Moved by Love
Inspired Artists and Deviant Women in Eighteenth-Century France
Mary D. Sheriff uses these very different visions of enthusiasm to explore the complex interrelationships among creativity, sexuality, the body and the mind in eighteenth-century France. Drawing on evidence from the visual arts, literature, philosophy, and medicine, she portrays the deviance ascribed to both inspired men and women. But while various mythologies worked to normalize deviance in male artists, women had no justification for their deviance. For instance, the mythical sculptor Pygmalion was cured of an abnormal love for his statue through the making of art. He became a model for creative artists, living happily with his statue come to life. No happy endings, though, were imagined for such inspired women writers as Sappho and Heloise, who burned with erotomania their art could not quench. Even so, Sheriff demonstrates, the perceived connections among sexuality, creativity, and disease also opened artistic opportunities for creative women took full advantage of them.
Brilliantly reassessing the links between sexuality and creativity, artistic genius and madness, passion and reason, Moved by Love will profoundly reshape our view of eighteenth- century French culture.
CHAPTER 1 Enthusiasm: Reason's Masterpiece
CHAPTER 2 The Artist and the Woman
Part 1: Just Like a Woman?
Part 2: Possession and Emulation
CHAPTER 3 Deviant Spectators: Ignorant Girls and Women Who Know Too Much
CHAPTER 4 Pygmalion's Enthusiasm and the Fires of Nymphomania, or The Psychology of Art and Desire
CHAPTER 5 The Model Pygmalion and the Artist Galatea
Part 1: A Model for the Artist
Part 2: Playing Galatea
CHAPTER 6 Inspired by Heloise
Conclusion: Closing the Circle, Opening the End