Literary circles in France are excited about a new book that is likely to be published early next year. The author of the book is Vanessa Springora, who runs a French publishing house. In his book, he has accused French author Gabriel Matzneff, 83, of child abuse. The book has sparked controversy over the attitudes of the French elite and the literary world towards pedophiles. The Guardian has reported that the French author is now 83 years old and has denied the charges.
Vanessa Springora is now 47 years old.
She is writing about events that occurred many decades ago when she was only 14 years old. She claims in her book that it was “groomed” by Gabriel Matzneff at a time when she was a minor. The book “Le Consentement (Consent)” will be published next week. Attention to the book has been more pronounced since allegations surfaced against Harvey Weinstein, the Hollywood film producer, in 2017.
Vanessa is very candid in her book, making it clear that there was no coercion involved. She adds that she cannot deny that she gave her consent to a man 36 years her senior.
She goes on to say that the entire episode needs to be seen in the proper perspective, as she was only 14 years old and her parents were going through a difficult divorce when Gabriel Matzneff petitioned for her. He would be waiting for her at the school gate and then he would take her to a hotel. Before that, he would follow her and write letters. According to the writer, Matzneff would take her to a hotel, to divert the authorities, since there were doubts about his relationship with a young woman.
The book is not an autobiography, but the full story is presented in the form of a novel. She does not say the name of the writer but only to him by his initials GM. However, there is no doubt that he is referring to the writer Matzneff, who is now 83 years old. The Telegraph has reported that Matzneff has won many prestigious awards during his writing career, although he acknowledged having a relationship with minors, including young children in the Philippines.
The influence of the writer is evident as the entire literary world overlooked his actions. Matzneff had stated publicly on French television many times that he was attracted to girls and adolescents. He had discussed his relationship with girls who were over 15 years old, since in France the age of consent is 15. This was probably why Matzell was careful to mention that the girls who entered his life were all older than that age.
Matzell’s attitude can be measured by the fact that he wrote an open letter in which he asked for the release of three men who were in preventive prison and accused of having a relationship with boys of 13 and 14 years old.
At that time, even famous writers like Jean-Paul Sartre and Simon de Beauvoir supported this action.
Matzell has expressed his “sadness” at the content of the book. You feel that the goal of the writer is to belittle your work and damage your reputation. The truth is that the French literary world at that time did not consider it immoral to have a relationship with teenage girls and that is why not much was said about this type of relationship. Bernard Pivot, who was a celebrated critic and journalist at the time, has stated that times have changed and what was moral then is now considered taboo.
One example is S Marin, who is now Finland’s prime minister and changing morale has accepted that she can be a leader even if she has a child out of wedlock.