By Elinor Accampo
Considered one of French feminism's so much brave public figures has got really little in-depth point out earlier: Nelly Roussel's campaign gave ladies keep an eye on over their very own our bodies and sexuality and Blessed Motherhood sour Fruit finds her sacrifices and accomplishments through the procedure. Roussel was once an actress and sweetness who outlined parameters of the women's stream which might now not be discovered for over seventy years: she was once the 1st feminist spokeswoman for contraception in Europe and her lectures, essays, and speeches promoted then-radical methods of considering. Her biographer does a superb activity of linking Roussel's lifestyles and options to her occasions and the evolving historical past of the women's circulate as a complete, making it a most sensible 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
It begins with the description of a young and pretty bride sitting in her room contemplating her fear of childbirth, one that has become “an obsession, a haunting dread, a hardship that unnerves her, and raises in her . . a strange impulse to cry. In barely six months, the awaited and dreaded event will have happened. Certainly, she is resigned a little from all sides; readings and conversations have taught her more or less how things happen . . ”44 She goes on to express conﬁdence that all will go well.
In 1899, given their approach to the fertility problem, the pronatalists would undoubtedly have found Roussel’s musings symptomatic of the individualism and selﬁshness of French wives. They regarded women only through the lens of biological reproduction, rather than motherhood in all its dimensions. Hence, they lacked understanding of, let alone compassion for, the situation of women. Roussel accordingly made it her mission to enlighten, not just these professionals, but men of all social classes about the practical experiences of mothers.
Indeed, despite Godet’s avant-garde political stance and his bohemian lifestyle, his sculptures were classical portrayals of the female body and motherhood—in an era of rapid change in the art world. For the most part in his art and in his other cultural tastes, he remained conservative. Long after his death, many of his smaller works in the art nouveau style would command high prices. La Maternité (Maternity), which, like many other sculptures he did, gloriﬁed motherhood, is perhaps one of his most overtly “moral” works (ﬁg.