Infant voices: embryonic and neonatal personhood in two recent French Catholic novels

Brian Sudlow*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


There are almost no literary or artistic representations that take the unborn or neonatal infants as their subject. Two exceptions to this as Claire Daudin’s Le Sourire and Antoine Beauquier’s Pavillon 7: la révolte des embryons. What these novels share is the ambition to frame such subjects as full and complete persons. Thus in their distinct ways both novels engage with the familial, social and biological problems that arise when personhood is attributed to embryos or neo-natal infants. Their creation of an embryonic or infant ‘voice’ associates the dignity of such subjects with divine origins.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)47-63
Number of pages17
JournalLiterature and Theology
Issue number1
Early online date29 Sep 2015
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2017



  • personhood
  • unborn
  • neonatal Catholic novel
  • Daudin
  • Beauquier

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