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Special Features Index  

 
Spotlight French Theater
 
  French-Speaking Theater, which has a long history of depicting male and female homosexuals and exploring the complexities of homosexual life, has been and remains an important instrument of liberation.  
 
 
  Honore de Balzac Honoré de Balzac (1799-1850) was one of the masters of Nineteenth-century French Fiction who provocatively includes both lesbian and gay male characters in his novels. Though remembered primarily for his fiction, Balzac was also an accomplished playwright.  
 
 
  Sarah Bernhardt Sarah Bernhardt (1844-1923) was the most famous actress of her time. The theatrical superstar scandalized and titillated Paris by wearing pants, taking men's roles in some of her plays, and having numerous love affairs, some with women.  
 
 
  Patrice Chereau Patrice Chéreau (b. 1944) is an award-winning French director, screenwriter, and actor who has earned international renown for his visionary, often controversial, productions of opera, theater, and film.  
 
 
  Helene Cixous Hélène Cixous (b. 1937), an influential Algerian-born French feminist theorist and experimental novelist and dramatist, celebrates female homoeroticism and feminist solidarity.  
 
 
  Jean Cocteau Jean Cocteau (1889-1963) was an outspoken homosexual and a prolific poet, novelist, critic, essayist, artist, playwright, and filmmaker. Cocteau was also a mentor who nurtured the careers of others, including especially actor Jean Marais.  
 
 
  Colette Colette (1873-1954) is remembered today as one of France's most beloved authors. Her novels address male and female homosexuality and bisexuality with a frankness that was exceptional for her time. Though the novel was the literary form that made her famous, Colette also penned several plays.  
 
 
  Marie Dorval Marie Dorval (1798-1849) was a popular nineteenth-century French actress who enjoyed an intense romantic friendship with the writer George Sand that fueled much speculation among Parisian gossips of the time, as well as among later biographers and historians.  
 
 
  Jean Genet Jean Genet (1910-1986) was an openly homosexual French novelist and playwright who saw homosexuality, criminality, and other kinds of marginality as a revolt against entrenched power.  
 
 
  Andre Gide André Gide (1869-1951), one of the premier French writers of the twentieth century, reflected his homosexuality in many of his works, including novels, essays, and plays.  
 
 
  Alfred Jarry Alfred Jarry (1873-1907), a precursor of Surrealism who is considered the inventor of the Theater of the Absurd, included homosexual characters and themes in most of his works.  
 
 
  Pierre Loti Pierre Loti (pseudonym of Julien Viaud, 1850-1923) was one of the most popular and respected French novelists of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries as well as an accomplished playwright.  
 
 
  Jean Marais Jean Marais (1913-1998) became one of the most celebrated stars of French movies, theater, and television partly because of the early sponsorship of writer and film director Jean Cocteau.  
 
 
  Jovette Marchessault (b. 1938), the first Québécoise novelist unequivocally to declare her lesbianism, has recently devoted much of her attention to the theater.  
 
 
  Françoise Raucourt (1756-1815) was an eighteenth-century French actress widely admired for her talent and beauty. Raucourt lived openly with a series of female lovers.  
 
 
  George Sand George Sand (pseudonym of Amantine-Aurore-Lucile Dupin, 1804-1876) is as infamous for her cigar-in-hand cross-dressing as she is famous for her eighty novels, twenty plays, and numerous political tracts.  
 
 
  Michel Tremblay (b. 1942) is a Montreal-born playwright and novelist who draws on his own Roman Catholic working-class background in his presentation of bar culture characters and their relatives.  
 
 
 

 
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