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Hélène Cixous quotes (showing 1-30 of 107)

“We should write as we dream; we should even try and write, we should all do it for ourselves, it’s very healthy, because it’s the only place where we never lie. At night we don’t lie. Now if we think that our whole lives are built on lying-they are strange buildings-we should try and write as our dreams teach us; shamelessly, fearlessly, and by facing what is inside very human being-sheer violence, disgust, terror, shit, invention, poetry. In our dreams we are criminals; we kill, and we kill with a lot of enjoyment. But we are also the happiest people on earth; we make love as we never make love in life.”
Hélène Cixous
“Censor the body and you censor breath and speech at the same time. Write yourself. Your body must be heard.”
Hélène Cixous, The Laugh of the Medusa
“I, too, overflow; my desires have invented new desires, my body knows unheard-of songs. Time and again I, too, have felt so full of luminous torrents that I could burst-burst with forms much more beautiful than those which are put up in frames and sold for a fortune. And I, too, said nothing, showed nothing; I didn't open my mouth, I didn't repaint my half of the world. I was ashamed. I was afraid, and I swallowed my shame and my fear. I said to myself: You are mad! What's the meaning of these waves, these floods, these outbursts? Where is the ebullient infinite woman who...hasn't been ashamed of her strength? Who, surprised and horrified by the fantastic tumult of her drives (for she was made to believe that a well-adjusted normal woman has a ...divine composure), hasn't accused herself of being a monster? Who, feeling a funny desire stirring inside her (to sing, to write, to dare to speak, in short, to bring out something new), hasn't thought that she was sick? Well, her shameful sickness is that she resists death, that she makes trouble.”
Hélène Cixous
“We must kill the false woman who is preventing the live one from breathing.”
Hélène Cixous
“You only have to look at the Medusa straight on to see her. And she's not deadly. She's beautiful and she's laughing.”
Hélène Cixous
“There is no greater love than the love the wolf feels for the lamb-it-doesn’t-eat.”
Hélène Cixous, Stigmata: Escaping Texts
“Wouldn't the worst be, isn't the worst, in truth, that women aren't castrated, that they have only to stop listening to the Sirens (for the Sirens were men) for history to change its meaning? You only have to look at the Medusa straight on to see her. And she's not deadly. She's beautiful and she's laughing.”
Hélène Cixous
“Almost every day I can feel myself suffering mainly in the head, I can explain the pain to myself but knowing it comes from an inflammation of my imagination doesn't prevent it being reality itself. What's more I'd be crazy not to go crazy. We don't know what an illness is. On awful hurts we plaster little old words, as if we could think hell with a paper bandage.”
Hélène Cixous, Hyperdream
“And so when you have lost everything, no more roads, no direction, no fixed signs, no ground, no thoughts able to resist other thoughts, when you are lost, beside yourself, and you continue getting lost, when you become the panicky movement of getting lost, then, that’s when, where you are unwoven weft, flesh that lets strangeness come through, defenseless being, without resistance, without batten, without skin, inundated with otherness, it’s in these breathless times that writings traverse you, songs of an unheard-of purity flow through you, addressed to no one, they well up, surge forth, from the throats of your unknown inhabitants, these are the cries that death and life hurl in their combat.”
Hélène Cixous, Coming to Writing and Other Essays
“The only book that is worth writing is the one we don’t have the courage or strength to write. The book that hurts us (we who are writing), that makes us tremble, redden, bleed”
Hélène Cixous
“And I was afraid. She frightens me because she can knock me down with a word. Because she does not know that writing is walking on a dizzying silence setting one word after the other on emptiness. Writing is miraculous and terrifying like the flight of a bird who has no wings but flings itself out and only gets wings by flying.”
Hélène Cixous, The Book of Promethea
“Meditation needs no results. Meditation can have itself as an end, I meditate without words and on nothingness. What tangles my life is writing.”
Hélène Cixous, Coming to Writing and Other Essays
“...It makes me cry, I want to talk about something I am not sure I can talk about, I want to talk about the inside from the inside, I do not want to leave it
I am so happy in the silky damp dark of the labyrinth and there is no thread”
Hélène Cixous, The Book of Promethea
“When I write, it's everything that we don't know we can be that is written out of me, without exclusions, without stipulation, and everything we will be calls us to the unflagging, intoxicating, unappeasable search for love. In one another we will never be lacking.”
Hélène Cixous, The Laugh of the Medusa
“And I? I drink, I burn, I gather dreams.
And sometimes I tell a story. Because Promethea asks me for a bowl of words before she goes to sleep.”
Hélène Cixous, The Book of Promethea
“And why don't you write? Write! Writing is for you, you are for you; your body is yours, take it. I know why you haven't written. (And why I didn't write before the age of twenty-seven.) Because writing is at once too high, too great for you, it's reserved for the great-that is for "great men"; and it's "silly."

Besides, you've written a little, but in secret. And it wasn't good, because it was in secret, and because you punished yourself for writing, because you didn't go all the way, or because you wrote, irresistibly, as when we would masturbate in secret, not to go further, but to attenuate the tension a bit, just enough to take the edge off. And then as soon as we come, we go and make ourselves feel guilty-so as to be forgiven; or to forget, to bury it until the next time.”
Hélène Cixous, The Laugh of the Medusa
“If my desire is possible, it means the system is already letting something else through.”
Hélène Cixous, The Newly Born Woman
“We are going toward the sea. I have swollen. I am carried away. Sometimes at night love comes up so quickly and so high, and if we have no little boat perhaps it is because we want to roll breathless under the ocean floor.”
Hélène Cixous, The Book of Promethea
tags: sea
“To be afraid is the condition of loving knowledge. Were I not dying of fear, I'd not know how to exist myself, I wouldn't get the notices of existence, I wouldn't record with delight the miniscule passage of a blue tit, its wing dipped in gold on the dusk. Were I not dying of sorrow I wouldn't with nostalgia be present at the creation of the world, the squirrel nuptials this morning I wouldn't care. Creatures are born to a backdrop of adieux.”
Hélène Cixous
“Everything she wanted to tell her, was unable to tell her, because she was afraid of hearing her own voice come out of her heart and be covered with blood, and then she poured all the blood into these syllables, and she offered it to her to drink like this : “You have it.”
Hélène Cixous, The Book of Promethea
“Love is when you suddenly wake up as a cannibal, and not just any old cannibal, or else wake up destined for devourment.”
Hélène Cixous, Stigmata: Escaping Texts
“A heartbreaking paradox: if only I can finish my work so that it will live. Yet if it is finished, completed, a part of me but departed from me, I lost it alive, living but separate; and if it does not leave me, it is incomplete, insufficient, and half-dead that I keep it.”
Hélène Cixous
“Writing is the delicate, difficult, and dangerous means of succeeding in avowing the unavowable.”
Hélène Cixous
“Me too, I make do, I anoint what cannot be fixed.”
Hélène Cixous
“I am sick of death and worst of all this sickness feeds on itself, the more afraid I am the more I am afraid the more I flee the more I am afraid the more I am haunted.”
Hélène Cixous
“What happens: events interiors, snatch them from the cradle, from the source. I want to watch watching arrive. I want to watch arrivances. I want to find the root of needing to eat. And taste it: work of sweat / sleep.”
Hélène Cixous
“I will not say: that is because I am a city that does not want to surrender. Beseige me. It is because I am a deep, cool pyramid. Go through me. Pass through all my rooms and know my subterfuge. But you are passing right by the little room that I want to keep closed, and you don't see it. There is a secret. I myself do not know it, I just know it exists.”
Hélène Cixous, The Book of Promethea
“I do believe in poetry. I believe that there are creatures endowed with the power to put things together and bring them back to life”
Hélène Cixous, The Book of Promethea
“This is what’s happening: together we are descending the stairs of the heart, which lead to the sources. (It is a secret staircase. I knew it existed. Which is why I avoided it. Because it leads to the other-life, deep, underground, the fluvial, the painful.)

We are in the process of descending into the depths of the heart. To where bodies communicate with each other.”
Hélène Cixous, The Book of Promethea
“What I'd saved: lost. Worse: I lost it. Can't even tell myself that I sort of lost it that lost I keep it still. I lost the saved.
I've lost. I'm lost.
This is pain, one dies of or kills. Kill it and one kills oneself.
Splashes of bloody skin all over my notebooks.
I haven't forgotten a dream, as it is written happens in the realm of dreams. One forgets a dream, then one forgets one has forgotten, nothing dies of this.
I've lost The Dream.
I cannot tell a soul. I will not enter alive into the beyond. I search for an explanation. To the labyrinth I descend with the chapeau. Maleficent remains but remains, therefore blessed. If I could ask my friend. No one else. He and only he knows the extraordinary value of what is lost, greater by far that the value of what one keeps. Suddenly I'm only this torch consuming itself. What to do? I had the papers, I took them from myself, I threw them in the Trash, I threw out my own being, I had the memory of the future at the window I broke me, I tore up the secret into a thousand pieces, I tweezed the sublime out of me, I had god I squashed him with a hat,
this is not the first time I take myself to the labyrinth but this is the first time I go down into the labyrinth. I went right by the very trash bin of my being, how can you do away with your own eyes, I did it, who knows how”
Hélène Cixous

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