Cixous cuts
Take time
in Hélène Cixous
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This chapter takes the openings of four of Cixous’s books (Manhattan, Hyperdream, Love Itself in the Letter-Box and Eve Escapes) as the basis for a discussion of the unconventional, experimental, even violent nature of her writing. Particular emphasis is given to the question of time and the speed of life: as Derrida more than once remarked, ‘Life will have been so short’. In what ways is this future anterior (‘will have’) perhaps especially characteristic of the contemporary world? Cixous’s work helps us think about the extent to which, as Mark Currie puts it in About Time: Narrative, Fiction and the Philosophy of Time, ‘the present is experienced in a mode of anticipation’. How might writing best engage what Currie calls ‘this anticipatory mode of being’? In quite different ways, both Gilles Deleuze and Jacques Derrida highlight an uncanny sense of speed in Cixous’s work. The chapter develops their work in order to suggest how deeply Cixous’s writing resonates in a time of climate change, mass species extinction and escalating dependence on teletechnologies.

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