New French Feminisms: An Anthology

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

Marguerite Duras

I think "feminine literature" is an organic, translated writing. . . translated from blackness, from darkness. Women have been in darkness for centuries. They don't know themselves. Or only poorly. And when women write, they translate this darkness. . . . Men don't translate. They begin from a theoretical platform that is already in place, already elaborated. The writing of women is really translated from the unknown, like a new way of communicating rather than an already formed language. But to achieve that, we have to turn away from plagiarism. There are many women who write as they think they should write -- to imitate men and make a place for themselves in literature. Colette wrote like a little girl, a turbulent and terrible and delightful little girl. So she wrote "feminine literature" as men wanted it. That's not feminine literature in reality. It's feminine literature seen by men and recognized as such. It's the men who enjoy themselves when they read it. I think feminine literature is a violent, direct literature and that, to judge it, we must not -- and this is the main point I want to make -- start all over again, take off from a theoretical platform. The other day you were telling me, "Yes, but women can also be ideologues, philosophers, poets, etc., etc." Of course. Of course. But why go over that? That should go without saying. We should be saying the opposite: can men forget everything and join women?. . . .

You know, in his Discourse on Politics, Aimé Césaire, the black poet, says that when someone is brown, people always wonder if he or she has black blood, but never do they wonder if he or she has white blood. And when we have a male in front of us, we could ask: does he have some female in him? And that could be the main point. That's it: reverse everything, including analysis and criticism. . . . Reverse everything. Make women the point of departure in judging, make darkness the point of

From an interview by Susan Husserl- Kapit in Signs, Winter 1975.

-174-

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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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