Hélène Cixous


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

Author Quotes

Love is when you suddenly wake up as a cannibal, and not just any old cannibal, or else wake up destined for devourment.

Quickening.They have to be written to the quick, on the now, Live, All these scenes, all these events which only happen once...If you do not grab them in the instant they pass, these pulsations are lost forever.

They have always been there. I do not know them. I have never looked at them. I 'know' they are there. Their presence. Roots. Mine? My so strange roots.

What to say of the Devil? What has the Devil to say of us. Diabolos. der Teufel. le diable. Tchort. dia does he say dispersion ... and he disperses he is the enemy of the point which claims to posit, to nail down.

You only have to look at the Medusa straight on to see her. And she?s not deadly. She?s beautiful and she?s laughing.

Albums in ruins to be respected. It is memory itself. A place I do not return to. If we leaf through, we do it absent-mindedly, going by the open photos that fade to let me pass. I was born so far from my beginnings. I follow the bed of the blood. My distant blood, my foreigner, what a way we have come...

But I may also be afraid. I am afraid. I have already read it. And, not to lie to you, I liked it. But I am afraid. I am not afraid of you, Fidelia, Sania, Ania. I am afraid of you. (I put all this in my separate notebook. My doubtbook.)

If ever again we happened to lose our balance, just when sleepwalking through the same dream on the brink of hell?s valley, if ever the magical mare (whom I ride through the night air hollowed out into caverns and caves where wild animals live) in a crazy fit of anger over some word I might have said without the perfect sweetness that works on her like a charm, if ever the magic Mare looks over her shoulder and whinnies: So! You don?t love me! and bucks me off, sends me flying to the hyenas, if ever the paper ladder that I climb so easily to go pick stars for Promethea?at the very instant that I reach out my hand and it smells like fresh new moon, so good, it makes you believe in god?s genius?if ever at that very instant my ladder catches fire?because it is so fragile, all it would take is someone?s brushing against it tactlessly and all that would be left is ashes?if ever I had the dreadful luck again to find myself falling screaming down into the cruel guts of separation, and emptying all my being of hope, down to the last milligram of hope, until I am able to melt into the pure blackness of the abyss and be no more than night and a death rattle, I would really rather not be tumbling around without my pencil and paper.

Make can mean make. make. make and truth can be heard truly as truth. truth. truth...

Reading is not as insignificant as we claim. First we must steal the key to the library. Reading is a provocation, a rebellion: we open the book?s door, pretending it is a simple paperback cover, and in broad daylight escape! We are no longer there: this is what real reading is. If we haven?t left the room, if we haven?t gone over the wall, we?re not reading.

They will never forgive us for this Somewhere Else.

When a sin comes back (its memory) you absolutely must bury it. How to bury the memory of a sin that comes from a distant past? I shut it up in a clay pot. Then I dug right into the cold hard ground, deep down. Without of course telling anyone what I had in the pot,then I stuck this pot the size of a little quart saucepan into the ground and I covered the hole in the ground with ice for a long time, and that despite the presence of people who had no inkling what I was ridding myself of in this little improvised coffin.

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.

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