Hélène Cixous’s hope stands in contrast to the secrecy and subterfuge that attracted the women authors in the previous chapter. She would say to those reluctant women, ‘And why don’t you write? Write! Writing is for you, you are for you; your body is yours, take it’.2 Her laughing Medusa who, in the 1970s and 1980s, became an exemplary figure for the writing woman is ebullient, irreverent and unconstrained, full of revolutionary potential. According to Cixous, she must write ‘a new insurgent writing which, when the moment of her liberation has come, will allow her to carry out the indispensable ruptures and transformations in her history’ (250). Cixous imagines women’s return ‘from “without”, from the heath where witches are kept alive; from below, from “beyond” culture; from their childhood’ (247). The place of women, it seems, was everywhere except here at the heart of the culture. But their time has come. Cixous positions her comments at what she sees as a moment of transformation: it has not yet arrived; she cannot name the date but it is ‘just on the point of being discovered’ (245). Women are opening up to a ‘vatic bisexuality’ (254) and Cixous encourages them to this utopian future.


Nursery School Previous Chapter Writing Woman Unitary Subject Feminist Concern 
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  1. 1.
    Hélène Cixous, ‘Sorties’ in Cixous and Catherine Clément, The Newly Bom Woman, trans. Betsy Wing (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1986), p. 93.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Hélène Cixous, ‘The Laugh of the Medusa’ in Elaine Marks and Isabelle de Courtivron (eds) New French Feminisms (Brighton: Harvester Press Ltd., 1981), p. 246.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Peggy Kamuf, ‘Writing Like a Woman’, in Sally McConnell-Ginet et al. (eds) Women and Language in Literature and Society (New York: Praeger, 1980), pp. 285–6.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Seán Burke, The Death and Return of the Author: Criticism and Subjectivity in Barthes, Foucault and Derrida 2nd ed. (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1999), pp. 201, 202.Google Scholar

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© Mary Eagleton 2005

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