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How to «Write French»? Reveries of Algeria in the Work of Hélène Cixous


This essay analyses Les rêveries de la femme sauvage by Hélène Cixous (2000) in the light of some ideas taken from her earlier text La venue à l'écriture (1976). In Les rêveries, the writer reconsiders her complex relationship with her native Algeria as well as with the French language. The text explores Cixous' own intercultural identity as a Jewish woman (juifemme) at the crossroads of several languages and cultures. Her use of the French language strives to become hospitable to that complexity, and with that, to turn it into the opposite of the language of exclusion it had been in the colony. Strangeness, distance, hate and love write themselves tentatively into this language… thus avoiding to violently reduce the diversity and living singularity of each "I".

SvD, May 2009

  • Publications > Volumes WomenWriters > Crossroads of Languages > Fiorini

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