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  • Print publication year: 2008
  • Online publication date: February 2013

2 - The novel today

from Part I - Writing the enigma


This interview is taken from “Le Roman d'aujourd'hui: Entretien: Hélène Cixous” [The Novel Today: Interview: Hélène Cixous] which appeared in Fabula 3 (March), 147–58, 1984.

hq To begin with, I will simply say this: as we all know, you have various activities to your credit. What part does literature play in all of this?

cixous There is this effect of multiplicity which you describe, but, at the heart of it, there is an order, at least a hierarchy of values, and for me, the most essential thing is to write. The other gestures, which are accompaniments, have their roots in writing. For example, I write during the summer and, from what I have written, I bring out what will be the general theme of my seminar. It is the world of writing which is originary, which is the origin of everything I am able to do next; it's the source. Afterwards, it disperses, it channels itself, it scatters forth in secondary gestures which, for me, are still necessary gestures all the same. Well, they are gestures of quick transmission. The very fact that they are quick means that they are also less profound, more shrunken gestures. The difference is situated in the transmission — I will say the mission — from writing to the spoken word; but the one serves the other.

hq Does that mean that you speak, that you teach, as you write?

cixous I do not think that I speak as I write, exactly.