Jeunes filles en serre chaude

Jeunes filles en serre chaude (Young girls in a hothouse) is a 1934 novel by the French author Jeanne Galzy. Its protagonists are young women at the École normale supérieure de jeunes filles in Sèvres, a suburb of Paris, at the time a girls-only school. The school, which Galzy herself attended, trained girls especially as teachers for the secondary education system.[1] The background for the events in the novel is the 50th anniversary of the secondary school system for women;[2] it is one of many French novels and other (autobiographical) texts of the period in which authors' school and university experiences were recounted.[3]

Cover, 1934

Following Burnt Offering (1929) and Les Démons de la solitude (1931), it is the third novel by Galzy (this one with a "seductive title"[4]) to explore lesbian desire.[5][6] The intergenerational love in the novel (between a teacher, Gladys Benz, and a student, Isabelle, told from Isabelle's point of view) is likewise a reflection of Galzy's own experiences.[7] The school was reputed to be a "breeding ground of homosexual relationship", and had earlier been the subject of a novel exploring same-sex desire, Les Sévriennes (1900) by Gabrielle Reval.[8]

Like most of Galzy's novels, Jeunes filles is neglected by modern readers,[2][7] though it did attract some attention at the time of publication. A French reviewer remarked that the novel shows that "overworked brains" sometimes fall prey to "dangerous aberrations".[9] A brief note in The Modern Language Journal remarked that "trivial but intensely human emotional reactions are realistically depicted",[10] and the 1935 New International Year Book warned that the students depicted in the book have a "strong emotional reaction of an undesirable nature".[11] The book is no longer in print; passages from it were anthologized in a 1985 collection of erotic women's literature.[12]


  1. ^ Fox, Robert (2012). The Savant and the State: Science and Cultural Politics in Nineteenth-Century France. JHU Press. p. 288. ISBN 9781421405223.
  2. ^ a b Milligan, Jennifer E. (1996). The Forgotten Generation: French Women Writers of the Inter-war Period. Berg. pp. 97–98. ISBN 9781859731185.
  3. ^ Gerbod, Paul (1954). "L'Université et la littérature en France de 1919 a 1939". Revue d'histoire moderne et contemporaine (in French). 25 (1): 129–44. doi:10.3406/rhmc.1978.1009. JSTOR 20528445.
  4. ^ Paul, Harry W. (2011). Henri de Rothschild, 1872-1947: Medicine and Theater. Ashgate. pp. 47 n.47. ISBN 9781409405153.
  5. ^ Waelti-Walters, Jennifer R. (2000). Damned women: lesbians in French novels, 1796-1996. McGill-Queen's Press. pp. 99–102. ISBN 978-0-7735-2110-0.
  6. ^ Tamagne, Florence (2000). Histoire de l'homosexualité en Europe: Berlin, Londres, Paris, 1919-1939 (in French). Éd. du Seuil. ISBN 9782020348843. Retrieved 14 June 2013.
  7. ^ a b Hawthorne, Melanie C. (2000). "Leçon de Philo/Lesson in Love: Simone de Beauvoir's Intellectual Passion and the Mobilization of Desire". In Melanie C. Hawthorne (ed.). Contingent Loves: Simone De Beauvoir and Sexuality. University of Virginia Press. pp. 55–83. ISBN 9780813919744. Retrieved 14 June 2013.
  8. ^ Tamagne, Florence (2006). A history of homosexuality in Europe: Berlin, London, Paris, 1919-1939. Algora. p. 139. ISBN 978-0-87586-355-9.
  9. ^ Schinz, Albert (1935). "L'Année littéraire mil neuf cent trente-quatre". The Modern Language Journal (in French). 19 (8): 561–70. doi:10.2307/315370. JSTOR 315370. Ce sont les étudiantes de l'École de Sèvres dont les cerveaux surmenés causent parfois des aberrations dangereuses.
  10. ^ "Recent French Books". The Modern Language Journal. 20 (1): 45–50. 1935. doi:10.1111/j.1540-4781.1935.tb02653.x. JSTOR 315502.
  11. ^ The New International Year Book. Dodd, Mead and Company. 1935. p. 255.
  12. ^ Brécourt-Villars, Claudine, ed. (1985). Ecrire d'amour: anthologie de textes érotiques féminins, 1799-1984. Éd. Ramsay. ISBN 9782859564292.