Cixous cuts
The veil in me
in Hélène Cixous
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This brief chapter offers a reading of Reveries of the Wild Woman: Primal Scenes. Like other chapters bearing the title ‘Cixous cuts’, this involves a discussion of the multiple senses of ‘cut’ in her work. Like every other book Cixous has published, Reveries of the Wild Woman: Primal Scenes is full of cuts of different kinds. Particular attention is given to the ways in which her ‘primal scenes’ are at once allied with Freud’s conception of this term and discreetly but significantly at odds with it. The chapter focuses above all on the traumatic, traumatised passage in Reveries of the Wild Woman in which Cixous recalls, as a seven-year-old in Algeria, witnessing the terrible fate of a veiled young Muslim girl on a Ferris wheel in 1944. This is announced as the ‘tale of a girl who gets cut in two’ and provides the final, most horrifying ‘primal scene’ in Cixous’s book.

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