By David Caron
The deluge of metaphors caused in 1981 in France by means of the 1st public experiences of what could grow to be the AIDS epidemic unfold with some distance better pace and potency than the virus itself. to appreciate why it took France goodbye to react to the AIDS concern, AIDS in French Culture analyzes the intersections of 3 discourses—the literary, the clinical, and the political—and lines the foundation of French attitudes approximately AIDS again to nineteenth-century anxieties approximately nationhood, masculinity, and sexuality.
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Additional resources for AIDS in French Culture: Social Ills, Literary Cures
In a larger cultural sense, what Zola’s theories of medicine and literature reveal and exemplify is the enduring, indeed inherent, instability at the core of constructions of sameness and otherness in modern France. 1 More specifically, can the theses propounded in Le roman expérimental give us any particular insight in our reading of La débâcle, Zola’s novelization of the French defeat by Prussia in the war of 1870? While Zola’s science remains largely dubious, his claims to cure social ills through the art of the novel do deserve attention for, among other things, the role of narratives in the production of a national identity.
And, more important, when and why did these rival brothers—frères ennemis as Serres calls them—become enemies? Darwinism may help but it could also raise as many questions as it answers. The fact is that, once again, Zola seems unable to adopt a single, coherent scientific explanation by which he might authenticate his narrative. In addition, the line between health and disease is not just the Rhine. On the French side, some characters, such as Jean, Maurice’s sister Henriette, and the military surgeon symbolize the community’s power of regeneration.
What used to 22 S Degeneracy and Inversion be diabolical yesterday became pathological today, that is, human. The task of identifying and excluding the pathological became particularly crucial now that the Other was so close in nature to the Same. There was but a “/” between them. The notion of sexual pathology precisely reveals the fundamental instability of this border, and, therefore, of the whole paradigm. Inventing the Male “Homosexual” Late-nineteenth-century medical science laid a special emphasis on pathologies of the will and of sexuality, both being inextricably linked as they equally threatened the imperviousness of the border, or the bar.
AIDS in French Culture: Social Ills, Literary Cures by David Caron