A searching meditation on “authorship” by an eminent theorist.
An inner journey across space and time linking the “author” to other poets, this lyrical essay-poem continues Helene Cixous’s exhilarating rewriting of notions of boundary, self, other, and author. The renowned source of the notion of ecriture feminine, Cixous here interrogates the status of the author, connecting distant instances of herself with other writers who traverse genders, generations, and national boundaries. In doing so, she pursues the rhythms of a mind thinking, tentatively following each thought from its enigmatic inception through all its twists and turns into the next thought’s mysterious beginnings. Here, then, is the “flux full of silent words flowing from one community to the other, from one life to the other, the strange legend, inaudible except to the heart of one or the other, the narrative weaving itself on high”.
By turns thrilling and chimerical, hypnotic and startling, this first-person meditation — or, in Freud’s term for a dream-text, theorie-fiction — does not aspire to reflect reality so much as transform the ways in which we perceive it, creating new terms for subjectivity and the “real”. Above all, First Days of the Year (published originally in French as Jours de l’an) is a celebration of beginnings and future possibilities, based on necessity and hope, constantly mediating writing and living, life and death. Like all of Cixous’s profoundly original works, it seductively leads the reader into a new way of thinking by disrupting fixed ideas of psychic identity, subjectivity, and language.