Double Oblivion of the Ourang-Outang

Double Oblivion of the Ourang-Outang

4.08 (12 ratings by Goodreads)
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In 2009, the writer-narrator finds a Box. Within it lie the pages of her very first manuscript, pages she thought she had long since thrown away. Le Prenom de Dieu was the text that marked the start of her prodigious career, and yet for the narrator it is also the Nameless Book, the-Book-that-could-never-be-read, the book written by someone other than her. Now, once again, it heralds a beginning, as its discovery is the start of a journey into the past. The title, with its reference to the murderous Ourang-Outang of Edgar Allan Poe s The Murders in the Rue Morgue, sets the scene: this is a detective story haunted by literary ghosts. At the very heart of literature lies the fascination with the enigma, the search for something that has been lost. Cixous illustrates this as she leads her reader on a hunt for the ultimate hidden treasure, in the company of an array of venerable predecessors from Saint-Simon, Proust and Stendhal to Shackleton, Poe and Jacques Derrida. Double Oblivion of the Ourang-Outang is a text about literature. It speaks of the books you read and the books you write, those you remember and those you forget, those you fear and those you revere. It is also a powerful, evocative tale of beginnings and endings, of remembering and forgetting, of things and their doubles. In a densely woven narrative, Cixous s latest text focuses on the extraordinary voyage that is literary creation, and in doing so also explores the themes of memory, loss and more

Product details

  • Hardback | 208 pages
  • 144 x 214 x 20mm | 340.19g
  • Polity Press
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0745653901
  • 9780745653907

Review quote

"Few writers today can express the literary in the way Cixous can." Times Literary Supplement "Cixous recalls anew many of the figures who have peopled her universe over the years: Joyce, Kafka, Stendhal, Derrida, her cats, her mother, her children. They return as new, doubles of their earlier selves. With characteristic humour, this 'Double Oblivion' explores how forgetting keeps the past not just alive but young." Mairead Hanrahan, University College London "Who tells the story: the narrator, distracted discoverer of her own first larval book and carer for a mother doughtily exploring the furthest reaches of her years? Or is it the narrator's companions and inner inhabitants? In addition to the Ourang-Outang, she makes room for Heathcliff, Stendhal, most especially her twin Jacques Derrida, not forgetting Rimbaud, Nefertiti, Proust and Poe. Or does the story emanate from the strange character of the Box? Where exactly is oblivion, reading s double? Where does memory lodge? In what cupboards, words and elliptical lakes? Nothing escapes Cixous in her tender, unflinching attention to the duels with oblivion we all face.' Sarah Wood, University of Kentshow more

About Helene Cixous

Helene Cixous is one of the world s leading writers. She is the founder and former director of the Centre de Recherches en Etudes Feminines at Paris VIII University and is a frequent visitor to universities in the United States and more

Table of contents

Foreword Part One I enter the Box Urgent. Endurance 1 The Nameless Book The Lake Part Two I bring back Le Prenom de Dieu Another Williamshow more

Rating details

12 ratings
4.08 out of 5 stars
5 42% (5)
4 33% (4)
3 17% (2)
2 8% (1)
1 0% (0)
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