Year of Award


Document Type


Degree Type

Master of Arts (MA)

Degree Name

English (Literature)

Department or School/College

Department of English

Committee Co-chair

Casey Charles, Kathleen Kane

Commitee Members

Benedicte Boisseron


French Feminism, Gender, Genre, Language, Queer


University of Montana


Bending Gen(re)der: The Negotiation of Identity through Language in Hélène Cixous and the Self analyses the French author Hélène Cixous and her most recently published book, Love Itself in the Letterbox. The book cannot be said to fit into a specific genre but moves through a series of musings surrounding her personal history with France, New York, authors she has been influenced by, her relationship with mother, and most often the contemplation of her lover. Cixous’ use of ecriture feminine (women’s writing) layers the writing to create a playful, confusing, incongruent body of work in an attempt to subvert the phallogocentric. In my thesis I contemplate this ecriture feminine and explore how Cixous has used it to understand identity through gender, memory, and language. I expand on her sometimes-limited sense of herself out of the binary of feminine writing and into what I refer to as queer ecrtiure in hopes to move past that binary and into a more radical understanding of gender and language by allowing the two conceptual genders to be at play within any body. Through a deconstruction of both gender and genre, this thesis makes a detour away from a traditional masters thesis and turns toward a more creative and explorative critical analysis.



© Copyright 2010 Marley McKenna