Recommend to your Librarian

Volleys of Humanity

Essays 1972–2009

Hélène Cixous
Edited by Eric Prenowitz

eBook (PDF) i

A new collection from one of the most famous and influential French theorists

These 15 essays – 6 previously unpublished even in French and 5 published in English for the first time – span nearly 40 years of Cixous’ writing. Here, she ranges over literature, philosophy, politics and culture in what she calls her ‘autobibliography’.

Show more


A Note on the Texts
Series Editor's Preface
Introduction: Cixousian Gambols
By Eric Prenowitz
1. Fiction and its Phantoms: A Reading of Freud's Das Unheimliche
2. The Character of 'Character'
3. Re Egg-gendring in James Joyce's Finnegans Wake or how Joyce makes us (s)cream with laughter
4. The Pleasure Reinciple or Paradox Lost
5. Reaching the Point of Wheat, or A Portrait of the Artist as a Maturing Woman
6. Letter to Zohra Drif
7. The Names of Oran
8. The Book as One of Its Own Characters
9. How Not to Speak of Algeria
10. The Oklahoma Nature Theatre is Recruiting
11. The Book I Don't Write
12. The Unforeseeable
13. Passion Michel Foucault
14. Promised Cities
15. Volleys of Humanity

About the Author

Hélène Cixous is Director of the Centre d'Études Féminines at Université Paris VIII, Emerita. one of the foremost intellectuals and creative writers in France and a major figure in the emergence and global spread of postmodern literary theory, late-20th-century Continental Thought and Women's Studies. She is the author of more than 40 novels, 14 plays and 15 volumes of theory and essays. Her work has been translated into more than 20 languages, including Japanese, Korean, Hindi and Urdu.

Eric Prenowitz is Lecturer in Cultural Studies at the University of Leeds. He is an acclaimed reader and translator of both Hélène Cixous and Jacques Derrida. Recent publications include special editions of parallax and New Literary History on the work of Hélène Cixous, and 'Rêvécrire', in Rêver croire penser, CampagnePremière, 2010.


As essayist, Hélène Cixous always astonishes with the unforeseeable volleys of her poetically driven, politically riven prose. How fortunate her English language readers are to find these priceless texts together in one volume. Time, almost forty years, has passed, but untouched is the absolute youth and vitality of every line.
- Professor Peggy Kamuf, University of Southern California
Volleys of Humanity is perhaps the richest single volume of Cixous' critical writings yet published in English. A lucid and beautiful introduction by Eric Prenowitz leads into an explosive salvo of texts, ranging from early essays already justly famous ('Fiction and its Phantoms' and 'The Character of "Character"') to the tremendous title-essay 'Volleys of Humanity', first published in French in 2009. There are also remarkable essays (previously unpublished in English) on Joyce, Clarice Lispector ('the greatest writer in the twentieth century'), and Michel Foucault, as well as on Algeria, US politics and theatre, cities and the unforeseeable.
- Nicholas Royle, University of Sussex

Also in this series