The Notorious Life of Gyp: Right-Wing Anarchist in Fin-de-Siecle France

Willa Z. Silverman, Author Oxford University Press, USA $35 (368p) ISBN 978-0-19-508754-3
Prolific French writer and controversial political activist Sibylle-Gabrielle Marie-Antoinette de Riquetti de Mirabeau, comtesse de Martel de Janville (1850- 1930), published 100 novels, 20 plays, numerous articles, and autobiography under her masculine pseudonym, Gyp. Silverman, an assistant professor of French at Penn State Univ., drawing on unpublished correspondences and other primary sources, provides an informed look at Gyp's career and at the virulent anti-Semitism prevalent in late-19th-century France. In her satiric novels, Gyp voiced hatred of Jews through her irreverent character ``Petit Bob'' and the stereotypical illustrations that filled her books. According to Silverman, Gyp also hated women, identifying with her authoritarian grandfather and rejecting her own femininity, although she married and had three children. Her political activity reached its nadir during the Dreyfus Affair, when Gyp became a spokesperson for the nationalistic anti-Semites who hounded Jewish army officer Alfred Dreyfus. A detailed history for specialists. Illustrations not seen by PW. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 04/03/1995
Release date: 04/01/1995
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