Ursinus Magazine

Céline Brossillon

A Scholarly Look at Love and Solitude

In two upcoming books, Assistant Professor of Modern Languages Céline Brossillon analyzes the works of Guy de Maupassant, and explores different representations of love for and with the dead in Francophone literature.

The Sad Bull: The Solitude of Maupassant’s Bachelor (Le Taureau triste: La Solitude du célibataire de Maupassant, in French) is Brossillon’s first book and builds upon her dissertation. It delves into the crisis of masculine identity at the end of the nineteenth century in France through the bachelors in de Maupassant’s novels and short stories. She discusses why human beings feel the need to connect to one another, and why they are bound to feel lonely if they do not.

Guy de Maupassant—considered the father of the modern short story—has written characters who resist becoming a husband and father, and in doing so are unable to form intimate connections and wind up facing a life of solitude.

“When I read literature, I like characters who struggle with relationships and with solitude or loneliness,” Brossillon said. “It’s this whole notion of how you connect with people and how you feel when you cannot. It may not be a happy topic, but there’s depth to it.”

The second book, L’Amour des Morts: Love with Ghosts, Vampires and Other Dead(ly) Beings in the Francophone 19th Century, is an interdisciplinary collection that gathers contributions from literary, cultural and socio-historical sources concerning the evolution of the perception of death, the dead, and funeral rituals over the course of the nineteenth century. It is a special edition of French Forum and Brossillon is serving as co-editor in addition to writing her own chapter, “Isabelle Eberhardt, Rachilde and Queer Sexualities: Pygmalions Nécromanciens and Mortes Amoureuses.”

Her translation of Isabelle Eberhardt’s short story “Infernalia” will be published in Volupté at the same time.

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