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Hélène Cixous quotes Showing 1-30 of 170

“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.”
Helene Cixous
“Censor the body and you censor breath and speech at the same time. Write yourself. Your body must be heard.”
Helene 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
“We must kill the false woman who is preventing the live one from breathing.”
Hélène Cixous
“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
“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.”
Helene Cixous
“There is no greater love than the love the wolf feels for the lamb-it-doesn’t-eat.”
Hélène Cixous, Stigmata: Escaping Texts
“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
“People do not see you, / They invent you and accuse you.”
Hélène Cixous
“...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
“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
“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
“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
“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
“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 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
“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
“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
“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
“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
“For us, eating and being eaten belong to the terrible secret of love. We love only the person we can eat. The person we hate we ‘can’t swallow.’ That one makes us vomit. Even our friends are inedible. If we were asked to dig into our friend’s flesh we would be disgusted. The person we love we dream only of eating. That is, we slide down that razor’s edge of ambivalence.
The story of torment itself is a very beautiful one. Because loving is wanting and being able to eat up and yet to stop at the boundary. And there, at the tiniest beat between springing and stopping, in rushes fear. The spring is already in mid-air. The heart stops. The heart takes off again. Everything in love is oriented towards this absorption.

At the same time real love is a don’t-touch, yet still an almost-touching. Tact itself: a phantom touching.

Eat me up, my love, or else I’m going to eat you up.

Fear of eating, fear of the edible, fear on the part of the one of them who feels loved, desired, who wants to be loved, desired, who desires to be desired, who knows there is no greater proof of love than the other’s appetite, who is dying to be eaten up, who says or doesn’t say, but who signifies: I beg you, eat me up. Want me down to the marrow. And yet manage it so as to keep me alive. But I often turn about or compromise, because I know that you won’t eat me up, in the end, and I urge you: bite me.

Sign my death with your teeth”
Hélène Cixous, Stigmata: Escaping Texts
tags: love
“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
“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
“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 my desire is possible, it means the system is already letting something else through.”
Hélène Cixous, The Newly Born Woman
“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
“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
“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

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The Laugh of the Medusa The Laugh of the Medusa
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