Three Steps, Three Steps, Three Steps

Hélène Cixous , écrivain – chez elle à paris 10/2004

“Following the opening strategy on Cixous’s part in Three Steps on the Ladder of Writing and its accompanying, secret avowal of the autobiogrammy, there takes place what seems the opening onto admission, confession once more, of love, for writers, and, from this, to the confessions of “autobiography”, starting with childhood, Except, we must note, that the childhood, though singular is shared; it is a writing that reiterates the gesture of the loved ones – a gesture at once singular and shared by analogy with the Derrida of the “Circumfession”, in his autobiogrammatical response to St.Augustine. Cixous (re)turns to writers who begin (with writing, with living) as the inaugural gambit, so that autobiography finds itself haunted by autobiogrammy.

“Autobiography” is staged, placed on a stage in a structural auto-displacement whereby “self” becomes enacted through the ruse of citation. Autobiography as confession, as avowal, can never escape the dishonesty of systematization, it always already finds itself enclosed. Therefore, it must open itself to this other writing of the self, semi-encrypted, through the acknowledgement of the iterability of citation […] and the citation inscribed as the necessary performative articulation of iterability. Which of course has already taken place, in that opening reading of the letter H.

So Cixous begins, before she begins, writing being the arche-origin of the self, and the self as that singular place of dwelling haunted by the place between the inscriptions of the other(s). Thus there takes place – and it takes place precisely because this writing is performative, excessively so, beyond the control or mastery of any constative or mimetic force that the program of autobiography might believe it has – an avowal, a circumfession of the unavowable, in writing. This is the merest chance of the invention of “I” within the system’s “confession” of “autobiography” that makes possible what is for Cixous writing’s greatest secret: truth.”

For further exploration of the ‘strange science of writing’ see Three Steps by Cixous

Wolfreys J, Occasional Deconstructions, State University of New York Press, 2004:pp.100

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