Nearing the 'Wild Heart': The Cixousian 'Feminine' and the Quest for Law's Origin
University of Exeter
(2003) 19 Australian Feminist Law Journal 11, Special Issue on Divining the Source: Law’s Foundation and the Question of Authority
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.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 19
Keywords: cixous, écriture féminine, origin, law
Date posted: April 18, 2012 ; Last revised: June 26, 2012