Skip to main content Skip to navigation

Virginie Despentes

Core reading

Virginie Despentes, Baise-moi (1994) [Please buy the 1999 J'ai lu edition]

Preparation for seminar discussion

  1. Analyse the relationship between Nadine and Manu.
  2. What can be gleaned from the text about the narrator’s world-view and opinions?
  3. Select and analyse 3 sentences which you think display significant, typical, stylistic features of this writing.
  4. Discuss the representation of the female body in this novel.
  5. Research the controversy surrounding the film version (released in 2000).
  6. Examine critically the novel’s representation of rape and its aftereffects.
  7. In what sense(s) could this be described as a feminist novel?

Student presentation task: To what extent is this a pornographic text and to what extent is it a critique of pornography? (Please ensure you make reference to relevant secondary reading, in particular Long and Bourcier.)

Further reading

  • Best, Victoria & Crowley, Martin, The New Pornographies: Explicit Sex in Recent French Fiction and Film (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2007), in particular pp. 163-79. See here
  • Bourcier, Marie-Hélène, 'Baise-moi, encore', Queer Zones: Politiques des identités sexuelles et des savoirs (Paris: Amsterdam, 3rd ed. 2011), pp. 13-32.
  • Dean, Tim, Ruszczycky, Steven and Squires, David (eds.), Porn Archives (Durham: Duke University Press, 2014). See here for details of print copies. Available via the Library as an e-book here.
  • Fayard, Nicole, ‘The Rebellious Body as Parody: Baise-moi by Virginie Despentes’, French Studies LX:1 (Jan 2006): 63-77. Connect via the Library here.
  • Huffer, Lynne, 'After Sex', in Are The Lips a Grave? A Queer Feminist on the Ethics of Sex (New York: Columbia University Press, 2013), pp. 161-76. Available via the Library as an e-book here.

  • Jordan, Shirley, ‘“Dans le mauvais goût pour le mauvais goût”? Pornographie, violence et sexualité féminine dans la fiction de Virginie Despentes’, in Nathalie Morello & Catherine Rodgers (eds.), Nouvelles écrivaines: Nouvelles voix? (Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2002), 121-39. See here.

  • Long, Julia, Anti-Porn: The Resurgence of Anti-Pornography Feminism (London: Zed Books, 2012), in particular ch. 3, 'Pornification and Its Discontents', pp. 111-146. See here.

  • O'Toole, Laurence, Pornocopia: Porn, Sex, Technology and Desire (London: Serpent's Tale, 1998), in particular ch. 1, 'Definitions', pp. 1-25. See here.

  • Sauzon, Virginie, 'Virginie Despentes et les récits de la violence sexuelle : une déconstruction littéraire et féministe des rhétoriques de la racialisation', Genre Sexualité et Société 7 (2012). Available here.

  • Segal, Lynne, ‘Only the Literal: The Contradictions of Anti-Pornography Feminism’, Sexualities 1, 1 (1998): 43-62. See here.

  • Williams, Linda (ed.), Porn Studies (Durham: Duke University Press, 2004). See here.


Slides will be posted here after the teaching session.