By Bakhtin, Mikhail Mikhaĭlovich; Wussow, Helen; Hohne, Karen Ann; Bakhtin, M
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Additional info for A Dialogue of voices : feminist literary theory and Bakhtin
If the source of writing is the unconscious, as Cixous claims, if true expression lies exclusively within or upon or across or through the body —even the cosmic "body without end" —then the "locus for the other" remains obscure. In valuing the unconscious, that which is hidden and unspoken, Cixous admits the existence of a dark continent, in her words the "limitless country," where the other is ultimately an unnecessary, if not unwelcome, intruder. Cixous's professed alternative to the dialectic, to the phallocentric values of opposition and hierarchizing exchange, is scarcely better.
Bakhtin emphasized that only to the extent that it enters into antagonistic dialogue with "official" discourse, hybridizing it, can the energies of carnival become politically transformative. "34 This hybridization or mixing of messages corresponds both with the dialogism of Yeats's Blakean occult philosophy, in which "a contrary is not a negation,"35 and with a "deconstructed" feminism, which undoes the binary oppositions of "masculine" and "feminine" in order to unsettle patriarchal prescriptions for gender identity.
10 In a particularly lively essay entitled Femmes ecrites, Laurence Enjolras has noted the irony of a feminine ecriture that becomes exclusive, even repressive in its turn. 11 In its claim to authenticity, to an unmediated feminine truth, women's writing repeats a gesture uncomfortably similar to the tradition with which it seeks definitively to break. For Bakhtin, such an absolute departure, whether patriarchal or feminist, is bound to fail. There can be no clean slate like the one Cixous imagines.