How Mona Chollet intends to “reinvent love”

“Reinventing love. How the patriarchy sabotages heterosexual relations ”, by Mona Chollet, Zones, 272 p., € 19, digital € 13.

The literary prize The world 2021 recently devoted Jacqueline Jacqueline (Seuil), where the director and writer Jean-Claude Grumberg retraces a life of complicity with his late wife, sixty years of tumult and tenderness between two beings that a homeless man had baptized ” inseparable “. A few weeks later, Mona Chollet could have cited the Grumberg in her new essay, she who salutes the magnificent Letter to D. (Galilée, 2006), in which the philosopher André Gorz celebrated Dorine, companion of an existence.

Read also (2018): “Witches”, by Mona Chollet. How witches became feminist symbols

Why start the review of the new Chollet like this, Reinvent love. How the patriarchy sabotages heterosexual relationships ? Undoubtedly because, from the first lines, we are moved by his art of quotation, his way of making reference, his very personal way, both soft and solid, of summoning up such and such a book, such comic, such series. But above all to underline what gives the book its nerve and its vulnerability.

Mona Chollet is not afraid to place herself in the field of love in the most conventional sense of the term, she is not afraid to pass for a blue flower, she braves ridicule all the better if she dares to use big words. : “Love gives me the feeling of greatly increasing the flame under the cauldron of life, to the point of expanding it, of densifying it”, she enthuses. While keeping a distance from “Magazine sermons”, she knows very well that her way of approaching the subject will hardly pass for subversive in the present moment: “By choosing this subject, I know that I condemn myself to roll miserably at the foot of the podium of feminist radicalism”, she quips.

“Old game” side

This radicalism, she knows it, she has read the texts which make it shine in the United States and in France, she is inspired by it on more than one point. However, she admits it very quickly, a bit embarrassed: polyamory is foreign to her, “feminist porn” leaves her unmoved, and she does not consider that the lesbian experience is the only way to end domination. masculine. In short, the love that Mona Chollet wishes to re-found is heterosexual, monogamous and even faithful love. This “old-fashioned” side is redoubled by his own method: while a certain “neofeminism” tends to make the past a clean sweep, Chollet readily draws on it.

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