New French Feminisms: An Anthology

By Elaine Marks; Isabelle De Courtivron | Go to book overview

Claudine Herrmann

You ask what is supreme happiness here on earth?

The sound of a little girl's song as she walks away, having asked you for her way.i
Li-Tai-Po

The term "space" refers to very different concepts: there is a physical space and a mental space for everyone. These two categories have in common the capacity to be invaded: one by violence, the other by indiscretion.

In our world, physical space is linked to different functions: one is domination and bondage (one "occupies" a region, a country is "occupied," one rules, one is ruled), another function is hierarchy: one is seated at a greater or lesser distance from a sovereign or from the master of the house, a professor is enthroned behind his desk and his students are seated on benches, a lawyer in chambers is assigned to a place that distinguishes him from his client.

Moreover, a court of law is a good example of the hierarchical function of space: at one level, the judge and the bench (in French le Parquet, where the prosecutor sits, originally meant a "little park," a reserved space) at another level, the court recorder, in the front the brothers at the bar, further off, their assistants.

In other words, this conception of space reflects systems and hierarchies perfectly: some spread out, others crowded in together, some higher, others lower. In length, width, and height, order is established by division, the disposition of space for man is above all an image of power, the maximum power being attained when one can dispose of the space of others, as is well illustrated by this excerpt from Victor Segalen Bricks and Tiles:

Here is the heart of the city, the vagabond Center of the Mongolian, Chinese, and Manchurian City. Princes created it at will, or tore it down in anger. They played with it, moving it five li1 to

From "Les coordonnées féminines: espace et temps" [Women in space and time] in Les voleuses de langue [The tongue snatchers] ( des femmes, 1976).

____________________
1
A "li" is a Chinese measure equal to approximately one third of a mile. -- Tr.

-168-

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New French Feminisms: An Anthology
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Why This Book? ix
  • Introductions 1
  • Annie Leclerc 79
  • Claudine Herrmann 87
  • Hélène Cixous 90
  • Luce Irigaray 99
  • Warnings 115
  • Antoinette Fouque 117
  • Denise Le Dantec 119
  • Maria-Antonietta Macciocchi 120
  • Arlette Laguiller 121
  • Madeleine Vincent 125
  • Catherine Clément 130
  • Julia Kristeva 137
  • Simone De Beauvoir 142
  • Creations 159
  • Xavière Gauthier 161
  • Julia Kristeva 165
  • Claudine Herrmann 168
  • Marguerite Duras 174
  • Chantal Chawaf 177
  • Madeleine Gagnon 179
  • Viviane Forrester 181
  • Christiane Rochefort 183
  • Research on Women 211
  • Variations on Common Themes 212
  • Utopias 231
  • Simone De Beauvoir 233
  • Françoise Parturier 234
  • Françoise D'Eaubonne 236
  • Annie Leclerc 237
  • Marguerite Duras 238
  • Maria-Antonietta Macciocchi 239
  • Julia Kristeva 240
  • Julia Kristeva 241
  • Monique Wittig 242
  • Suzanne Horer Jeanne Socquet 243
  • Hélène Cixous 245
  • Index 271
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