Lucey, Michael. The Misfit of the Family: Balzac and the Social Forms of Sexuality. Durham: Duke UP, 2003. Pp. 312. isbn 0-8223-3193-4 Dorothy Kelly, Boston University Michael Lucey's The Misfit of the Family is one of those wonderful books to come along now and then that give us a fresh new perspective on texts long known and deeply studied. The subject itself is not really new family, sexuality, money, class in Balzac however the perspective taken on these issues provides rich and enlightening readings that rejuvenate our understanding of Balzac's textual practices and social representations. Informed by the sociological analysis of Bourdieu, Lucey studies the strategies used by Balzac's characters as they make their way through the fluid social forms of family and sexuality. In particular, Lucey studies characters who occupy non-normative positions in the family and/or in their sexuality, liminal figures "out on a limb," "misfits" in relation to certain accepted practices, or practices in the process of becoming "accepted." He asks such questions as: who has a vested interest in these characters and why, what are the strategies for success developed by these characters in their social situation, why do they succeed or fail?
Nineteenth Century French Studies – University of Nebraska Press
Published: Jun 28, 2005
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