Hermeneutics -- Philosophy, Natalie Barney, Renée Vivien (1877-1909) -- Criticism and interpretation


Traditional representational discourses have constructed others within Europe-women, homosexuals, the insane-as well as others external to Europe. As two lesbian women born at the turn of the century, Natalie Barney and Renee Vivien were the traditional other to their native land. In response to this, each chose expatriation and made France her permanent home, where they created a working and living relationship that would last for nearly fifteen years. Leaving one's world and culture behind, voluntarily or involuntarily, means engaging oneself in a complex process of composing one's identity and otherness. For Natalie Barney and Renee Vivien, French language and culture was a method of composing a new identity. Disillusioned with the sovereignty of the individual in their native countries, Natalie Barney and Renee Vivien set out to recover the real "selves" that had been left uncontaminated by a country that looked upon their choices as women as illegitimate. Illegitimate and offensive members of their native countries, the French identity to them became a legitimate and true self. This paper uses the frame and historical connotations of hermeneutics to discover just how they accomplished this task.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.

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