3

In October 1991…

Translated by Keith Cohen

In October 1991… When I chose the title for this lecture, it was 1990. That meant that the future lecture was without title. That I didn’t know what would be essential. It meant: I don’t know what will be the shape of the world, or of me, in October 1991, or if I’ll still have a shape. It meant: blindness, non-clairvoyance, unpredictability. And then, too: will I be in October ’91? Who knows? I like being in the present; am interested in what’s in process: of passing by, of happening. The instant— the eternity of the instant.

I come not to you this evening with tomorrows [demains]; with two hands [deux mains], of course, but with nows.

I like being in the present. You’re going to say: then keep running! That’s exactly what I try to do. And besides I have a particular affection for the present because it’s the time of the theatre. That’s something I discovered working in the theatre: the singularity of this genre that invents, invents for us, incessantly, a time without time.

The present is also always a just-after. But for us, October—for us in the past—was back-to-school, the tenth month which was the first month, the beginning and the end of an epoch. It was the first day, a threat, and a maturation.

So, in October ’91 and just after, what was there, what’s left? What makes this October and what gets away? What has passed away?

To give a fast answer, with a scene that remains for me that of writing: one of my lives, for example, is also: the USSR. It appeared, through the different readings that have been offered of what I’ve managed to write—of what Cixous, as they say, has managed to write—that I am—that is, she is—often, perhaps mainly, concerned with the loss of her paradoxes. This one, for example: I cannot save from perdition that

‘En octobre 1991…’ was first published in Du féminin (Le Griffon d’argile and Presses Universitaires de Grenoble, 1992): 115-37.

-35-

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