Differance, Algeriances and Other Forms of Errancy: (Auto)biographical Acts in Recent Writings by Helene Cixous, Jacques Derrida and Hele Beji
The proposed paper will first consider recent works of Jacques Derrida and Helene Cixous, who share the experience of being of Algerian, French and Jewish origins. The writings for which they are most famous deconstruct the dichotomies that have long dominated philosophical discourse and challenge notions of a monolithic self. Though references to their flight from a war-torn Algeria are largely absent in their best-known works, these two giants of European intellectual thought have recently spoken of their personal experience of errancy and exile in such a way that "differance" now becomes an "algeriance." Narratives of childhood glimmer there where the unending deferral of meaning once impeded the appearance of an emergent self. The paper compares recent developments in the autobiographical writings and interviews of two of our best-known deconstructionists to the work of Hele Beji, a contemporary writer of Tunisian origins, whose novel L'oeil du jour offers the reader touching and lyrical depictions of a woman who oscillates between Paris and the Maghreb, reconnecting with her native land in spaces that are at once liminal and interstitial.
Keywords: Autobiography, Derrida, Cixous, Beji
Dr. Catherine J. West
Associate Professor, Director of Women's Studies, Department of Romance Languages and Literatures, Converse College