o r h i s c h i l d r e n . Her own love f o r her f a t h e r was so strong that she could not understand how anyone e l s e ' s love f o r him could not be as b i n d i n g . Of her own v o l i t i o n , Ren§e went to plead w i t h Henri: E t p u i s , ga porte malheur de q u i t t e r l e nom de son pere...C'est notre sang, ce nom-la, Henri...Notre brave pere! Ne f a i t pas ce mariage, je t'en s u p p l i e . . . 4 5 But Henri was determined to succeed i n h i s venture. RenSe was angered f o r a second reason. Had she remain- ed unaware of Henri's l i a i s o n , RenSe might have remained u n t a i n t - ed by the d e c e i t f u l n e s s of h i s a c t i o n . She would not have been exposed to the s o r d i d aspects of l i f e and might have remained innocent and pure. Instead, she was embroiled i n a s i t u a t i o n which placed the f a m i l y name in^danger of being besmirched by rumour and accusations. -Ah! c'est de l a boue que je ne devrais pas c o n n a i t r e , c'est v r a i ! . . . e t que je nAaurais jamais connue sans t o i l 4 6 Rente's concept of honour was a l s o at stake. She had been r a i s e d i n a bourgeois s o c i e t y where honour and p o s i t i o n were 66 to be maintained at a l l c o s t s . She was very sure of what she be l i e v e d : honour i m p l i e d t o t a l honesty i n conduct. ...moi, je ne connais que deux sortes de gens, d'abord: ceux q u i sont honnetes...et l e s autres... 47 She was outraged that her brother had f l a g r a n t l y ignored those concepts of honour and honesty with which he had been r a i s e d . The key to events which followed Noemi's r e v e l a t i o n to Ren£e can be summed up i n Rente's own words: Mais toutes l e s f o i s que je v o i s quelqu'un que je connais...ou meme que je ne connais pas. . .manquer a. ce que vous, l e s hommes , vous appelez 1'honneur. . .eh b i e n , c'est plus f o r t que moi...c'est comme s i je voyais un crapaud! Qe me repugne, ga me d£goute...et je marche dessus!^° When confronted w i t h her brother's d e c i s i o n to l e g a l l y assume a noble name i n order to marry Noemi, Ren£e was se i z e d w i t h an overwhelming d e s i r e to prevent t h i s marriage, i n an attempt to appease the hurt and anguish s u f f e r e d by her f r i e n d , No§mi, and the dishonour which would be the fa m i l y ' s f a t e should Henri be su c c e s s f u l i n h i s undertaking. Ren£e had overheard a conversation at the R e g i s t r y O f f i c e which concerned her brother and the name which he had decided to use. Information came to her that the fam i l y concerned had not completely dies out; there was s t i l l one member, who was r a r e l y heard from and was considered to be a r e c l u s e . Ren£e, i n her concern f o r her f r i e n d and f o r her b r o t - her whom she considered to have done wrong, mailed a copy of the Moniteur which contained the d e c l a r a t i o n of her brother's i n t e n - t i o n of changing h i s name. I n her innocence, she d i d not stop to consider the p o s s i b l e consequences of her a c t i o n . She was con- 67 v i n c e d only of her honour i n the a c t i o n . She had acted to p r o t e c t her f a m i l y and her f r i e n d ; nothing e l s e was of any consequence. I t i s sometimes b e t t e r to wait and to be p a t i e n t , to l e t actions continue through t h e i r normal course to t h e i r c o n c l u s i o n , such might have been the best course f o r young Ren§e to f o l l o w . I n her inexperience w i t h a f f a i r s of the heart, and her innate and powerful d e s i r e to maintain her i d e a l s of love and honour, she had not reckoned w i t h the t r a n s i t o r y nature of human emotions. At the grand b a l l given to celebrate the engagement of NoSmi Bourjot and Henri Mauperin de V i l l a c o u r t . , as he was now known, No§mi confided to RenSe that her mother no longer loved Henri and that she h e r s e l f loved him wi t h a l l her heart. L'aveu de NoSmi a v a i t f a i t passer dans RenSe un S c l a i r de j o i e . Le s o u r i r e de son amour l a p£n<§tra. E l l e eut un immense soulagement de de"livrance." En un i n s t a n t tout changea pour e l l e ; et cette idSes e l l e l'aimel empor- t a toutes ses autres idSes. E l l e ne v i t plus l e s hontes, e l l e ne v i t plus l e crime q u ' e l l e a v a i t vu s i longtemps dans ce mariage. E l l e se r S p S t a i t que NoSmi l ' a i m a i t , q u ' i l s s'aimaient tous l e s deux...Le r e s t e 6 t a i t l e passS, un passe" q u ' i l s o u b l i e r a i e n t l'un et 1'autre, NoSmi a force de l e pardonner, Henri a force de l e racheter. Soudain un souvenir l u i r e v i n t , une pensSe d'inquietude, une c r a i n t e vague. Mais en ce moment e l l e ne v o u l a i t r i e n v o i r de n o i r a 1'horizon, r i e n de menagant sur 1'avenir.^9 Renee had only acted as she thought she should, a f t e r examining the circumstances presented to her, and t a k i n g i n t o c o n s i d e r a t i o n those events w i t h i n her comprehension. She could not foresee that Henri and No§mi would f i n d love together nor that as a r e s u l t of her a c t i o n s , her brother would die from stab wounds i n f l i c t e d i n a^-duel between the s u r v i v i n g de V i l l a c o u r t 68 and himself. Her e r r o r was impatience brought about by inexper 1- • ience and the n e c e s s i t y innate to her to maintain t r u t h , honesty, honour and lov e . Her f r u s t r a t i o n was wit h the f i c k l e n e s s of human nature and her own i n c a p a c i t y to accept t h a t those around her viewed t h e i r s i t u a t i o n i n a much d i f f e r e n t manner than she d i d . I n her overwhelming desire to preserve her i d e a l s and v i r t u e s , she condemned h e r s e l f to an existence of f e a r and r e g r e t u n t i l she f i n a l l y came to g r i p s with her s i t u a t i o n and her ult i m a t e course of a c t i o n . For Germinie Lacerteux, l i f e comprised the same f e a r and r e g r e t that was viewed i n Rente's. However, Germinie's f e a r s were not because she could not convince others of the v i r t u e s of honesty and honour, but because her l i f e was based on dishonour and dishonesty. Her degradation i n the eyes of s o c i e t y , and her constant and excessive debts plagued her. She spent a l l her time concealing her ac t i o n s and h i d i n g behind excuses and a l i b i s . She was two women i n the one: she was a l o y a l servant to Mademoiselle, who d i d her job wit h care and c o n s i d e r a t i o n , and she was a h a r l o t , a woman of the s t r e e t s , who debased h e r s e l f i n order to s a t i s f y her l u s t and p h y s i c a l torment. E l l e menait a i n s i comme deux ex i s t e n c e s . E l l e e t a i t comme deux femmes e t , a. force d'gnergie, d'adresse, de diplomatie feminine avec un san g f r o i d toujours present dans l e trouble meme de.^lalbo'isson, e l l e p a r v i n t a. separer ces deux ex i s t e n c e s , a. l e s v i v r e toutes l e s deux sans l e s meler, a. ne pas l a i s s e r se confondre l e s deux femmes qui e t a i t en e l l e , a r e s t e r aupres de M i l e de Varandeuil l a f i l l e honnete et rangge q u ' e l l e a v a i t §t&, a. s o r t i r de l ' o r g i e sans en emporter l e gout, a. montrer quand e l l e v e n a i t de q u i t t e r son 69 amant une sorte de pudeur de v i e i l l e f i l l e dSgoutee du scandale des autres "bonnes. That she was able to accomplish t h i s deception success- f u l l y serves to emphasize her care and c o n s i d e r a t i o n concerning Mademoiselle and the concept of honour which she s t i l l r e t a i n e d i n s p i t e of her decadence. Never once d i d a word of her torment or d i s t r e s s give her away. A l l of her hidden, f r u s t r a t e d l i f e remained locked i n s i d e , e a t i n g away at those l a s t remnants of s e l f - r e s p e c t and honour. De sa nature passionn£e, d£bordSe, qui se v e r s a i t s i natureHement dans 1'expansion, jamais ne s'Schappait une phrase, un mot qui f u t un S c l a i r , une l u e u r . Dgboires, mgpris, chagrins, s a c r i f i c e s , mort de son enfant, tr a h i s o n s de son amant, agonie de son amour, tout demeura en e l l e s i l e n c i e u x , 6touff§, comme s i e l l e appuyait des deux mains sur son coeur.-^-1- Even i n the agony which accompanied her lyingmand her cheating of her m i s t r e s s , Germinie's conscience was appeased by the thought that Mademoiselle would continue to love and honour her. This was a b s o l u t e l y necessary to Germinie's s e l f - p r e s e r v a - t i o n . I I I ne v e n a i t pas d'une d u p l i c i t y perverse, d'un c a l c u l corrompu: c ' S t a i t son a f f e c t i o n pour mademoisilie: q u i . " ' l a ^ f a i s a i t etre ce q u ' e l l e S t a i t chez e l l e . . . . E l l e l a trompait uniquement pour garder sa tendresse, avec une sorte de respect; et dans 1 ' h o r r i b l e comSdie q u ' e l l e j o u a i t , un sentiment pieux, presque r e l i g i e u x , se g l i s s a i t p a r e i l au sentiment d'une f i l l e mentant aux yeux de^ sa mere pour ne pas l u i dSsoler l e coeur. Germinie's concept of honour was that of a c h i l d . She de s i r e d simply that others love and honour her and she d i d not possess the experience to enhance the n o t i o n of honour to include 70 s o c i e t y ' s concept as w e l l . Rente's a t t i t u d e towards honour was a more a d u l t one, which included the respect and d i s c i p l i n e r e - quired by s o c i e t y . Each woman regarded her concept of honour and love w i t h i n the bounds of her own knowledge. For each woman to act as she d i d was reasonable and i n character, given her p a r t i c u l a r surroundings and a t t i t u d e s . The Goncourt Brothers remained i n constant touch w i t h r e a l i t y and with the p o r t r a y a l of t r u t h . Avec l e s Goncourt, nous demeurons toujours au contact deela r S a l i t S . Dans l e u r roman, on rencontre a. toute page l e document v£cu, l e souvenir £voque\-53 The constant contact with r e a l i t y that the Goncourt Brothers maintained i n t h e i r novels allowed the reader to the events l e a d i n g to Rente's and.Germinie's penultimate f r u s t r a t i o n . For each woman, t h i s f r u s t r a t i o n was the same and was a d e c i s i o n which challenged them, while at the same time, prompted resentment i n the i n e v i t a b i l i t y of t h e i r course of a c t i o n . Both RenSe and Germinie were c h a l l e n g i n g the course of j u s t i c e ; each woman was placed i n a s i t u a t i o n which forced her to contemplate her own s i t u a t i o n , and come to her own conclusions. Each woman was c h a l l e n g i n g a j u s t i c e which pertained to her alone: d i d she condemn s o c i e t y f o r l e a d i n g her i n t o her own personal h e l l of f r u s t r a t i o n and b i t t e r n e s s , or d i d she condemn h e r s e l f f o r being l e d and e a s i l y swayed? However, the challenge of t h i s j u s t i c e i s an empty one, f o r i n a c t u a l f a c t , n e i t h e r woman had any choice i n her d e c i s i o n . The d e c i s i o n i t s e l f could be made, but the course of a c t i o n had been determined by f a t a l i t y and nothing would or could be changed. 71 Cette s e n s a t i o n de d^terminisme, de f a t a l ite" qui pese sur l e s e t r e s r e v i e n t dans toutes l e s oeuvres des Goncourt comme un l e i t - m o t i v . I l s pensent v o l o n t i e r s que l e d e s t i n de cha- cun e s t trace d'avance et qu'une des erreurs de l'homme e s t de c r o i r e q u ' i l peut y Schap- per.-54 Each woman r e a l i z e d and accepted her fa t e i n a d i f f e r e n t way. I n each case, i t i s important to examine t h i s f a t e i n view of i t s t r a g i c e f f e c t s upon t h e i r l i v e s and on the l i v e s of those around them. Destiny can sometimes he c r u e l and f r u s t r a t i n g . For Ren£e and Germinie, death i s the ul t i m a t e f r u s t r a t i o n . 72 NOTES: 1. M. Borely, Le Genie feminin f'raneais ( P a r i s : E. de Bocard, 1917), P- 10. 2. M. Immergluck, La Question s o c i a l e dans l'oeuvre des Gon- court ( P a r i s : Les B e l l e s L e t t r e s , 193°)> P« 59- ^ ~ 3. E. Caramaschi, Rgalisme et Impressionnisme dans l'oeuvre des Freres Goncourt ( P i s a : L i b r a r i a G o l i a r d i c a , s. d.), p. 118. k. M. Immergluck, p. 61. 5. E. & J . de Goncourt, Germinie Lacerteux ( P a r i s : Flammarion, 1929), pp. 56-57- 6. M. Immergluck, p. 60. 7. E. & J . de Goncourt, Renie Mauperin. ( P a r i s : Artheme Fayard et C i e , I875), P- 33- 8. E. & J . de Goncourt, Ren£e Mauperin, p. 3k. 9. I b i d . , p. 33. 10. E. Z o l a , Mes Haines ( P a r i s : B i b l i o t h e q u e Charpentier, 1923), p. 70. 11. E. & J . de Goncourt, Germinie Lacerteux, p. 62. 12. I b i d . , p. 76. 13. I b i d . , p. 119. Ik. I b i d . , pp. 60-61. 15. I b i d . , p. 70. 16. I b i d . , p. 90. 17. I b i d . , p. .75. 18. G. Greer, The Female Eunuch (Frogmore, England: P a l a d i n , 197D, P. 170. 19. E. & J . de Goncourt, Germinie Lacerteux, p. 9k. 20. I b i d . , p. 80. 21. P. S a b a t i e r , Germinie Lacerteux des Goncourt ( P a r i s : S f e l t , 1948), p. 62. 73 22. E. & J . de Goncourt, 23- I b i d . , p. 107. 24. I b i d . , p. 131. 25- I b i d . , p. 152. 26. I b i d . , p. 154. 27- I b i d . , p. 158. 28. I b i d . , p. 159- 29. I b i d . , p. 164. 30. G. Greer, p. 266. 31. E. & J . de Goncourt, 32. I b i d . , p. 213. 33- I b i d . , pp. 208-209. I b i d . , p. 255- 35- G. Greer, p. 156. 36. E. & J . de Goncourt, 37- P. S a b a t i e r , p. 62. 38. E. & J . de Goncourt, 39- I b i d . , p. 14. 40. I b i d . , p. 67. 41. I b i d . , p. 26. 42. I b i d . , p. 48. P. S a b a t i e r , p. 27- 44. E. & J . de Goncourt, I b i d . , p. 72. 46. I b i d . , p. 72. ^7- I b i d . , p. 75- 48. I b i d . , p. 76. Germinie Lacerteux, p. 105. Germinie Lacerteux, p. 196. Germinie Lacerteux, p. 233- Renee Mauperin?••• p. 48. Renge Mauperin, p. 71. 74 49- I b i d . , p. 86. - 50. E. & J . de Goncourt, 51. I b i d . , p. I67. 52. I b i d . , p. 170. 53. P. S a b a t i e r , p. 77- 54. I b i d . , p. 78. Germinie Lacerteux, pp. I68-I69. 75 Chapter I I I The P o r t r a i t of Death Death i s an i n t e g r a l and i n e v i t a b l e f a c t of l i f e . I t cannot be escaped. The Goncourt Brothers were f a s c i n a t e d by the manifestations of death as i t a f f e c t e d each of t h e i r charac- t e r s and i t i s an important f a c e t of t h e i r works. Each of t h e i r characters regarded death from a d i f f e r e n t p o i n t of view, making the p o r t r a i t of death a d i s t i n c t i v e and v a r i e d feature of each of the novels. Few people wish to d i e . The thought of death i s a d i s - t u r b i n g and awesome phenomenon which provided the Goncourt Brot- hers w i t h a wealth of observations concerning the human mind i n t u r m o i l and the changes i n the processes of thought which r e s u l t . The Goncourt Brothers used the phenomenon of death to penetrate the intimate thoughts of t h e i r characters. This h i g h l i g h t e d the mental and emotional s t a t e s of the characters which r e s u l t e d from t h e i r p e r c e p t i o n of e x t e r n a l events. This i n t u r n embroiled the reader i n the d e s c r i p t i o n making him undergo the emotional anguish that i s s u f f e r e d by the characters. Thus, death present- ed to the Goncourt Brothers the u l t i m a t e p o r t r a i t of the human mind under s t r e s s . . . . ce q u i 1 [es] i n t S r e s s e , ce sont l e s phSno- menes qui se passent a. une certaine:>pr.ofondeur de l ' e t r e , a i n s i que l e s m o d i f i c a t i o n s qu'ap- portent a ceux-ci l e s changements dans l'espace et dans l e temps.1 However, the Goncourt Brothers were r e l a t i v e l y u n i n t e r - ested i n t h e i r characters' p h y s i c a l death as a phenomenon. What was more i n t e r e s t i n g and y i e l d e d f a r more u s e f u l m a t e r i a l . f o r 76 study was the concept of death as a process which provoked anguish i n the minds of t h e i r characters. They desired to examine the p h y s i c a l and emotional r e a c t i o n s of t h e i r characters during the time l e a d i n g up to t h e i r deaths, that knowledge e x h i b i t e d as a person approaches death and, i n a sense, i s a c t u a l l y l i v i n g death. The Goncourt Brothers sought to describe death f o r the progressive decomposition inherent i n i t s path. I l s aiment l a mort et l e s e t r e s en t r a i n de mourir: mais c'est justement pour l e s s a i s i r en t r a i n de v i v r e l e u r maladie, l e u r v i c e ou l e u r mort, done tout simplement de v i v r e . Pourrissement et c o r r u p t i o n l e s a t t i r e n t par toute l a chaleur v i t a l e que ngcessairement i l s d<§ gagent • ... 2 They were not morbid i n t h e i r c u r i o s i t y . Each event described by the Goncourt Brothers brought to l i g h t an emotion or a r e a c t i o n on the p a r t of t h e i r characters which was important to the p o r t r a i t of human experience. They presented a l i v i n g , b r eathing p o r t r a i t of t h e i r characters i n the process of accept- ing and coming to terms with t h e i r impending death. The Goncourt Brothers' a t t i t u d e was one of concentrating t h e i r novels "...a rechercher l a v i e au coeur meme de l a mort."^ I n t h i s way, the p o r t r a i t of the Goncourt Brothers' characters was at once as poignant and as r e a l i s t i c as p o s s i b l e . Each woman i n the Goncourt Brothers' novels had faced death, e i t h e r the death of a person or the death of a concept or b e l i e f , s e v e r a l times during her l i f e . Each occurrence was to play a major r o l e i n her outlook and a t t i t u d e both towards l i f e and towards death. Each was a t u r n i n g p o i n t , causing anguish and g r i e f , but a l s o r e - e s t a b l i s h i n g each woman's ul t i m a t e i n t e r i o r 77 s t r e n g t h . C'est dans l a douleur, devant l a douleur, contre l a douleur que l'ame de l a femme se manifeste l e plus et l e mieux, comme s i c'6- t a i t la. sa f o n c t i o n t e r r e s t r e souyeraine, 1'autre <§tant de contempler Dieu.^" By f o l l o w i n g the pr o g r e s s i o n of t h e i r characters' death, the Goncourt Brothers showed the s p i r i t u a l purging inherent i n each woman's death agony. I n the anguish of death i s revealed a c e r t a i n r a t i o n a l e , determined and accepted by each of the women. In t h e i r d e s c r i p t i o n of Renee and Germinie as they approached t h e i r death, the Goncourt Brothers showed them strong and w e l l able to accept t h e i r f a t e , even more so perhaps than the charac- ters, who surrounded them. Ren§e and Germinie were able to accept t h e i r d e s t i n y because they were able to view t h e i r past i n per- spective w i t h the a b i l i t y to r a t i o n a l i z e each event w i t h respect to the others. These women acknowledged t h e i r past and accepted t h e i r s u f f e r i n g . I n so doing, they transcended i t . La transmutation de l a douleur en j o i e sur- n a t u r e l l e , du mal en bi e n , c'est l e p r i n c i p e de l.-'iame feminine .5 However, the process of accepting s u f f e r i n g and accord- ing i t c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of v i r t u e and n e c e s s i t y was a long and a hard one f o r each of the women. During t h e i r l i f e t i m e , they were confronted w i t h death of others around them, which served to prepare them f o r t h e i r own death. They were a l s o witness to the death of some of t h e i r most important concepts and b e l i e f s , which forced them to recon s i d e r t h e i r a t t i t u d e towards l i f e and s o c i e t y . Thus, the Goncourt Brothers e s t a b l i s h e d s e v e r a l types of death w i t h i n t h e i r novels; death of the s p i r i t , death of 78 sentiment and death of the p h y s i c a l body. Not every one can be considered an a c t u a l death i n the true sense of the word, since nothing p h y s i c a l i s l o s t , and.nothing changes except the a t t i t u d e of the character h e r s e l f . However, the l o s s of a thought or a p o s s i b l e event or the abandonment of an a c t i o n on the p a r t of the character might be considered to be e q u a l l y important i n examin- ing death as a phenomenon i n the works of the Goncourt Brothers. Germinie's l i f e was one of manifold tragedy. In her case, the concept of death i n l i f e i s a prophetic one, f o r she experienced death a t a very e a r l y age, and almost continuously u n t i l her own death. Germinie's mother died when she was f i v e years o l d , l e a v i n g a f a m i l y i l l - e q u i p p e d to look a f t e r i t s e l f . Already she was being prepared f o r her own death: her mother's death deprived her of love and a f f e c t i o n and l e f t her at the mercy of her f a m i l y , her s i s t e r s , her brother and her ne'er-do- w e l l father.- Both her s i s t e r s were jealous of the place Germinie had held i n her mother's heart, and w i t h her death, they began to tease t h e i r s m a ll s i s t e r . Germinie's e l d e r brother saved t h i s s m a l l c h i l d and provided as many l u x u r i e s as he could i n order to ease her sense of l o n e l i n e s s and d e p r i v a t i o n . I n Germinie's eyes, her brother was a s a i n t and she loved him f o r the devotion and s a c r i f i c e s he made f o r her b e n e f i t . Her f a t h e r , on the other hand, she regarded w i t h a c e r t a i n d i s d a i n . He only worked when he f e l t l i k e i t , and was unable to provide f o r h i s f a m i l y . His death d i d not r e a l l y a f f e c t the f a m i l y fortunes and l i t t l e a f f e c t - ed Germinie's l i f e . The death of Germinie's brother deeply a f f e c t e d her 79 however. She was l e f t alone, at the tender age of fourteen, to make her way i n the world. I n the break-up of the f a m i l y , Germinie was the l o s e r . She no lon g e r had anyone to look a f t e r her, since both her s i s t e r s were occupied i n earning t h e i r own l i v i n g . I n her brother's death was a p a t t e r n which was to repeat i t s e l f i n the death of other people around her, and i n her own death. The person she loved above a l l e l s e died, l e a v i n g her at the mercy of c r u e l or unsympathetic people who could not give her the support she needed i n her time of c r i s i s . I n her own death, she i s s t i l l a t the mercy of others who a t t a c k and r e v i l e her. In t h i s way, she began to look at the dead as the fortunate ones, and saw i n the p o s s i b i l i t y of her own death the release and es- cape from the horrors of l i v i n g . The deaths of her mother, her f a t h e r and her brother shattered the innocence of her childhood. Germinie had to face the r e a l i t i e s of l i f e and she was sent to work i n a P a r i s i a n r e s t a u r a n t . I n that r e s t a u r a n t , she experienced the f i n a l death of her childhood and the growing knowledge of her womanhood. The death of her childhood was b r u t a l and c r u e l . Exposed as she was to the rough, r i b a l d men i n the cafS, she became aware of her budding s e x u a l i t y and the e f f e c t s a woman might have on a man. Through her innocence and her i n a b i l i t y to e x p l a i n her worries and doubts to her s i s t e r s , she became the v i c t i m of an ol d man's l u s t . La p e t i t e v o u l a i t se c o n f i e r a ses soeurs, e l l e n ' o s a i t . Comme, avec l a n o u r r i t u r e , i l l u i v e n a i t un peu de c h a i r au corps, un peu de couleur aux joues, une apparence de femme, l e s l i b e r t S s augmentaient'.e t s ' en h a r d i s s a i e n t . I I y a v a i t des f a m i l i a r i t S s , des gestes, des 80 approches, auxquels e l l e gchappait et dont e l l e se s a v a i t pure, mais'qui alt£rait sa candeur en e f f l e u r a n t son innocence. Rudoyee, grondee, b r u t a l i s ^ e par l e maitre de l'e"tab- lisseraent habitue" a abuser de ses bonnes,... The death of her innocence through these c o n d i t i o n s and through the p h y s i c a l a t t a c k by a loathsome man l e f t a l a s t i n g impression on the young Germinie. I t coloured her p e r c e p t i o n of men and l e f t her w i t h memories of horror and shame, not only of h e r s e l f but of what men s i g n i f i e d . This f i r s t contact with the opposite sex was to b l i n d Germinie and cause her to c a r r y misconceptions about men, love and l u s t to her deathbed. That mightThave been the end of the i n c i d e n t , and Germinie might have been able to f o r g e t i t i n time, but she d i s - covered that she was pregnant as a r e s u l t of the o l d man's att a c k . When her s i s t e r s were t o l d of her c o n d i t i o n , Germinie's hope of understanding and support died w i t h the blows of her outraged s i s t e r s . Les r g v o l t e s d ' o r g u e i l i n t r a i t a b l e s et bru- t a l e s qu'a. l'honneur du peuple, l e s se"v£ri- t£s implaeables de l a devotion, S c l a t e r e n t chez l e s deux femmes en col e r e s indigne"es. Leur confusion se tourna en rage. Germinie r e p r i t connaissance sous l e u r s coups, sous l e u r s i n j u r e s , sous l e s blessures de l e u r s mains, sous l e s outrages de l e u r bouche. I I y a v a i t l a son beau-frere q u i ne l u i pardon- n a i t pas 1'argent q u i a v a i t coute son voyage et qui l a r e g a r d a i t d'un a i r goguenard avec une j o i e surnoise et fSroce d'Auvergnat, avec un r i r e q u i mit aux joues de l a :jeune f i l l e p lus de rouge encore que l e s s o u f f l e t s de ses soeurs.' She was again l e f t to stand by h e r s e l f and face the knowing smiles of those around her who were aware of her shame. For Germinie, an i n t e n s e l y withdrawn person, the r e c r i m i n a t i o n s of 81 those around her brought her more anguish, than her a c t u a l condi- t i o n . Germinie's c h i l d was born dead. Another death f o r Ger- minie to face, although i n t r u t h , i t was a b l e s s i n g . Had t h i s c h i l d l i v e d , i t would have been a constant reminder of her shame and dishonour. This c h i l d could never have brought her happiness and contentment because of the circumstances under which i t was brought to l i f e . As i t was, Germinie f e l t " . . . l a j p i e d'une g s o r t i e de p r i s o n . " She was free to recommence her l i f e and to e s t a b l i s h h e r s e l f anew. She had no t i e s w i t h the f a t h e r and she had l o s t no love; she had merely been f r e e d from tormenting circumstances. Her f i r s t c h i l d l i t t l e a f f e c t e d Germinie's s p i r i t . She had been tormented u n t i l the c h i l d ' s b i r t h , but with i t s death, she had been l i b e r a t e d and given a f r e s h s t a r t . However, Ger- minie reacted i n a t o t a l l y d i f f e r e n t manner to the death of her niece, and to the deaths of her own second and t h i r d c h i l d r e n . These c h i l d r e n of lov e , that i s , Germinie devoted h e r s e l f to them, and i n the case of her own c h i l d r e n , loved the f a t h e r as w e l l . I n l o s i n g these c h i l d r e n , whose Innocence gave t h e i r love a s p e c i a l q u a l i t y , Germinie was made b r u t a l l y aware of her- l a c k of v i s i o n and her l a c k of judgement concerning her commit- ment to h e r s e l f . U n t i l death caused her to t h i n k and contemplate, she had been content to remain convinced that her s a l v a t i o n l a y i n her c h i l d r e n and that being a mother would c o n t r o l a l l those emotions which tormented her s o u l . 82 Pleurant sa f i l l e , l a malheureuse se p l e u r - a i t elle-meme. Une v o i x l u i murmurait que, cet enfant v i v a n t , e l l e S t a i t sauv£e: que cet enfant a aimer, c ' S t a i t sa Providence; que tout ce q u ' e l l e r e d o u t a i t d'elle-meme i r a i t sur c e t t e tete et s'y s a n c t i f i e r a i t , ses tendresses, ses <§lancements, ses ardeurs, tous l e s feux de sa nature. I I l u i semblait sen- t i r d'avance son coeur de mere ap a i s e r et pur- i f i e r son coeur de femme. Dans sa f i l l e , e l l e v o y a i t je ne s a i s quoi de c e l e s t e qui l a r a - c h e t e r a i t e t l a g u e " r i r a i t , comme un p e t i t ange de d S l i v r a n c e , s o r t i de ses fautes pour l a d i s p u t e r et l a reprendre aux i n f l u e n c e s mauvaises qui l a p o u r s u i v a i e n t et dont e l l e se c r o y a i t p a r f o i s possedSe. Quand e l l e comme.nga a s o r t i r de ce premier aneantissement de son de"sespoir, quand, l a p e r c e p t i o n de l a v i e et l a s e n s a t i o n des choses l u i revenant, e l l e regarda autour d ' e l l e ave.c des yeux qui v o y a i e n t . . . ' The deaths of her c h i l d r e n brought Germinie a h i n t of the s e l f - r e a l i z a t i o n w i t h which she would e v e n t u a l l y r a t i o n a l i z e her e x i s - tence. She began to understand that her s a l v a t i o n l a y w i t h i n h e r s e l f , not w i t h the b e l i e f that others would help her i f only she devoted h e r s e l f to them. These others were g r a d u a l l y being taken away from her, f o r c i n g her to make her own d e c i s i o n s and to accept the r e s u l t s of them. Germinie's s p i r i t was being worn down by circumstances, but she grew i n s t r e n g t h with-;.the know- ledge that she was capable of c l e a r v i s i o n and r a t i o n a l i z a t i o n of her e x i s t e n c e . The death of sentimental concepts of love and marriage c o n t r i b u t e d i n t h e i r way to Germinie's growth and maturation as an i n d i v i d u a l . She was profoundly a f f e c t e d by the l o s s of s e n t i - mental, i f not conjugal, l o v e . Her love and her e x p e c t a t i o n of marriage to J u p i l l o n were doomed to d i e , since the r e l a t i o n s h i p was one-sided. She 8 3 had given a l l her l o v e , s a c r i f i c e d her savings and s t i l l could not buy h i s t o t a l commitment":.to her. However, she had not chosen her l o v e r w e l l e i t h e r . She had been b l i n d e d by her overwhelming desi r e f o r love and companionship, and she d i d not n o t i c e at f i r s t that J u p i l l o n was t o t a l l y unresponsive and that L ' amour n'ava i t £te" pour l e jeune J u p i l l o n que l a s a t i s f a c t i o n d'une c e r t a i n e c u r i o s i t e du mal, cherchant dans l a connaissance e t l a possession d'une femme l e d r o i t et l e p l a i s i r de l a m.gpriser.10 She gave t o t a l l y of h e r s e l f , unaware that she was feeding an i n - s a t i a b l e beast. In h i s l a c k of a t t e n t i o n to her devotion, she grew confused, unable to hide her incoherence and her v u l n e r a b i l - i t y . This gave J u p i l l o n the means to degrade her. As a r e s u l t , the love which she so d e s i r e d soured and became a hatred of a l l things a s s o c i a t e d w i t h J u p i l l o n . Love's death brought w i t h i t a r e a l i z a t i o n of the true character of J u p i l l o n . E l l e v o y a i t q u ' e l l e n ' a v a i t pu a t t a c h e r J u p i l l o n par l e denouement de son amour, l e dgpouillement de tout ce q u ' e l l e a v a i t , tout ces s a c r i f i c e s d'argent qui engageaient sa v i e dans l'embarras et l e s transes d'une dette impossible a payer. E l l e s e n t a i t q U ' i l l u i a p p o r t a i t a. r e g r e t son amour, un amour ou i l m e t t a i t 1 ' h u m i l i a t i o n d'une c h a r i t e . H Love's death a l s o brought a descent i n t o the h e l l of unrequited passion, f o r love had been cast aside as useless and t r a i t o r o u s . The death of sentiment as something meaningful and noble caused Germinie to lose s i g h t of h e r s e l f and the commitment she had to h e r s e l f . L'amour qui l u i manquait, et auquel e l l e a v a i t l a volonte" de se r e f u s e r , devint a l o r s l a t o r t u r e de sa v i e , un s u p p l i c e incessant e t abominable. E l l e eut a se dSfendre contre l e s f i e v r e s de son corps et l e s i r r i t a t i o n s 84 du dehors, contre l e s emotions f a c i l e s et l e s molles. l a c h e t i s de sa c h a i r , contre toutes l e s s o l l i c i t a t i o n s de nature q u i 1 ' a s s a i l l a i e n t . 1 2 The d e s i r e s of her body overwhelmed her s p i r i t . For a time, she thought she could hide behind her d e s i r e s . She had wanted to be loved f o r h e r s e l f , but she had reached a p o i n t where, i n her t o r t u r e and condemnation, she could only degrade h e r s e l f i n the base debauchery of a s e r i e s of one-night stands, whose only pur- pose was to s a t i s f y c a r n a l i n s t i n c t . Even i n her r e l a t i o n s h i p w i t h Gautruche, the p a i n t e r , the p h y s i c a l aspects of the encoun- t e r were more important than any others: love was not inv o l v e d i n t h i s r e l a t i o n s h i p . When Gautruche suggested marriage, the force^.of Germinie' s sarcasm proved c o n c l u s i v e l y that she no longer b e l i e v e d irirthe.esentimental concepts of love and marriage. This death of sentiment i s important i n Germinie's de- velopment and i n her ul t i m a t e acceptance of death as her f a t e . Freed from her self-imposed concepts of sentiment, and having experienced s p i r i t u a l death, Germinie had been l i b e r a t e d from the a r t i f i c i a l bondage of s o c i e t y . She was capable of examining her s i t u a t i o n from the r e a l i t y of her own p o s i t i o n i n i t , unaf- f e c t e d by the opinions and a t t i t u d e s of those around her. As she approached the end of her l i f e , Germinie had r a t i o n a l i z e d her s i t u a t i o n . She was convinced that there was happiness f o r some, and yet some people were doomed to a v i c a r - ious e x i s t e n c e , o b t a i n i n g happiness through the observed exper- iences of others. . . . e l l e se d i s a i t q u ' e l l e £tait de ces mal- heureuses vouees en n a i s s a n t a. une gternite" de misere, de c e l l e s pour l e s q u e l l e s l e bon- 85 heur n'est pas f a i t et qui ne l e connaissent qu'en l ' e n v i a n t aux autres. ̂ 3 That she was one of these people she had no doubt. She had spent her whole l i f e searching f o r happiness, contentment and lov e , and had found nothing but despondency, depress ion-.'and r e - c r i m i n a t i o n . She thought of death as an escape. She wished and hoped f o r death, and even considered s u i c i d e as a way to es- cape from the r e a l i t i e s of her exist e n c e . ...une idSe q u i n*'.»avait f a i t jusque-la que tourner autour d ' e l l e : l'id£e de s u i c i d e . E l l e se m e t t a i t a. ecouter, l a tete dans l e s deux mains, ce qui l u i p a r l a i t de d S l i v r a n c e . E l l e l a i s s a i t v e n i r a son o r e i l l e ce b r u i t doux de l a mort qu'on entend d e r r i e r e l a v i e comme une chute l o i n t a i n e de grandes eaux qui tombent, en s'Steignarit, dans du v i d e . The thought of suicideemoved Germinie c l o s e r to death. However, even with the thought"of death, Germinie would have to pay the p i p e r and play^the charade of her existence to i t s u l t i - mate co n c l u s i o n : she would not be permitted the luxury of ending her l i f e before the f i n a l act could be played out. For Germinie, death would be a release and an escape from the countless eyes which watched her every step, w a i t i n g f o r a h i n t or an i n d i c a t i o n that she would be unable•tt6r trepay." her enormous debt. Faced w i t h t h i s knowledge, Germinie e x h i b i t e d s t r e n g t h and endurance i n her s p i r a l l i n g descent i n t o the peace of death. Never once d i d she u t t e r a word of her previous l i f e ; she hardened h e r s e l f to a l l p h y s i c a l p a i n and the mental anguish she s u f f e r e d and was s u f f e r i n g remained locked w i t h i n her. She had to maintain appearances, both to b o l s t e r her own senses.of honour and d i g n i t y , and a l s o i n order not to d i s c l o s e her shame 86 and d i s t r e s s to Mademoiselle. Cette comedie h o r r i b l e et nScessaire, e l l e l a s o u t i n t . E l l e f u t herolque a. f a i r e men- t i r son corps, redressant, devant l e s bou- tiques q u i l ' i p i a i e n t , sa t a i l l e a f f a i s s e e , pressant son pas t r a i n a n t , se f r o t t a n t l e s joues, avant de descendre, avec une s e r v i - e t t e rude pour y rap p e l e r l a couleur du sang, pour f a r d e r sur son visage l e s paleurs de son mal et l e masque de sa mort 11-5 Germinie was aware of her impending death and accepted i t as the only j u s t i f i c a t i o n to her s o r d i d e x i s t e n c e . As she was absorbed by her l i f e , so she was absorbed by her death. She was unaware of the e x t e r n a l world, as i f she were already caught by the soothing v o i d of o b l i v i o n . Au m i l i e u des inquietudes desesperges que donnait a M i l e de Varandeuil l a maladie de sa bonne, se g l i s s a i t une impression singu- l i e r e , une c e r t a i n e peur devant l ' e t r e nou- veau, inconnu, mysterieux, que l e mal a v a i t f a i t l e v e r du fond de Germinie. Mademoiselle r e s s e n t a i t comme un malaise aupres de cette f i g u r e enfoncee, enterr£e, presque disparue dans une implacable durete, et qui ne sem- b l a i t revenir. a. elle-meme e t se r e t r o u v e r que fugitivement, par l u e u r s , dans 1 ' e f f o r t d'un pale s o u r i r e . La v i e i l l e femme a v a i t vu bi e n des gens mourir; sa longue et douleur- euse mgmoire l u i r a p p e l a i t b i e n des expres- , sions de mort t r i s t e s , accabiees, desolges, mais aucun des visages dont e l l e se souvenait n ' a v a i t p r i s en s'eteignant ce sombre carac- tere d'un visage q u i s'enferme et se r e t i r e en lui-meme. Toute serr§e dans sa souffrance, Germinie se t e n a i t farouche, r a i d i e , concentred, impe- n e t r a b l e . E l l e a v a i t des immobilites de bronze. En l a regardant, mademoiselle se demandait ce q u ' e l l e couvait a i n s i sans bou- ger, s i c ' e t a i t l a r e v o l t e de sa v i e , l ' h o r - reur de mourir, ou b i e n un s e c r e t , un remords. Rien d ' e x t e r i e u r ne semblait plus toucher l a malade . La sen s a t i o n des "choses s ' en a l l a i t d ' e l l e . Son corps devenait i n d i f f e r e n t a. tout, ne demandait plus a. etre soulage, ne p a r a i s s a i t plus d g s i r e r g u e r i r . E l l e ne se 87 p l a i g n a i t de r i e n . Ses besoins de tendresse eux-memes l ' a v a i e n t q u i t t e d . E l l e ne donnait plus signe de caresse e t , chaque jour, quelque chose d'humain q u i t t a i t c e t t e ame de femme qui p a r a i s s a i t se p e t r i f i e r . Souvent e l l e s.'abimait dans des s i l e n c e s q u i f a i s a i e n t attendre l e d^chirement d'un c r i , d'une pa- r o l e ; p u i s , apres a v o i r promene" l e regard autour d ' e l l e , e l l e ne d i s a i t r i e n et recom- mengait a regarder au meme e n d r o i t , dans l e v i d e , devant e l l e fixement, <§ternellement. Quand mademoiselle r e n t r a i t de chez l'amie ou e l l e a l l a i t d i n e r , e l l e t r o u v a i t Germinie dans 1'obscurity, sans lumiere, a f f a i s s S e dans un f a u t e u i l , l e s jambes allong<§es sur une cha i s e , l a tete penchSe sur sa p o i t r i n e , e t s i profondement absorbed que p a r f o i s - e l l e n'entendait pas l a porte s ' o u v r i r . Dans l a chambre, enavangant, i l semblait a M i l e de Varandeuil deranger un Spouvantable t e t e - a - tete de l a Maladie et de 1'Ombre, ou Germi- nie c h e r c h a i t d£ja dans l a t e r r e u r de 1 ' i n v i s - i b l e 1'aveuglement de l a tombe et l a n u i t de l a mort.16 Germinie regarded her impending death i n a d i f f e r e n t manner than might have been expected. She d i d not f i g h t f o r her l i f e and she made no attempt to c o n t r o l her mental or p h y s i c a l s t a t e . By so minutely d e s c r i b i n g Germinie's a t t i t u d e and n o t i n g her p h y s i c a l appearance, so u n l i k e those normally preceding death, the Goncourt Brothers emphasize the completeness of Ger- minie 's acceptance of her f a t e . There would be no f u r t h e r attempt to h a l t death's progress, f o r Germinie had reached the knife-edge between l i f e and death. I n t h e i r d e s c r i p t i o n of Germinie's s o r d i d l i t t l e room on the s i x t h f l o o r of Mademoiselle's apartment b u i l d i n g , the reader i s compelled to an- understanding and a sympathy f o r Ger- minie's death. By escaping the p r i s o n of t h i s room and of her l i f e , Germinie would f i n a l l y be f r e e of a s o c i e t y and a s i t u a t i o n which d i d not even give her room to d i e , and which had, since her 88 childhood, been t i g h t e n i n g i t s s t r a n g l e h o l d upon her. The Goncourt Brothers' d e s c r i p t i o n equated the s o r d i d , enclosed room wit h the base, degrading l i f e Germinie had been fo r c e d to l i v e . Mademoiselle s ' a s s i t et r e s t a quelques i n - st a n t s regardant cetteumisS'rable chambre de domestique, une de ces chambres ou l e mSdecin est oblige" de poser son chapeau sur l e l i t , et ou i l y a a peine l a place pour mourirl C ' S t a i t une mansarde de quelques pieds c a r r ^ s sans chemin£e, ou l a t a b a t i e r e a. cr£maillere l a i s s a i t passer l ' h a l e i n e des saisons, l e chaud de l ' e t e , l e f r o i d de l ' h i v e r . Les dSbarras, de v i e i l l e s malles, des sacs de n u i t , un panier de b a i n , l e p e t i t l i t de f e r ou Germinie a v a i t couche" sa n i e c e , e t a i e n t entass^s sous l e pan coupe" du mur. Le l i t , une chaise et une p e t i t e t o i l e t t e boiteuse avec une cuvette cassSe, f a i s a i e n t tout l e m o b i l i e r . Au-dessus du l i t e"tait pendu, dans un cadre p e i n t a l a facon du p a l i s s a n d r e , un daguerreotype d'homme.17 The confusion of the objects i n the room, and the broken, useless ornaments were a r e f l e c t i o n of Germinie's l i f e . Her death i n the h o s p i t a l of L a r i b o i s i e r e , t o o , emphasized the c o n d i t i o n s of Germinie's l i f e and the i m p o s s i b i l i t y of a r e - , lease from her past agony. The h o s p i t a l i t s e l f , w i t h i t s long, impersonal wards, . . . l ' h o p i t a l ou on meurt dans 1 ' i n d i f f e r e n c e a d m i n i s t r a t i v e de 1 ' g t a t - c i v i l , de l a fosse commune ou vont p o u r r i r pele-mele dans un espace mesure" au minimum pour l e temps l e s r e s t e s de ceux auquels l a v i e a i n t e r d i t de s'Clever jusqu'a un minimum d'aisance, toutes l e s horreurs d i s o n s - l e , dans 1 ' e s p r i t des Goncourt e t a i e n t voulues, c u l t i v S e s , malgre" l'amertume et l a souffrance q u ' i l s en §prou- vaient...18 The Goncourt Brothers introduced a l l these horrors to make the reader regard Germinie w i t h a modicum of humanity and to accept her choice of death not as a weak, s e l f i s h one, but 8 9 r a t h e r as a choice made w i t h s t r e n g t h and f o r e s i g h t . Germinie's v i s i t o r s , a l l those people to whom she owed money, came to make Germinie's l a s t moments ones of torment and emotional anguish. This emphasized the s i t u a t i o n of her f i n a l moments and the l a c k of sympathy and understanding w i t h which she was regarded. That she was so degraded h i g h l i g h t s the poignancy of her experiences. C'est que ces v i s i t e s q u ' e l l e v e n a i t de rece- v o i r , c ' g t a i e n t l a ' f r u i t i e r e , l ' S p i c i e r , l a marchande de heurre, l a hlanchisseuse, - toutes ses dettes v i v a n t e s l Ces b a i s e r s , c ' g t a i e n t l e s b a i s e r s de t o u s s e s cr§anciers venant dans toe embrassade, f l a i r e r l e u r s criances et f a i r e chanter son agonie119 Germinie's b u r i a l i n an unmarked grave revealed the ultim a t e unimportance of her existence and her e f f e c t upon the conduct of s o c i e t y . She had died as she had l i v e d , w i t h no one to remark upon her existence and no one to care f o r her or a l l e - v i a t e her s u f f e r i n g . She had been alone, i n a s e l f i s h s o c i e t y which had not n o t i c e d the s t r u g g l e of a woman who d e s i r e d only to be happy and content. Mademoiselle se mit a remonter ces c r o i x , se penchant sur chacune, Spelant l e s dates, cher- chant l e s noms avec ses mauvais yeux. E l l e a r r i v a a. des c r o i x du 8 novembre: c'e'tait l a v e i l l e de l a mort de Germinie, Germinie de- v a i t etre a. cote. .11 y a v a i t c i n q c r o i x du 9 novembre, c i n q c r o i x toutes serrges: Ger- minie n ' S t a i t pas dans l e t a s . M i l e de Varan- d e u i l a l i a un peu -plus l o i n , aux c r o i x du 10, puis aux c r o i x du 11, puis aux c r o i x du 12. E l l e r e v i n t au 8, regarda encore partout: i l n'y a v a i t r i e n , absolument rien...Germinie a v a i t 6t£ enterrSe sans une c r o i x ! On n' a v a i t pas meme p l a n t s un morceau de bois pour l a re c o n n a i t r e ! A l a f i n , l a v i e i l l e demoiselle se l a i s s a tomber a. genoux dans l a neige, entre deux c r o i x dont l'une p o r t a i t 9 novembre et 1'autre 10 novembre. Ce q u i d e v a i t r e s t e r de Germinie 90 d e v a i t etre a. peu pres l a . Sa tombe vague e t a i t ce t e r r a i n vague. Pour p r i e r sur e l l e , i l f ' a l l a i t p r i e r au p e t i t bonheur entre deux dates, - comme s i l a destined de l a pauvre f i l l e a v a i t voulu q u ' i l n^y eut, sur l a t e r r e , pas plus de place pour son corps que pour son coeur.20 Mademoiselle was brought to a r e a l i z a t i o n of the s i t u - a t i o n of her maid. She had at f i r s t f e l t angry and betrayed, c u r s i n g and d e n i g r a t i n g what she had considered the l y i n g and d e c e i t f u l l i f e her maid had l e d . But u l t i m a t e l y , she came to r e a l i z e that Germinie's s i t u a t i o n was n o t . t o t a l l y her f a u l t , t h a t outwardly Germinie had t r i e d to overcome the e f f e c t s of a s o c i e t y which had repressed her and c o n t r i b u t e d to her downfall. However, Germinie alone had not been strong enough to overcome the power of that s o c i e t y and the people w i t h i n i t . She had had to act i n whatever way she could, based on what her own i n s t i n c t s con- veyed to her. Germinie had needed the guidance of people w i t h v i s i o n , who were dedicated to h e l p i n g others, but there was no one around her who understood. Even Mademoiselle h e r s e l f had not been open to the confidences of her maid, and she had been b l i n d to the s i l e n t pleas f o r help. In the f i n a l a n a l y s i s , Mademoiselle r e a l i z e d that Ger- minie had acted as her concepts of honour and d i g n i t y had t o l d her she should. Germinie was possessed of "...une Passion de 21 honte qui n ' o s a i t demander pardon qu'avec son s i l e n c e ! " By maintaining her s i l e n c e , Germinie had p r o t e c t e d Mademoiselle i n the only way she knew how and she had born the brunt of the horror h e r s e l f . She had prevented Mademoiselle from becoming involved i n her decadent l i f e . I n the end, Mademoiselle pardoned 91 Germinie, the f i r s t and only occasion i n which anyone e x h i b i t e d humanity and understanding towards her, although f o r Germinie i t came too l a t e . However, pardoning Germinie had opened Made- mo i s e l l e ' s eyes and made her examine the circumstances around her. E l l e se demandait s i l a pauvre f i l l e g t a i t a u s s i coupable que d'autres, s i e l l e a v a i t c h o i s i l e mal, s i l a v i e , l e s c i r c o n s t a n c e s , l e malheur de son corps et de sa destinee, n'a v a i t pas f a i t d ' e l l e l a creature qu'ellep„ a v a i t <§t£, un etre d'amour et de douleur. . . By asking these questions of h e r s e l f , Mademoiselle was i n r e a l i t y v o i c i n g thoughts which the Goncourt Brothers themselves had expressed. In w r i t i n g a novel of such a woman, they had hoped to force an awareness of the s i t u a t i o n of l e s s fortunate people upon the reader, and e x t r a c t from the reader a moral judge- ment. The Goncourt Brothers d e s i r e d to have the reader ask the same questions Mademoiselle had asked i n order that they might examine the s i t u a t i o n around them and perhaps purge t h e i r s o c i e t y of some of i t s e v i l s . In t h i s way, Germinie's death would serve some purpose. The p r o t r a i t of Rente's death i n no way resembles that of Germinie. Germinie died i n s o r d i d , s o l i t a r y circumstances, with each event depicted i n a manner which r e i n f o r c e d the por-. t r a i t . Rente's death, however, was the c e n t r a l element i n a g l o r i f i e d p o t r a i t of a young, innocent g i r l , who died s o l e l y because the overwhelming b e l i e f i n her i d e a l s caused her to make ex t r a o r d i n a r y s a c r i f i c e s . I n no way d i d the events described i n the novel serve to t a r n i s h Rente's image. Dans l a th§rapeutique qu'inventent l e s roman- c i e r s comme dans 1 ' i m p r e c i s i o n des symptomes 92 et dans cette mort id<§alis£e de Ren<§e, on surprend l e meme p a r t i p r i s de ne p o i n t en- l a i d i r l e u r heroine par des soins ou des souf'f'ranees indignes d ' e l l e . 2 3 Each s i t u a t i o n served to s p o t l i g h t the i d e a l i s t i c view of Rente's character. Ren6e had "been l i t t l e exposed to death i n her childhood, l i v i n g as she d i d , an easy and carefree l i f e . As she grew o l d e r , she became aware of death only as i t p e r t a i n e d to the death of the s p i r i t u a l and sentimental i l l u s i o n s which had been a p a r t of her childhood and which she had discovered to be deceptive and misleading. Her s p i r i t u a l b e l i e f i n r e l i g i o n died when she examined the manner i n which the abbe" Blampoix conducted h i s l i f e and the r e l i g i o u s l i f e of h i s congregation. The members of the upper bourgeoisie who went to the abbe"'s c o n f e s s i o n a l were cossetted and f o r g i v e n f o r t h e i r s i n s without ever having to make any k i n d of e f f o r t f o r t h e i r redemption. RenSe b e l i e v e d that each person should be r e s p o n s i b l e f o r h i s own a c t i o n s without needing them softened or made l e s s p a i n f u l by an intermediary. In the f a i t h of the b o u r g e o i s i e , RenSe saw only the weakness of the people as a r e s u l t of the abbe"'s teachings. I n d i v i d u a l i t y was an unknown e n t i t y among those who followed the precepts of t h i s p r i e s t . This q u a l i t y of i n d i v i d u a l i t y was inherent i n Rente's character and the death of her s p i r i t u a l f a i t h i n r e l i g i o n gave her the freedom to examine her s i t u a t i o n without the ideas r e c e i v e d from the C a t h o l i c r e l i g i o n . The death of her i l l u s i o n of sentimental love was a l s o important i n preparing Ren§e f o r death i t s e l f . She d i d not be- 9 3 l i e v e i n sentimental love f o r two reasons. She knew that no man would be able to give her the love which her f a t h e r already gave her, and that to ask f o r such a s a c r i f i c e from another man would be a s e l f i s h and f o o l i s h a c t i o n . Nor would she be a p a r t y to a marriage made s o l e l y f o r b e n e f i t , since without love and mutual respect, the p a r t i e s to the marriage would s u f f e r . Her abandon- ing of marriage and of the chance to have c h i l d r e n was a s a c r i f i c e she was w i l l i n g and eager to make. The s p i r i t u a l and sentimental death of her i l l u s i o n s p u r i f i e d Rente's thoughts. She had matured i n her outlook on l i f e and was capable of examining her s i t u a t i o n , although her i d e a l s tat.t t h i s p o i n t were s t i l l only concepts. They had yet to be t e s t e d and analysed by t h i s i n t e l l i g e n t but innocent g i r l . The death of Rente's brother, her f i r s t encounter w i t h the death of a person, was a great shock to her. In t h i s event, she faced a s i t u a t i o n which she had i n s t i g a t e d , although she could i n no way be blamed f o r i t . However, even though she had acted i n innocence and i n defense of concepts which were import- ant to her, she would be s o l e l y r e s p o n s i b l e . For her, the death of her brother represented a new look at r e a l i t y , one which she would be compelled to act upon and challenge. For the f i r s t time, in s t e a d of merely b e l i e v i n g i n a concept, she would a c t u a l l y have to analyse i t and act upon her a n a l y s i s . RenSe matured i n her a t t i t u d e almost overnight. I n her mind, she knew that she must expiate her brother's death. I n the i l l n e s s which f o l l o w e d the news of her brother's death, Ren6e found the s u f f e r i n g she would have to endure and accepted i t w i t h grace and honour. 94 Car Renee, pour.mourir, s'y prend autrement que B a r n i e r ou~Germinie: l a souffranee l a change, l a p u r i f i e , l a murit, l a d g p o u i l l e de toutes l e s s c o r i e s de l'humain: en un sens e l l e accepte sa mort au l i e u de l a s u b i r . 2 4 The Goncourt Brothers s t r e s s the p u r i f i c a t i o n of Rente's so u l i n t h e i r a n a l y s i s of her death. Rened becomes the epitome of young womanhood, s o f t and malleable, and y e t s t i l l possessed of the st r e n g t h to s u s t a i n others as death g r a d u a l l y conquers. L'arne de Rened. se t r a n s f i g u r e au m i l i e u des ruines de son corps. I I se f a i t en e l l e des changements d i v i n s . L'enfant h a r d i et moqueur redev-ienifctune v i e r g e timide. Comme une g u e r r i e r e blessed qui redemanderait ses vetements de femme, Rened reprend, pour mourir, l a f a i b l e s s e et l a douceur de son sexe. Son e s p r i t de l u t i n , b r i l l a n t et mobile, r e v i e n t encore sur ses l e v r e s , mais tendre maintenant et mSlancolique: On d i r a i t un feu f o l l e t dansant sur une tombe....Cependant l a mort s'avance; a. mesure q u d l l e approche l e r e d i t s'Sieve et se s a n c t i f i e . Les paroles de l a malade deviennent plus rares et plus s o l e n - n e l l e s . De grands s i l e n c e s se fon t dans sa chambre. On n'y entend plus que l e soupir de c e l l e q u i s o u f f r e et l e sanglot de c e l u i qui v e i l l e . . . . 25 Rened no longer held immovable i d e a l s and thoughts. She was prepared to stop and spend time i n contemplation. Her rash- ness of the past was- tempered by books which.presented ideas which provokedttho.ughtaabomtnnebulousfldreajiilike q u a l i t i e s and tender, emotional s i t u a t i o n s . A peine s i , par i n s t a n t s , une expression du pass£ l u i r e v e n a i t ; a l o r s e l l e d i s a i t en so u r i a n t : "C'est de l a v i e i l l e Rened, c e l a l . . . " E l l e se r a p p e l a i t des paroles q u ' e l l e a v a i t d i t e s , des audaces q u ' e l l e a v a i t eues, l e ton q u ' e l l e p r e n a i t , sa f a m i l i a r i t e " avec l e s jeunes gens; e l l e n ' a u r a i t plus ose de c e l a . E l l e s'etonnait d'elle-meme, et ne se r e - c o n n a i s s a i t p l u s . E l l e a v a i t quitte" ses l e c - 95 tures de l i v r e s s S rieux ou amusants; e l l e n'aimait plus que l e s oeuvres q u i font r e v e r l a pens£e» l e s . l i v r e s q u i ont des idSes tendres.2° Already she was contemplating the release that death would b r i n g . Her thoughts were f r e e , no longer trapped by the r e v o l t and anger aga i n s t r e s t r i c t i n g convention. She had become mature enough to accept and r e s i g n h e r s e l f to the course of death and f i n d w i t h i n her r e s i g n a t i o n calm st r e n g t h . Ren§e, a t t h i s p o i n t , was capable of sh a r i n g her s t r e n g t h w i t h those who witnessed her q u i e t death. She had the courage to i - assure those around her that she d i d not hate death, and that i t was not without meaning. Moi, v o i s , je me rSsigne...Non, i l ne f a u t pas en v o u l o i r tant que c e l a a l a souffrance... E l l e nous a St£ donn£e pour quelque chose, on ne nous f a i t pas seulement s o u f f r i r pour s o u f f r i r . 27 She was a l s o capable of sensing the i n s i g h t s which death could b r i n g i f one was w i l l i n g , to analyseaand contemplate i t u n f l i n c h - i n g l y . Death alone, reduces a l l human beings to the same l e v e l : no one can escape death and therefore everyone, i n the f i n a l ana- l y s i s , i s brought to the same l e v e l of humanity. E l l e p a r l a encore de l a souffrance comme du mal q u i nous ote l ' o r g u e i l , q u i nous r a p p e l l e notre i n f i r m i t y , q u i nous f a i t humains, q u i nous mele a. tous ceux q u i s o u f f r e n t , q u i nous enfonce l a c h a r i t e dans l a c h a i r . "Et p u i s , sans e l l e , a j o u t a - t - e l l e , i l nous manquerait quelque chose '. . . . d' et r e triste...2° In t h i s way, she reassured her f a t h e r , who watched over her so d i l i g e n t l y and wit h so much sadness, that i n death was str e n g t h of character and the v i r t u e of awareness, of the s e l f and of others. 9.6 The Goncourt Brothers described the f e e l i n g s of Rente's f a t h e r during her i l l n e s s . He was deeply a f f e c t e d by the coming death of h i s beloved daughter, and the s u f f e r i n g of the f a t h e r emphasized the sublime s u f f e r i n g of the daughter. I t was the double agony of.the s u f f e r e r and of the observer which r e i n f o r c e d the s a c r i f i c e and s e l f - d e n i a l of the p a t i e n t . ... .M>. Mauperin e s t l e pere dont 1* heroine du l i v r e a v a i t besoin pour pouvoir.s'epanouir dans toute sa spontaneity. I I e s t l ' e t r e capable de p o l a r i s e r toutes l e s puissances d ' a f f e c t i o n de l a jeune f i l l e et en presence duquel s'ouvre et rSvele son ame d e l i c a t e et f i e r e : l e regard indulgent, l e s o u r i r e com- p l i c e sous l e q u e l se trouve a l e u r a i s e ses vivacit£s et ses gamineries: l e p o i n t de vue qui o u v r i r a aux auteurs l e s p e r s p e c t i v e s l e s plus d i r e c t e s , l e u r perme.ttraales p r i s e s de vue l e s plus poignantes sur son agonie e t sa mort, quand nous aurons l a double agonie de l ' e t r e qui meurt et de l ' e t r e q u i v o i t mourir. Ce pere, command^ dans son comportement par l a logique de 1'ensemble, e s t employe" avec d i s c r e t i o n dans l e s scenes de moeurs (sans qu'on puisse l e q u a l i f i e r d ' u t i l i t e ) pour assumer et i n c a r n e r ensuite peu a peu, vers l a f i n du l i v r e , toute l a douleur humaine.29 Renee's death was a death of sad and sombre poignancy. She was transformed and elevated by the a n g e l i c q u a l i t y of her death. She was a g i r l of immense courage who faced t h i s f i n a l t e s t of character w i t h an open heart. I n t h e i r d e s c r i p t i o n of her f i n a l moments, the Goncourt Brothers emphasize the s p i r i t u a l ecstasy of her surrender to the solace of o b l i v i o n . En quelques minutes, l a maladie, l e s signes et 1'anxiety de l a souffrance s ' S t a i e n t ef f a c e s sur l a f i g u r e amaigrie de RenSe. Une beaute d'extase e t de supreme d£livrance, de- vant l a q u e l l e , son pere, sa mere, son ami e t a i e n t tombSs a. genoux. La douceur, l a p a i x d'un ravissement e t a i t descendue sur e l l e . Un reve semblait mollement renverser sa tete 97 sur l e s o r e i l l e r s . Ses yeux grands ouverts, tournSs en haut, p a r a i s s a i e n t s'emplir d ' i n - f i n i , son regard, i^peu a peu, p r e n a i t l a f i x - i t s des choses S t e r n e l l e s . De tous ses t r a i t s se l e v a i t comme une as- p i r a t i o n bienheureuse. Un rest e de v i e , un der n i e r s o u f f l e t r e m b l a i t au bord de sa bouche endormie, entr'ouverte et so u r i a n t e . Son t e i n t e t a i t devenu blanc. Une paleur argentSe donnait a sa peau, donnait a son f r o n t une mate splendeur. On eut d i t q u ' e l l e t o u c h a i t dSja. de l a tete un autre jour que l e notre: l a Mort s'approchait d ' e l l e comme une lumiere. C ' e t a i t l a t r a n s f i g u r a t i o n de ces maladies de coeur qui e n s e v e l i s s e n t l e s mourantes dans l a beauts de l e u r ame, e t emportent au c i e l l e visage des jeunes mortesl3° Rente's death was a t r i b u t e to her s t a l w a r t and coura- geous character. She had traversed the path from c h i l d to woman with her sole d e s i r e being to achieve the most p o s s i b l e as a person. Her maturity and f o r t h r i g h t a t t i t u d e towards her fa t e help r e v e a l the p u r i f i c a t i o n of her thoughts and i d e a l s , and served as a j u s t i f i c a t i o n f o r her ul t i m a t e release from the bonds which t i e d her to h e r s e l f and to s o c i e t y . For these two heroines, death had a s p e c i a l meaning. Neither died u n j u s t i f i e d nor u n j u s t i f i a b l y . For Germinie, death was an escape and a condemnation: unable to c o n t r o l her p h y s i c a l and mental anguish, h u m i l i a t e d by her debts and her debauchery, she could only r a t i o n a l i z e the events of her l i f e by a l l o w i n g her fate to f o l l o w i t s true course, to a death which would b r i n g her to freedom from g u i l t and prompt understanding and forgiveness from those who were l e f t behind. For RenSe, death was a release and a p u r i f i c a t i o n : she was permitted at l a s t to r i d e h e r s e l f of the r e v o l t against a r t i f i c i a l concepts of s o c i e t y and to become a person whose c o n v i c t i o n s were honest and honoured. Each heroine's 9 A death brought the reader a complete p o r t r a i t of a modern woman. The reader i s compelled to examine each woman's stru g g l e to l i v e l i f e f u l l y and honestly, and while the common r e s u l t of t h i s s t r u g g l e was death, i t was a death w i t h e x c e p t i o n a l meaning and s o c i a l i m p l i c a t i o n s . I n general, the Goncourt Brothers' female characters were t r e a t e d w i t h sympathy and humanity. The reader i s enlightened by the st r u g g l e s of each woman to achieve f u l f i l l m e n t and accept tance of her des t i n y . Le l e c t e u r se sent'en face d'une f a t a l i t e i n e xorable, mais i l Sprouve en meme temps intensement 1'humanity du personnage - et c e l l e des auteurs. Death was the true t e s t of each woman's character, but i t was a l s o her u l t i m a t e f r u s t r a t i o n . Each was faced w i t h a s i t u a t i o n about which she could do nothing except concede to the s u p e r i o r i t y of f a t e . She was prevented i n some way from j u s t i f y - i n g her a c t i o n to others, although i n her own mind, she was s a t - i s f i e d w i t h her reasons f o r death. Each was p r o t e c t i n g those innocent people around her who would otherwise be made to s u f f e r the consequences of her a c t i o n s . I n death, n e i t h e r would be able to r e f u t e the s p e c u l a t i o n and rumour which would f o l l o w her death. J u s t i c e intthe- eyes of others would be beyond reach. Le personnage qui en es t v i c t i m e v o i t son mal s'aggraver inexorablement; quelques chap- i t r e s de roman s u f f i s e n t a l e surprendre aux diverses Stapes descendantes de son avance"e vers l a mort. Mais de chap.itre en c h a p i t r e , de phase en phase, aucun l i e n r S e l , aucune suggestion comme dans l e s m e i l l e u r e s r S u s s i t e s de Z o l a d'une force h S r e d i t a i r e q u i souleve et mine a l a f o i s l e s etres et l e s d e s t i n i e s , ou comme chez F l a u b e r t d'un temps q ui f a t i g u e 9 . 9 et marque toute r£alit£ de sa fundamentale usure; ou encore d'une Snergie qui comme chez Balzac ronge et de"truit l e s hommes, mais r e s t e l e u r energie'. C'est une f a t a l i t e " tout e x t e r - i e u r e , done parfaitement inhumaine qui v i e n t a "bout des personnages des Goncourt; et ce n'est p o i n t hasard s i cett e f a t a l i t e r e v e t l e plus souvent une apparence mSdicale qui en mScanise encore davantage l a progression. Ce mal qui l e s tue ne l e u r a p p a r t i e n t pas, i l ne f a i t que l e s occuper avant de l e s d S t r u i r e . l a p o u r r i t u r e se depose sur eux et l e s gagne sans q u ' i l s a i e n t seulement 1'occasion d'en f a i r e l e u r p o u r r i t u r e , de se l ' a s s i m i l e r et de l a v i v r e comme une ultime experience. E t d ' a i l l e u r s on ne l e s v o i t p l u s que de f o r t l o i n , absorbed par l e mal, absents, i n e x p l i - cables: tous v i c t i m e s du meme cancer. S i b i e n qu'a t r a v e r s l a peinture des Spuisements et des decadences l e s Goncourt parviennent seulement a se s i g n i f i e r a eux-memes 1'avancSe o b j e c t i v e , impersonnelle de l e u r mort. L'S- chec de l e u r s he"ros l e s renvoie a l e u r propre Schec.32 Death d i d i n one way defeat the Goncourt Brothers. Death was one experience that n e i t h e r would be able to document from personal experience. They would never be able to f e e l and t r a n s - mit the f e e l i n g s and emotions f e l t i n that f l e e t i n g i n s t a n t when the body and s o u l balance p r e c a r i o u s l y between l i f e and death. For the Goncourt Brothers, as f o r us a l l , the mystery of death remains i n v i n c i b l e and e t e r n a l . 100 NOTES: 1. A. J . Salvan, "L'Essence du rSalisme f r a n g a i s , " Comparative L i t e r a t u r e I I I , p. 231- 2. J-P. Richard, "Deux E c r i v a i n s Spidermiques: Edmond et J u l e s de Goncourt," L i t t S r a t u r e et Sensation ( P a r i s : E d i t i o n s du S e u i l , 1954), p. 279- 3- I b i d . , p. 280. 4. L. Daudet, La Femme et 1'Amour (Paris:". Flammarion, 1930) , p.- 258.- 5- I b i d . , p. 258. 6. E. & J . de Goncourt, Germinie Lacerteux ( P a r i s : Flammarion, 1929), p. 45- 7- I b i d . , p. 47. 8. I b i d . , p. 49. 9. I b i d . , pp. 128-129. 10. I b i d . , p. 94. 11. I b i d . , p. 155. 12. I b i d . , p. 195. 13. I b i d . , p. 198. 14. I b i d . , p. 216. 15. I b i d . , pp. 245-246. 16. I b i d . , pp. 252-253. 17- I b i d . , pp. 254-255- 18. P. S a b a t i e r , Germinie Lacerteux des Goncourt ( P a r i s : S f e l t , 1948), p. 92. 19. E. &. J . de Goncourt, Germinie Lacerteux. p. 262. 20. I b i d . , pp. 281-282. 21. I b i d . , p. 274. 22. I b i d . , p. 275- 23. R- R i c a t t e , "Les Romans des Goncourt et l a MSdecine," Revue des sciences humaines, (janv. - mars, 1954), p. 37. 101 24. E, Caramaschi, Le Realisme romanesque des Goncourt ( P i s a : E d i t r i c e L i b r a r i a G o l i a r d i c a , 1 9 6 4 ) , p. 96. 25. I b i d . , p. 132. 26. E. & J . de Goncourt, RenSe Mauperin ( P a r i s : Artheme Fayard et Cie, 1875,) , p. 117. 27- I b i d . , p. 120. 28. Loc. c i t . 29' E. Caramaschi, Le RSalisme romanesque des Goncourt, p.. 96. 30. E. Caramaschi, Realisme et Impressionnisme dans l'oeuvre des Freres Goncourt ( P i s a : L i b r a r i a G o l i a r d i c a , s. d.), p. 242. 31. E. &. J . de Goncourt, RenSe Mauperin, p. 124. 32. J-P. Richard, "Notes sur l e s Goncourt," Revue des sciences humaines, (janv. - mars, 1953), P' 56. 102 Conclusion As Martino pointed out, the Goncourt Brothers goal was •••00 i n t r o d u i r e dans 1'invention l a r e a l i t S du document humain, a f a i r e e n t r e r dans l e roman un peu de cette h i s t o i r e i n d i v i d u e l l e qui dans l ' h i s t o i r e n'a pas d ' h i s t o r i e n . 1 They d e s i r e d to w r i t e about people f i r s t and foremost, and to describe events and circumstances w i t h respect to the r e a c t i o n s of these people. Their female characters epitomized the Goncourt Brothers' i n v e s t i g a t i o n of human nature and t h e i r c l e a r , concise documentation of the intimate d e t a i l s of ex i s t e n c e . Using the medium of Naturalism, the Goncourt Brothers have taken t h e i r readers on a journey through the human mind, documenting i t s most intimate sensations and the pe r c e p t i o n of r e a l i t y through the eyes of t h e i r c haracters. Their d e s i r e was to approach the s o u l and create f o r the reader as close a por:-̂ t r a i t as p o s s i b l e of an event, so as to evoke a p h y s i c a l and emotional response s i m i l a r to that f e l t by the character. ... i t i s of the sensations that they have re s o l v e d to be the h i s t o r i a n s ; not of a c t i o n , nor of emotion, p r o p e r l y speaking, nor of moral conceptions, but of an inner l i f e which i s a l l made of the perceptions of the senses.2 In t h e i r works, they sought a r e a l i s t i c p o r t r a i t of the people of an age. They d e s i r e d to p o r t r a y the l i v e s of t h e i r • characters as they r e a l l y were, examining i n depth the s i t u a t i o n s which i n f l u e n c e d t h e i r decision-making processes and t h e i r a c t i o n s once t h e i r d e c i s i o n s had been made. More important to the Gon- court Brothers than the simple documentation of e x t e r n a l events was the pe r c e p t i o n of these events i n the minds of t h e i r charac- 103 t e r s . They followed t h e i r characters through the course of t h e i r l i v e s and t h e i r d e s t i n i e s , n e i t h e r e m b e l l i s h i n g nor n e g l e c t i n g important f a c e t s of t h e i r e x i s t e n c e s . The Goncourt Brothers were . . . l a r g e l y concerned .with t r u t h - t r u t h to the minute d e t a i l s of human character, sensa- t i o n , and circumstance, and a l s o of the docu- ment, the exact words, of the past; but t h i s devotion to f a c t , to the c u r i o s i t i e s of f a c t , has been u n i t e d w i t h an even more p e r s i s t e n t devotion to the c u r i o s i t i e s of expression.3 The female characters portrayed i n the novels Renee Mauperin and Germinie Lacerteux were each based on a woman known w e l l by the Goncourt Brothers. They became important to the Gon- court Brothers due to the s o c i a l impact the documentation of t h e i r l i v e s might have upon s o c i e t y . The Goncourt Brothers' two-fold purpose was to por t r a y each woman's l i f e as i t was l e d , as t r u t h - f u l l y as p o s s i b l e , and yet convey to the reader the demoralizing e f f e c t which s o c i e t y ' s conventions and a r t i f i c i a l m o r a l i t y had on innocent people. . . . l e s Goncourt s'Slevent contre l'esclavage de 1 ' e s p r i t et de l a parole dans l e q u e l on t e n a i t l a jeune f i l l e de l e u r temps.^ The woman the Goncourt Brothers chose to w r i t e about p e r s o n i f i e d the enslaved, d i s p i r i t e d woman. Renee and Germinie were women of t h e i r era, but, u n l i k e the great m a j o r i t y of women of the p e r i o d , RenSe and Germinie sought to overthrow s o c i e t y ' s predetermined course and attempt to achieve an autonomy which would permit them to le a d f u l f i l l i n g and happy l i v e s . They were heralds of modern woman, a woman eager to make her way i n the world and to become a c t i v e i n determining her personal parameters. They d e s i r e d to be allowed to accept the consequences of t h e i r 104 a c t i o n s f r e e l y , w i t h no intermediary to cushion or excuse the consequences. This d i s s e r t a t i o n examines the course of Rente's and Germinie's l i v e s from a s o c i o l o g i c a l viewpoint i n p a r a l l e l w i t h the Goncourts' own view of these women. Each woman's background i s discussed w i t h reference to how her environment produced f r u s t r a t i o n and agony f o r her. The theme of f r u s t r a t i o n , a major t o p i c i n the works of the Goncourt Brothers, shows the gradual development of each woman from an innocent, c h i l d - l i k e creature who examined her.xsurroundings from a one-dimensional p o i n t of view, to a more mature, a n a l y t i c a l a d u l t , capable of e n v i s u a l i z i n g future consequences. At t h e i r death, the reader i s witness to the f i n a l step i n t h e i r development, a t r a n s i t i o n which comes f a r too l a t e to save the women, but which a f f o r d s a p r i c e l e s s f i n a l moment of awareness. RenSe and Germinie grew up i n t o t a l l y d i f f e r e n t s e t t i n g s . Rente's childhood was one of r e l a t i v e l u x u r y , surrounded by the warmth of her f a t h e r ' s devoted lo v e . Germinie, however, was a c h i l d of the provinces where her f a m i l y laboured hard to o b t a i n enough of l i f e ' s n e c e s s i t i e s . She was denied the love of her mother when she died e a r l y i n her l i f e , and although her f a m i l y cared f o r her, they were busy keeping body and so u l together. The f a m i l y broke apart upon the deaths of her f a t h e r and her ol d e r brother;;. At t h i s p o i n t , Germinie was shunted from p i l l a r to post, u n t i l she was f i n a l l y placed i n a cafe" to earn her l i v i n g . 105 Renee had the freedom to enjoy her youth, cossetted and indulged "by her f a t h e r . From these backgrounds developed two very d i f f e r e n t women. However, they d i d have one t h i n g i n common. Both were d i s s a t i s f i e d w i t h t h e i r s i t u a t i o n and they had problems a d j u s t i n g to and accepting t h e i r destined place i n s o c i e t y . Germinie's l i f e was a s e r i e s of tr a g e d i e s . She wanted to be loved and d e s i r e d , as a creature capable of devoting her- s e l f u n s t i n t i n g l y to someone who would r e t u r n her love i n kind. She found B i t t e r d i s i l l u s i o n m e n t i n her devotion to her f a i t h , unable to accept that the p r i e s t was not a p e r s o n i f i c a t i o n of God who would devote himself e x c l u s i v e l y to her. Her f a i t h i n the sentimental concepts of love and marriage was se v e r e l y t e s t - ed i n her r e l a t i o n s h i p w i t h J u p i l l o n and l a t e r w i t h Gautruche. In her desperate need, she was incapable of examining e i t h e r man's u l t e r i o r motives, and as a r e s u l t she was duped and t r i c k e d by t h e i r apparent s i n c e r i t y . F i n a l l y , as the power of these f r u s - t r a t i o n s wore her down and drained her s p i r i t , she began to glimpse the r e a l i t y of l i f e . Her thoughts matured and she began to r a t i o n a l i z e her exi s t e n c e . Suddenly, she was capable of accepting w i t h grace her ul t i m a t e d e s t i n y . Renee's f r u s t r a t i o n stemmed from the r e s t r a i n t s which s o c i e t y had placed on the l i f e of i t s people. She had been r a i s e d i n a l i b e r a l , open-minded f a m i l y where l i t t l e was hidden from her. She was capable of examining the i n s t i t u t i o n s which touched her l i f e , i n order to determine t h e i r i n f l u e n c e upon her. Her f r u s t r a t i o n w i t h r e l i g i o n came from the deception i t p r a c t i s e d 106 on the r i c h , who were convinced that they could he redeemed f o r very l i t t l e e f f o r t and a c o n t r i b u t i o n to the Church. She was al s o angered by the in f l u e n c e which the Church had over i t s mem- bers. The p r i e s t had the power to approve or deny a marriage, and sometimes acted as a matchmaker i n a marriage which had as i t s b a s i s f i n a n c i a l or m a t e r i a l gain. She was f r u s t r a t e d by the concept of honour, which more o f t e n than not was based upon wealth r a t h e r than v i r t u e . By d e s c r i b i n g i n such d e t a i l how each woman reacted to the f r u s t r a t i o n s of her l i f e , the Goncourt Brothers brought t h e i r characters c l o s e r to the epitome of a modern woman. RenSe and Germinie as modern women reacted to each succeeding event by changing i m p e r c e p t i b l y u n t i l each of them had accepted the c h a l - lenge of l i f e and the i n e v i t a b i l i t y of des t i n y . U n t i l that p o i n t , they had been examining circumstances from a s e l f i s h p o i n t of view, a v o i d i n g t h e i r r e s p o n s i b i l i t i e s f o r t h e i r own achievement. In death, each woman had embraced her f a t e , f i n a l l y r e a l i z i n g t h a t f u l f i l l m e n t was not only the act of determining the parameters by which one l i v e d one's l i f e , but was a l s o the honouring of one's commitment to l i f e . RenSe and Germinie gained i n s t r e n g t h from the acknowledgement of t h e i r commitment. Each woman was able to p r o t e c t those people c l o s e s t to them from the p a i n of knowing the r e a l cause of her death. For each woman, death was the ul t i m a t e f r u s t r a t i o n because i t prevented them from r e v e a l i n g t h e i r way to self-awareness and from j u s t i f y i n g to others t h e i r reasons f o r pursuing t h e i r f a t e . The Goncourt Brothers succeeded i n p o r t r a y i n g what they 107 considered the e s s e n t i a l v S r i t S moderne, " . . . l e poignant des choses q u i nous touchent, nous fon t v i b r e r l e s ne r f s e t saigner l e coeur."5 This they accomplished by a s t r i c t adherence to d e t a i l and by a p r e c i s e d e s c r i p t i o n <3f the most intimate thoughts of t h e i r c haracters, d e l v i n g i n t o the most minute d e t a i l s of human exper- ience . . .. • . Their goals were accomplished w i t h the w r i t i n g of the novels RenSe Mauperin and Germinie Lacerteux. They achieved e x a c t i n g and complex p o r t r a i t s of a s i t u a t i o n as i t e x i s t e d at. the time. They t a c k l e d the i n f i n i t e s i m a l , reaching i n t o the nebulous regions of the human mind i n order to achieve the ult i m a t e r e a l i t y of the s o u l . To quote an e a r l y , but astute B r i t i s h observer of the pe r i o d , the Goncourt Brothers were ...not merely n o v e l i s t s ( i n v e n t i n g a new kin d of n o v e l ) , but h i s t o r i a n s ; not merely h i s t o - r i a n s , but the h i s t o r i a n s of a p a r t i c u l a r century, and of what was intimate and what i s unknown i n i t ; to be a l s o d i s c r i m i n a t i n g , . . . t h e i r b o l d novelty and t h e i r scrupulous exactitude i n d e t a i l , are c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of what i s the f i n e s t i n the modern concept of cu l t u r e and the modern i d e a l i n art.° 108 NOTES: 1. P. Martino, Le Roman r e a l i s t e sous l e Second Empire ( P a r i s : L i b r a i r i e Hachette et C i e , 1913), p. 234. 2. A. Symons, "Edmond e t J u l e s de Goncourt," The Symbolist Movement i n L i t e r a t u r e (New York: E. P. Dutton & Co. Inc., 1919), p. 147- 3- I b i d . , p. 146. 4. M. Immergluck, La Question s o c i a l e dans l'oeuvre des Goncourt ( P a r i s : Les B e l l e s L e t t r e s , 1930), p. 120. 5. Given i n P. Martino, p. 232. 6. A. Symons, p. 146. 109 BIBLIOGRAPHY: Primary Sources de Goncourt, E. & J . RenSe Mauperin. P a r i s : Artheme Fayard et C i e , 1875• de Goncourt, E. & J . Germinie Lacerteux. P a r i s : Flammarion, 1929- Secondary Sources Auerbach, E. Mimesis• Pr i n c e t o n , N. J . : P r i n c e t o n U n i v e r s i t y Press, 1953' B i l l B i l l y , A. Les Freres Goncourt. P a r i s : Flammarion, 1954. BorSly, M. Le G<§nie fgminin f r a n g a i s . P a r i s : E. de Bocard, 1917" B o r i e , J . Le Tyran timide. Le Naturalisme de l a femme au x i x e s i e c l e . P a r i s : K l i n c k s i e c k , 1973' Bornecque, J-H. "L'Influence des S c r i v a i n s r e " a l i s t e s et b n a t u r a l i s t e s sur 1 ' e v o l u t i o n des cl a s s e s s o c i a l e s au x i x e s i e c l e . " P h i l o l o g i c a Pragensia, IX, pp. 38-56. Brun, Ch. Le Roman s o c i a l en France au xix e s i e c l e . P a r i s : Giard e t B r i e r e , 1910. Caramaschi, E. Le Realisme romanesque des Goncourt. P i s a : E d i t r i c e L i b r a r i a G o l i a r d i c a , 1964. Caramaschi, E. Realisme et Impressionnisme dans l'oeuvre des Freres Goncourt. P i s a : L i b r a r i a G o l i a r d i c a , s. d. Chantavoine, E. "La L i t t e r a t u r e i n q u i e t e - Le Goncourtisme." Le Correspondant, CLXXXVI, pp. 168-175- Cunnington, C. W. Feminine A t t i t u d e s i n the Nineteenth Century. London: W i l l i a m Heinemann L t d . , 1936. Daudet, L. La Femme e t 1'Amour. P a r i s : Flammarion, 1 9 3 ° • de Goncourt, E. & J . Idees et Sensations. P a r i s : L i b r a i r i e I n t e r n a t i o n a l e , 1866. Greer, G. The Female Eunuch. Frogmore, England: P a l a d i n , 1971• 110 Hemmings, F. W. J . "The O r i g i n of the Terms Naturalisme, N a t u r a l i s t e . " French S t u d i e s , avr. 195^- Immergluck, M. La Question s o c i a l e dans l'oeuvre des Goncourt. P a r i s : Les B e l l e s L e t t r e s , 1 9 3 ° • Jarman, L. M. "The Goncourt Brothers: Modernists i n Abnormal Psychology." The U n i v e r s i t y of New Mexico B u l l e t i n . V o l . 6, No. 3, A p r i l 15, 1939- Martino, P. Le Roman r S a l i s t e sous l e Second Empire. P a r i s : L i b r a i r i e Hachette et C i e , 1913• P r a j s , L. La F a l l a c i t S de l'oeuvre romanesque des Freres Goncourt. P a r i s : A. J . N i z e t , 1974. Rat, M. Grammariens et Amateurs de beau langage. P a r i s : E d i t i o n s A l b i n M i c h e l , 1963. Reynier, G. La Femme au x v i i e s i e c l e . P a r i s : E d i t i o n s J . T a l l a n d i e r , 1929- R i c a t t e , R. "Les Romans des Goncourt et l a MSdecine." Revue des sciences humaines. janv. - mars, 1954. Richard, J-P. "Deux E c r i v a i n s 6p ide rmatjaae's.*- Edmond e t J u l e s de Goncourt." L i t t S r a t u r e et Sensation. P a r i s : E d i t i o n s du S e u i l , 1954. Richard, J-P. "Notes sur l e s Goncourt." Revue des sciences humaines, janv. - mars, 1953- Ridge, G. R.... "'The Femme F a t a l e ' i n French Decadence." French Review. XXXIV, pp. 352-260. S a b a t i e r , P. Germinie Lacerteux des Goncourt. P a r i s : S f e l t , 1948. Salvan, A. J . "L'Essence du RSalisme f r a n g a i s . " Comparative L i t e r a t u r e I I I , pp. 218-233* Symons, A. "Edmond et J u l e s de Goncourt." The Symbolist Movement i n L i t e r a t u r e . New York: E. P. Dutton & Co. Inc., 1919- Z o l a , E. Le Naturalisme au theatre. P a r i s : B i b l i o t h e q u e Charpentier, 1912. Z o l a , E. Mes Haines. P a r i s : B i b l i o t h e q u e Charpentier, 1923-

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