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Coming to Writing and Other Essays

4.27  ·  Rating details ·  243 ratings  ·  18 reviews
A collection of six essays, translated from the French, in which Cixous explores how the problematics of the sexes - viewed as a paradigm for all difference, the organizing principle behind identity and meaning - manifest and write themselves in texts.
Paperback, 214 pages
Published January 1st 1992 by Harvard University Press
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 ·  243 ratings  ·  18 reviews

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Jun 23, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: theory, crit
If Kafka had been a woman. If Rilke had been born a Jewish Brazilian born in the Ukraine. If Rimbaud had been a mother, if he had reached the age of fifty. If Heidegger had been able to stop being German, if he written the Romance of the Earth.

Thus Cixous waxes on Clarice Lispector. Lispector is a recurring theme throughout this collection of essays. Her first bane becomea becalmed verb. I have always wanted to read Lispector and these essays didn't really affect that. I liked Stigmata much mor
Sep 28, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: A.W., Bettina, Vicki
somewhat exhausted from reading this for like ten hours straight and the effect was this lyrical but repetitive meditation on writing, on clarice lispector, etc. thus i feel drained: blind underwater when will this be over but oh wait i think i like this: the whole time. to know how to not know. yes. will come back to this later.

meditation needs no results. meditation can have itself as an end, i meditate without words and on nothingness. what tangles my life is writing.

Mar 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
Coming to Writing is a wonderful and inspiring essay, a little like The Laugh of Medusa, published only a year before (1975). It's a cosmogony of love. Love as a force, language and source of self-expression, resulting from an alienating reality: intimately, the experience of the author as a jewish german expatriate in Algeria, universally, as being a woman.
"There is a language that I speak or that speaks (to) me in all tongues. A language at once unique and universal that resounds in each nati
David Haws
Jun 20, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: philosophy, essay
“This is our problem as writers. We who must paint with brushes all sticky with words. We who must swim in language as if it were pure and transparent, though it is troubled by phrases already heard a thousand times. We who must clear a new path with each thought through thickets of clichés.” (p. 114)

Reading Cixous is a dialectic experience; unfortunately for every gem such as the above, one has to wade through turgid quagmires such as:

“So the truth, which appears inside of the night, in the war
Nov 17, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: the-novel, 118, 119, 0poetry
If this is her doing écriture féminine we have a very different understanding of what that means.
Aug 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Writing is to die/Writing is to live.
Jul 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
this woman has changed the way I read and see forever, there is no turning back after this.
Myrthe Meester
Jun 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
Ontvankelijkheid is de toestand vanwaaruit Cixous probeert te schrijven en die ze hoopt op te roepen bij haar lezers. Ontvankelijkheid voor de parelachtige schoonheid van de gewone dingen des levens. Clarice Lispector, aan wie ze twee essays heeft gewijd, is daarin haar grote voorbeeld.

Heideggeriaanse filosofie met een feministische insteek.
Jun 03, 2008 added it
My lord, what a stunning book! I'd love to see the original French version, but the notes make it clear that the editor and the three translators from whom she borrows have worked painstakingly to reproduce Cixous' wordplay and serpentine sentences. The result is lush, delirious language that leaves you breathless! Anyone who writes will fall instantly, madly in love!
Iosune Goñi
Jun 26, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: feminismo
«Que la carne escribe y es dada a leer; y a escribir».
Mar 19, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Jun 07, 2011 rated it it was amazing
will write something later, maybe.
Kate Davis
Mar 26, 2012 marked it as to-read
rec'd by Jes Kast-Keat for women's history month
Dec 17, 2007 rated it really liked it
When in France...
Ann Bogle
Jul 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
The best paper I wrote is about this book. I bought it again recently to have it on the shelf.
Apr 29, 2009 rated it did not like it
Reading it for a class-just found out we don't have to read the entire thing. YAY-I find this a bunch of mumble-jumble.
Sarahc Caflisch
May 14, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I had to clear the decks and just focus all of my teeny brain on Cixous' "Coming to Writing."
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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 liter
“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.” 37 likes
“Meditation needs no results. Meditation can have itself as an end, I meditate without words and on nothingness. What tangles my life is writing.” 27 likes
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