CIXOUS, IRIGARAY, KRISTEVA This book is a poetic study of three French feminists, Luce Irigaray, Julia Kristeva and Helene Cixous, the 'holy trinity' of French feminism. Kelly Ives writes: 'I hope to convey some the inspiration and excitement that their work instils. For these three feminists/ philosophers/ speakers/ poets are extraordinarily enriching. Their writings are not dull, nor yet are they limited to having one or two things to say. Rather, they say a lot, about a lot. Sometimes they write things that are outrageous, at other times they are incredibly, searingly poignant. They annoy many feminists - their insistence on the body and biology, for instance, aggravates some theorists.' EXTRACT FROM THE INTRODUCTION Helene Cixous, Luce Irigaray and Julia Kristeva all have different modes of writing. There are times when they are writing in the sober, tones of a cultural critic, philosopher or psychoanalyst. They have strident feminist voices (Cixous and Irigaray more than Kristeva). They are personal reminiscence modes. They have a relaxed, informal mode in interviews. And, most powerful of all, they have lyrical modes.
Thus, Cixous, the most 'poetic' of the three, will break into a visionary, ultra-lyrical way of writing. Luce Irigaray, too, changes, less frequently than Helene Cixous, from a critical to a lyrical form. Thus, in a piece such as "When Our Lips Speak Together", Irigaray will write poetic sentences such as 'Kiss me. Two lips kiss two lips, and openness is ours again.' This is the kind of phrase which never appears in most cultural theorists outside of quotation marks. One doesn't find Jacques Derrida, Jacques Lacan, Gilles Deleuze, Jean Baudrillard, Mikhail Bakhtin, Michel Foucault, Roland Barthes or Jean-Paul Sartre writing 'kiss me' very often. Well, perhaps Foucault and Barthes said 'kiss me' in darkened hotel rooms - but not in scholarly books published by Minuit or Gallimard. What marks Helene Cixous, Luce Irigaray and Julia Kristeva apart from many cultural theorists and philosophers, then, is this personal, confessional and poetic way of writing, where they directly address the reader as the other, the 'you' in an intimate relationship. Derrida, Foucault, Baudrillard, and Jakobson are rarely, if ever, this personal.
KELLY IVES has written widely on feminism, philosophy and art. Her previous books include Julia Kristeva and Helene Cixous.