Gender and race in the modernist middlebrow: Louise Faure-Favier’s blanche et noir

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This article marks a decisive step towards the recovery of the French woman writer, journalist, and aviation pioneer Louise Faure-Favier, who today is virtually forgotten. The article begins by situating the author, and her recovery, within wider international currents of recent feminist scholarship into neglected and lost modernist “middlebrow” women writers. I then move to analyse Faure-Favier’s innovative modernist exploration of the themes of gender and race, focusing on Blanche et Noir (1928), a novel which connects feminism, race, and aviation technology in startlingly original ways; this section of the analysis also directly engages with historical and theoretical discussions of the phenomenon of the “human zoo.” The final phase of analysis considers at length how Faure-Favier’s novel anticipates Bhabha’s mimicry through its identification of the subversive potential of a generation who, in the postcolonial era, will be understood after Bhabha as mimic men. Faure-Favier’s colonial novel offers potential for a significant expansion of Bhabha’s postcolonial – and uniquely masculine – model through consideration of how gender might interact with mimicry, advancing an argument for a strategic coalition between white women and black men which simultaneously reveals the innovations and contradictions which structure her novel and wider thinking. Faure-Favier’s novel emerges as remarkable in its preoccupation with foregrounding the subversive agency of both women and colonized men. More broadly, this consideration of mimicry in the French colonial context generates new frameworks for the interpretation of complex historical figures. Through the rediscovery of Blanche et Noir, this article offers a decisive account of the previously unrecognized achievements of female modernist authors across Europe who engaged with categories of gender, race, and class in groundbreaking ways, thus leading to a significant shift in the existing understanding of gender, race, and modernism.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)91-111
Number of pages21
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - 10 Aug 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • French
  • human zoo
  • race
  • aviation
  • women’s writing
  • mimicry
  • postcolonial theory


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