Anandrynes is a neologism formed by the privative prefix an- and the noun andros, “man”, which literally means “without men”. When looking for the origin of this expression, we found it to be a mixture of fiction and reality that emerged at the end of the 18th century. We don’t know yet, for the moment, if it is a literary creation, or if it has an earlier and different origin.
The fiction of the slang Anandrynes comes from the publication (London 1784) of an apology and 3 letters in number 10 of the erotic magazine L’Espion Anglais, by the author Pidansat de Mairobert. The Apologie de la secte anandryne ou Exhortation d’une jeune tribade par Mlle Raucourt (Apology for the Anandryne sect or Exhortation of a young tribade woman by Mademoiselle Raucourt) explains the rules and rituals of the Anandrine cult, and the 3 letters recount Miss Sapho’s experiences in the Anandrine cult, her later conversion to heterosexuality, and her end as a prostitute. After the French revolution the text was reissued several times and under different titles, such as Anandria ou Confessions de Mademoiselle Sapho, which contained les détails de sa réception dans la sect anandrine, sous la présidence de Mlle Raucourt, & ses diversitys aventures (1789) (Anandria or Confessions of miss Sapho, containing the details of her joining the Anandrine sect, under the presidency of Mademoiselle Raucourt, and her various adventures).
The reality of the slang Anandrynes is found in the French actress Françoise Raucourt, also known as Mademoiselle Raucourt (1756-1815), member of the council (1776) of the Comédie-Française or Théâtre Français (National Theater) and founder of a second Théâtre -Français (or Louvois room) in 1796. Opposed to the French revolution, she was sent to prison (1793), where she met the woman with whom she spent the rest of her life, Henriette Simonnet de Ponty. Many things were said about this great woman, but none of them we know for sure. In different pamphlets and gossip of that patriarchal society, she was said to belong to the Anandrin cult, and was the protagonist of numerous scandals with both sexes, wheteher real or invented. It is not strange, therefore, that the name became coincidentally the name of a protagonist of erotic work, or that it was said the objective of that supposed cult was to annihilate men, or that during the 1780s the Raucourt surname was a synonym for lesbian.
Read: Anandria ou Confessions de Mademoiselle Sapho, contenant les détails de sa réception dans la secte anandrine, sous la présidence de Mlle Raucourt, & ses diverses aventures.
Read: La secte des anandrynes ou les liaisons scandaleuses de Mlle Raucourt
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