Madeleine Schwartz

Madeleine Schwartz is the Milena Jesenská Fellow at the Institut für die Wissenschaften vom Menschen in Vienna.

Since September, I have been going to a specially built room in the Palais de Justice, a few hundred metres from Notre-Dame, or to a smaller room across the marble hall, where journalists follow the proceedings, tweet and produce their daily reports. The courtroom has a capacity of 550 and has often been full: most of the attendees are survivors of the attacks. It is built of wood, complete with inlays so that the statues personifying justice and eloquence can be seen. The discussions that take place inside are the result of five years of investigation. The work has been careful and painstaking. But the trial is being conducted in a France changed by the attacks, where questions of terrorism, religion and social coherence are often confused and debated with little regard for facts. In this room, on days that have slipped from descriptions of extreme violence to grandstanding, I have wondered if the court can set aside what is happening outside it. Can France judge terrorism when terrorism is transforming its political system?

No Such Thing as Women: Reproduction Anxiety

Madeleine Schwartz, 23 September 2021

It’​s hard not to read the title of Mieko Kawakami’s first novel, Breasts and Eggs, as some kind of provocation. I keep seeing them in front of me – a perverted breakfast, breasts over easy, with a side of ketchup. What are they doing there, those breasts and eggs?

If we had a real choice: Sophie Mackintosh

Madeleine Schwartz, 21 January 2021

Does​ Sophie Mackintosh believe we would be better off in a world without men? When her first novel, The Water Cure, came out several months after the height of the #MeToo movement, a number of reviews focused on the idea of ‘toxic masculinity’ made real. On a remote island, or what they think is a remote island, three sisters – Grace, Lia and Sky – have been helping...

About to Pop: Kathleen Collins

Madeleine Schwartz, 4 July 2019

Only one​ of Kathleen Collins’s stories was published before she died of breast cancer at the age of 46 in 1988. Only one of her screenplays was made into a film. That film, Losing Ground, was completed but not given a full release in her lifetime. The world did not, and still does not, leave doors open for black women artists. ‘I wouldn’t blame you for being a...

None of it is your material: What Zelda Did

Madeleine Schwartz, 18 April 2019

Véra Nabokov​, Nora Joyce, Ann Malamud, Vivien Eliot – the list of literary victim-wives is long, but none commands as much attention as Zelda Fitzgerald. Recent years have treated her husband unkindly, or maybe truthfully, exposing more drinking and more affairs, but decades after Zelda’s death in a North Carolina asylum, her cult is teeming with new acolytes. Christina...

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