File spoon-archives/french-feminism.archive/french-feminism_2000/french-feminism.0007, message 19

Date: Sun, 30 Jul 2000 11:51:05 -0500
Subject: Re: talking about Irigaray

Hi back Michael,

Actually, I haven't made up my mind about that fabulous question. I
suspect that in light of her early work in This Sex and Speculum, some
of the essays in Sexes and Genealogies, etc. that the answer is both.
I'm almost sure of that.

Admission: I'm not as familiar with Heidegger as with Irigaray. In fact,
many of the chapters in Oblivion concern themselves with Building,
Dwelling, Thinking -- and my copy of the Basic Writings (could I drop a
few more titles in here?? hehehe) is in a box in my storage closet.  I'm
digging it out today.  

Anyway, it seems to me that her work is, as ranging as it is, of a
whole.  So I think she's making a space for a feminine metaphysics, but
given a long, distinguished and received tradition of metaphysics in the
masculine, the only way she has to do that is to converse with and
question the masculine as it represents itself in that tradition (also
psychoanalysis, religion, and language itself).  So my bet would be that
she wants to do both. 

One of her arguments is that thinking and culture are out of balance
because there is no feminine tradition (genealogy) with which the
masculine one could be in conversation, by which it could be questioned,
and to which it would be accountable, see Thinking the Difference on
this point.  So, it seems to me, step one: re-instate the feminine in
the existing metaphysics, step two: develop a genealogy appropriate to
the feminine (a long term project involving lots of people, mostly if
not exclusively women).  I do not see this other genealogy as operating
over-against, in an antagonistic sense, the masculine.  I see the
situation eventually creating a double loop in which thinking and
politics and culture -- one that does not eschew paradox (her work is
very good at remaining with paradox) but which sees paradox as a
creative and necessary tension (for instance, the paradox it would be to
have the masculine and the feminine both positively valued, a paradox
currently resolved by the abjection or reification of the feminine).  

All that said, I'm only half way through Oblivion (that was fun to
say!). I was putting it off for my dissertation, which is centered more
in An Ethics, subjectivity issues, and poetics.  But, I'll be done
reading Oblivion soon, and will review Building -- and maybe then I'll
have a more definitive response -- but I doubt it now.  The procedure I
described above seems to me to be at work in all of her writing, it
seems to be the very project itself.  But, I could be wrong....

Thanks for a great question.  Maybe between between people's familiarity
with Martin and with Irigaray, we can sort some of this out.  I'm
looking forward to being able to offer page numbers, quotations, etc.  I
get worried when conversations stay too 'global' -- those conversations
are really about the conversants, not the texts and authors.


michael david pennamacoor wrote:

> Shortly, I should have Oblivion... and Marine... and I Love.... (when
> amazon gets to ship them) and I'll treat myself to a full immersion. I the
> very mean time, I wonder, given my interest in Heideggerand his attempts to
> deconstruct the entire metaphysical tradition, in your opinion, whether
> Irigaray is exposing, dis-covering, the feminine in metaphysics, in order
> to re-instate, recover it within or around metaphysics or whether she is
> attempting an overcoming (verwindung) of metaphysics and moving through to
> another 'space' of thinking, say, by threading through the forgotten
> feminine into the tapestry of erstwhile metaphysics, [thus transporting the
> whole into...]?
> The little I've read of Irigaray reminds me greatly of Heidegger at his
> poetic scintillating best: it is language (of) thinking...
> best wishes
> michael
> >
> >my advice is never to get your irigaray second hand, no matter how
> >honest or good the source.  each of her books is part of a fairly well
> >unified (though i admit unified by the logic of metaphor and symbol more
> >than by linearity) project, and her parole is so uniquely her own that
> >one, i think, really should get immersed for themselves.  she a very
> >poetic writer, and no two people read quite the same Irigaray for that
> >reason.
> >
> >best to all,
> >Simone
> >
> >michael david pennamacoor wrote:
> >>
> >> thankyou Noelle
> >>
> >> two or three initial questions:
> >>
> >> 1) are the "elements" earth & air meant literally or (in what way)
> >> metaphorically?
> >>
> >> 2) is not earth also abundant and the 'soil and root'  for all that
> >> be-comes and stirs (into life)? Heidegger also privileges light and the
> >> clearing afforded by lighting... what does Irigaray say about this
> >> privilege? Is it on a par with earth and oblivious in the same way of air?
> >>
> >> best wishes
> >>
> >> michael
> >>
> >> >Irigaray's main point in _The Forgetting of Air in Martin Heidegger_ is
> >> >that Heidegger privileges the element earth and is oblivious to the
> >> >element air, which is abundant and is where "everything comes to pass
> >> >and everything stirs" (13).
> >> >
> >> >--Noelle McAfee
> >> >Content-Type: text/x-vcard; charset=us-ascii;
> >> > name="Noelle_McAfee.vcf"
> >> >Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit
> >> >Content-Description: Card for Noelle McAfee
> >> >Content-Disposition: attachment;
> >> > filename="Noelle_McAfee.vcf"
> >> >
> >> >Attachment converted: Capitalist Pig:Noelle_McAfee.vcf (TEXT/TBB6)
> >>(0003587E)
> >>
> >>      --- from list ---
> >
> >--
> >*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
> >Woe to the writer who fails to cultivate
> >[her] megalomania, who sees it diminished
> >without taking action. [She] will soon
> >discover that one does not become *normal*
> >with impunity.
> >               -- E.M. Cioran
> >               "On the Verge of Existence"
> >
> >Simone Roberts
> >Ph.D. Candidate, Studies in Lit.
> >19 and 20 Century Euro-American Poetics,
> >       Feminist Philosophy
> >The University of Texas-Dallas
> >School of Arts and Humanities
> >primary email:
> >secondary email:
> >
> >Instructor, Art Institute of Dallas
> >
> >
> >     --- from list ---
> Michael Pennamacoor
> SandwichDeSign
> 38 Sandown Lees
> Sandwich
> Kent CT13 9NZ
> tel: 01304-617626
> email:
>      --- from list ---

Woe to the writer who fails to cultivate
[her] megalomania, who sees it diminished
without taking action. [She] will soon 
discover that one does not become *normal*
with impunity.
		-- E.M. Cioran
		"On the Verge of Existence"

Simone Roberts
Ph.D. Candidate, Studies in Lit.
19 and 20 Century Euro-American Poetics, 
	Feminist Philosophy
The University of Texas-Dallas
School of Arts and Humanities
primary email:
secondary email:

Instructor, Art Institute of Dallas

     --- from list ---


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