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Three Steps on the Ladder of Writing by Helene Cixous, Susan Sellers

Three Steps on the Ladder of Writing


Part of the The Wellek Library Lectures Series


Three Steps on the Ladder of Writing by Helene Cixous, Susan Sellers

Three Steps on the Ladder of Writing is a poetic, insightful, and ultimately moving exploration of 'the strange science of writing.' In a magnetic, irresistible narrative, Cixous reflects on the writing process and explores three distinct areas essential for 'great' writing: The School of the Dead-the notion that something or someone must die in order for good writing to be born; The School of Dreams-the crucial role dreams play in literary inspiration and output; and The School of Roots-the importance of depth in the 'nether realms' in all aspects of writing. Cixous's love of language and passion for the written word is evident on every page. Her emotive style draws heavily on the writers she most admires: the Brazilian novelist Clarice Lispector, the Russian poet Marina Tsvetaeva, the Austrian novelists Ingeborg Bachmann and Thomas Bernhard, Dostoyevsky and, most of all, Kafka.


Hilhne Cixous is today, in my view, the greatest writer in what I will call my language, the French language if you like. And I am weighing my words as I say that. For a great writer must be a poet-thinker, very much a poet and a very thinking poet. -- Jacques Derrida

About the Author

Helene Cixous has published more than thirty works of fiction, plays, and essays. Her recent books translated into English include 'Coming to Writing' and Other Essays; Inside; The Exile of James Joyce; Portrait of Dora; The Newly Born Woman; and Reading with Clarice Lispector.

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Book Info

Publication date

1st November 1994


Helene Cixous, Susan Sellers

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Columbia University Press


162 pages


Literary theory
Semantics, discourse analysis, etc



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