In this original and highly accomplished study, first published in 1994, Marie Maclean studies the writings of social rebels and explores the relationship between their personal narratives and illegitimacy.

The case studies which Maclean examines fall into four groups:

  • those which stress alternative family structures and ‘female genealogies’
  • those which pair female illegitimacy and revolution
  • those which question the deliberate refusal of the name of the father by the legitimate
  • those which study the revenge of genius on the society which excludes it

Skilfully interweaving feminist theory, French literary criticism, social and cultural history, deconstruction and psychoanalytic theory, Maclean traces the place of these personal narratives of illegitimacy in history and their use in theory, from Elizabeth I to Freud, Sartre and Derrida.

The Name of the Mother will be of vital interest and importance to any student of critical theory, feminist philosophy, French or cultural studies.

chapter 1|15 pages

Performances of exclusion

chapter 3|21 pages

Mythical histories, historical myths

chapter 6|20 pages

The male/female Messiah: Flora Tristan

chapter 7|16 pages

My mother the Revolution: Louise Michel

chapter 8|22 pages

Symbolic delegitimation

chapter 9|22 pages

‘Better to reign in Hell …’

chapter 10|26 pages

Delegitimation by proxy

chapter 11|6 pages