Private Life, Public Image

Elinor A. Accampo

in The New Biography

Published by University of California Press

Published in print April 2000 | ISBN: 9780520221406
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520935310 | DOI:
Private Life, Public Image

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  • Modern History (1700 to 1945)


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Nelly Roussel was a feminist and advocate of birth control, on which she delivered her beliefs through writing and public speaking. She fascinated the thoughts of her listeners by turning her lectures into dramatic performances, but she also intrigued them with a persona that embodied contradiction. In discussing Roussel's private and public lives, this chapter will clarify that a careful and deliberate presentation of her public image contributed to the rebellious power of her challenge to state authority and to the moral assumptions which underpinned it. With the cooperation and support of her husband, Roussel packaged an extremely radical message in the conservative image of bourgeois wife and mother. An initial view of her life may seem stuffed with contradiction, but the fact is that she created a logical self which enabled her to achieve the goals she advocated.

Keywords: Nelly Roussel; feminist; public image; dramatic performance

Chapter.  18859 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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