Presidential Lectures: Hélène Cixous: Essays: Dream
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From Three Steps on the Ladder of Writing

By Hélène Cixous

"How can we finish a book, a dream"

What happens at the end of a text? Here again we have much to learn from what dreams, our masters, do with us; the author is in the book as we are in the dream's boat. We always have the belief and the illusion that we are the ones writing, that we are the ones dreaming. Clearly this isn't true. We are not having the dream, the dream has us, carries us, and, at a given moment, it drops us, even if the dream is in the author in the way the text is assumed to be. What we call texts escape us as the dream escapes us on waking, or the dream evades us in dreams. We follow it, things go at top speed, and we are constantly -- what a giddy and delicious sensation! -- surprised. In the dream as in the text, we go from one amazement to another. I imagine many texts are written completely differently, but I am only interested in the texts that escape.

From Three Steps on the Ladder of Writing (New York: Columbia University Press, 1993) 98.


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