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Heather Walton

in her fascinations and bodily obsessions to the little boy. He eradicates the specificity of the feminine, marking the girl child as castrated. This castration is, for Freud, a necessary wounding which will bind female eroticism to masculine gratification. 88 Tina Chanter states that to write philosophy ‘is to speak the voice of universality, to seek for ultimate causes behind appearances, to account for why “reality” is the way it is, to unify, synthesise and systematize’ (1995: 141). Like Derrida, Irigaray regards the unacknowledged violence of the

in Literature, theology and feminism
Heather Walton

’ childhood was marked by war, occupation and 95 struggles against colonialism. She married at eighteen and migrated to France, where she completed her education and began research on the works of James Joyce. She met Jacques Derrida in 1962 and, by the mid-1960s, was immersed in French literary and cultural circles. Although active in the radical movements of 1968 she also successfully defended her doctoral thesis in that year, and in 1969 she was appointed Chair in English Literature at Paris VIII University, where she has continued to teach throughout her career

in Literature, theology and feminism
Hanneke Canters and Grace M. Jantzen

Irigaray which so far as we are aware has not been investigated for its impact on her writing, and that is the effect of Rabbinic patterns of thought upon Freud and Derrida and through them upon Irigaray This suggestion may at first seem far–fetched: Irigaray is not Jewish and never engaged in sustained discussion Rigid binaries and masculinistic logic of Jewish issues or even of the Hebrew Bible. But Freud and Derrida, both of whom obviously had enormous influence on Irigaray, can be shown to have adopted Rabbinic patterns of thought which are quite different from the

in Forever fluid
Context and style of Elemental Passions
Hanneke Canters and Grace M. Jantzen

particular to the major continental thinkers of the twentieth century: Heidegger, Sartre, de Beauvoir, Levinas, Foucault, Merleau–Ponty, Derrida and Deleuze. Important as it would be to locate her work in conversation with these thinkers, however, we have chosen not to undertake this in any detail here, since it would be a large project in itself.1 Rather, we have devoted our attention to the text of Elemental 53 Elemental Passions Passions itself, though with the recognition that our commentary would benefit from further detailed work on the penumbra of thinkers whose

in Forever fluid
Abstract only
Hanneke Canters and Grace M. Jantzen

readers to engage with her text in the context of familiarity with the canon of Western philosophy from classical Greece through Kant and Hegel to Heidegger, Sartre and Derrida. If a reader is immersed in this literature she will find frequent allusions and echoes: we have drawn attention to some of these in our commentary in Chapter 4. But Irigaray herself offers no help. Her approach in Elemental Passions is in this respect quite different from that in Speculum, for example, where she offered a close reading and line–by– line comment on writings of Freud, Plato

in Forever fluid
Heather Walton

for these scholars to escape the power connotations of the binary scheme that structures their work. This accords primacy always to one term for, as Derrida argues, in Western thinking ‘we do not have a peaceful co-existence of facing terms but a violent hierarchy. One dominates the other’ (in Roemer 1995: 196). Feminists negotiating these discussions may find themselves irritated by the heterosexual matrix in which the whole debate is framed and unwilling to enter a discussion predicated on these terms. However, once an awareness of the 18 14 She is selective in

in Literature, theology and feminism
Heather Walton

solution to the problem of how to rethink the unrepresentable’ (Jardine, 1985: 144). The feminine has assumed this figurative role through the historical construction of Western philosophical discourse within which woman has functioned as the powerful negative pole of culture propelling all away from herself. Derrida writes: There is no such thing as the essence of woman because woman averts, she is averted of herself. Out of the depths, endless and unfathomable, she engulfs and distorts all vestige of essentiality, of identity, of property. And the philosophical

in Literature, theology and feminism
Heather Walton

making this theoretical move she is also engaged in an implicit dialogue with Derrida (whose work she encountered shortly after arriving in Paris). Kristeva alleges that Derridean deconstruction operates entirely within the realm of the symbolic system which, when perceived as a totality, may be disturbed from within but not radically challenged from without. Kristeva claims that because Derrida explores the field of ‘signification’ rather than ‘subjectivity’ he can theorise the dynamics of ‘différance’ but may not express the energy of separation, rupture and

in Literature, theology and feminism
Morny Joy

/Otherness, particularly as this term has featured in acts of denial that have deprived women of an identity of their own. Jacques Derrida and Jacques Lacan are major influences, but she does not accept their work at face value. Irigaray’s oeuvre also needs to be set in the wider context of the developments in French thought since 1930, specifically the impact of such diverse thinkers as Hegel, Freud and Heidegger. Irigaray is neither a theologian nor a philosopher of religion in the traditional sense, and I think it is a mistake to try to make her one. The body of her work, especially

in Divine love
Abstract only
Emmanuel Levinas and Irigaray
Morny Joy

is not simply provocative but deeply disturbing. To take his work seriously is to be dislodged from the securities and complacencies characteristic of western thought. Is he then another Derrida, an erstwhile debunker of the metaphysics of presence who could leave us ambivalently languishing with the remnants of our former ideals and certainties? The answer must be no – for Levinas is not afraid to evoke a notion of transcendence as an incomprehensible mystery. Thus, Levinas cannot be simplistically categorised as a deconstructionist who trades in undecidability

in Divine love