New Book: French Women Choosing Childlessness

Voicing Voluntary Childlessness: Narratives of Non-Mothering in French by Natalie Edwards presents voices of childlessness in France, a country in which childlessness is less common than in most western nations.

From the book announcement:

‘Voicing Voluntary Childlessness is a compelling, beautifully written and timely study of what it means to reject motherhood. Through careful analysis of the form and content of recent French-language literary works, Edwards shows how long-standing expectations of women, as well as the assumptions underlying them, are being challenged.’ – Professor Karin Schwerdtner, University of Western Ontario

‘At times defiant or doubtful, humorous or melancholic, the texts presented in this book provide us with a new paradigm for the study of the volatile yet rarely explored topic of childlessness.’ – Professor Mireille Rosello, University of Amsterdam

‘Without a doubt, Natalie Edwards’ study constitutes an important contribution to the field of literary motherhood studies by drawing our attention to a voice that is too often overlooked.’ – Dr Julie Rodgers, Maynooth University

The decision to reject motherhood is the subject of several key works of literature in French since the new millennium. This book explores how women narrate their decision not to mother, the issues that they face in doing so and the narrative techniques that they employ to justify their stories. It brings together authors who stake out a new terrain, creating a textual space in which to take ownership of their childlessness and call for new understandings of female identity beyond maternity.

Natalie Edwards is Senior Lecturer in French Studies and member of the Fay Gale Centre for Research on Gender at the University of Adelaide, Australia.

Voicing Voluntary Childlessness is the latest publication in the Studies in Contemporary Women’s Writing series edited by Gill Rye.

Oxford, 2016. 212 pp. £42.00

Studies in Contemporary Women’s Writing, Volume 3

Series Editor: Gill Rye

ISBN 978-3-0343-1809-9 pb.

ISBN 978-3-0353-0795-5 eBook

Available for purchase from

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© 2016 by Rachel Chrastil