Somatization of writing and semiotization of the body : a study of selected texts by English-Canadian feminist writers

Author: Sojka, Eugenia
Source document: The Central European journal of Canadian studies. 2002, vol. 2, iss. [1], pp. 15-26
  • ISSN
    1213-7715 (print)
    2336-4556 (online)
Type: Article
License: Not specified license
This study focuses on the analysis of selected texts by English Canadian feminist writers who are engaged in the conscious process of subverting / carnivalizing the coded discourse of patriarchal culture, which reinforces the heterocentrism, classism, racism and sexism of society. Betsy Warland, Daphne Marlatt, Lola Lemire Tostevin, Gail Scott, Erin Mouré and others challenge the traditional way of writing by deconstructing the linear alphabetical notation and writing a discourse translating the body into a script. Aware of recent development is the feminist discourse, the writers experiment with the translation of various senses of the body into writing. The body translated into writing somatizes the process, while the body itself is being semiotized, read as a linguistic sign or structure. The texts are read as an enactment of female desire, of female economy of language, the economy of plenitude, translated into the never-ending process of the eroticization of language. The rhetoric exploring the visual, the aural, the tactile and the olfactory experience ofthe body is examined here. The writers' penchant for linguistic play is not purely aesthetic. It helps us reflect on languages and the way they shape our thinking and acting in the world.
L'etude analyse plusieurs textes d'auteures féministes anglophones au Canada engagées dans la subversion d'un discours patriarcal qui encode l'hétérocentrisme, le racisme, le sexisme et le statut quo social. Betsy Warland, Daphne Marlatt, Lola Lemire Tostevin, Gail Scott, Erin Mouré parmi d'autres défient l'écriture traditionnelle en déconstruisant la notation alphabétique linéaire pour créer une écriture qui inscrit le corps féminin. Suivant des développements récents du discours féministe, ces auteures transforment en écriture les différents sens du corps. La transformation du corps en écriture est un processus de somatisation, alors que le corps lui-même est transformé en signe et en structure sémiotiques. Les textes se lisent comme l'articulation du désir féminin et de l'économie linguistique féminine. Celle-ci est une économie de la plenitude qui se traduit sans cesse en un processus d'éroticisation du langage. Les textes explorent la rhétorique du visuel, de l'acoustique, du tactile et de l'experience olfactive du corps. Le jeu linguistique chez ces auteures n'est pas seulement esthétique; il nous amène a réfléchir sur le langage et sur son influence sur notre façon de penser et d'agir dans le monde.
[1] Andrews, Bruce. "Text and Context". In Bruce Andrews and Charles Bernstein (eds.) The L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E Book. Carbondale and Edwardsville: Southern Illinois University Press, 1984, 31-38.

[2] Banting, Pamela. "The body as pictogram: rethinking Heléne Cixous's écriture feminine". Textual Practice 6.2 (Summer 1992), 225-246. | DOI 10.1080/09502369208582139

[3] Benstock, Shari. Textualizing the Feminine. On the Limits of Genre. Norman and London: University of Oklahoma Press, 1991.

[4] Braidoti, Rosi. Patterns of Dissonance. A Study of Women in Contemporary Philosophy. Elizabeth Gould (trans.). New York: Routledge, 1991.

[5] Butling, Pauline, "bp Nichol's Gestures in Book 6 Books". In Roy Miki (ed.) Tracing the Paths. Reading =/ Writing The Martyrology. Vancouver: Talonbooks, 1988, 237-259.

[6] Chodorow, Nancy. The Reproduction of Mothering: Psychoanalysis and the Sociology of Gender. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1978.

[7] Cixous, Hélene. "Conversations". In Susan Sellers (ed.) Writing Difference. Readings from the Seminar of Hélěne Cixous. Open University Press, 1988, 140-153.

[8] Eisenstein, Sergei M. Film Form. Jay Leyda (ed. and trans.). New York: Harcourt Brace and World, 1949.

[9] Freeman, Barbara. Plus corps done plus éeriture. Hélene Cixous and the mind-body problem. Paragraph 11.1 (1988), 58-70. | DOI 10.3366/para.1988.0003

[10] Gallop, Jane. Thinking Through the Body. New York: Columbia University Press, 1988.

[11] Heble, Ajay. "The Poetics of Jazz: from Symbolic to Semiotic". Textual Practice 2.1 (Spring 1988):, 51-68. | DOI 10.1080/09502368808582025

[12] Hirsch, Marianne. The Mother-Daughter Plot: Narrative, Psychoanalysis, Feminism. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1989.

[13] Jaeger, Peter. "'Contradiction...contains diction'. Translation Strategies in bp Nichol's The Martyrology and Selected Organs". West Coast Line 18 (29/3) (Winter 1995-96), 37-46.

[14] Marlatt, Daphne. "The Measure of the Sentence". Open Letter 5. 3 (Summer 1982), 90-92.

[15] Marlatt, Daphne. "Musing with Mothertongue". In Daphne Marlatt Touch to My Tongue. Edmonton: Longspoon Press, 1984, 45-49.

[16] McCaffery, Steve. "The Death of the Subject: The Implications of Counter-Communication in Recent Language-Centered Writing". Open Letter 3rd Series 7 (Summer 1977), 61-77.

[17] Marjorie Perloff, The Dance of the Intellect. Studies in the Poetry of the Pound Tradition. Cambridge , London, New York: Cambridge University Press, 1985.

[18] Mouré, Erin. "Poetry, Memory, and the Polis". Trivia 13 (Fall 1982), 66-73.

[19] Scott, Gail. Spaces Like Stairs: Essays. Toronto: The Women' s Press, 1989.

[20] Silliman, Ron. "Disappearance of the Word, Appearance of the World". In Ron Silliman The New Sentence. New York: Roof Books, 1987, 7-18.

[21] Steiner, Peter. Russian Formalism. A Metapoetics. Ithaca, London: Cornell University Press, 1984.

[22] Tostevin, Lola Lemire. "re". In Double Standards. Edmonton: Longspoon, 1985.

[23] Tostevin, Lola Lemire. "Breaking the hold on the story: the feminine economy of language". A Mazing Space. Edmonton: Longspoon, 1986, 385-391.

[24] Tostevin, Lola Lemire. "The Pregnant Pause as Conceptual Space (or gimme a break)". Open Letter 6.7 (Spring 1987), 74-76.

[25] Ulmer, Gregory. Applied Grammatology: Post(e)-Pedagogy from Jacques Derrida to Joseph Beuys. Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press, 1985.

[26] Warland, Betsy. Open is broken. Edmonton: Longspoon, 1984.

[27] Warland, Betsy. Serpent (w)rite (a reader's gloss). Toronto: Coach House Press, 1987.

[28] Warland, Betsy and Daphne Marlatt. "Reading and Writing Between the Lines". Tessera 5 (September 1988),80-90.

[29] Warland, Betsy. Proper Deafinitions. Collected Theorograms. Vancouver: Press Gang Publishers, 1990a.

[30] Warland, Betsy "Far as the i can see". In Proper Deafinitions. Collected Theorograms. Vancouver: Press Gang Publishers, 1990b. 75-79.

[31] Warland, Betsy and Daphne Marlatt. "Subject to Change: A Collaboration". Trivia 18 (1991).

[32] Whitford, Margaret. Luce Irigaray. Philosophy in the Feminine. London and New York: Routledge, 1991.

[33] Young, Karl. "Notation and the Art of Reading". Open Letter 5.7 (Spring 1984), 5-32.