By Elinor Accampo
Certainly one of French feminism's so much brave public figures has bought rather little in-depth point out formerly: Nelly Roussel's campaign gave girls keep an eye on over their very own our bodies and sexuality and Blessed Motherhood sour Fruit unearths her sacrifices and accomplishments throughout the approach. Roussel was once an actress and wonder who outlined parameters of the women's move which might now not be discovered for over seventy years: she used to be the 1st feminist spokeswoman for contraception in Europe and her lectures, essays, and speeches promoted then-radical methods of pondering. Her biographer does a great task of linking Roussel's lifestyles and options to her occasions and the evolving background of the women's circulation as a complete, making it a best decide for any definitive women's historical past collection.
Diane C. Donovan
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Additional resources for Blessed Motherhood, Bitter Fruit: Nelly Roussel and the Politics of Female Pain in Third Republic France
In view of that curse, and of my own offences in marriage, may I suffer the cruelest pangs with joy, and may I join them with the suffering of your Son upon the cross, in the midst of which He engendered me into eternal life. Never can they be as harsh as I deserve, for although holy matrimony has made my conception legitimate, I confess that concupiscence mingled its venom therewith and that it has urged me to commit faults which displease you. If it be your will that I die in my conﬁnement, may I adore it, bless it and submit to it.
In 1877, Bertillon published data revealing that while for every 1,000 married women between the ages of 15 and 50, England produced 248 births, Prussia 275, and Belgium 279, Frenchwomen provided a paltry 173. 2 In response to this crisis in the birthrate, Bertillon’s son Jacques, also a demographer, formed the Alliance nationale pour l’accroissement de la population française (National Alliance for the Growth of the French Population) on May 29, 1896. Within a year, this group had grown to almost four hundred members, most of whom were businessmen, industrialists, lawyers, doctors, and professionals.
11 The setting is Paris during the Middle Ages, in the reign of Charles V. Blanche d’Estrées, nineteen years old, lives with her brother John, who is twenty-two. Orphaned, Blanche has become the mother ﬁgure in John’s life. Blanche is dying of an unnamed disease (probably tuberculosis) that involves slow degeneration—she is expected to live another one to three years. Concern and love for her brother give Blanche the will to stay alive. John and Blanche live in mutual adoration, but there is one problem around which the plot develops: John leads a life of debauchery, despite Blanche’s efforts to set him straight.
Blessed Motherhood, Bitter Fruit: Nelly Roussel and the Politics of Female Pain in Third Republic France by Elinor Accampo