Helene Cixous: Authorship, Autobiography and Love
April 1996, Polity
Susan Sellers, a major scholar on Cixous, provides a lucid
account of Cixous's theoretical position, and in particular her
distinctive theory of an 'écriture féminine'. She
discusses the development of Cixous's literary oeuvre in the
context of this theory, and analyses a selection of the works in
detail to illustrate the different stages in Cixous's writing
Focusing on the key novels and plays, Sellers explores a range
of issues and themes central to her work; the correlation between
the death of Cixous's own father and her 'coming-into-being' as a
writer; the psychological process of separation and individuation
and the creation of a female authorial self; the discovery of the
other and the dramatization of love; the delineation/depiction of
an alternative form of relationship between self and other which
would have a significance in a wider sphere than that of the merely
This much-needed book will be welcomed by students in literature and literary theory, feminism and women's studies, English and French studies and philosophy.
1. The Early Texts.
2. Creating a Feminine Subject.
3. Writing with the Voice of the Other.
4. Cixous and the Theatre.
5. Recent Writings.
* It provides a detailed exposition of Cixous's theoretical position, paying particular attention to her fiction and drama. This focus is what makes the book distinctive.
* It will be welcomed by a broad audience working in literature/literary theory, philosophy, French studies, and women's studies and feminism.
"A clear and scholarly introduction to the fiction and drama of
France's foremost "poet-thinker" (to borrow Derrida's phrase).
Using a novel approach for Polity's excellent Key Contemporary
Thinkers series, Sellers concentrates primarily on Cixous's work in
practice, and not in theory ... thus she offers an exposition of
Cixous's (elusive) statements on écriture
féminine, which should itself prove useful to the
uninitiated reader. Sellers remains appropriately dispassionate,
yet she is an enthusiastic reader ... Sellers allows another
Cixous, Cixous the author, to be reborn in her reading." Times
"Hélène Cixous: Authorship, Autobigraphy and
Love provides an ideal way in to the fiction of
Hélène Cixous. Sellers's account of Cixous's complexities
is refreshingly clear and accessible, while her insights are
convincingly articulated." Professor Whitford, Queen Mary and
Westfield College, University of London
"Sellers brings to Cixous, a notoriously difficult writer, an
admirable lucidity of her own. She presents Cixous in a clear,
comprehensible fashion and her choice of quotation is excellent,
such that the book provides a wonderful taster for Cixous's work in
general. Further, Sellers adopts a chronological approach that lays
out Cixous's development without any distractions and provides very
honestly her own reactions to Cixous's work, in a manner that
intriguingly undercuts Cixous's own claims." Nate News
"This book offers an accessible, jargon-free introduction to
Helene Cixous that is clearly aimed at a student market."
"This book is essential reading as an introduction not only to
Cixous' writing in all its facets - critical theory, plays, fiction
- but to the whole area of writing in the feminine. With welcome
clarity, but faithfulness to complexity, Sellers makes accessible
"écriture femine" and the gamut of dramatisations which occur
across Cixous' oeuvre. Undergraduates and graduates alike
will find this a springboard to an understanding of French feminism
and a fine example of how to write well." Forum for Modern
"Sellers' book operates best as a general introduction,
differing from existing introductory studies, by not only following
a particular trajectory in Cixous's work, but also including
sustained analyses of her fiction and her writing for the
theatre...The format Sellers chooses...brings welcome clarity to
the complexity of Cixous's prolific oeuvre...Sellers has a
thorough knowledge of Cixous's work and her readings do full
justice to its richly connotative poetical language, to its themes
which impact on personal, political and ethical issues, and to the
open-ended nature of the texts wherein, to my mind, lies Cixous's
real generosity as a writer."
"Feminist theory and practice will always be indebted to this book... Her evocative prose, her uncompromising political stand and her regard for the politics of difference..." Shelly Walia, Spectrum<!--end-->