chapter  5
Disrupting Narratives of Masculine Desire
WithNigel Harkness
Pages 25

George Sand introduces a discordant voice into such analyses of desire in the nineteenth-century novel. This chapter considers the ways in which she contests and renegotiates a narrative contract in which masculine desire is central. Her third novel, Lelia, will be read as an attempt on the author's part to free her heroine from the sphere of masculine desire, and to disrupt the masculine erotic economy underpinning representation. The Pygmalion myth was particularly widespread at the beginning of the nineteenth century in France. At its most prominent and public in Girodet's painting Pygmalion et Galatee, and in the debates to which this gave rise, it also found expression in the work of Balzac, Gautier, and Latouche. In Romantic readings of Pygmalion, the myth has little to do with questions of representation, but instead is seen as affirming the energy or power of the creative genius.