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Hélène Cixous

Author of Three Steps on the Ladder of Writing

111+ Works 2,010 Members 21 Reviews 13 Favorited

About the Author

Born in 1937 in Algeria, Helene Cixous came to Paris, where she is currently professor of English, in 1955. After a dissertation on James Joyce, The Exile of James Joyce (1968), she began to publish novels, critical essays, and plays, most notably Le Portrait de Dora (1976), a feminist retelling of show more a Freudian case history. Jacques Derrida has named Helene Cixous the greatest contemporary French writer. Cixous has been an active participant in the development of literary criticism after structuralism and has been a leading figure in the French feminist movement. (Bowker Author Biography) show less
Image credit: Hélène Cixous foto by Sara Gordan

Works by Hélène Cixous

The Newly Born Woman (1975) 195 copies
The Book of Promethea (1983) 115 copies
The Hélène Cixous Reader (1994) 101 copies
The Laugh of the Medusa (1975) 83 copies
Veils (1702) 60 copies
The Exile of James Joyce (1969) 49 copies
Inside (1632) 37 copies
The Third Body (1970) 37 copies
Angst (1977) 32 copies
Hyperdream (2006) 32 copies
The Day I Wasn't There (2000) 24 copies
Tomb(e) (The French List) (2014) 20 copies
Philippines (2009) 19 copies
Insister of Jacques Derrida (2006) 18 copies
Eve Escapes (2009) 17 copies
Hemlock: Old Women in Bloom (2008) 14 copies
So Close (2007) 10 copies
La (1976) 9 copies
Portrait de Dora (1976) 9 copies
Mother Homer is Dead (2014) 8 copies
To Live the Orange (1979) 7 copies
Entre l'écriture (1986) 7 copies
Ananke (1979) 5 copies
Tambours sur la digue (1999) 5 copies
We Defy Augury (2020) 5 copies
Ruines bien rangées (2020) 5 copies
Souffles (1975) 5 copies
Ex-Cities (2006) 5 copies
Théâtre (2007) 4 copies
Partie (1976) 4 copies
Neuter (1998) 4 copies
Nattspråk (1996) 4 copies
Alexandra Grant (2007) 3 copies
Portrait du soleil (1974) 3 copies
Rêvoir (2021) 3 copies
1938 Nuits (2019) 2 copies
Le Prénom de Dieu (2019) 2 copies
Illa (1980) 2 copies
Un vrai jardin (1998) 2 copies
Mdeilmm: Parole de taupe (2022) 2 copies
Discordo Ergo Sum (2019) — Contributor — 2 copies
L'ange au secret (1991) 1 copy
Benmussa directs (1979) 1 copy
Nacres: Cahier (2019) 1 copy
Déluge (1992) 1 copy

Associated Works

The Essential Feminist Reader (2007) — Contributor — 320 copies
Postmodern American Fiction: A Norton Anthology (1997) — Contributor — 278 copies
Last Words from Montmartre (1995) — Preface, some editions — 222 copies
Erotica: Women's Writing from Sappho to Margaret Atwood (1990) — Contributor — 168 copies
The Schocken Book of Modern Sephardic Literature (2005) — Contributor — 25 copies
In the Wake of the Wake (1977) — Contributor — 24 copies
Lewis Caroll (1971) — Contributor — 6 copies
HOW(ever), Vol. VI, No. 1, January 1990 — Contributor — 1 copy


Common Knowledge

Canonical name
Cixous, Hélène
Legal name
Cixous, Hélène
Other names
CIXOUS, Hélène
CIXOUS, Helene
Oran, Algeria
Places of residence
Oran, Algeria
Paris, Île-de-France, France
Bordeaux, Gironde, Nouvelle-Aquitaine, France
Lycée Lakanal
University of Bordeaux
autobiographer (show all 7)
Derrida, Jacques (friend)
University of Paris VIII
Northwestern University
University of Bordeaux
University of Nanterre
European Graduate School, Saas-Fee, Switzerland
Awards and honors
Legion d'Honneur (1994)
Ordre national du Mérite (1998)
Short biography
Hélène Cixous was born in Oran, Algeria, to Jewish parents. Her mother was a refugee from Nazi Germany, and her father came from a family that had reached Algeria after expulsion of Jews from Spain. Hélène, who never thought she was at home in Algeria, often draws on her own and her family's circumstances and life experiences with colonialism and anti-Semitism in her work. She attended secondary school in Algiers. In 1955, she married Guy Berger, a philosophy teacher, with whom she had three children. The couple moved to Paris, where she attended the Lycée Lakanal, in which she was the only North African student in her class. The following year, her husband was assigned a teaching position in Bordeaux, where she began to prepare for the agrégation (highest level teachers' exam) in English literature. She obtained a secondary school teaching diploma in English and then the agrégation soon afterwards. In 1960, she began to work on a thesis on James Joyce and in 1962 was named assistant teacher at the University of Bordeaux. In Paris, she met Jacques Derrida, another Jewish-Algerian-French intellectual. Their talks on James Joyce were the beginning of a lifelong friendship. They co-authored several books and texts on each other's work. In 1963, she made her first trip to the USA, where she did research on Joyce's manuscripts and met Jacques Lacan, with whom she worked regularly on Joyce. In 1964, Hélène and her husband divorced, and a year later she became assistant lecturer at the Sorbonne. In 1967, she published her first book of fiction, Le Prénom du Dieu (God’s First Name) and was appointed full professor at the University of Nanterre. She was charged by the Ministry of Education with creating the experimental University of Paris VIII. Under her leadership, a number of exiled Latin-American writers and groundbreaking scholars such as Gérard Genette, Tzvetan Todorov, and Michel Foucault received teaching positions. With Genette and Todorov, she launched the journal Poétique in 1968. That same year, she finally defended her thesis on James Joyce and earned her Ph.D. She then was named professor of English literature at Paris VIII and won the prestigious Prix Médicis for her second book of fiction, Dedans (Inside). In 1974, she set up the first doctoral program in women’s studies in Europe. In 1975, she published her first play, Portrait de Dora (Portrait of Dora), which was critically acclaimed and ran for a year at the Théâtre d’Orsay. Over the next two decades, she became internationally recognized, and received numerous prestigious awards, including one for helping to promote the works of the Jewish-Russian-Brazilian writer Clarice Lispector. She published some 70 works, including 23 volumes of poems, six books of essays, five plays, and numerous scholarly articles. She lectured in Europe, the UK, and the USA. In 1989, she collaborated on the film La Nuit Miraculeuse (The Miraculous Night). She published a series of autobiographical books, exploring relatives and places from her childhood. In 2008, she was appointed Professor-at-Large at Cornell University.



WOW. I don't even know how to read books anymore. What is an egg? What is innocence? I thought I knew what all of these things were and now I am sure I have never seen an egg in my entire life.
adaorhell | Mar 7, 2024 |
Not enough stars in the universe for this book.
archangelsbooks | Dec 31, 2023 |
archangelsbooks | Oct 21, 2023 |
I completely fell for this book, which from the start felt almost like prose poetry. Had I not have read Proust, though, I might've been confused at times—and I know my understanding would've benefited from much greater familiarity with Poe's work. Still: I think it's the *way* Cixous describes or admits to or delves into fears and anxieties and so much more that makes a grasp of the literary references almost secondary, where sheer enjoyment at immersing myself in the text is concerned.
KatrinkaV | 1 other review | Oct 16, 2023 |


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