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Reserve List

(in chronological order)

Books and articles on Reserve in Meyer Library

Translating the work of Hélène Cixous into English can be difficult, though in many cases there is close collaboration between Cixous and her translators. Some of the translations in this list are actually updated texts that reflect the author's own changes in English.

Works by Hélène Cixous (including collections and anthologies):

Dedans. Paris: Des femmes, 1969.
Inside. New York: Schocken Books, 1986.
PQ2663.I9D413 1986

The author's first fictional work was awarded the Prix Médicis for 1969. It combines past and present within a collage of autobiography, memory, dream, and narrative where a central event - loss of a father and related mourning -- is mixed with accounts of other symbolic deaths, childhood pleasures, and encounters with difference. The author notes that her first narrative should be read as "an oblique ethico-political treatise on the conscious and unconscious situation in Algeria between the '40s and the '60s" (interview)

"Le rire de la Méduse" L'Arc, vol. 61 (1975): 39-54.
"The Laugh of the Medusa" Signs, vol. I, no.4 (Summer, 1976): 875-893.

Probably the most widely-read text of Hélène Cixous in the United States in the first years following its publication, the essay challenges all women to break the bonds of rhetoric and myth that have prevented them from writing and speaking fully in the public sphere. Its impassioned call to action appeared first in the Simone de Beauvoir issue of l'Arc in 1975 and was revised and translated the following year for the fourth issue of Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, the foremost American academic journal in women's studies. Several Stanford faculty were involved in publication of the essay in a journal that was later edited at Stanford's Center for Research on Women (now the Institute for Research on Women and Gender). The article has since been re-published in several collections and anthologies.

La jeune née. Co-authored with Catherine Clément. Paris: Union général des éditions, 1975
The Newly Born Woman. Trans. By Betsy Wing. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1985
HQ1208.C5913 1986

Cixous and the journalist and essayist Catherine Clément debate the role of feminist critique: whether it should use the inherited language of Western rationalist culture, with its patriarchal values and phallocentric oppositions, or if it should reinvent its own language. The volume also includes Cixous's essay "Sorties" ("Out and Out: Attacks/Ways Out/Forays").

Entre l'écriture. Paris: Des femmes, 1986
PQ2663.I9E57 1986
Includes "La venue à l'écriture" (1976)
"Coming to Writing" and Other Essays. Ed. by Deborah Jenson. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1991.
PQ2663.I9C58 1991

A collection of essays examining motivations for writing, beginning with one of the central texts in the development of the author's thought on the creative impulse. The 1991 English edition contains a slightly different arrangement of essays and offers an excellent introduction to the author's work by Susan Rubin Suleiman and equally helpful concluding comments by the editor Deborah Jenson on the essays contained in the translation. As in the case of other translations done after several years have passed, Cixous has reviewed the texts and updated some of the content.

Three Steps on the Ladder of Writing. Trans. By Sarah Cornell and Susan Sellers. New York: Columbia University Press, 1993.
PN151.C59 1993

Revised versions of lectures presented in English at the University of California, Irvine, as part of the May 1990 Wellek Library Lectures on Critical Theory. Titled "The School of the Dead, "The School of Dreams," and "The School of Roots" each lecture had been delivered in English, then revised in French. Cixous reflects on three "schools" that form the creative impulse in conceptual places and things, each necessary for writing that is born in the many forms of death we endure, invokes the power of dreams, and descends into what Jean Genet called the "nether realms" at the source of both joy and writing.

The Hélène Cixous Reader. Edited by Susan Sellers. New York: Routledge, 1994.
PQ2663.I9A6 1994

With its foreword by Jacques Derrida (Fourmis excerpt) and a Preface by Hélène Cixous that offers perceptive commentary on her writing through the early 1990s, this collection, like Rootprints, provides an excellent general overview of her work. It includes translated extracts from her criticism, essays, fiction, lectures, and drama, arranged chronologically with introductions by the editors. The author has reviewed all of the translations and has revised some of the original texts.

Photos de racines. Co-authored with Mireille Calle-Gruber. Paris: Des femmes, 1994.
PQ 2663. I9Z477 1994
Rootprints : Memory and Life Writing. Trans. by Eric Prenowitz. London ; New York : Routledge, 1997.
PQ2663.I9 Z47713 1997

Close to half of the book is a dialogue (Entre tiens) between Hélène Cixous and Mireille Calle-Gruber where Cixous discusses the origin and meaning of her writing. Within the author's comments are small windows of text taken from her private notebooks. The rest of the book contains an excerpt from Jacques Derrida, an essay by Calle-Gruber, and the author's poetic meditation "Albums and legends" accompanied by a collection of her family photographs. Calle-Gruber's detailed chronology of the author's life (updated in the English edition) and the extensive bibliography (only in the English edition) add to the value of the collection.

La ville parjure, ou, le réveil des Erinyes. Paris: Théâtre du Soleil, 1995.
PQ2663.I9V5 1995

On the HIV-tainted blood scandal that was widely publicized in France from 1988 through the mid 1990s, this play was first performed by the Théâtre de Soleil and was recently staged at Northwestern University (1997). The central scene is an imagined trial that reopens issues unresolved in the case by allowing the victims of the tainted blood to testify and in the process symbolize not just their own tragedy but also the suffering of a chorus of other marginalized, disempowered victims of corrupt medical, political, and social systems. Bernadette Fort, who was closely involved with the translation and staging of the play for the Northwestern production, has also interviewed Cixous on both the play and its multiple meanings (interview available to subscribers of Project Muse).

Secondary studies:

Conley, Verena Andermatt. Hélène Cixous. Toronto; Buffalo: University of Toronto Press, 1992.
PQ2663.I9Z59 1992
Sellers, Susan. Hélène Cixous : Authorship, Autobiography, and Love. Cambridge, UK : Polity Press ; Cambridge, MA : Blackwell Publishers, 1996.
PQ2663.I9Z835 1996

Among the many books on Hélène Cixous written in recent years, these two examples cover a wide range of theoretical and critical issues in the author's writing over the long term. While Conley offers an overview of the entire Cixous corpus, Sellers concentrates primarily on the author's creative writing.

Back to main Bibliography page.


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