Four words for Cixous
in Hélène Cixous
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This concluding chapter proposes four neologisms for thinking about Cixous’s writings (and thus for gathering together the concerns of the book as a whole). 1) The nanoment (portmanteau of ‘nano-’ and ‘moment’) refers to something very brief, an abrupt, fleeting, interruptive, unforeseen moment that nonetheless has strange power of illumination or expansion. It offers opportunities to construe life, the world, ourselves and others anew. 2) ‘Narratoid’ (a portmanteau of ‘narration’ and ‘meteoroid’) refers to the ULO (‘unidentifiable literary object’), to the found (as if falling from the heavens) quality of certain words and phrases in Cixous, and to the way that these can explode and impact across a text. 3) ‘Omnicisence’ (a play on ‘omniscience’) refers to the sense that, in Derrida’s phrase, ‘there is no atom’. ‘Omnicisence’ is about Cixous’s ‘art of cutting’. It entails a way of thinking about literature (especially fictional narrative) that does not, however discreetly, rely on religious thinking (so-called narrative omniscience). 4) ‘Ornithophony’ (Cixous’s invention) alludes to all the ways in which thinking about human life, art and literature (especially voice and music) is bound up with birds. This is illustrated through a reading of Ulysses and Cixous’s The Exile of James Joyce.

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