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Full-Text Articles in Modern Literature

Cardinal's The Words To Say It: The Words To Reproduce Mother, Eilene Hoft-March Jun 1997

Cardinal's The Words To Say It: The Words To Reproduce Mother, Eilene Hoft-March

Studies in 20th & 21st Century Literature

The Words to Say it, an autobiographical novel by Algerian-born Frenchwoman Marie Cardinal, earned praise for the accuracy with which it documents a classic psychoanalysis. Quickly sketched, the plot seems to suggest that the separation from an overpowering mother is effected by paternal language and phallic law—the normal, normative psychic itinerary of the human subject. In its reconsideration of the Oedipal, this essay explores Irigaray's idea of the ambiguities of separation from mother and the possibility that the story of (feminine) subjectivity begins with the mother, begins with affiliation and affirmation even as it speaks of separateness. From ...