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Hélène Cixous

ISBN: 978-0-745-64815-6 February 2011 Polity 244 Pages


Philippines is Hélène Cixous's reverie or 'true dreaming' which intertwines Freud's uneasy views on telepathy, autobiographical memories conflating Algeria and Paris, childhood and adult life, shared with her brother 'Pete', and literary evocations from Proust and George du Maurier's forgotten novel Peter Ibbetson.

Amid telepathic conversations, real or imagined, and life events uncannily answering one another from a distance, Cixous's dense evocative journey ceaselessly 'returns to its starting point' and, like the twin almonds in one shell evoked by the title, reveals intimate, secret bonds between scenes and beings, real and fictional. Its interpretive sharpness delivered with stylistic elegance and candour will make this study typical of Cixous's art, which plies between literature and criticism, appealing not only to scholars and critics interested in psychoanalysis, autobiography and the act of reading, but also to a broader readership captivated by the hallucinatory coincidences between life, dream and fiction, when 'Reality is the dream. The dream is the true reality'.

Author's Note



"The bliss the author evidently takes in her games with reading and recollection is so disarming (and disarmed) that one willingly follows her down the rabbit-hole to enjoy a peculiarly phantasmagoric experience."
The Guardian

"The cross-cultural connections multiply and the image of the almond is sent back to us from everywhere, as though by telepathy. Cixous's vision snaps into focus: the almond is her sensory acrostic for the Proustian madeleine. Its 'telepathic' attraction for its lost other half, if we can tune into it, has the power to body forth the world."
Times Literary Supplement

"A fascinating text, whose highly personal exploration of the author's passion for certain books opens onto a
consideration of the relationship between reading and childhood in general."
Mairéad Hanrahan, University College London

"Read this enchanted book before it is too late to learn that childhood is indispensable for true reading, that the truth arrives too late, and that through the prison bars of ‘too late' lies the path - the telepathic path - to happiness. Each step counts."
Sarah Wood, University of Kent

• The author is generally regarded as one of the leading French feminist writers, if not the leading French feminist writer.
• All of her books tend to be written as philosophical novels, combining elements of autobiography and fiction with reflection of a more philosophical and psychoanalytic kind.
• This is a mixture of autobiography and philosophy and a very enjoyable read.
• The text includes allusions to Freud and Derrida and should appeal to those interested in philosophy and literary criticism.