Monday, November 01, 2004

Helen Cixous and Woman's Writing

I was reading Feminism Art Theory and browsing some articles and I found Helen Cixous’s writings so interesting. Although I do not agree with her in many parts, I can not avoid the power that her writings give me as a woman. Here is her biography and some small parts filled with The Power of her thinking:
Censor the body and you censor breath and speech at the same time. Write yourself. Your body must be heard.
-- "The Laugh of the Medusa"*
Writing: as if I had the urge to go on enjoying, to feel full, to push, to feel the force of my muscles, and my harmony, to be pregnant and at the same time to give myself the joys of parturition, the joys of both the mother and the child. To give birth to myself and to nurse myself, too. Life summons life. Pleasure seeks renewal.
-- "Coming to Writing"*
Myth ends up having our hides. Logos opens up its great maw and swallows us whole.
--"Coming to Writing"*

Cixous was born in Oran, Algeria in 1937, which was a colony of France, and was raised in a German-Jewish household. She received her agregation in English in 1959 and her Docteur en lettres in 1968. Cixous has taught at many different universities throughout France including the University of Bordeaux (1962), the Sorbonne (1965-67), and Nanterre (1967).
In the 1970's Cixous became involved in exploring the relationship between sexuality and writing, the same kinds of work being done by theorists like Kristeva, Barthes, Derrida, and Irigaray (Shiach). In this time period she composed such influential works as "Sortie," "The Laugh of the Medusa," and "Coming to Writing."
Since the authoring of these texts in the seventies, Cixous has become even more mysterious and complex, but has somewhat lessened her radical ideology for a more inclusive exploration of collective identities. She is currently an English literature professor at the University of Paris VIII-Vincennes where she has established a center for women's studies and is a co-founder of the structuralist journal Poetique*.


1 comment:

Hesam.N from Iran said...

Cangradulation Roja for your weblog!
I am Hasam Namakin, a Cultural Studies M.A student in Allame University,Tehran,Iran. Actually I am working on French poststructuralist feminists including Kristeva,Cixous and Irigaray. It was interesting for me to find sb with the same favorite. I will be glad if you are interested to make connection to me by sending an e-mail to "".
Congratulation once more,
Happy -an Iranian- new year and
have a nice time!