Sexuality and the Reading Encounter: Identity and Desire in Proust, Duras, Tournier, and Cixous

By Emma Wilson | Go to book overview

4
'La Passion selon H.C.': Reading in the Feminine

Gloire du long désir, Idées
Tout en moi s'exaltait de voir
La famille des iridées
Surgir à ce nouveau devoir
.1

( Stéphane Mallarmé, 'Prose pour des Esseintes')

C'est que l'écriture ne s'adresse pas d'abord au lecteur extérieur, elle commence par moi. J'écris; je m'écris, elle s'écrit.2

( Hélène Cixous and Mireille Calle-Gruber, Hélène Cixous, photos de racines)


• Reading the Self

In her seminar series 'A la recherche de l'auteur inconnu' given at the Collège international de philosophie in Paris between 1989 and 1990, Hélène Cixous spoke once, for some minutes, of her love of exotic flowers. This strategy of reading the self as text, and reading through the self, is a not uncommon feature of her writing practice. Cixous tends her own life with intimate care, offering to her readers fragments of her dreams, her passions, moments of being, and measured recollections. Her work incessantly draws into question the identity of the writer and of the reader, and, further, the relations between the two. In one of

____________________
1
'Ideas, glory of long ∣ Longing, my all leapt to see ∣ The tribe of the iris throng ∣ To fulfil this fresh duty.' (trans. Keith Bosley.)
2
'Writing doesn't address itself firstly to the exterior reader, it starts with me. I write; I write myself, it writes itself.'

-95-

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Sexuality and the Reading Encounter: Identity and Desire in Proust, Duras, Tournier, and Cixous
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface vii
  • Acknowledgements xi
  • Contents xiii
  • 1 - The Reading Encounter 1
  • 2 - Identity and Identification 29
  • 3 - Reading Albertine's Sexuality; Or, 'Why Not Think of Marcel Simply as a Lesbian?' 60
  • 4 - 'La Passion Selon H.C.': Reading in the Feminine 95
  • 5 - 'La Chair ouverte, blessCB)e' 130
  • Concluding Remarks 192
  • Bibliography 199
  • Index 209
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