Hélène Cixous


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

Author Quotes

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.

Suddenly I'd had Enough and this was no turn of phrase but a warm body, nervous, with a constitution I could count on like a younger brother. That's when I told my mother: on the other side it's really underdeveloped. We're going back. Really, I said: I want to go back, not possible unless Mummy who is part of me comes too. We wait in the empty street at the stop for Lethe, the only bus that runs both ways. My mother is losing patience. The bus doesn't come. It's not easy to wait for a bus you've heard is the only one that runs both ways. I check the guidebook. Neither Canto XIV of the Iliad nor Canto XI of the Odyssey mentions the place. Just what you'd expect for Lethe I tell myself. Naturally forgetfulness attracts attention to itself by means of absence and omission. But for my mother the bus not turning up is the theme of her nightmares. I explain that in this country one comes along every quarter of an hour...To signal to the vehicle that one wishes to board Oblivion Return one must fan open the grille by pressing a button and lighting up the small lantern on the top of the archway, which I did. It's the one gleam of hope in this world.

To fly/steal is woman?s gesture, to steal into language to make it fly.

Whereas subjectivity is the wealth we have in common and by definition, the subject is the non-closed mix of self/s and others; the human subject who, in the Bible for example, calls himself our like. No I without you ever or more precisely no I's without you's. I is always our like. When I explore I -- I take as object of observation a human sample. There is no true art which does not take as its source or root the universal regions of subjectivity.

Everything remains to be said on the subject of the Ghost and the ambiguity of the Return, for what renders it intolerable is not so much that it is an announcement of death nor even the proof that death exists, since this Ghost announces and proves nothing more than his return. What is intolerable is that the Ghost erases the limit which exists between two states, neither alive nor dead ; passing through, the dead man returns in the manner of the Repressed. It is his coming back which makes the ghost what he is, just as it is the return of the Repressed that inscribes the repression. In the end, death is never anything more than the disturbance of the limits. The impossible is to die.

What we hope for at the School of Dreams is the strength both to deal and to receive the axe's blow, to look straight at the face of God, which is none other than my own face, but seen naked, the face of my soul. The face of "God" is the unveiling, the staggering vision fo the construction we are, the tiny and great lies, the small nontruths we must have incessantly woven to be able to prepare our brothers' dinner and cook for our children. An unveiling that only happens by surprise, by accident, and with a brutality that shatters: under the blow of truth, the eggshell we are breaks. Right in the middle of life's path: the apocalypse; we lose a life.

It takes a great deal of effort to make truth in writing so that the truth as one dreams it may have the best chance of being - not approached, not glimpsed - but better dreamed.

Writing is the delicate, difficult, and dangerous means of succeeding in avowing the unavowable.

Meditation needs no results. Meditation can have itself as an end, I meditate without words and on nothingness. What tangles my life is writing.

Censor the body and you censor breath and speech at the same time. Write yourself. Your body must be heard.

Thought has always worked by opposition... By dual, hierarchized oppositions... Wherever an ordering intervenes, a law organizes the thinkable by (dual, irreconcilable; or mitigable, dialectical) oppositions. And all the couples of oppositions are couples.

The time, the people, and the individual converge only once.

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