In his 1851 Essai sur les Femmes (translated and read only in the France of the Third Republic) Arthur Schopenhauer presented women as fixed in a latent stage between man and child. And it is from the seed of this misogyny that the femme enfant concept flourished in the naturalist, symbolist, decadent and even realist texts of that time period, as Mireille Dottin-Orsini has shown in her book, Cette Femme qu’ils disent fatale. While the question of the femme fatale is rarely avoided in scholarship between the years of 1870 and 1914, she is, for the most part, a seductive actress or a vamp-like prostitute whose age has very little to do with her dangerousness. However, Agnès Thiercé has shown that teenagehood is a historical construct of these very years : young women are hence fatal because they do not submit to pre-existing categories of thoughts. Considering the representation of these young girls (beyond childhood and not yet adult) is the goal of the panel – which will hence concentrate on the less frequently studied young side of the femme fatale.
cf : A young Salomé versus an “older” one.