écriture feminine

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Hélène Cixous (b. 1937)

Jean Genet (1910—1986) French novelist, poet, and dramatist

Marguerite Duras (1914—1996) French novelist, film director, and dramatist


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Hélène Cixous coined this term in the widely read essay ‘Le Rire de la Méduse’ (The Laugh of Medusa) to describe a kind of writing that is outside of the masculine economy of patriarchal discourse. Cixous envisages écriture feminine as a form of writing that would, in psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan's terms, reside or take place in the realm of the real, rather than the symbolic. In psychoanalytic terms it therefore takes the form of the expression of the inexpressible and can only be arrived at via experimentation and play. Interestingly, Cixous's canonical examples of writers capable of attaining this effect are Shakespeare, Kleist, and Genet.

Further Reading:

V. Andermatt Conley Hélène Cixous: Writing the Feminine (1984).I. Blyth and S. Sellers Hélène Cixous: Live Theory (2004).

Subjects: Literature.

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