Le Supplice d'une femme: "MM. XX" Spelling Double Trouble For Paternal Authority

The present study considers the figure of authority, troubled by literary collaboration, through the metaphor of paternity, as it relates to Le Supplice d'une femme, a play that premiered on 29 April 1865, without any authorial attribution whatsoever. The striking parallel between, on the one hand, a play disowned by its two figures of paternal authority and, on the other, a daughter who is caught between two manifestations of paternity is a useful object lesson that speaks to issues of literary authority during the Second Empire. This article thus adds to the recent scholarship on collaboration in nineteenth-century French literature, treating seriously the often maligned and "popular" genre of theater to show precisely the fundamental tensions at play therein.