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The Femme Fatale: Images, Histories, Contexts
 
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The Femme Fatale: Images, Histories, Contexts
 
 
Palgrave Macmillan
 
 
 
 
 
21 Jul 2010
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£58.00
|Hardback Print on Demand
  
9780230203617
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DescriptionReviewsContentsAuthors

The fatal female figure has been a recurrent one in literature, the visual arts and cinema. Originating in early forms of stories and myths, such as those of Eve, the Sirens and Medusa, fatal women have been the focus of narratives of good and evil, of desire and danger and often mark societal boundaries and embody gender threat. This collection examines fatal femininity as a cultural preoccupation across different cultural contexts and historical epochs. The essays range from familiar cultural figures such as Salome and Mata Hari to the femme fatale of film noir, but the collection is united by two key questions: what is at stake in specific constructions of fatal women? How do these constructions relate to their historical and social contexts? Bringing together scholars from literature, film and the visual arts, the book traces the transmissions of the femme fatale across place and era and demonstrates the enduring potency of the femme fatale as a concept.


Description

The fatal female figure has been a recurrent one in literature, the visual arts and cinema. Originating in early forms of stories and myths, such as those of Eve, the Sirens and Medusa, fatal women have been the focus of narratives of good and evil, of desire and danger and often mark societal boundaries and embody gender threat. This collection examines fatal femininity as a cultural preoccupation across different cultural contexts and historical epochs. The essays range from familiar cultural figures such as Salome and Mata Hari to the femme fatale of film noir, but the collection is united by two key questions: what is at stake in specific constructions of fatal women? How do these constructions relate to their historical and social contexts? Bringing together scholars from literature, film and the visual arts, the book traces the transmissions of the femme fatale across place and era and demonstrates the enduring potency of the femme fatale as a concept.


Reviews

'These bracing essays offer many fresh insights into the well-known trope of the femme fatale, a subject that has received much recent critical attention, but seldom with the skill and perception that characterizes this volume. [...] An excellent book for women's studies, film noir classes, or any course that studies the female protagonist in film history. [...] Highly recommended.' - G. A. Foster, Choice


Contents


List of Illustrations
Introduction: 'Cherchez la femme'; H.Hanson & C.O'Rawe
Ecoutez la Femme: Hear/Here Difference; G.Pollock 
PART ONE: LITERARY AND VISUAL ARCHETYPES 
The Mother of All Femmes Fatales: Eve as Temptress in Genesis 3; K.Edwards 
Challenging the Stereotype: The Femme Fatale in Fin-de-Siecle Art and Early Cinema; J.Sully 
Silent Divas: The Femmes Fatales of the Italian Cinema muto; J.Ramirez 
You'll be the Death of Me: Mata Hari and the Myth of the Femme Fatale; R.White 
PART TWO: FILM STARS 
Diabolically Clever - Clouzot's French Noir Les Diaboliques (1954); S.Hayward 
Fatal Femininity in Post-War British Film: Investigating the British Femme; M.Bell
Put the Blame on…Mei: Zhang Ziyi and the Politics of Global Stardom; O.Kourelou
Gender, Genre and Stardom: Fatality in Italian Neorealist Cinema; C.O'Rawe
PART THREE: FEMME FATALES IN EUROPEAN AND WORLD CINEMAS 
The Femme Fatale of Spanish Retro Noir: the Recuperation of a Repressed Voice; A.Davies
Chiaroscuro: the Half-glimpsed Femme Fatale of Italian Film Noir; M.Wood
A Myth is Born: The Femme Fatale in the Golden Age of Mexican Cinema; M.Rinka & J.Marambio
PART FOUR: HOLLYWOOD
'I Can't Tell Anymore Whether You're Lying': Double Indemnity, Human Desire and the Narratology of Femmes Fatales; S.Neale
'Well, aren't we ambitious', or 'You've Made up Your Mind I'm Guilty': Reading Women as Wicked in American Film Noir; J.Grossman
The Big Seduction: Feminist Film Criticism and the Femme Fatale; H.Hanson
Notes
Bibliography
Index


Authors

HELEN HANSON is Senior Lecturer in Film Studies in the Department of English at the University of Exeter, UK. She researches and writes primarily on Hollywood cinema and its history and she teaches widely in film, literary and cultural studies.

CATHERINE O'RAWE is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Italian at the University of Bristol, UK. She is the author of Authorial Echoes: Textuality and Self-Plagiarism in the Narrative of Luigi Pirandello (2005), and has contributed essays to World Cinema's Dialogues with Hollywood and Il cinema e Pirandello.