This study focuses on the metafiction of childbirth as a metaphor and on the frequent traces of the (autobiographical) father and the mother in Hélène Cixous's writing. First, I give a theoretical background including theories of metafiction, metaphor and the delicate relations between fiction and "reality". In the following chapter, The Father, I examine different ways to understand the traces of the father (date and year of the father's death, the letters of his name, his apparition) - from Le Prénom de Dieu and Dedans to OR, les lettres de mon père and Manhattan - as metafictive signs, as autofiction and preferably as expérience littéraire.
In the chapter on The Mother I observe that the mother is present in Hélène Cixous's writing on several levels; she is metaphor, myth and memory. She is connected to the childbirth metaphor, where delivery gives birth to texts; and consequently the author thereby changes the old western view of the author as a man. The mother is also a narrative device, appearing in the texts already from the beginning, making remarks about the daughter's writing, thinking and doing. She is a matter-of-fact voice in dialogue with the author/daughter. The mother becomes the protagonist in Osnabrück which by means of her memories from Nazi Germany I take as an example of "witness literature". In the chapter of The Child, I treat the frequent use of the childbirth metaphor in Hélène Cixous's writing, taking my examples mainly from the fictions of La, Angst, Préparatifs de noces au delà de l'abîme, Ananké and Illa. Following George Lakoff and Mark Johnson in Metaphors We Live By I distinguish the delivery scenes as the core of the metaphor, generating a whole network of expressions and pictures connecting breeding and writing, including brooding birds, flowers opening and the pride of the mouse giving birth to a mountain.
In my concluding chapter, I oppose some earlier understanding of Hélène Cixous's childbirth metaphor as writing as a female "essence". On the contrary, her writing from its very start, deconstructs old western dicotomies. The white ink metaphor, famous from "The Laugh of the Medusa", also is the ink of the invisible ones. The child born as a language, a poem, a writing contains the symbolic force of the new life which combats oblivion and death.
Symposion, Stockholm/Stehag , 2004. , 319 p.
"Hélène Cixous", "födelsemetaforer", "metafiktion", "autofiktion", "vittneslitteratur", "litterär erfarenhet"