Stigmata: Escaping Texts

Stigmata: Escaping Texts

Stigmata: Escaping Texts

Stigmata: Escaping Texts

Synopsis

Hegrave;leacute;ne Cixous -- author, playwright and French feminist theorist -- is a key figure in twentieth-century literary theory. Stigmata brings together her most recent essays for the first time. Acclaimed for her intricate and challenging writing style, Cixous presents a collection of texts that get away -- escaping the reader, the writers, the book. Cixous's writing pursues authors such as Stendhal, Joyce, Derrida, and Rembrandt, da Vinci, Picasso -- works that share an elusive movement in spite of striking differences. Along the way these essays explore a broad range of poetico-philosophical questions that have become characteristic of Cixous' work: * love's labours lost and found * feminine hours * autobiographies of writing * the prehistory of the work of art Stigmata goes beyond theory, becoming an extraordinary writer's testimony to our lives and times.

Excerpt

I’ve taken twenty-four steps in the direction of Bathsheba.

1. To what degree it is not about ‘a nude,’ behold why, between all the magic ones, I first said that one.

From her, I want to receive the secret messages.

This female nude is not a nude.

She is not made—not painted—to be seen nude. Precisely her—Bathsheba. She who was seen. Should not have been seen. She who is perceived. From afar.

She whom we see is not the mortal object.

Not the object of desire, and of murder.

It is Bathsheba in truth.

The non-nude nudity. Not denuded. Not undressed. Clean, characteristic.

Absolute Bathsheba. Without a man. Can we imagine seeing her: ‘David and Bathsheba’? (The name Bathsheba invokes David—but not this woman, here, no.)

2. This is Bathsheba. the dark surroundings must be what’s left of David. This sort of blackness? … If there is a couple, a pair in the painting, indeed it would be day and night.

(I say blackness, and not: black. Blackness isn’t black. It is the last degree of reds. the secret blood of reds. There are so many blacks… Twenty-four, they say.)

I said ‘without a man.’ I mean to say without a ‘visible’ man. I mean

‘Bethsabée ou la Bible intérieure’ was first published in fmr 43, 1993 (April): 14-18; this translation (of a different version) first appeared in New Literary History 24, 4, 1993: 820-37.

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