Cixous, Hélène (1938–)

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Cixous, Hélène (1938–)

French playwright, novelist, and literary critic. Name variations: Helene Cixous. Born June 5, 1937 in Oran, Algeria; dau. of a French-Jewish colonialist doctor who died when she was young; mother Eve was Austro-German; married, 1959 (div. 1965); children: daughter (b. 1959); son (b. 1962).

Known for her theory of écriture féminine which challenges sexual categories and patriarchal hierarchies, became an assistant at the University of Bordeaux (1962); moved to Paris (1965) and became an assistant at the Sorbonne; published 1st book Le Prénom de Dieu (God's First Name, 1967); published doctoral thesis The Exile of James Joyce (1969); in the aftermath of the student riots (1968), appointed chargé de mission to found the experimental University of Paris VIII at Vincennes (later Saint Denis), where she became a professor of literature; also founded Paris Centre des Recherches en Etudes Féminines (1974), remaining as chair for years, and co-founded Poétique (1969); published 1st fiction Dedans (Outside, 1969), for which she won the Prix Médicis, and the trilogy Le Troisième Corps (The Third Body), Les Commencements (Beginnings), and Neutre (Neuter, 1970–72); wrote (with Catherine Clément) La Jeune Née (1975); also wrote Limonade tout était si infini (1982) and Le livre de Promethea (1983), among others; theater writing includes Portrait de Dora (1976), Le Nom d'Oedipe: chant du corps interdit (1978), La Prise de l'école de Madhubai (1985), L'histoire terrible mais inachevée de Norodom Sihanouk, Roi de Cambodage (1985), and L'Indiade ou L'Inde de leurs rêves (1987); other novels include Angst (1977) and Vive l'Orange (1979); contributed an autobiographical piece to An Algerian Childhood (trans. by Marjolin De Yager, 2001).

See also Susan Sellers, ed., Writing Differences: Readings from the Seminar of Hélène Cixous (Palgrave Macmillan, 1988); Lynn Penrod, Hélène Cixous (Twayne).

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Cixous, Hélène (1938–)

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