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The Amorous RestorationLove, Sex, and Politics in Early Nineteenth-Century France$
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Andrew J. Counter

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198785996

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198785996.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 03 August 2021



Critiques of Marriage in Restoration France

(p.37) 1 Impediments
The Amorous Restoration

Andrew J. Counter

Oxford University Press

Restoration writings reveal a widespread sense that contemporary marriage was unconducive to happiness. This anxiety was closely related to the rise of companionate marriage, often polemically opposed in this period to the arranged marriages of the Ancien Régime. Restoration literature explored this opposition through novels where lovers are separated by an ‘impediment’, some circumstance that renders their union impossible. Superficially conservative, Romantic authors (Nodier, Duras, d’Arlincourt) suggest that the stigma of such relationships cannot be overcome, and inevitably end with the death of one partner; while liberal novelists (Hortense Allart, Étienne de Jouy) end by rubbishing the impediment and uniting the lovers. Through a parallel with contemporary debates on same-sex marriage, the chapter suggests that while the liberal novelists propose small-scale reform but otherwise reinforce social norms, the ‘conservatives’ reveal a radical understanding of desire as a fundamentally antisocial force—highlighting the latent Romanticism of certain strains in queer theory.

Keywords:   marriage in literature, queer theory, same-sex marriage, François-René de Chateaubriand, Charles Nodier, Claire de Duras, Hortense Allart, Étienne de Jouy

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