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Veiled DesiresIntimate Portrayals of Nuns in Postwar Anglo-American Film$
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Maureen Sabine

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780823251650

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823251650.001.0001

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Sacred Desires

Sacred Desires

Passion and Pathology in in this House of Brede (1975) and Agnes of God (1985)

(p.205) 5 Sacred Desires
Veiled Desires

Maureen Sabine

Fordham University Press

Chapter 5 considers why it should be that, in contrast to The Nun's Story, In This House of Brede and Agnes of God pathologize the intense mother-daughter relationships that bloom in the pseudo-family culture of the cloister. It suggests that the male filmmakers may have imagined the the claustral space as a claustrophic extension of the female emotional world of the home; and it reads the films against a Freudian discourse of psychosexual and gender tension in the oedipal family. It shows the ways in which the artistic input of women such as the novelist Rumer Godden who wrote In This House of Brede, the actress Diana Rigg who played the principal nun in the film version of Godden's novel and a French missionary superior thirty years later in The Painted Veil (2006), and the movie star activist Jane Fonda as forensic psychiatrist Dr. Martha Livingston in Agnes of God, open up alternative readings of passionate desire in these films.

Keywords:   In This House of Brede, Agnes of God, The Painted Veil, Mother-daughter relationship, Freudian oedipal theory, Cloister pathology, Diana Rigg, Rumer Godden, Jane Fonda

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