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Mademoiselle Fifì

· The story ·

There is an age old tendency in literature and cinema: to romanticise and sweeten the world of prostitutes. One writer, however, who followed a very different path, was Guy de Maupassant; with a skilled and sharp pen he denounced the hypocrisy and mendacity of the French bourgeoisie of his time. Thus, most of his works have as their main characters prostitutes whose lives are portrayed in all the harshness, humiliation and social alienation that are due to their condition. Among the other works of this writer that portray this world with honesty Mademoiselle Fifì stands out – especially for its ending. It is a short novel published for the first time in 1882: in the context of the meanness and uselessness of war, of human dissipation and cowardice, Rachel, the Jewish prostitute appears, the only character who can incarnate French honour, even in defeat. For once, the “lost” woman saves herself: and she saves herself thanks to her courageous and awkward choices. (@GiuliGaleotti)

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St. Peter’s Square

Aug. 24, 2019

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