Becoming Two: This Existence Which Is Not One

  • Emily Anne Parker
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Postmetaphysical Thought book series (PSPMT)


Luce Irigaray’s Marine Lover has been read as a critique of Nietzsche’s displacement of and reliance on the feminine, the body and the earth — as a priority of the gods Apollo and Dionysus, the superman, and Nietzsche’s tension-filled invocations to the feminine.1 However, in this chapter I try to read the text differently. How does Irigaray call our attention to existential becoming as the becoming of two in Marine Lover? I argue that this text does not strictly refuse but reorients existential becoming as an irreducible, originally not chosen, relation always between ‘at least two poles’ (Luce Irigaray, Marine Lover, p. 70). It is the inexhaustible relation between two different humans which allows for the revaluation of the feminine upon whom Nietzsche mistakenly believes that he must draw to express the ‘endless coming into life’ of becoming, appearance, beauty and change (ibid., p. 5). To express this endless birthing which he himself is or would be, but only in relation to the other of the other, Nietzsche wrongly appeals to a stifled notion of woman as an externalized source of becoming. The endless birth that Nietzsche himself seeks is instead to be found in the body-to-body inter-subjective relation itself. Irigaray insists that becoming is not a coming together of two finished parts who only subsequently meet; rather becoming here would involve an exploration of the body-to-body relation.


Sexual Difference Primary Matter Eternal Return Elemental Translation Masculine Culture 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Baracchi, Claudia, ‘Elemental Translations: From Friedrich Nietzsche and Luce Irigaray’, Research in Phenomenology 35 (2005), pp. 219–48.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Camus, Albert, The Myth of Sisyphus And Other Essays, tr. Justin O’Brien (New York: Vintage International, 1991).Google Scholar
  3. Felman, Shoshana, Writing and Madness: Literature/Philosophy/Psychoanalysis (Palo Alto: Stanford University Press, 2003).Google Scholar
  4. Grosz, Elizabeth, Sexual Subversions: Three French Feminists (Boston: Allen & Unwin, 1989).Google Scholar
  5. Haas, Lynda, ‘Of Waters and Women: The Philosophy of Luce Irigaray’, Hypatia 8, 4 (1993), pp. 150–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Irigaray, Luce, ‘Women’s Exile: Interview with Luce Irigaray’, tr. Couze Venn, Ideology and Consciousness, I (1977).Google Scholar
  7. -, Le corps-à-corps avec la mère, (Montréal: les éditions de la pleine lune, 1981); English version in Sexes and Genealogies (New York: Columbia University Press, 1993).Google Scholar
  8. -, This Sex Which is Not One, tr. Catherine Porter with Carolyn Buzke (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1985).Google Scholar
  9. -, Marine Lover: Of Friedrich Nietzsche, tr. Gillian C. Gill (New York: Columbia University Press, 1991).Google Scholar
  10. -, An Ethics of Sexual Difference, tr. Carolyn Burke and Gillian C. Gill (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1993).Google Scholar
  11. -, ‘A Natal Lacuna’, tr. Margaret Whitford, Women’s Art Magazine 58 (1994), pp. 11–13.Google Scholar
  12. -, Democracy Begins Between Two, tr. Kirsteen Anderson (New York: Routledge, 2000).Google Scholar
  13. -, Key Writings (New York: Continuum, 2004).Google Scholar
  14. -, ‘Pour une logique de l’intersubjectivité dans la différence’, Hegel-Jahrbuch (Berlin: Academic Verlag, 2007), pp. 325–9.Google Scholar
  15. -, ‘The Return’ in Luce Irigaray: Teaching (New York: Continuum, 2008), pp. 219–30.Google Scholar
  16. Marshall, Jennifer Cizik, ‘The Semiotics of Schizophrenia: Unica Zürn’s Artistry and Illness’, Modern Language Studies, 30, 2 (2000), pp. 21–31.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Mortensen, Ellen, The Feminine and Nihilism: Luce Irigaray with Nietzsche and Heidegger (Oslo: Scandinavian University Press, 1994).Google Scholar
  18. Nietzsche, Friedrich, Thus Spoke Zarathustra, ed. Adrian Del Caro and Robert Pippin (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2006).Google Scholar
  19. Oliver, Kelly, ‘The Plaint of Ariadne: Luce Irigaray’s Amante Marine de Friedrich Nietzsche’, in Keith Ansell-Pearson and Howard Caygill (eds), The Fate of the New Nietzsche (Brookfield: Avebury, 1993), pp. 211–27.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Emily Anne Parker 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Emily Anne Parker

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations