Navigation – Plan du site

AccueilNuméros32Première partie. Textes et contextesInfanticide in fin-de-siècle Fran...

Première partie. Textes et contextes

Infanticide in fin-de-siècle France : The example of Le Gil Blas (1879-1900)

L’infanticide dans la France de la fin du siècle. L’exemple du Gil Blas (1879-1900)
Mattheuw Sandefer
p. 29-37

Résumés

Sous la Troisième République, les journaux français regorgent d'histoires d'infanticides. Des titres tels que "Encore un infanticide !" ou "Toujours les infanticides !" témoignent d'une épidémie de violence qui se déchaîne contre les nouveau-nés sans défense du pays. Cette étude se propose de mettre en lumière l'instrumentalisation de ces mères meurtrières en examinant leur représentation dans les discours journalistiques et littéraires du journal Gil Blas de 1879 à 1900.

Haut de page

Texte intégral

  • 1 “Encore un infanticide”, Gil Blas, 16 Dec. 1879, p. 2.
  • 2 “Toujours les infanticides”, Gil Blas, 17 Dec. 1879, p. 3.
  • 3 Dr. J. Socquet, Contribution à l’étude statistique de la criminalité en France de 1826 à 1880, Pari (...)
  • 4 J. Ciseaux, “Journaux et revues”, Gil Blas, 20 Aug. 1882, p. 3.
  • 5 J. Socquet, op. cit., p. iv.

1During France’s Third Republic, stories of infanticide filled French newspapers. Titles such as “Encore un infanticide!”1 and “Toujours les infanticides!”2 pointed to a pandemic of violence unleashed against the country’s defenseless newborns. Disturbingly, statistics from the period appeared to substantiate the perception that minors were being disproportionately targeted. A report released in 1884 concluded that, while from 1826 to 1880 in nearly every category crimes against adults had diminished, over the same period criminal acts against children had risen3. In an alarming trend, rates of infanticide reached record levels in the 1850s and 1860s, where they remained during the following decades4. Documentation showed that the number of murdered newborns had effectively doubled from an average of 110 to 220 annually5. What accounted for this dramatic increase? Had reporting simply improved or was the spate of infanticides symptomatic of a deeper social dysfunction?

2Regardless of its cause, the symbolic weight of infanticide had a significant cultural impact in fin-de-siècle France and became an ideological lightning rod that captured the malaise of a nation, while acting as an ambivalent catalyst for social change. This study intends to shed light on the instrumentalization of these murderous mothers by examining their representation in the journalistic and literary discourses of the newspaper Gil Blas from 1879 to 1900. Due to the wide variety of genres published in the paper’s columns – these include transcripts of court proceedings, short narratives, editorials, and crime reports – it provides an excellent snapshot of the ways in which the phenomenon of infanticide permeated the discourse of the public sphere and exposed the problems posed by modernity and its “discontents”.

*

  • 6 H. de Balzac, Mémoires de deux jeunes mariées, La Comédie humaine, ed. P.-G. Castex, Paris, Gallima (...)
  • 7 B. d’Aurevilly, “Le Bonheur dans le crime”, Les Diaboliques, ed. J. Petit, Paris, Gallimard, 1966, (...)
  • 8 See Tremblay de Stasseville from “Le Dessous de cartes d’une partie de whist”, op. cit., p. 128-171 (...)
  • 9 B. d’Aurevilly, “Le Bonheur dans le crime”, op. cit., p. 127.

3Traditionally, the representation of the murderous mother cast her outside the realm of the human. According to this current of thought, the maternal instinct constituted the most essential element of a woman’s identity. A resistance to this impetus for procreation either through the use of prophylactics, which thwarted the biological process, or, even worse, by eliminating one’s offspring postpartum raised troubling ontological questions. Uncoupled from malevolent intent (animus nocendi), a simple lack of children was clearly not an offense subject to prosecution. Nonetheless, for those outside of religious orders, it appeared at the very least to be a crime against nature. Honoré de Balzac’s character Madame de Macumer expresses an idea not uncommon at the time when she says : “Une femme sans enfant est une monstruosité; nous ne sommes faites que pour être mères”6. Similarly, it is not coincidental that when Barbey d’Aurevilly compiles his feminine “traité de tératologie”7, Les Diaboliques, in addition to a mother guilty of a classic infanticide8, he includes Hauteclaire Stassin from “Le Bonheur dans le crime”, who refuses to have children in order to better pursue pleasure with her lover. In her own words, “les enfants (...) sont bons pour les femmes malheureuses”9.

  • 10 “Horrible infanticide”, Gil Blas, 20 Apr. 1899, p. 3.
  • 11 “Le drame du Chesnay”, Gil Blas, 12 Dec. 1887, p. 3.
  • 12 “Faits divers”, Gil Blas, 31 Oct. 1899, p. 3.
  • 13 “Tour du monde”, Gil Blas, 19 Feb. 1892, p. 3.
  • 14 “Le Tour du monde”, Gil Blas, 20 Jan. 1884, p. 3.
  • 15 “Cadavre voyageur”, Gil Blas, 14 Mar. 1891, p. 3.
  • 16 “L’infanticide de la rue de Provence”, Gil Blas, 19 Jul. 1884, p. 3.

4The language of some reports in the Gil Blas illustrates the continued correlation between monstrosity and the childless woman or murderous mother. Among the parade of atrocities printed in the journal, there are reports of infants found decapitated10, murdered with hot irons11, or even fed to pigs12. Due to the necessity of concealing their crimes, desperate women often dismembered the bodies before dumping them in toilettes13 or even burning them14. In one particularly bizarre account, a servant named Jeanne Buchet reportedly enclosed her child’s corpse in a trunk and traveled throughout France and America for seventeen months before authorities discovered the contents of the container15. In these extreme cases, reporters at times use the expression “mère dénaturée”16, a qualifier which touched directly on the problem of identity posed by infanticide. To be a “denatured” woman suggested the absence of any maternal instinct, manifested either by passive indifference or active aggression toward one’s own children. In its nineteenth-century usage, it connoted a dehumanized character that called to mind the most grotesque qualities. Implicitly, the term also reinforced negatively the identification of female identity with the vocation of child-rearing as it assumed the primacy of the maternal instinct. In a reassuring way, to isolate a select group and label it as outside of an otherwise intact nature, allowed for the basic ontology of the mother figure to be preserved.

  • 17 Dr Marjolin, “Rapport de M. le Dr Marjolin”, Du Rétablissement des tours, Paris, G. Masson, 1878, p (...)

5The sensationalized stories of violence inflicted on newborns by “denatured” women lent themselves well to political appropriation. Drawing a correlation between the increased reports of infanticides and the new Republican regime suggested that the spread of democracy resulted in moral decadence. Infanticide also challenged axiomatic conceptions of human identity. One doctor writing in 1878 summarized the dilemma succinctly : “On s’est souvent demandé, comment il pouvait se faire qu’une mère fût assez dénaturée pour abandonner son enfant, alors que l’animal le plus faible met toute son intelligence, toute son adresse à protéger ses petits contre le danger, et déploie au besoin pour les défendre un courage inouï”17. With the tenuous line between humanity and animality increasingly blurred, some saw in infanticide the justification of a systematic misanthropy, grounded in the essential callousness of human mothers toward their own progeny. In an article written to defend Naturalism, for instance, the author Guy de Maupassant argued that, without the penal code, the occurrences of infanticide would skyrocket :

  • 18 G. de Maupassant, “Notes d’un démolisseur”, Gil Blas, 17 May 1882, p. 1.

Tous les jours des infanticides, tous les jours des petits êtres trouvés au coin des bornes, au fond des fleuves, le long des fossés, dans les égouts et dans ces réservoirs souterrains que dessèchent ces pompiers de la nuit que je n’ose pas nommer par peur d’être traité de naturaliste. Et les magistrats affirment avec raison qu’on ne découvre pas deux de ces crimes sur dix commis. Or, une loi terrible les punit. Supprimez cette loi et laissez la femme livrée au seul amour maternel et vous aurez bientôt un tel massacre de nouveau-nés que l’humanité disparaîtra18.

6Beyond its obvious intention to provoke, Maupassant’s statement touched on the troubling implications for the coherence of human identity posed by the issue of infanticide. Against such dissuasive consequences, how could so many women throughout France muster the willpower to kill their own children? With the influence of Christian thought waning, it appeared increasingly difficult to anchor an understanding of human identity to any solid principles. Even maternal love, a basic concept of evolutionary biology, appeared to have limited value faced with the bodies of newborns piling up daily in Parisian gutters.

*

  • 19 E. Monin, “Propos du docteur: la natalité française”, Gil Blas, 17 Aug. 1886, p. 2.
  • 20 R. Fuchs, Poor and Pregnant in Paris, New Brunswick, nj, Rutgers University Press, 1992, p. 60-1.
  • 21 “La Prévention de l’infanticide”, Gil Blas, 4 Jun. 1893, p. 2.

7To classify systematically mothers who kill as monsters was as incongruous as it was reductive. Moreover, the large number of incidents precluded any attempt to isolate the practice of infanticide to a small group of social deviants. Instead of demonizing the accused young women, it became much more common to view them as products of a broken social system. For a mother to murder her own children was indicative of a profound cultural malady of which infanticide was just one symptom among many. If there arose a sense of urgency during the Third Republic to address this issue, it did not result simply from the philosophical problems of identity that it raised. Fears of depopulation also motivated government officials to take action. Following the Franco-Prussian war, a paranoia caused by the stagnation of the birth rate gripped the country’s intellectual class. An armed conflict with Germany was always on the horizon, and, in the government’s eyes, a shrinking citizenry equaled a weakened military. The stakes were high. As one contemporary commentator asked : “Cet affaiblissement n’est-il pas le plus grand obstacle à notre industrie, à notre expansion coloniale? ”19. The census of 1891 exacerbated fears even further by providing quantitative proof that France’s population growth paled in comparison to that of Germany20. In actuality, a variety of factors contributed to the inertia, including rising rates of education, increased urbanization and other demographic shifts. The sensationalized reports of infanticide, however, gripped the nation’s imagination and lent themselves well to hasty correlations. In 1893, one report concluded simply that “la dépopulation (...) a, pour première cause, l’abandon des filles-mères, et les infanticides qui en sont très souvent la conséquence”21.

  • 22 H. Fouquier (Colombine), “Chronique”, Gil Blas, 17 Mar. 1884, p. 1.
  • 23 C. Lemonnier, “La Tête de mort”, Gil Blas, 11 Dec. 1889, p. 1-2.

8With so much at stake, the problem of infanticide called for the reform of the social inequalities suffered by many women. First, it became standard fare to link the hypocritical bourgeois moral order to the precarity of young women. The “problème social de la femme”22 stemmed from economic disparity. Only the wealthy elite had the financial resources necessary to sustain a legitimate family. For France’s working poor, even if an appropriate match could be found, acquiring the funds to pay for a marriage proved nearly impossible. Moreover, raising a child often meant losing any possibility of future employment. For this reason, it was young female servants who appeared most often in the columns of the accused. According to a familiar narrative, a housemaid gets pregnant, often at the hands of her employer or his family. Desperate to retain her position, she devises various strategies to conceal her state. When she gives birth, she feigns an illness for several hours, suffocates the infant to conceal its cries, and finally disposes of the body before returning to work. The incredible willpower of these women who were able to go through the pain and exhaustion of childbirth and return to work later that same day struck authors with the sheer desperation of the unskilled servant’s position. The Belgian novelist Camille Lemonnier dramatized this scenario for the readers of the Gil Blas in “La Tête de mort”. His character Brigitte gives birth in the middle of the night, suffocates the newborn, and then immediately prepares breakfast for her employers23. Lemonnier focuses especially on the psychological turmoil experienced by the mother, who appears to lose her mind. She lives and cares for the corpse as it goes through the process of decomposition and mummification and eventually wastes away herself.

  • 24 G. de Maupassant, “L’Enfant”, Gil Blas, 18 Sep. 1883, p. 1.

9Of course, infanticide was not exclusively a lower-class problem. If affluent women did not have to fear financial instability, shame and social marginalization presented constant risks. Guy de Maupassant’s violent tale “L’Enfant” provided a vivid account of the desperate lengths to which a woman would go to preserve the appearances of bourgeois morality. In the work, two interlocutors, a liberal doctor and an indignant baroness, discuss the problem of abortion. Flouting the platitudes of bourgeois morality, the physician turns his judgment toward the prudery of French society: “Quelle honte pour l’humanité d’avoir établi une pareille morale et fait un crime de l’embrassement libre de deux êtres! ”24. To express his position, he tells the disturbing story of Mme Hélène, a bourgeois woman with an abnormally active sexual life. At one point, she has an affair with a gardener who eventually impregnates her, putting at risk her honor and that of her family. Desperate to maintain a moral façade, she attempts in every way possible to have a miscarriage. When the horseback rides, herbal teas and hot baths fail to have their effect, she turns to the most extreme measures :

  • 25 Ibid.

Alors, exaspérée de haine contre cet embryon inconnu et redoutable, le voulant arracher, et tuer enfin, le voulant tenir en ses mains, étrangler et jeter au loin, elle pressa la place où remuait cette larve et d’un seul coup de la lame aiguë elle se fendit le ventre. Oh! elle opéra, certes, très vite et très bien, car elle le saisit, cet ennemi qu’elle n’avait pu encore atteindre. Elle le prit par une jambe, l’arracha d’elle et le voulut lancer dans la cendre du foyer. Mais il tenait par des liens qu’elle n’avait pu trancher, et, avant qu’elle eût compris peut-être ce qui lui restait à faire pour se séparer de lui, elle tomba inanimée sur l’enfant noyé dans un flot de sang25.

  • 26 Ibid.

10This remarkably grotesque conclusion highlighted the incredible social pressure placed on unmarried women to conceal their illegitimate children. Although Mme Hélène had nothing inherently monstrous in her nature, faced with the possibility of dishonoring her family, her actions revealed an almost inconceivable capacity for violence that left the baroness speechless. When the doctor concludes his story with the question “Fut-elle bien coupable, madame ? ” she has no response: “Le médecin se tut et attendit. La baronne ne répondit pas”26. With the threat of moral condemnation from a hypocritical society, the fetus, the product of natural love, became the primary enemy.

  • 27 H. Fouquier (Colombine), “La Rançon de l’amour”, Gil Blas, 8 Dec. 1896, p. 1.
  • 28 J. Ciseaux, “Journaux et revues”, Gil Blas, 5 Oct. 1881, p. 2.
  • 29 See A. Aubert, “La Moralité du rétablissement des tours”, Gil Blas, 23 Nov. 1881, p. 3.
  • 30 See “Un Nouvel infanticide”, Gil Blas, 19 Dec. 1879, p. 3.

11Whereas at one time the mother who killed her children was inevitably labeled a monster, by the end of the century, it became increasingly common to present her as a victim of “la tartufferie des honnêtes gens”27. Working from the basic assumption that “la misère et la honte”28 drove many young women to commit infanticide, several concrete solutions were proposed to deal with the problem. First, many progressive thinkers advocated reopening the foundling hospitals that had historically accepted children without releasing the identity of the mother. This issue was generally broached under the heading “le rétablissement des tours”. The “tour”, best translated here as “turret”, was a rotating cylinder into which a mother could place her child anonymously. By metonymy, it had come to signify the foundling home itself. In 1811, Napoleon Bonaparte expanded these institutions into every department. Expenses, however, had led to their progressive closure over the following decades, which some believed correlated directly with the spike in the number of reported infanticides over the same period29. When reporting the discovery of a dead newborn, journalists at the Gil Blas often urged taking the reform of the foundling home system seriously30. Only the kind of complete anonymity provided by the “tours” could address, it was thought, the problem of public shame that drove so many women to commit desperate acts.

  • 31 J. Socquet, op. cit., p. 38.
  • 32 J. Thilda, “Les Ensorcelées de l’amour”, Gil Blas, 31 Aug. 1882, p. 1.
  • 33 J. Ciseaux, “Journaux et revues”, Gil Blas, 19 Aug. 1883, p. 3.

12Second, there was a backlash against the one-dimensional focus on the responsibility of the mother. Even though “les accusés d’infanticide [étaient] en presque totalité des femmes”31, it was clear that they did not bear sole responsibility. In 1882, the journalist Jeanne Thilda deplored the countless “crimes de l’amour” reported in the journal : “La Loi ne protège pas les filles de France”32. She denounced the tendency to disregard completely the role of the father in the creation of the baby. Others echoed her judgment and mocked the court’s selective attention to detail. For instance, in 1883, a press review related the tragic, yet all-too-familiar case of a girl referred to simply as “la fille Henry”. Like many of those accused of infanticide, at the time of her arrest she was working in abject poverty and faced the prospect of raising her child alone. The reporter mocks the court’s elliptical description “devenue enceinte dans le courant de 1882”, which completely ignored the role of the father as if her pregnancy had occurred spontaneously33.

  • 34 J. Ciseaux, “Journaux et revues”, Gil Blas, 3 Aug. 1883, p. 3.
  • 35 L. Ulbach, “L’Indignité des mères”, Gil Blas, 9 Jan. 1886, p. 2.
  • 36 See G. Rivet, La Recherche de la paternité, Paris, Maurice Dreyfous, 1890.

13At stake was more than just the hypocritical sexual politics that tended to glorify the exploits of men while branding sexually active women as perverse. According to the law, woman outside of legitimate relationships had no legal right to attempt to establish paternity, allegedly because it led to financial speculation34. Without dna testing, evidence was limited to the claims made by the mother. A number of writers demanded that women be granted the legal channels necessary to force the father to assume his responsibilities toward his children. The prolific author and novelist Louis Ulbach took to the pages of the Gil Blas to affirm that the right to “prouver la paternité” would result in “moins d’infanticides” and possibly even “moins de séductions”35. Some politicians also joined the movement. The poet-cum-politician Gustave Rivet championed the cause in parliament and published a book in 1890 in which he enumerated his arguments in favor of establishing paternity36.

  • 37 See S. Gonzalo Jr., Pity in Fin-de-siècle French Culture, Westport, ct, Praeger, 2004, p. 44-5.
  • 38 H. Buch, “Histoire de village”, Gil Blas, 15 Aug. 1882, p. 2.

14Finally, short of passing new legislation, there was a push toward leniency for victimized women whose circumstances pushed them to have recourse to the practice of infanticide. To a certain extent, this empathy was part and parcel of the celebration of pity that characterized late nineteenth-century thought. Writers focused on pity as a potential moral and social glue that would bind together the seemingly incompatible realms of reason and sentiment37. To cite a literary example, stories like H. Buch’s “Histoire de village” humanized the perpetrator of infanticide by emphasizing the tragic chain of events leading up to the crime. Following a typical pastoral plot, Marie is an energetic country girl who works hard and runs through fields barefoot. Her beauty attracts suitors and eventually leads to a tryst in the hay with a local stable boy. A series of ellipses truncate the end of the story, which ends with a harsh reality: “Environ un an après, la cour d’assises du chef-lieu condamnait Marie à cinq ans de travaux forcés pour infanticide”38. The narrative suggested that even the most innocent forms of love could have disastrous results. Moreover, it presented the tragic contradiction between basic biological impulses and the social restrictions that perverted their results.

  • 39 G. de Maupassant, “Rosalie Prudent”, Gil Blas, 2 Mar. 1886, p. 1.
  • 40 Ibid.
  • 41 Ibid.

15Guy de Maupassant chooses an even more explicit route by setting his second tale of infanticide entitled “Rosalie Prudent” directly in the courtroom. Filling the standard role of the hypocritical bourgeois, her employers are described as being completely devoid of passion and ready to try and convict the servant Rosalie Prudent, despite the fact that it was their nephew who had impregnated her: “Ils auraient voulu la voir guillotiner tout de suite, sans jugement, et ils l’accablaient de dépositions haineuses devenues dans leur bouche des accusations”39. As the narrator described the court proceedings, the reader learns that she had done everything to prepare for her child, including making clothes and looking for a second job as she anticipated that the Varambot family would fire her after discovering her impropriety. Unexpectedly, however, she gave birth to twins and, knowing she could not support two children with her servant wages, she suffocated and buried them on her employers’ property. By the end of Rosalie’s deposition, the flood of tears punctuating her testimony crescendos and invades the entire courtroom : “La moitié des jurés se mouchaient coup sur coup pour ne point pleurer. Des femmes sanglotaient dans l’assistance”40. With the pathos for the exploited girl at its apex, the story ends with the simple comment “[l]a fille Rosalie Prudent fut acquittée”41.

  • 42 L. Gruel, Pardons et châtiments, Paris, Nathan, 1991, p. 58.
  • 43 R. Fuchs, op. cit., p. 203.

16The will for pity exemplified in these two literary texts had a quantifiable effect. In 1860, juries acquitted about 30% of women put on trial for infanticide. By the first decade of the twentieth century that number nearly doubled to 58.3%42. In cases where the jury found the defendant guilty, they almost always granted extenuating circumstances, neglecting to enforce the death penalty required by the penal code. In fact, if the French parliament removed infanticide from the list of capital offenses in 1901, it is precisely because the rate of acquittal was so high43. From a source of revulsion, the murderous mother has become an object of empathy and an example of the ills of inequality.

  • 44 E. Monin, “La Contagion du meurtre”, Gil Blas, 24 Jan. 1888, p. 2.

17There was an insidious tendency, however, to transform an instance of fortitude into another symptom of weakness. Presented as a conscious choice necessitated by awful circumstances, infanticide testified to the incredible mettle of women forced to make difficult decisions. The mother was thus legally responsible for her actions regardless of the hardship she may have faced. While arguing for leniency, however, some writers sought to exculpate the accused completely and in the process questioned the mother’s agency. Listing “infanticide” among other shockingly common crimes, the doctor Ernest Monin, who wrote a regular column for the Gil Blas, asserted that women acted under the influence of a mob mentality : “L’infanticide et l’avortement, l’incinération et le dépeçage criminels ont marqué dans les annales judiciaires de ces dernières années avec une telle intensité (...) qu’il est difficile de n’y point voir l’action toute-puissante de la contagion nerveuse”44. At its simplest, the notion of “contagion” in criminology simply suggested the possibility of copycat crimes. With the qualifier “nerveuse” however, it called to mind the theory of hysteria, which had labeled any non-normative female behavior as pathological.

  • 45 Dr P. Moreau, “De l’infanticide au point de vue de la responsabilité morale”, Annales de gynécologi (...)
  • 46 Ibid., p. 32.

18Another doctor, Paul Moreau, took this line of thought even farther and applied it exclusively to infanticide. In an article from January 1881, he argued that the pain and hormonal changes experienced during childbirth deprived the mother of full self-control, leaving her “liberté morale” either “très affaiblie” or even “annihilée”45. Mothers who kill their own children, he claims, are often acting under the influence of an “impulsion irrésistible”46 and do not bear complete responsibility for their actions. Ostensibly Moreau intended to defend mothers and advocate for lenient sentences for those convicted of infanticide. His theory, however, mobilized the very notions of female irrationality and weakness that had been used for decades to justify gender inequality. By essentially arguing for temporary postpartum insanity, he casts doubt on the capacity for any mother to make rational decisions. Under the guise of a defense, this insidious form of misogyny stripped women of any sort of agency.

*

19All forms of crime in the Third Republic represented a direct challenge to the authority of the nascent government. Generally considered to be a gendered phenomenon, however, infanticide raised specific issues concerning the rights of women and elicited a particular set of fears. In the national consciousness of the fin-de-siècle, unchecked violence by enraged women evoked the chaos of the march on Versailles from October 1789. In a less distant past, the mythical group of “pétroleuses” who had, according to legend, torched large sections of Paris during the Commune still instilled feelings of terror in government officials. To quell the wave of infanticides was not only a moral imperative. It also touched on a question of national security.

20In a real sense, the shock of female violence resulted in substantive discussions of social inequality. The trial of Marie Bière, an abandoned actress who shot her unfaithful suitor, had resulted in Alexandre Dumas, fils’s famous pamphlet “Les femmes qui tuent et les femmes qui votent”, in which he argued eloquently for women’s suffrage. In a similar way, the gruesome nature of infanticide appeared to awaken a generally dormant society that had otherwise little concern for the plight of disadvantaged women. Although a long legacy of misogynistic thought continued to surface in insidious ways, during the fin-de-siècle period, infanticide became both a symbol of a society in crisis and an impetus for change.

Haut de page

Notes

1 “Encore un infanticide”, Gil Blas, 16 Dec. 1879, p. 2.

2 “Toujours les infanticides”, Gil Blas, 17 Dec. 1879, p. 3.

3 Dr. J. Socquet, Contribution à l’étude statistique de la criminalité en France de 1826 à 1880, Paris, Asselin et Cie, 1884, p. 85.

4 J. Ciseaux, “Journaux et revues”, Gil Blas, 20 Aug. 1882, p. 3.

5 J. Socquet, op. cit., p. iv.

6 H. de Balzac, Mémoires de deux jeunes mariées, La Comédie humaine, ed. P.-G. Castex, Paris, Gallimard, “Bibliothèque de la Pléiade”, 1976-8, t. i, p. 346.

7 B. d’Aurevilly, “Le Bonheur dans le crime”, Les Diaboliques, ed. J. Petit, Paris, Gallimard, 1966, t. ii, p. 125.

8 See Tremblay de Stasseville from “Le Dessous de cartes d’une partie de whist”, op. cit., p. 128-171.

9 B. d’Aurevilly, “Le Bonheur dans le crime”, op. cit., p. 127.

10 “Horrible infanticide”, Gil Blas, 20 Apr. 1899, p. 3.

11 “Le drame du Chesnay”, Gil Blas, 12 Dec. 1887, p. 3.

12 “Faits divers”, Gil Blas, 31 Oct. 1899, p. 3.

13 “Tour du monde”, Gil Blas, 19 Feb. 1892, p. 3.

14 “Le Tour du monde”, Gil Blas, 20 Jan. 1884, p. 3.

15 “Cadavre voyageur”, Gil Blas, 14 Mar. 1891, p. 3.

16 “L’infanticide de la rue de Provence”, Gil Blas, 19 Jul. 1884, p. 3.

17 Dr Marjolin, “Rapport de M. le Dr Marjolin”, Du Rétablissement des tours, Paris, G. Masson, 1878, p. 3.

18 G. de Maupassant, “Notes d’un démolisseur”, Gil Blas, 17 May 1882, p. 1.

19 E. Monin, “Propos du docteur: la natalité française”, Gil Blas, 17 Aug. 1886, p. 2.

20 R. Fuchs, Poor and Pregnant in Paris, New Brunswick, nj, Rutgers University Press, 1992, p. 60-1.

21 “La Prévention de l’infanticide”, Gil Blas, 4 Jun. 1893, p. 2.

22 H. Fouquier (Colombine), “Chronique”, Gil Blas, 17 Mar. 1884, p. 1.

23 C. Lemonnier, “La Tête de mort”, Gil Blas, 11 Dec. 1889, p. 1-2.

24 G. de Maupassant, “L’Enfant”, Gil Blas, 18 Sep. 1883, p. 1.

25 Ibid.

26 Ibid.

27 H. Fouquier (Colombine), “La Rançon de l’amour”, Gil Blas, 8 Dec. 1896, p. 1.

28 J. Ciseaux, “Journaux et revues”, Gil Blas, 5 Oct. 1881, p. 2.

29 See A. Aubert, “La Moralité du rétablissement des tours”, Gil Blas, 23 Nov. 1881, p. 3.

30 See “Un Nouvel infanticide”, Gil Blas, 19 Dec. 1879, p. 3.

31 J. Socquet, op. cit., p. 38.

32 J. Thilda, “Les Ensorcelées de l’amour”, Gil Blas, 31 Aug. 1882, p. 1.

33 J. Ciseaux, “Journaux et revues”, Gil Blas, 19 Aug. 1883, p. 3.

34 J. Ciseaux, “Journaux et revues”, Gil Blas, 3 Aug. 1883, p. 3.

35 L. Ulbach, “L’Indignité des mères”, Gil Blas, 9 Jan. 1886, p. 2.

36 See G. Rivet, La Recherche de la paternité, Paris, Maurice Dreyfous, 1890.

37 See S. Gonzalo Jr., Pity in Fin-de-siècle French Culture, Westport, ct, Praeger, 2004, p. 44-5.

38 H. Buch, “Histoire de village”, Gil Blas, 15 Aug. 1882, p. 2.

39 G. de Maupassant, “Rosalie Prudent”, Gil Blas, 2 Mar. 1886, p. 1.

40 Ibid.

41 Ibid.

42 L. Gruel, Pardons et châtiments, Paris, Nathan, 1991, p. 58.

43 R. Fuchs, op. cit., p. 203.

44 E. Monin, “La Contagion du meurtre”, Gil Blas, 24 Jan. 1888, p. 2.

45 Dr P. Moreau, “De l’infanticide au point de vue de la responsabilité morale”, Annales de gynécologie, 15 Jan. 1881, Paris, H. Lauwereyns, p. 29.

46 Ibid., p. 32.

Haut de page

Pour citer cet article

Référence papier

Mattheuw Sandefer, « Infanticide in fin-de-siècle France : The example of Le Gil Blas (1879-1900) »Sextant, 32 | 2015, 29-37.

Référence électronique

Mattheuw Sandefer, « Infanticide in fin-de-siècle France : The example of Le Gil Blas (1879-1900) »Sextant [En ligne], 32 | 2015, mis en ligne le 19 décembre 2015, consulté le 12 juillet 2024. URL : http://journals.openedition.org/sextant/2880 ; DOI : https://doi.org/10.4000/sextant.2880

Haut de page

Auteur

Mattheuw Sandefer

Matthew Sandefer is a ph.d. candidate at Princeton University. His research explores the representation of evil in short prose during the early decades of France’s Third Republic. He is interested in particular in the work of Catholic authors such as Barbey d’Aurevilly, Léon Bloy, and Villiers de l’Isle-Adam.

Haut de page

Droits d’auteur

CC-BY-NC-SA-4.0

Le texte seul est utilisable sous licence CC BY-NC-SA 4.0. Les autres éléments (illustrations, fichiers annexes importés) sont « Tous droits réservés », sauf mention contraire.

Haut de page
Rechercher dans OpenEdition Search

Vous allez être redirigé vers OpenEdition Search