The Laugh of the Medusa Quotes

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The Laugh of the Medusa The Laugh of the Medusa by Hélène Cixous
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The Laugh of the Medusa Quotes (showing 1-22 of 22)
“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
“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
“Men have committed the greatest crime against women. Insidiously, violently, they have led them to hate women, to be their own enemies, to mobilize their immense strength against themselves, to be the executants of their virile needs.”
Hélène Cixous, The Laugh of the Medusa
“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
“By writing her self, woman will return to the body which has been more than confiscated from her, which has been turned into the uncanny stranger on display - the ailing or dead figure, which so often turns out to be the nasty companion, the cause and location of inhibitions. Censor the body and you censor breath and speech at the same time.
Write your self. Your body must be heard. Only then will the immense resources of the unconscious spring forth.”
Hélène Cixous, The Laugh of the Medusa
“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, The Laugh of the Medusa
“I, too, overflow; ... my body knows unheard-of songs.”
Hélène Cixous, The Laugh of the Medusa
“She alone dares and wishes to know from within, where she, the outcast, has never ceased to hear the resonance of fore-language. She lets the other language speak—the language of 1,000 tongues which knows neither enclosure nor death. To life she refuses nothing. Her language does not contain, it carries; it does not hold back, it makes possible.”
Hélène Cixous, The Laugh of the Medusa
“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 stinking 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, immersed as she was in her naiveté, kept in the dark about herself, led into self-disdain by the great arm of parental-conjugal phallocentrism, 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 she was sick? Well, her shameful sickness is that she resists death, that she makes trouble.”
Hélène Cixous, The Laugh of the Medusa
“Every woman has known the torment of getting up to speak. Her heart racing, at times entirely lost for words, ground and language slipping away - that's how daring a feat, how great a transgression it is for a woman to speak - even just open her mouth - in public. A double distress, for even if she transgresses, her words fall almost always upon the deaf male ear, which hears in language only that which speaks in the masculine.”
Hélène Cixous, The Laugh of the Medusa
“If woman has always functioned "within" the discourse of man, a signifier that has always referred back to the opposite signifier which annihilates its specific energy and diminishes or stifles its very different sounds, it is time for her to dislocate this "within," to explode it, turn it around, and seize it; to make it hers, containing it, taking it in her own mouth, biting that tongue with her very own teeth to invent for herself a language to get inside of. And you'll see with what ease she will spring forth from that "within" - the "within" where once she so drowsily crouched - to overflow at the lips she will cover the foam.”
Hélène Cixous, The Laugh of the Medusa
“...those who are locked up know better than their jailers the taste of free air.”
Hélène Cixous, The Laugh of the Medusa
“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.”
Hélène Cixous, The Laugh of the Medusa
“The future must no longer be determined by the past. I do not deny that
the effects of the past are still with us. But I refuse to strengthen them
by repeating them, to confer upon them an irremovability the equivalent
of destiny, to confuse the biological and the cultural. Anticipation
is imperative.”
Hélène Cixous, The Laugh of the Medusa
“Beauty will no longer be forbidden.”
Hélène Cixous, The Laugh of the Medusa
“Every woman has known the torment of getting up to speak. Her heart racing, at times entirely lost for words, ground and language slipping away – that’s how daring a feat, how great a transgression it is for a woman to speak – even just open her mouth – in public.”
Hélène Cixous, The Laugh of the Medusa
“We’ve been turned away from our bodies, shamefully taught to ignore them, to strike them with that stupid sexual modesty; we’ve been victims of the old fool’s game: each one will love the other sex. I’ll give you your body and you’ll give me mine.”
Hélène Cixous, The Laugh of the Medusa
“Men still have everything to say about their sexuality, and everything to write. For what they have said so far, for the most part, stems from the opposition activity/
passivity, from the power relation between a fantasized obligatory virility meant
to invade, to colonize, and the consequential phantasm of woman as a “dark
continent” to penetrate and to “pacify.” (We know what “pacify” means in terms of
scotomizing the other and misrecognizing the self.) Conquering her, they’ve made
haste to depart from her borders, to get out of sight, out of body. The way man has
of getting out of himself and into her whom he takes not for the other but for his
own, deprives him, he knows, of his own bodily territory. One can understand
how man, confusing himself with his penis and rushing in for the attack, might
feel resentment and fear of being “taken” by the woman, of being lost in her,
absorbed, or alone.”
Hélène Cixous, The Laugh of the Medusa
“I write woman: woman must write woman. And man, man. So only an
oblique consideration will be found here of man; it’s up to him to say
where his masculinity and femininity are at: this will concern us once
men have opened their eyes and seen themselves clearly.”
Hélène Cixous, The Laugh of the Medusa
“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, 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 forgot, to bury it until next time.”
Hélène Cixous, The Laugh of the Medusa
“Men have committed the greatest crime against women (...) They have led them to hate women, to be their own enemies.”
Hélène Cixous, The Laugh of the Medusa
“Hold still we're going to do your portrait, so that you can begin looking like it right away.”
Hélène Cixous, The Laugh of the Medusa

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