Access to the full content is only available to members of institutions that have purchased access. If you belong to such an institution, please log in or find out more about how to order.




Cixous, Hélène (1937–)

DOI: 10.4324/9780415249126-DE006-2
Version: v2,  Published online: 2018
Retrieved July 24, 2024, from

Article Summary

Hélène Cixous, a prolific, internationally acclaimed French writer born in Algeria and now residing in Paris, works between poetry and continental philosophy. She belongs to a larger community of artists and intellectuals in France that, in the 1960s, actively sought a critique of the Western (male) subject, claiming that the ‘metaphysical’ notion of the subject has for three centuries contributed to the repression of nature, women and other cultures by construing human existence in terms of the separation of mind from body, and more generally of concept from metaphor.

Influenced by writers and thinkers from many times and places, Cixous privileges art and poetry in work of strong philosophical inflection, especially where it engages with that of Jacques Derrida. Like his, her thought champions notions of difference, and metamorphosis rather than opposition and identity. She seeks to displace the unified, narcissistic (generally male) subject, which in her view is on the side of death. Cixous is also importantly influenced by her critical reception of Freud, Hegel, Heidegger and Nietzsche.

Citing this article:
Conley, Verena Andermatt. Cixous, Hélène (1937–), 2018, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-DE006-2. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis,
Copyright © 1998-2024 Routledge.

Related Articles