File spoon-archives/french-feminism.archive/french-feminism_2001/french-feminism.0111, message 20


Date: Sun, 25 Nov 2001 13:32:46 +0000
Subject: Re: irigaray & colour


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<div>Hi Simone -</div>
<div><br></div>
<blockquote type="cite" cite><font face="Arial" size="-1"
color="#000000">Hilary, I'll send the paper along this weekend. 
It's a summary of a chapter in my dissertation.  Perhaps the
chapter would be more useful?  You choose: read twenty pages, or
sixty? </font></blockquote>
<div><br></div>
<div>well!  let's go for 60, why not! (rtf format attachment to
my personal email address would be great.)</div>
<div><br></div>
<blockquote type="cite" cite><font face="Arial" size="-1"
color="#000000"><br>
<br>
</font></blockquote>
<blockquote type="cite" cite><font face="Arial" size="-1"
color="#000000">My approach is more about looking at how
intersubjectivity is handled in poems.  There is the poet, the
reader, and poem as interval between them, but then there are the
relations to an other in the poem itself, whether that other is a
person, or time, or Being, or some object or idea.  So there are
levels of these relations in play all at the same time.  My
focus, for the sake of clarity more than anything, is on the
subject-in-the-poem's relation to the
other-subject-in-the-poem.   It's messy to try to write
about, but I'm trying anyway. </font><br>
<font face="Arial" size="-1" color="#000000"></font></blockquote>
<div><br></div>
<div>this sounds very interesting ,and I look forward to reading
it.<br>
</div>
<blockquote type="cite" cite><font face="Arial" size="-1"
color="#000000">I have been warned that I shall be branded a mystic. 
As if I have a probelm with that.  I don't think that academics
in the Humanities can long afford to ignore the mystic elements in
poets and artists and philosophers.  We must confront that
element of the human.  Without it, the whole endeavor is
incomplete, crippled in some way. Neitzsche had Ekhardt, Derrida had
the Kabbalah, and Irigaray has Buddha and the Tantrists. What is so
dangerous about exploring these influences and connections?  Why
not simply own up to it?  I don't understand.  At least we
are no longer isolated.  This is wonderful.  As far as I
know, unfortunately, there is none or precious little critical work on
her that addresses these elements and influences in her work. 
Though now,  I think it will be unavoidable after Two Be Two. 
W! e had better hurry up and get our work out there to
publish.</font></blockquote>
<div><br></div>
<div><br></div>
<div>I think that one of the problems is that various meditative
processes stress emptying or stilling the self, and have constructions
of subjectivity which do not accord well with those found in
psychoanalysis, or post-structuralist theory. The fragmented, partial,
constructed self as opposed to.... let me give a quote from Yuanwu's
Zen Letters (trans. Cleary) (Shambala 1994) (Yuanwu's dates are
1063-1135 CE):</div>
<div><br></div>
<div>"If you can cut off outward clinging to objects and inwardly
forget your false ideas of self, things themselves are the true self,
and the true self itself is things; things and true self are One
Suchness, opening through to infinity.</div>
<div>If you are attached to perception then this is a perception - it
is not the arriving at the Truth. Those who arrive at the Truth
transcend perception, but they manage to use perception without
dwelling in perception. When you pass directly through 
perception and get free of it, it is all the fundamental
Truth."</div>
<div><br></div>
<div>he also quotes Yogjia: " It is not apart from<i> here</i>
always profoundly clear and still. If you search for it, you know you
cannot see it."</div>
<div><br></div>
<div>So we clearly have a huge problem with terminology between the
disciplines current in academic theory today, and these texts. How to
understand 'self', truth', etc. Then of course there is the vexed
issue of translation. Translations of these Teachers can vary so much
as to be almost unrecognizable as the same texts, and utterly infused
with the values of their time and culture. In relation to Irigaray,
teasing out the varying processes (esp. analysis and meditation),
terminologies, and aims of these disciplines seems to be crucial. How
do they differ? how can they be reconciled - as surely they must be
within her/her writing, as she maintains practices of both.  The
hints of her meditative practices (in English) goes back as far as I
can see to a 1980 interview (Baruch & Serrano).</div>
<div><br></div>
<div>Alison Martin's book<i> Luce Irigaray and the Question of the
Divine</i> (mainly concerning christianity) discusses buddhism briefly
in relation to Irigaray's reading of Nietzsche, and links her concepts
of 'becoming'  back to the incident of Buddha and the flower -
which Yuanwu interprets as the initiation of Zen transmission - and
certainly, Irigaray discusses this incident, and uses the concept of
the flower and/or blossoming elsewhere in a manner which can be read
'through' this incident productively (as opposed to reading it
according traditional western constructions of the feminine, which 
I have found to be a dead end in understanding these passages).</div>
<div><br></div>
<div>(a coda: I am presently catching up with recent translations of
Irigaray's work into English alongside the originals (I finished my
PhD in 1998 and am just returning to working on Irigaray, and I'm not
a fluent reader of french or italian), but you are right, Simone: we
scholars of Irigaray's work must take this increasingly visible strand
of her thought into account: it cannot simply be ignored. Her work has
to be understood across its breadth - uses of terminology developed in
one text appear as fundamental, but un-explained, elsewhere - the
flower is but one example; and (as another correspondent emailed me
privately last week) reading her late work through her early work (and
vice versa????) is a wholly appropriate approach - in fact, I think,
the only possible approach to a body of work which deliberately
resists conventional academic analysis for political reasons. Hope all
of this has made some sense - I'm stuffed full of a cold.)</div>
<div><br></div>
<div>best wishes,</div>
<div><br></div>
<div>Hilary</div>
<x-sigsep><pre>-- 
</pre></x-sigsep>
<div>_______________________________<br>
<br>
Dr. Hilary Robinson<br>
School of Art and Design<br>
University of Ulster at Belfast<br>
York Street<br>
Belfast BT15 1ED<br>
Northern Ireland<br>
UK<br>
<br>
<h.robinson-AT-ulst.ac.uk><br>
direct phone/fax: (+44) (0) 28 9026.7291)<br>
________________________________<br>
<br>
Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate
cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. Hate multiplies hate,
violence multiplies violence, and toughness multiplies toughness in a
descending spiral of destruction....The chain reaction of evil--hate
begetting hate, wars producing more wars--must be broken, or we shall
be plunged into the dark abyss of annihilation.<br>
           <span
></span
>           <span
></span
>           <span
></span
>           <span
></span
>           <span
></span
>           <span
></span
>           <span
></span
>           <span
></span
>           <span
></span>         -- Martin
Luther King Jn.</div>
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