Hélène Cixous


French Feminist Writer, Poet, Playwright, Philosopher, Literary Critic, Rhetorician and Professor

Author Quotes

All biographies like all autobiographies like all narratives tell one story in place of another story.

But is telling making?

If my desire is possible, it means the system is already letting something else through.

Me too, I make do, I anoint what cannot be fixed.

She alone dares and wishes to know from within, where she, the outcast, has never ceased to hear the resonance of fore-language. She lets the other language speak?the language of 1,000 tongues which knows neither enclosure nor death. To life she refuses nothing. Her language does not contain, it carries; it does not hold back, it makes possible.

This is what writing is: I one language, I another language, and between the two, the line that makes them vibrate; writing forms a passageway between two shores.

When I write, all those that we don?t know we can be write themselves from me, without exclusion, without prediction, and everything that we will be calls us to the tireless, intoxicating, tender-costly-search for love. We will never lack ourselves.

All I know: I could only encounter you, my oasis, coming out of a desert. Deserted myself. This is all right. My futureless and solitary self. When suddenly I hear the voice of the springs--Right away you made me want to sing. To cry. Then to drink. But after the desert, the merest trickle of water sounds like a storm. And ever since, Promethea's every murmur shakes my life like an earthquake. I was asleep. I was not thirsty. It would have been possible for me not to hear the first three tears. Ever since I never sleep. I listen.

Each time I have written or that I write a so-called "theoretical" text - in quotations because in reality my theoretical texts are also carried off by a poetic rhythm - it has been to respond to a moment of tension in cultural current events, where the ambient state of discourse - academic discourse, for example, or journalistic or political discourse - has pushed me to go back over things, to stop my journey and take the time to emphasize, to display in a didactic manner the thinking movement which for me was in-dissociable from my poetic movement, but which seemed to me to be entirely misunderstood, forgotten or repressed indeed by the topical scene.

In other words, there is more than one way to get past a wall and more than one wall to get past. The wall of sexual difference, because it seems to impermeable, is one to which H.C. keeps returning. What fascinates her is precisely the imagined possibility of getting past that wall.

Men have committed the greatest crime against women. Insidiously, violently, they have led them to hate women, to be their own enemies, to mobilize their immense strength against themselves, to be the executants of their virile needs.

So it gives us everything, it gives us the end of the world; to be human we need to experience the end of the world. We need to lose the world, to lose a world, and to discover that there is more than one world and that the world isn?t what we think it is. Without that, we know nothing about the mortality and immortality that we carry. We don?t know that we?re alive as long as we haven?t encountered death: these are the banalities that have been erased. And is isan act of grace.

This is what?s happening: together we are descending the stairs of the heart, which lead to the sources. (It is a secret staircase. I knew it existed. Which is why I avoided it. Because it leads to the other-life, deep, underground, the fluvial, the painful.) We are in the process of descending into the depths of the heart. To where bodies communicate with each other.

When I write, it's everything that we don't know we can be that is written out of me, without exclusions, without stipulation, and everything we will be calls us to the unflagging, intoxicating, unappeasable search for love. In one another we will never be lacking.

All I need is to open one of my beloved great books to find a print of the cloven hoof. He is there, black in the blackness or black on black. The hidden figure, incarnation of literature, his delict and delectable. What am I doing here? I am evoking the devil. I follow him everywhere, the indissociable dissociator.

Everyone knows that a place exists which is not economically or politically indebted to all the vileness and compromise. That is not obliged to reproduce the system. That is writing. If there is a somewhere else that can escape the infernal repetition, it lies in that direction, where it writes itself, where it dreams, where it invents new worlds.

In the beginning I adored. What I adored was human. Not persons; not totalitie, not defined and named beings. But signs. Flashes of being that glanced off me, kindling me. Lightening-like bursts that came to me. Look! I blazed up and the sign withdrew. Vanished. While I burned on and consumed myself wholly.

Mixed with the punishment, or before it or being it, literature makes its entry in the form of Avowal or Confession.

So little by little I climb towards life, in the straitjacket of my prison. I don't waste an ounce of air or sun. I explore I bring to light.

To be afraid is the condition of loving knowledge. Were I not dying of fear, I'd not know how to exist myself, I wouldn't get the notices of existence, I wouldn't record with delight the miniscule passage of a blue tit, its wing dipped in gold on the dusk. Were I not dying of sorrow I wouldn't with nostalgia be present at the creation of the world, the squirrel nuptials this morning I wouldn't care. Creatures are born to a backdrop of adieux.

When 'The Repressed' of their culture and their society come back, it is an explosive return, which is absolutely shattering, staggering, overturning, with a force never let loose before.

All that because Promethea is a woman? All this uproar, this trembling, this resistance? --Yes. No. Y-Yes... Naynayno. Whynoyes. Yes, Promethea is a woman. Yes, but because is a woman, that is not important. But no it precisely it?s not being important that is so important.

Everything she wanted to tell her, was unable to tell her, because she was afraid of hearing her own voice come out of her heart and be covered with blood, and then she poured all the blood into these syllables, and she offered it to her to drink like this : You have it.

In the synagogue of my heart... I myself jail and the jailed, I go wounded, bite-marked.

Myth ends up having our hides. Logos opens up its great maw and swallows us whole.

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French Feminist Writer, Poet, Playwright, Philosopher, Literary Critic, Rhetorician and Professor