Telling Tales: The Hysteric's Seduction in Fiction and Theory

Telling Tales: The Hysteric's Seduction in Fiction and Theory

Telling Tales: The Hysteric's Seduction in Fiction and Theory

Telling Tales: The Hysteric's Seduction in Fiction and Theory

Excerpt

To play with mimesis is thus, for a woman, to try to recover the place of her exploitation by discourse, without allowing herself to be simply reduced to it. It means to resubmit herself . . . to ideas about herself that are elaborated in/by a masculine logic, but so as to make "visible," by an effect of playful repetition, what was supposed to remain invisible: the cover-up of a possible operation of the feminine in language. It also means to "unveil" the fact that, if women are such good mimics, it is because they are not simply reabsorbed in this function. They also remain elsewhere. Luce Irigaray,
"The Power of Discourse"

I told them the whole story and they listened, it seems to me, with interest, at least in the beginning. But the end was a surprise to all of us. "That was the beginning," they said. "Now get down to the facts." How so? The story was over! Maurice Blanchot,
The Madness of the Day

This is a story of seduction. It is also a performative reading of storytelling and the repetition of seduction scenes. Some of these scenes are ascribed to fantasy, others to facticity, while on occasion there is no telling--or no one telling--which of the two. Adding to the reader's confusion is the fact that seduction also shifts ontological registers. Hence, depending upon the tale and the teller, "to seduce" may denote to allure, captivate, or fascinate, but also to molest or rape.

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