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Cixous: Translation or Decapitation?

April 7, 2011

“This is how I would define a feminine textual body: as a female libidinal economy, a regime, energies, a system of spending not necessarily carved out by culture. A feminine textual body is recognized by the fact that it is always endless, without ending: there’s no closure, it doesn’t stop, and it’s this that very often makes the feminine text difficult to read. For we’ve learned to read books that basically pose the word “end.” But this one doesn’t finish, a feminine text goes on and on and at a certain moment the volume comes to an end but the writing continues and for the reader this means being thrust into the voice. These are texts that work on the beginning but not on the origin. The origin is a masculine myth: I always want to know where I come from. The question “Where do children come from?” is basically a masculine, much more than feminine, question. The quest for origins, illustrated by Oedipus, doesn’t haunt a feminine unconscious. Rather it’s the beginning, or beginnings, the manner of beginning, not promptly with the phallus in order to close with the phallus, but starting on all sides at once, that makes a feminine writing. A feminine text starts on all sides at once starts twenty times, thirty times, over”.

–from “Castration or Decapitation?” trans. by Annette Kuhn available here p276. Thanks to htmlgiant.

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