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Naming the Crime: Responses to the Papin Murders from Lacan, Beauvoir, and Flanner

Naming the Crime: Responses to the Papin Murders from Lacan, Beauvoir, and Flanner NAMING THE CRIME: FROM LACAN, BEAUVOIR, AND FLANNER Paula K. Kamenish On the evening of February 2, 1933, in the provincial French town of Le Mans, two maids bludgeoned and hacked to death their employers, Madame and MademoiseUe LanceUn. According to some reports, fear of being scolded for causing a fuse to blow led the perpetrators to beat and dismember their victims. The double murder not only stirred the curiosity and imagination of the general populace who foUowed the in-depth coverage of the trial through Paris-Soir articles by noveUsts Jérôme and Jean Tharaud, but it also ignited a spirited debate among members of the French-based intelligentsia, notably Jacques Lacan, Simone de Beauvoir, and Janet Flanner. Spurred by a desire to pinpoint the motive for the crime, renowned journahsts, psychoanalysts, and Uterary figures demonstrated an uncanny and continuing fascination with the psychology of the murderers, Christine and Lea Papin. The responses of Lacan, Beauvoir, and Flanner to the Le Mans murders prove to be crucial in a study of Uterary influence because they stimulated the creative imaginations of at least two criticaUy acclaimed playwrights: Jean Genet and, more recently, Wendy Kesselman. Those who reacted in print to the Papin http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Comparatist University of North Carolina Press

Naming the Crime: Responses to the Papin Murders from Lacan, Beauvoir, and Flanner

The Comparatist , Volume 20 (1) – Oct 3, 1996

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Publisher
University of North Carolina Press
Copyright
Copyright © Southern Comparative Literature Association.
ISSN
1559-0887
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Abstract

NAMING THE CRIME: FROM LACAN, BEAUVOIR, AND FLANNER Paula K. Kamenish On the evening of February 2, 1933, in the provincial French town of Le Mans, two maids bludgeoned and hacked to death their employers, Madame and MademoiseUe LanceUn. According to some reports, fear of being scolded for causing a fuse to blow led the perpetrators to beat and dismember their victims. The double murder not only stirred the curiosity and imagination of the general populace who foUowed the in-depth coverage of the trial through Paris-Soir articles by noveUsts Jérôme and Jean Tharaud, but it also ignited a spirited debate among members of the French-based intelligentsia, notably Jacques Lacan, Simone de Beauvoir, and Janet Flanner. Spurred by a desire to pinpoint the motive for the crime, renowned journahsts, psychoanalysts, and Uterary figures demonstrated an uncanny and continuing fascination with the psychology of the murderers, Christine and Lea Papin. The responses of Lacan, Beauvoir, and Flanner to the Le Mans murders prove to be crucial in a study of Uterary influence because they stimulated the creative imaginations of at least two criticaUy acclaimed playwrights: Jean Genet and, more recently, Wendy Kesselman. Those who reacted in print to the Papin

Journal

The ComparatistUniversity of North Carolina Press

Published: Oct 3, 1996

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