Divine Promethean love
in The subject of love
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Throughout ‘Grace and Innocence’, Cixous explores the relationship between effort and grace, and alerts her principal speculation that, what matters is not knowledge as such, but our way of living knowledge: ‘One has to know how not to possess what one knows’. To the extent that the problem of self-sacrifice is what marks the rejection of agapic love in much of feminist theology, the text has argued throughout that Cixous's conception of divine Promethean love addresses this issue at the level of the structure of subjectivity itself. The very notion of self-sacrifice, the study suggests, is dependent firstly upon a notion of self that is indebted largely to the Enlightenment, hence masculine ideals about what a subject is in the first place. Cixous acknowledges that, in a patriarchal world, one continues to be interpolated into the discourses of subjectivity which privilege notions such as individuality and autonomy, and which assume the subject to be a self-subsisting phenomenon. If the masculine subject is constituted against the threat of difference, Cixous inscribes in feminine flesh the possibility that this is not the only possible relation to difference. In a feminine relation to difference, one finds the possibility of living a dispossessed, rather than sacrificial, relation to self, in which otherness becomes the occasion of a generous, excessive, abundant birth into life and love.

The subject of love

Hélène Cixous and the feminine divine


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