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From Sade at one end of the nineteenth century to Freud at the other, via many French novelists and poets, pleasure and pain become ever more closely entwined. Whereas the inseparability of these themes has hitherto been studied from isolated perspectives, such as psychoanalysis, sadism and sado-masochism, melancholy, or post-structuralist textual jouissance , the originality of this collaborative volume lies in its exploration of how pleasure and pain function across a broader range of contexts. The essays collected here demonstrate how the complex relationship between pleasure and pain plays a vital role in structuring nineteenth-century thinking in prose fiction (Balzac, Flaubert, Musset, Maupassant, Zola), verse and the memoir as well as socio-cultural studies, medical discourses, aesthetic theory and the visual arts. Featuring an international selection of contributors representing the full range of approaches to scholarship in nineteenth-century French studies – historical, literary, cultural, art historical, philosophical, and sociopolitical – the volume attests to the vitality, coherence and interdisciplinarity of nineteenth-century French studies and will be of interest to a wide cross-section of scholars and students of French literature, society and culture.