Straightening Out Serge Mouret: Confession And Conversion In Zola's La Faute De L'abbé Mouret

This essay considers the role the Catholic confessional plays in manufacturing a more normalized masculinity for the effeminate hero of Zola's La Faute de l'abbé Mouret (1875). While many view Serge Mouret's erotic metamorphosis as an incomplete or even failed transformation, this article highlights the durability of those changes by comparing the masculine reputation of the priest both before and after he confesses his faute. A private act with public ramifications, the practice of auricular confession transmits in this novel a dominant moral vision of masculinity in which men are expected to lead lives of sexual excess, and in which normative male sexuality is assumed to be largely uncontrollable. (WE)

Edwards, Wade.
Volume 2005-2006 Fall-Winter; 34(1-2): 75-88.