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Der Papiertiger: Restif de la Bretonne

 
   
   
   
   
   
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Eigentlich Nicolas-Edme Restif (1734-1806). Französischer Autor und Typograph.

Havelock Ellis schreibt in seinen "Studies in the Psychology of Sex" (1) über ihn (wird eines Tages durch die deutsche Übersetzung ersetzt):

Probably the first case of shoe-fetichism ever recorded in any detail is that of Restif de la Bretonne (1734-1806), publicist and novelist, one of the most remarkable literary figures of the later eighteenth century in France. Restif was a neurotic subject, though not to an extreme degree, and his shoe-fetichism, though distinctly pronounced, was not pathological; that is to say, that the shoe was not itself an adequate gratification of the sexual impulse, but simply a highly important aid to tumescence, a prelude to the natural climax of detumescence; only occasionally, and faute de mieux, in the absence of the beloved person, was the shoe used as an adjunct to masturbation. In Restif's stories and elsewhere the attraction of the shoe is frequently discussed or used as a motive. His first decided literary success, Le Pied de Fanchette, was suggested by a vision of a girl with a charming foot, casually seen in the street. While all such passages in his books are really founded on his own personal feelings and experiences, in his elaborate autobiography, Monsieur Nicolas, he has frankly set forth the gradual evolution and cause of his idiosyncrasy. The first remembered trace dated from the age of 4, when he was able to recall having remarked the feet of a young girl in his native place. Restif was a sexually precocious youth, and at the age of 9, though both delicate in health and shy in manners, his thoughts were already absorbed in the girls around him. "While little Monsieur Nicolas," he tells us, "passed for a Narcissus, his thoughts, as soon as he was alone, by night or by day, had no other object than that sex he seemed to flee from. The girls most careful of their persons were naturally those who pleased him most, and as the part least easy to keep clean is that which touches the earth it was to the foot-gear that he mechanically gave his chief attention. Agathe, Reine, and especially Madeleine, were the most elegant of the girls at that time; their carefully selected and kept shoes, instead of laces or buckles, which were not yet worn at Sacy, had blue or rose ribbon, according to the color of the skirt. I thought of these girls with emotion; I desired - I knew not what; but I desired something, if it were only to subdue them." The origin Restif here assigns to his shoe-fetichism may seem paradoxical; he admired the girls who were most clean and neat in their dress, he tells us, and, therefore, paid most attention to that part of their clothing which was least clean and neat. But, however paradoxical the remark may seem, it is psychologically sound. All fetichism is a kind of not necessarily morbid obsession, and as the careful work of Janet and others in that field has shown, an obsession is a fascinated attraction to some object or idea which gives the subject a kind of emotional shock by its contrast to its habitual moods or ideas. The ordinary morbid obsession cannot usually be harmoniously co-ordinated with the other experiences of the subject's daily life, and shows, therefore, no tendency to become pleasurable. Sexual fetichisms, on the other hand, have a reservoir of agreeable emotion to draw on, and are thus able to acquire both stability and harmony. It will also be seen that no element of masochism is involved in Restif's fetichism, though the mistake has been frequently made of supposing that these two manifestations are usually or even necessarily allied. Restif wishes to subject the girl who attracts him, he has no wish to be subjected by her. He was especially dazzled by a young girl from another town, whose shoes were of a fashionable cut, with buckles, "and who was a charming person besides." She was delicate as a fairy, and rendered his thoughts unfaithful to the robust beauties of his native Sacy. "No doubt," he remarks, "because, being frail and weak myself, it seemed to me that it would be easier to subdue her." "This taste for the beauty of the feet," he continues, "was so powerful in me that it unfailingly aroused desire and would have made me overlook ugliness. It is excessive in all those who have it." He admired the foot as well as the shoe: "The factitious taste for the shoe is only a reflection of that for pretty feet. When I entered a house and saw the boots arranged in a row, as is the custom, I would tremble with pleasure; I blushed and lowered my eyes as if in the presence of the girls themselves. With this vivacity of feeling and a voluptuousness of ideas inconceivable at the age of 10 I still fled, with an involuntary impulse of modesty, from the girls I adored."

We may clearly see how this combination of sensitive and precocious sexual ardor with extreme shyness, furnished the soil on which the germ of shoe-fetichism was able to gain a firm root and persist in some degree throughout a long life very largely given up to a pursuit of women, abnormal rather by its excessiveness than its perversity. A few years later, he tells us, he happened to see a pretty pair of shoes in a bootmaker's shop, and on hearing that they belonged to a girl whom at that time he reverently adored at a distance he blushed and nearly fainted.

In 1749 he was for a time attracted to a young woman very much older than himself; he secretly carried away one of her slippers and kept it for a day; a little later he again took away a shoe of the same woman which had fascinated him when on her foot, and, he seems to imply, he used it to masturbate with.

Perhaps the chief passion of Restif's life was his love for Colette Parangon. He was still a boy (1752), she was the young and virtuous wife of the printer whose apprentice Restif was and in whose house he lived. Madame Parangon, a charming woman, as she is described, was not happily married, and she evidently felt a tender affection for the boy whose excessive love and reverence for her were not always successfully concealed. "Madonna Parangon," he tells us, "possessed a charm which I could never resist, a pretty little foot; it is a charm which arouses more than tenderness. Her shoes, made in Paris, had that voluptuous elegance which seems to communicate soul and life. Sometimes Colette wore shoes of simple white drugget or with silver flowers; sometimes rose-colored slippers with green heels, or green with rose heels; her supple feet, far from deforming her shoes, increased their grace and rendered the form more exciting." One day, on entering the house, he saw Madame Parangon elegantly dressed and wearing rose-colored shoes with tongues, and with green heels and a pretty rosette. They were new and she took them off to put on green slippers with rose heels and borders which he thought equally exciting. As soon as she had left the room, he continues, "carried away by the most impetuous passion and idolizing Colette, I seemed to see her and touch her in handling what she had just worn; my lips pressed one of these jewels, while the other, deceiving the sacred end of nature, from excess of exaltation replaced the object of sex (I cannot express myself more clearly). The warmth which she had communicated to the insensible object which had touched her still remained and gave a soul to it; a voluptuous cloud covered my eyes." He adds that he would kiss with rage and transport whatever had come in close contact with the woman he adored, and on one occasion eagerly pressed his lips to her cast-off underlinen, vela secretiora penetralium.

At this period Restif's foot-fetichism reached its highest point of development. It was the aberration of a highly sensitive and very precocious boy. While the preoccupation with feet and shoes persisted throughout life, it never became a complete perversion and never replaced the normal end of sexual desire. His love for Madam Parangon, one of the deepest emotions in his whole life, was also a climax of his shoe-fetichism. She represented his ideal woman, an ethereal sylph with wasp-waist and a child's feet; it was always his highest praise for a woman that she resembled Madame Parangon, and he desired that her slipper should be buried with him. (Restif de la Bretonne, Monsieur Nicolas, vols. i-iv., vol. xiii, p.5; id, Mes Inscriptions, pp. ci-cv.)

Einige der deutschen Übersetzungen seiner Werke sind von der BPjS indiziert, die Details zu Ausgaben und Erscheinungsjahren konnten wir bisher nicht klären. Wir arbeiten dran.

Werke:
Anti-Justine (Jahr? Details?)
Le Piéd de Fanchète, ou Le Soulier couleur-de-rose (1769)
Le Paysan perverti (1775)
Les Parisiennes (1787)
L'année des dames nationales, ou Histoire, jour-par-jour d'une femme de France (1791)
Monsieur Nicolas (1794-97)

Über den Autor: "Bibliographie et Iconographie de tous les ouvrages de Restif de la Bretonne"
Autobiographie: "Monsieur Nicolas: Or, The Human Heart Laid Bare, trans., ed., and abridged by Robert Baldick" (1966)
A. Porter: "Restif's Novels: Or, An Autobiography in Search of an Author" (1967)
Mark Poster: "The Utopian Thought of Restif de la Bretonne" (1971).

Literaturhinweise:

1 Ellis, Havelock:
    Studies in the Psychology of Sex  [Details]

 

Synonyme: Bretonne, Restif de la, Retif de la Bretonne, de la Bretonne, Restif

Siehe auch: Schuhfetischismus, Fußfetischismus, Retifismus

Auf diesen Eintrag verweisen: Retifismus

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Stand: 29.11.2000.

 

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