The Fate of Carmen
"[The] ongoing proliferation of new versions of Carmen presents an ideal opportunity to study relationships between literature and the performing arts. The Fate of Carmen investigates these relationships, exploring in particular how and why certain literary texts appear to renew their own textual practices in modes of expression which are not uniquely verbal"— from the Introduction
Beginning with Prosper Merimee's 1845 novella, Carmen has been the subject of countless portrayals—from Bizet's 1874 opera, to various dramatic, dance, and musical renditions, to the films of De Mille, Chaplin, Lubitsch, the Marx Brothers, Preminger, Brooks, Godard, Rossi, and Saura. In The Fate of Carmen, Evlyn Gould offers a comparative study of the power and variability of this modern myth through readings that examine the cultural dilemmas posed by the story. Exploring a range of competing representations, Gould asks whether Carmen is a dangerous femme fatale, a liberated woman, or, as Nietzsche saw her, a warrior in the vanguard of the battle between the sexes.
About the Author
Evlyn Gould is an associate professor of French at the University of Oregon.
Evlyn Gould's book has the singular originality of both drawing attention to and offering an interesting interpretation of the high degree of ambivalence in the Carmen material (a set of mythemes that approaches the Faust and the Don Juan material in importance). The figure of Carmen stands for a dangerous femininity or cultural otherness that exerts a fatal attraction on masculine figures of order and authority. More recently, she has be understood from a feminist perspective as an inspiring figure of revolt and freedom. Gould's merit is to show the sense in which each of these readings is simultaneously correct—and partial. This book is an important one, both for its enrichment of the concept of oppositionality and oppositional narrative, and for the contribution it makes to Carmen studies.
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