chapter  11
25 Pages

Helene Cixous and the of Portraying: on Portrait du Solei

It is striking how often Hélène Cixous mentions the genre of the portrait in her titles.1 Portrait du soleil, Portrait de Dora, “Le vrai portrait de Nelson” (in Manne), “Le dernier tableau ou le portrait de Dieu” (in Entre l’écriture), also “Autoportraits d’une aveugle” (Jours de l’an), “Oteportraits d’Hommère en Lioncles” (Partie), or even “Portée de l’inconnue” (in La), tell us that this writer, at any particular stage of her literary project and independent of the genre (fiction, theatre, essay) she practices, seems to be driven by a desire, if not an urge, to make portraits. This need to portray is not restricted to the entitling alone. In many other texts, portraits interrupt the movement of the narrative, introducing a new poetical moment, as in Le Livre de Promethea, where the “portrait de Promethea en H” constitutes a real framing out of text, as it is the only fragment with a title.