Rewriting Difference: Luce Irigaray and "The Greeks"

Article excerpt

Elena Tzelepis & Athena Athanasiou (eds), Rewriting Difference: Luce Irigaray and "the Greeks", Albany, SUNY Press, 2010, pp301, $75.00 hardback

This collection sets out to situate Luce Irigaray's drinking on Greek mythology. As Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak notes in her foreword, Irigaray skilfully negotiates the way between psychoanalytic discourse and Greek thought, in order to conceptualise the paradoxes of subjectivity. Spivak finds Irigaray's deployment of these dual discourses useful for her own concept of the 'subaltern'. Irigaray's methodology inspires Spivak to eschew disciplinary dogmatism in order to look at marginalised feminine subjectivities 'from below' (px).

Spivak's foreword sets up a promise to the reader of a theoretically daring volume that contributes to the scholarship on Irigaray. The book does not disappoint its reader on this front, given the breadth of disciplinary insight diat it engages. Contributing authors include: established Irigarayan scholars such as Penelope Deutscher and Tina Chanter (who has written elsewhere on Irigaray's interaction with Greek philosophy); French literary studies specialist Anne-Emmanuelle Berger; gender studies theorist Lynne Huffer; and the scholar of Greek philosophy, Stathis Gourgouris.

Irigaray's methodology reinvigorates the study of Greek mythology by seeking out and creating feminine narratives from Greek masculinist genealogies. Irigaray has previously written on 'feminine' parables such as Antigone, Persephone and Electra. In her chapter in Rewriting Difference, Gail M. Schwab notes that Irigaray 'turns away from the tragedians and back to die earlier narratives of mythology', such as the story of Demeter, in order to develop a feminist epistemology (p84). …