This website is an interactive academic
tool for CEA-UNH course:
Gay Paris:
Culture, Society, & Urban Sexual Identity

CEA GlobalCampus | Spring 2009
UNH Course Code: GEN230
Credits: 3 | Location: Paris, France

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Interesting article in the New Yorker about the Lesbian separatist movement in the late 70's.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

NIghtwood: Chapter 6 | Where the Tree Falls

Chapter Summary

We see the reintroduction of Baron Felix and his son, Guido, in this chapter. Felix is concerned about his son, who is described as, "Mentally deficient, and emotionally excessive, an addict to death; at ten, barely as tall as a child of six, wearing spectacles, stumbling when he tried to run, with cold hands and anxious face, he followed his father, trembling with an excitement that was a precocious ecstasy." (p. 96)

Guido is interested in entering the church and this disturbs Felix. He writes a long letter to the Pope comparing religious and cultural styles between Italy and France. As expected, he recieves no answer. He decides to return to Austria, hoping that Guido's religious career can transpire there. Before leaving Paris, Felix seeks out the doctor and finds him at Cafe de la Mairie du VIe. They go to dine in the Bois together.

They discuss Robin (Guido's mother). Felix says, "I find that I never did have a really clear idea of her at any time. I had an image of her, but that is not the same thing. An image is a stop the mind makes between uncertainties." (p. 100)

He asks the doctor why Robin married him and then tells the doctor that Jenny Petherbridge had come to see him. While there, Jenny spoke of the little girl, Sylvia, who had been at her home with Robin. Jenny tells of how this little girl had fallen in love with Robin and in the end, Robin treated the child with abandon - a story which distresses young Guido. Felix confesses his fears about his son to the doctor and they end the discussion with Robin.

The chapter ends in Vienna, where Guido and Felix are met by Frau Mann. The odd triangle sits in a cafe and the Baron cannot escape his own obsessions with the higher classes and ranks.

What is the symbolism behind Jenny Petherbridge's desire to purchase one of the portraits of Baron Felix's grandparents?

litanies (p. 97): prayers consisting of a number of petitions

chasubles (p. 97):

the Credo (p. 97): statement of religious belief

Kabyle (p. 99): an ethnic group in Algeria

Grand Marnier (p. 100): is a liqueur created in 1880 by Alexandre Marnier-Lapostolle

Sections to think about:

"There was in her [Robin] every movement a slight drag, as if the past were a web about her, as there is a web of time about a very old building. There is a sensible weight in the air around a thirteenth-century edifice that is unlike the light air about a new structure; the new building seems to repulse it, the old to gather it." (p. 107)

Felix asks the doctor what Robin writes when she writes to him from America. "She says, Remember me. Probably because she has difficulty in remembering herself." (p. 109)

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Course Feedback

Your feedback focused around 4 main areas of the class:

1. EXCURSIONS. You requested:
  • more structure/guidance.
  • to meet directly at the excursion site for more time.
  • to rethink the group approach - sometimes groups turn into social hour or too much responsibility for just one member (and that perhaps individual activities might be a better approach).
  • more discussion about what you will see/do on the excursion before going.
  • that we think about how much class time is being taken away due to excursions.

2. COURSE CONTENT. You asked that we focus more on:
  • history of Paris/homosexuality.
  • being gay in the 1920's, the experience itself and that we focus on people's personal gay experiences.
  • modern day homosexuality.
  • gay men in Paris.
  • gay/lesbian issues - not just historical and factual information. 

3. READINGS. A few of you felt:
  • the readings are difficult and that you don't know when/what to read for each class period.
  • there are too many readings with Nightwood on top of everything else.

4. NIGHTWOOD. You wanted:
  • essay guidelines and parameters of the essay in advance.
  • a connection to be made between Nightwood and the course content. 
  • an in-depth explanation of the significance of Nightwood in relation to this course.

Oscars - Gay Rights

Monday, February 23, 2009

Rue de L'Odéon | Booksellers

Odéonia: The Country of Books | (Paris Was a Woman) Chapter 1
_Andrea Weiss

Twenty-three year old Adrienne Monnier realized a childhood dream in November 1915 when she opened a small bookshop on the rue de l'Odéon in the sixth arrondissement. Its location in the heart of the artistic and intellectual centre of Paris was no accident:

"The Left Bank called me and even now it does not cease to call me and to keep me. I cannot imagine that I could ever leave it, any more than an organ can leave the place that is assigned to it in the body." (Adrienne Monnier)

The story began in Paris on a cold, gusty March afternoon in 1917. A shy young woman named Sylvia Beach hesitated at the door of a Left Bank bookshop and lending library, La Maison des Amis des Livres. The owner, a self-assured young French writer and publisher named Adrienne Monnier, got up quickly from her desk and drew her visitor into the shop greeting her warmly. The two talked the afternoon away, each declaring love for the language and literature of the other.

In 1921 Shakespeare and Company moved around the corner so that it was almost directly opposite Adrienne's bookshop, and Sylvia moved into Adrienne's apartment a few doors away. After that, Bryher felt that:

"there was only one street in Paris for me, the rue de l'Odéon. It is association, I suppose, but I have always considered it one of the most beautiful streets in the world. It meant naturally Sylvia and Adrienne and the happy hours that I spent in their libraries."

The sister bookshops on the rue de l'Odéon soon became a cultural centre of Europe, serving as a gathering place where writers from all over the world met, collected their post and read the latest in the proliferation of literary magazines.

Nightwood: Chapter 5 | Watchman, What of the Night?

Chapter Summary

Late one night, Nora goes to seek the advice of the Doctor. She makes her way up the six flights of stairs in his run-down building to the tiny room he rents. When she arrives at his door and hears (from the novel): "his 'come in' she opened the door and for one second hesitated, so incredible was the disorder that met her eyes...In the narrow iron bed...lay the doctor in a woman's flannel nightgown. The doctor's head, with its over-large black eyes, its full gunmetal cheeks and chin, was framed in the golden semi-circle of a wig with long pendant curls that touched his shoulders...Nora said, as quickly as she could recover herself: 'Doctor, I have come to ask you to tell me everything you know about that night.'" (p. 70-71)

The Doctor spends a large portion of the chapter delving into his thoughts about 'the night' - in its many senses, according to him. At the outset of their conversation, he asks Nora her thoughts on the night. She says, "I used to think that people just went to sleep, that they were themselves, but now, now I see that the night does something to a person's identity, even when asleep." (p. 72) The Doctor prods on. He asks, "Have you thought of the night, now, in other times, in foreign countries - in Paris? When the streets were gall high with things you wouldn't have done for a dare's sake, and the way it was then...I can see you have not! You should, for the night has been going on a long time." (p. 73)

There is always dissonance between the Doctor's long monologues and Nora's short responses - as if they do not hear one another at all. The Doctor's long ramblings are difficult to plow through, but once you do, you will find beauty in small passages - like poetry. For example, "Burn Rome in a dream, and you reach and claw down the true calamity. For dreams have only the pigmentation of fact. A man who has to deal in no colour cannot find his match, or if he does, it is for a different rage. Rome was the egg, but colour was the tread." (p. 77) This is lyrical writing - but nonsensical on a certain level. (Like Stein).

At the end of a very long tale of many things at the same time, the Doctor comes to the question at hand and speaks of the night of Nora's inquiry. He tells Nora of where Jenny and Robin first met - at an Opera - Rigaletto. Even the Doctor is no fan of Jenny. He says, "She has a longing for other people's property, but the moment she possesses it the property loses some of its value, for the owner's estimate is its worth. Therefore it was she took your Robin." (p. 87) He goes on, "I have always thought I, myself, the funniest looking creature on the face of the earth; then I laid my eyes on Jenny - a little, hurried decaying comedy jester, the face of the fool's stick, and with a smell about her of mouse-nests."

He ends with a final description of what happened in the carriage that night between Jenny and Robin, "And then I saw Jenny sitting there shaking, and I said: God, you are no picture! And then, Robin was going forward, and the blood running red, where Jenny had scratched her, and I screamed and thought: 'Nora will leave that girl some day; but though those two were buried at opposite ends of the earth, one dog will find them both.'" (p. 95)

"...and there is a metallic odor, as of beaten irony in a smithy." (p. 71)

connivance (p. 73): the act of coniving

the palaces of Nymphenburg (p. 73): was the summer residence of the rulers in Bavaria (in Munich)

Ah, Mon Dieu! La nuit effroyable! La nuit, qui est une immense plaine, el le coeur qui est une petite extrémité! Notre Dame-de-bonne-Garde! (p. 74): Ah, My God! The night is horrifying! The night, which is an immense plain, and the heart which is a small extremity! (Notre Dame...Name of a church in Longpont-sur-Orge \ Dept. 93 outside of Paris)

bretelle (p. 76): suspenders/strap

cantiques (p. 76): hymn

L'Echo de Paris (p. 80): A literary journal published between 1884 and 1944

Misericordia (p. 81): mercy (in the religious sense)

pissoirs (which in the 1920s in Paris were ubiquitous) (p. 81):

garrulity (p. 81): excessive talkativeness

pteropus (p. 82):

mortadellas (p. 84): a large smoked sausage made of beef, pork, and pork fat and seasoned with pepper and garlic

profligate (p. 84): the wildly extravagant

Saint John Chrysostom (c. 347–407) (p. 85): archbishop of Constantinople, was an important Early Church Father

Parsifal (p. 86): an opera, or music drama, in three acts by Richard Wagner

The Lily of Killarney (p. 86): an opera in three acts by Julius Benedict

Ocarina (p. 87): an ancient flute-like wind instrument

"Now was there ever any man seen to sleep in the Cart, between Newgate and Tyburn (p. 87): Tyburn was a village in the county of Middlesex close to the current location of Marble Arch. The two places referencing execution and death. Executions took place at Tyburn until the 18th century.

saltarello (p. 87): was a lively, merry dance first mentioned in Naples during the 13th century

corbeille (p. 89): basket

"Adam's off ox" (p. 91): an older American phrase meaning somebody you don't know

Don Antonio and Claudio (p. 92): the reference is from Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra

"So Cibber put it, and I put it in Taylor's words: 'Did not Periander think fit to lie with his wife Melissa after she had already gone hent to heaven" (p. 93): Periander was the second tyrant of Corinth, Greece in the 7th century BC. Among his acts were sending young boys from Corcyra to be castrated in Lydia, and the murder (and possible necrophiliac rape) of his own wife, Melissa.

Montaigne (p. 92): one of the most influential writers of the French Renaissance (16th c.)

Catherine of Russia (p. 93): reigned as Empress of Russia for 34 years, from 1762 until her death 1796

Crupper (p. 94): a piece of tack used on horses and other equids to keep a saddle, harness or other equipment from sliding forward

Jannae, Paige, Jocelyn, Gabby, Teresa

Mikenna. Jasyn, Avery, Kira

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Group: Mackenzie, Florina, Hailee, Elysha (only half of our pictures)

173 Boulevard Saint-Germain

L'eglise St. Germain-des-Pres

Friday, February 20, 2009

St. Suplice

Gertrude Stein | The Writer and Her Muse

Chapter 2: The Writer and Her Muse
_Andrea Weiss

"She was large and heavy with delicate small hands and a beautifully modeled and unique head...She had a certain physical beauty and enormous power...I was impressed with her presence and her wonderful eyes and beautiful voice - an incredibly beautiful voice...Her voice had the beauty of a singer's voice when she spoke." (p. 61, Alice B. Toklas describing her lover Gertrude Stein)

Like the rest of the world, Gertrude Stein believed genius to be male...In her relationship with Alice, she assumed the more conventionally male role, or, as Catherine R. Stimpson describes it, "As they violated the rules of sex, they obeyed those of gender." (p. 64)

"Of herself, Gertrude wrote: 'Slowly and in a way it was not astonishing but slowly I was knowing that I was a genius...It is funny this thing of being a genius, there is no reason for it, there is no reason that it should be you...' " (p. 64)

Alice and Gertrude: Gertrude's writing and Alice's 'wifely' role as nurturer and caretaker were inseparable, interdependent entities, much as Gertrude and Alice were. In one of Gertrude's notebooks, she intermingled their names, coming up with 'Gertrice/Altrude.' (p. 65)

Her writing: Gertrude created new relations between words, even between the same words. She did not call this repetition, but rather insistence, since through the repeating, meanings change...She used words, not to describe the world around her, but to reproduce that world in language and sound. Consequently, her writing seemed more and more abstract, to the point where many could not follow her. (p. 68)

She is my rose.

"If you realized that she worked insistently, every day, to be published the first time by a real publisher, publishing house, after she was sixty. But I wonder who will do that, who will have the insistence, you understand, the obsession, the surety, the purity of insistence to do that. No concessions. She used to tell me, 'Don't you ever dare to make concessions. Then one walks down, down, down, down." (p. 74, Russian painter Pavel Tchelitchew on Stein)

Stein and Picasso had a great friendship. "She was the one who had believed in him. She was the one whom he painted. She was really his great friend and protector...Their important and volatile friendship contined for over four decades, from 1905 to Gertrude's death. Fame cost Picasso most of his other early friendships but it never came between the two. Although neither spoke nor read the other's mother tongue, they seemed to understand each other implicitly. Gertrude always felt that there was a 'particularly strong sympathy between Picasso and myself as to modern direction.' During one of the eighty or ninety sittings for Picasso's portrait of her, she mentioned that she heard with her eyes and saw with her ears. Picasso immediately agreed to this method." (p. 77)

Janet Flanner: "Her studio was the most fascinating of any place in Paris, because everyone did go there, about once a week she'd have a tea party...And she always led the conversation, well Gertrude led everything...When she laughed everyone in the room laughed. It was more than a signal, it was a contagion of good sprits...While Gertrude orated and made the pattern of the conversation, Miss Alice B. Toklas was sitting behind a tea tray. It was as if Gertrude was giving the address and Alice was supplying all the corrective footnotes." (p. 78)

Are there addresses in the reading that are relevant to our map creation? Where did Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas live? Where are the buried? Please note.

Chapter 4 Nightwood | The Squatter

The chapter begins with an introduction of a new character in the story: Jenny Petherbridge, a middle-aged villain, who is now one of Robin's lovers. Barnes devotes pages to describing this character - her faults and her general nauseating effect. Robin, Jenny and others are gathered together in Jenny's home. Jenny orders carriages to take her and her guests down the Champs Elysées and to the Bois de Boulogne (a common path of amusement at the time). Ridiculous Jenny's jealousy and obsession for Robin exhibit themselves as she tries to orchestrate the seating of her guests and her lover.

The chapter culminates with Jenny, in her rage, striking Robin again and again and then chasing after her as Robin escapes the carriage on rue du Cherche-Midi. And then we learn, "It was not long after this Nora and Robin separated; a little later Jenny and Robin sailed for America." (p. 69)

accouchée (p. 59): to be delivered (when giving birth).

La Dame aux Camélias (p. 61): a novel by Alexandre Dumas.

Commedia dell'Arte (p. 61): a form of improvisational theatre that began in Italy in the 16th century and held its popularity through the 18th century.

"Ecoute, mon gosse, va comme si trente-six diables étaient accrochés à tes fesses!" (p. 66): Listen, my lad, drive as if 36 devils were hanging from your buttocks.

"Fais le tour du Bois!" (p. 66): Do a tour of the the woods!

Group:Jacqueline, Giuliana, Caitlin and Lauren

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Group: Jacqueline, Giulianna, Caitlin, Lauren

We visited:

Hotel Recamier
Rue Servandoni
Place St. Sulpice
L'eglise St. Sulpice
Cafe de la Mairie du VI
173 Boulevard Saint-Germain
L'eglise St. Germain-des-Pres

Hotel Recamier is a very tall but narrow building on a side street from St. Sulpice.  It is currently under construction, and is older, yet looks well maintained.  The next street down is Rue Servandoni, which is a very quiet street with cute shops.  Despite traffic, the entire area seemed very good for walking, particularly around St. Sulpice.  St. Sulpice has many shops, and a large fountain in the center.   It is not surprising that the area is important in Nightwood, and many of the locations have been mentioned already in the book. 

Nightwood Chapter 3 | Night Watch

Chapter Summary

The chapter opens with a description of Nora and her salon in America. Nora and Robin both attend the Denckman circus in 1923 and meet each other there. They leave together and Robin follows Nora home and they stay in the United States for a time and then travel the cities of Europe together, eventually arriving in Paris and staying. Robin buys an apartment on the rue du Cherche-Midi. Their existence there is tortured by their unsustainable, violent love. Robin's nights are spent wandering the streets, cafés and bars of Paris. Nora's nights are tormented by her lover severed from her. One night, Nora stands at the window of their apartment and sees the silhouette of her lover with another woman, cowering - this sight a major breach in their relationship.

How would you describe Nora? What passages specifically would you choose to illustrate how you imagine her?

"those who love a city, in its profoundest sense, become the shame of that city, the détraques": (p. 47) deranged people

The Seventh-day Adventist Church (p. 47): observes its Sabbath on Saturday, the original seventh day of the Judeo-Christian week.

There was no ignominy in her: (p. 48) disgrace, dishonor.

On the rue du Cherche-Midi, did you find the, "fountain figure, a tall granite woman bending forward with lifted head, one hand held over the pelvic round as if to warn a child who goes incautiously."? (p. 50)

Monday, February 16, 2009

While Batman's Away, Batwoman Takes Over At Last

As all the boys fight over who gets to be the new Batman, the much-hyped Batwoman will finally get her day (well, year) in the sun this summer, as she takes over DC's longest-running series.
With Bruce Wayne "elsewhere" (and that's all DC is saying about that), 2009 will see its first lesbian superhero in its longest running book as Batwoman takes over Detective Comics. DC super-writer Greg Rucka and artist J.H. Williams will be taking over the reins of the flagship title for "at least" twelve issues. Although Batwoman is not the first openly gay character to star in a DC series – her former partner Renee Montoya is just finishing up starring in Final Crisis: Revelations, also written by Rucka – this does represent the most high profile title starring a gay superhero for the publisher.
Rucka's run will start this June as part of DC's massive month of Batman releases, with eight different titles hitting comic book stores. Joining the venerable Detective and Batman will be Red Robin, Batman and Robin, Outsiders, Batgirl, Gotham City Sirens, and Batman: Streets of Gotham.
Of course, all of this will be spinning out of this spring's Battle for the Cowl storyline, where various potential heirs will fight for the right to succeed Batman. At today's panel promoting the coming year of Batman comics, it was clear that everybody in the Batman family (except, you know…Batman) will have a huge role to play in the upcoming stories, including all three Robins, Batgirl, Catwoman, Knight and Squire, Damien, and characters from the late, lamented Gotham Central – because, as Greg Rucka explains, "He just can't keep himself away from [them]." There's one other returning person that will likely make Batman fans very happy, as the panel assured the fans that Batman: The Animated Series and Detective Comics scribe Paul Dini will be back in the near future.
And finally, Outsiders writer Pete Tomasi promised the Batman's most faithful friend will be getting his time in the sun. Alfred Pennyworth will feature in upcoming issues of the series where he will be "the eyes and ears" of the audience. Outsiders will explore the faithful Wayne family retainer's prior history, including his military experience, all as part of a larger plan to show Alfred can do more than simply get beaten up all the time. Or so he claims.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Can One Be 'Gay' and French?

excerpts from Thomas J.D. Amrecht's article in "The Gay & Lesbian Review," May-June 2005.

"To become an organized force and to effect change in the United States, queer people have had to identify themselves as a 'community' analogous to women, African-Americans, or other minorities. This kind of identity-based politics is known as either communitarianism or particularism in France, and is generally seen to be at odds with the universalist ideals upon which the Republic was founded, ideals considered to be a direct legacy of the Enlightenment." (p. 20)

"Grossman and Miclo contend that being homosexual has no meaning in French society: 'What does it mean to be homosexual? In the French Republic, neither more nor less than it means to be heterosexual. Happily so. As soon as the State gets involved in the private life or the morality of its citizens, one can be sure that the worst will happen.' What the authors do not seem to realize is that being homosexual does have meaning in France: it still means both cultural and legal disenfranchisement to some degree. They ignore the fact that the State is already involved in the life and morals of its citizens, although for most citizens (i.e., those heterosexuals who enjoy full enfranchisement in the culture and under the law), this involvement is usually invisible...

The legality of homosexual marriage is still in question in France...An even more blatant example of lingering discrimination in France are laws governing adoption, which do not recognize the rights of unmarried couples (including opposite-sex couples) to adopt, even if one member of the couple is the child's biological parent. The fact that French gay people can neither marry nor adopt proves that, contrary to Grossman and Miclo's assertions, being homosexual does have a particular meaning - a negative one - in the French Republic." (p. 21)

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Nightwood: Chapter 2 | La Somnambule

Note: please bring Nightwood with you to each class

Chapter Summary |

The chapter opens with the doctor, who lives near St. Sulpice in the 6th arrondissement. He brings Felix (both have returned to Paris from Vienna at this point) to the Café de la Mairie de VIe. The doctor is summoned to attend to a woman who has fainted in a nearby hotel. They go to the hotel and find Robin, laying on the floor of the room, unresponsive. Almost in the same instant as the doctor has managed to rouse her, he subsequently steals a one-hundred franc note from her bed (to Felix's astonishment).

Felix is immediately infatuated with Robin and pursues her. They spend time together in Paris - walking in gardens and museums. They marry and he takes her to Vienna to instill in her his ideas of grandeur and old society. Robin becomes pregnant and goes wandering - haunting the churches of Paris and beyond. Robin delivers a boy and feels nothing for the child. The chapter ends with her abandoning Felix and her son.

Chapter Notes |

Neurasthenia (p. 29): condition with symptoms of fatigue, anxiety, headache, impotence, neuralgia and depressed mood.

Pitt the younger (p. 30): was a British politician of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. He became the youngest Prime Minister in 1783.

the douanier Rousseau (p. 29): Henri Rousseau, painter (May 21, 1844 – September 2, 1910).

(Rousseau - “Le Rêve”, 1910)

dompteur: (p. 29)

(Painting: Juliette Gréco by Robert Humblot - Musée Carnavalet)

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Gentry de Paris

This will be a fantastic event - anyone interested must go!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Prostitution in France

From Article 225-5 of the Code Pénal (partie législative) - prostitution is indeed legal in France; however, any form of proxénétisme is not. (This means pimping or profiting from someone else's prostitution or helping someone to become a prostitute).

Group: Jasyn, Mickenna, Jocelyn, Jannae, Eleysha

A gay bar/club in Le Marais

Paige Pier, lauren, omar, florina