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Nearing the 'Wild Heart': The Cixousian 'Feminine' and the Quest for Law's Origin

(2003) 19 Australian Feminist Law Journal 11, Special Issue on Divining the Source: Law’s Foundation and the Question of Authority

19 Pages Posted: 18 Apr 2012 Last revised: 26 Jun 2012

Sara Ramshaw

University of Victoria Faculty of Law

Date Written: 2003

Abstract

For French poet, playwright, author and theorist, Hélène Cixous, the question of origin is always a question of the origin of the very drive to write; it is always a question of the ‘wild heart’: for one must have a ‘touch of something savage, uncultured, in order to let it happen.’ This ‘wild heart’, this drive to write, is, in the Cixousian lexicon, closer to the ‘feminine’; and the texts it produces constitute what she calls ‘feminine writing’ or écriture féminine. Endeavored in this article is a discussion of law and legal authority, which disrupts or transcends (classic) phallic discourse. Relying heavily upon the poetic writings of Cixous, it will be demonstrated that ‘feminine writing’, as a narrative (non)structure, which does not conform to predictability and linearity, resists a return to the origin. Such writing ‘frees the writer to express and communicate complex ideas, values and attitudes, ones which may have been previously repressed’ (Comte 2001: 8). In so doing, ‘feminine writing’ encourages a discussion of law that has been otherwise neglected or unexpressed and offers a unique challenge and resistance to the authority upon which law’s foundational claims rest.

Keywords: cixous, écriture féminine, origin, law

Suggested Citation

Ramshaw, Sara, Nearing the 'Wild Heart': The Cixousian 'Feminine' and the Quest for Law's Origin (2003). (2003) 19 Australian Feminist Law Journal 11, Special Issue on Divining the Source: Law’s Foundation and the Question of Authority. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2041382

Sara Ramshaw (Contact Author)

University of Victoria Faculty of Law ( email )

PO Box 1700 STN CSC
Victoria, British Columbia V8W 2Y2
Canada

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