The Laugh of the Medusa
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The Laugh of the Medusa

4.13 of 5 stars 4.13  ·  rating details  ·  254 ratings  ·  16 reviews
Cixous is issuing her female readers an ultimatum of sorts: either they can read it and choose to stay trapped in their own bodies by a language that does not allow them to express themselves, or they can use their bodies as a way to communicate.

"The Laugh of the Medusa" is an extremely literary essay and well-known as an exhortation to a "feminine mode" of writing; the ph...more
Published (first published January 2001)
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If you have the opportunity, then I would suggest reading this work in french. It is only then that you will see the marvelous writing of Helene Cixous. Derrida was once quoted as saying that Cixous was the best contemporary french author, and I do not have my doubts about that. In this manifesto, Cixous calls out to all women, saying, "now is the time to write!" That through the written word, or "ecriture feminine," women can re-define themselves by their own performance and not only reclaim th...more
Josiah Patterson
As a feminist essay, The Laugh of the Medusa is written specifically to women imploring them to write. In all aspects, her writing is concise, navigable and powerfully sturring. At the very beginning, Cixous states, “woman must write her self: must write about women and bring women to writing, from which they have been driven as violently as from their bodies." The purpose of this writing is for women to bring meaning to their own history, their own bodies, and their own sexuality. Through this...more
Stephen Secomb
From: MensWork/Gathering Women, Vol 1, 3, 1995, (pp.8-9)

Stephen Secomb

(Obsolescent) review of "The Laugh of the Medusa" (1975), (New French Feminisms,
Claire Marks and Babette de Courtivron (Eds). Sussex: Harvester Press, 1986).

Twenty years after it was written, I read Hélène Cixous' 'The Laugh of the Medusa', and I am suddenly angry.

My immediate desire is to dust off my best level scholarly tone and write a scathing review. I want to lash out, to hurt. But honestly, what's...more
it's an essay not a book. nonetheless. lovely read. the way she writes makes you feel like you're listening to her give a long speech :)
Fucking finally. Almost two months to finish a goddamn 20-page essay. I am ashamed.

Anyway, it was ok, I guess. Cixous had a lot of interesting to things to say about women and writing, but the language was aggravating in a way that is hard to explain, and it made it difficult to focus on her points, hence why it took such a long-arse time to finish. She just kept talking in one long incredibly unbroken sentence moving from topic to topic so that no-one had a chance to interrupt; it was really qu...more
I don't think a rating will signify what I am thinking about this article/theory. Probably work in progress, because although I see some good points in the text, and some outdated 'rage/concern', my main question is why the body, how are men not in the body, how does she know? I think she is allocating a 'place' or starting point that is feminine, but, but, but...
I need to read it again.
Quyen Hoang
Beautiful and liberating. The jouissance in her writing is palpable. A free voice that calls life back into the objectifying, egoistic white noise of literary discourse then and now. Yah, say what you want about French feminism, I love Helene Cixous.
Rebecca Curtis
The high rating comes not from the actual work itself because I find that I was not impressed with her writings. But I loved her theory. Women should help and advocate for other women!
No matter how hard I try, I just can't get into the feminist lit. required for my class. Cixous lost me about five pages in. Her language reminds me of Virginia Woolf, but is more difficult to follow.
Maybe not so radical a read in 2012, but I sure appreciated the passion and rage behind Cixous' seminal essay on writing the feminine, incorporating the woman in mind and body into the written word.
I really want this to be 4.5, but that's not an option. Every time I come back to Cixous I reach certain points and remember why I love this essay.
Kathryn Lebaron
Jul 11, 2013 Kathryn Lebaron rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in feminist theory.
Shelves: want-to-re-read
Helene Cixous is intense. This is a great scholarly resource for any feminist theory research.
I dunno what version this is, I just read a pdf version of the essay...
Claire O'Brien
This is an essay - can't find the correct collection to add.
dangerous flirtation with essentialism,,,,,,,,,,,,,, !!
Maria Catherino
Required reading for the human species.
Victòria Sanjuán
J'ai débandé intellectuellement.
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Hélène Cixous is a Jewish-French, Algerian-born feminist well-known as one of the founders of poststructuralist feminist theory along with Luce Irigaray and Julia Kristeva. She is now a professor of English Literature at University of Paris VIII and chairs the Centre de Recherches en Etudes Féminines which she founded in 1974.

She has published numerous essays, playwrights, novels, poems and litera...more
More about Hélène Cixous...
Three Steps on the Ladder of Writing Coming to Writing and Other Essays The Newly Born Woman The Book of Promethea Stigmata: Escaping Texts

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“Censor the body and you censor breath and speech at the same time. Write yourself. Your body must be heard.” 50 likes
“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.” 13 likes
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