The Femme Fatale: Images, Histories, Contexts

H Hanson, CG O'Rawe

Research output: Book/ReportEdited book


The fatal female figure has been a recurrent one in literature, the visual arts and cinema. Originating in early forms of stories and myths, such as those of Eve, the Sirens and Medusa, fatal women have been the focus of narratives of good and evil, of desire and danger and often mark societal boundaries and embody gender threat. This collection examines fatal femininity as a cultural preoccupation across different cultural contexts and historical epochs. The essays range from familiar cultural figures such as Salome and Mata Hari to the femme fatale of film noir, but the collection is united by two key questions: what is at stake in specific constructions of fatal women? How do these constructions relate to their historical and social contexts? Bringing together scholars from literature, film and the visual arts, the book traces the transmissions of the femme fatale across place and era and demonstrates the enduring potency of the femme fatale as a concept.
Translated title of the contributionThe Femme Fatale: Images, Histories, Contexts
Original languageEnglish
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages236
ISBN (Print)9780230203617
Publication statusPublished - 2010


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