New French Feminisms: An Anthology

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

Christiane Rochefort

A man's book is a book. A woman's book is a woman's book. A crowd of fathers-husbands-big brothers-lovers are watching, not our capacities as writers, but our behavior. We are allowed to write, OK. But not anything. "I like your books very much, but why do you insist on using crude words?""That's the way the character talks you know," I would say, "and besides it's the way you talk, yourself.""Yes, maybe, but is it necessary that you write it?" We have to be decent. Exceptions are tolerated if they are without ambiguity, part of the right erotic game. We have a body: university degrees don't obliterate the fact. When Kristeva got a prize not long ago, a critic wrote in a so-called liberal newspaper: "She has beautiful legs."

We have a physiology: after Beauvoir novel La femme rompue [The woman destroyed], the critic of Le monde1 said, "She's an old woman." He himself was about to die, but he was a man and consequently had no age. The quantity of whisky that Françoise Sagan absorbed was carefully measured. And I saw with my own eyes, almost with tears, Marguerite Duras, just coming out of a clinic after a breakdown, questioned, I mean tortured, by a TV reporter, about how she feels now and if she is inspired as before and if she is not frightened by the blank page. Indiscretion with women is regular.

We have a psychology: I got some free analysis after my first book was published. One journalist wrote that I probably was ugly and frustrated -- till, meeting him at a cocktail party, I patted him on the shoulder saying: "Ho, sir, I'm the ugly, frustrated one." He ran away while the others laughed. He himself was a piece of fat.

From Are Women Writers Still Monsters? -- a speech given at the University of Wisconsin--Madison, February 1975.

____________________
1
The most highly regarded French newspaper because of its extensive reporting and the thoroughness of its articles. -- Ed.

-183-

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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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