Review by Choice Review
In lieu of an introduction, this collection of 12 recent essays (1991-97) contains a bibliography of Cixous's "book-length publications, 1967-1998." So readers who require the expected preface on intellectual context and the difficulties of translation might begin with Cixous's "Coming to Writing" and Other Essays, ed. by Deborah Jenson (CH, Jan'92), for the former or Firstdays of the Year (1998) for the latter. Or, in the spirit of Cixous, who continually deconstructs beginnings and endings, text and commentary, one might just dive into the middle of this anthology--into a dazzling piece like "What Is It O'clock? Or the Door (We Never Enter)"--and allow oneself to be swept away. Cixous's writing disturbs all the usual exegetical categories of argument, theme, and even subject; in a fragmented, nonlinear style, she collages autobiography and quotation, rhetorical description and prose poetry, with performances that continually hover around poststructuralist commonplaces (nonstop writing, edges and the abyss) but that exhibit nonetheless never-ending (perhaps even more than Derridean) resourcefulness. The three experienced translators carry out their task well. Readers interested in the developments of feminist thought or in the possibilities of experimental criticism should certainly put themselves in the way of Cixous's works, this one included. All collections. S. C. Dillon; Bates College
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