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Readings: The Poetics of Blanchot, Joyce, Kakfa, Kleist, Lispector, and Tsvetayeva

Hélène Cixous
Edited, translated, and introduced by Verena Andermatt Conley
Volume: 77
Copyright Date: 1991
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 176
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Book Description:

    A leader in the feminist intellectual movement, Cixous presents this highly informative meditation on ethics and poetics which draws on philosophy and psychoanalysis.

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-8376-5
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. ix-xiv)

    The present volume can be read side by side withReading with Clarice Lispector(University of Minnesota Press, 1990). The readings included were given in seminar form by Hélène Cixous between 1980 and 1986 at the Université de Paris VIII, at the Centre d’Etudes Féminines. The selections are my own, except for the passages on Kleist that Cixous wished to have included. The organization into chapters, as well as the selection of about 600 pages for the two volumes from among the original 2,500 pages, are also my own. I kept those passages that seemed the most significant — at...

  5. Chapter 1 Writing and the Law: Blanchot, Joyce, Kafka, and Lispector
    (pp. 1-27)

    I want to work on texts that are as close as possible to an inscription — conscious or unconscious — of the origin of the gesture of writing and not of writing itself. Writing is already something finished, something that follows the drive to write. Such texts could be expected to be among the writer’s firstborn that are not afraid to be so. Clarice Lispector’sNear to the Wild Heartis just such a text.’ Its title is a quotation from Joyce’sPortrait of the Artist as a Young Man

    What does it mean to work on texts that are...

  6. Chapter 2 Grace and Innocence: Heinrich von Kleist
    (pp. 28-73)

    At the heart of my reading, there will be the question of confidence. What is confidence and what is its value? I am also thinking about something else that, seemingly very far from this question, belongs to it. I am going to work on love, on who loves whom, not in a kind of way but at the summit, at the apogee, where it is possible to speak of an economy of love in terms of the gift.

    This kind of love is related to a movement that can be read in Heinrich von Kleist, Clarice Lispector, Torquato Tasso, and...

  7. Chapter 3 Apprenticeship and Alienation: Clarice Lispector and Maurice Blanchot
    (pp. 74-109)

    In reading “The Foreign Legion,” I once again experienced the density of Clarice Lispector’s writing. The arrival of a chick in the house around Christmas time reminds Clarice of a former neighbor’s daughter, Ofélia, and of her encounter with a little chick at Easter time. A first surface is openly narrative, whence we could work on various types of narration. But little by little, a vast network of philosophical significations imposes itself. Clarice develops a philosophy of the world, with its laws and its economy, in her short texts but not in her long texts such asThe Apple in....

  8. Chapter 4 Poetry, Passion, and History: Marina Tsvetayeva
    (pp. 110-152)

    I want to work on passion as path and on the encounter, perhaps the straggle, between passion and history. All this, for me, goes through the inscription of passion in writing. In the ensemble of texts one can choose from, a certain number burn either positively or negatively, with love or regret. At the intersection of passion, history, and writing, the texts of some Russian women poets are the most compelling. Marina Tsvetayeva and Anna Akhmatova write toward the individual but also toward what I will not call the masses, since the word is synonymous with death — and if...

  9. Index
    (pp. 153-156)
  10. Back Matter
    (pp. 157-159)