Semester of Graduation

December 2019


Master of Arts (MA)


French Studies

Document Type



The following thesis analyzes, expands, and departs from Margaret Waller’s male malady theory, as she details in her article, “Cherchez La Femme: Male Malady and Narrative Politics in the French Romantic Novel.” Departures from Waller’s theory include the exploration of a dichotomous female protagonist and how her sexual presence threatens patriarchal order. Male protagonists, suffering from patriarchal alienation, must dispose of this female threat and thus restore order if they are to return to society. Using Atala by Chateaubriand, La fille aux yeux d’or by Honoré de Balzac, and Carmen by Prosper Mérimée as case studies, the thesis also argues that male malady does not only pertain to novels of the Romantic period, but appears in various novels of different genres in the 19th-century.

Committee Chair

Peters-Hill, Rosemary

Available for download on Wednesday, October 28, 2026