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The Feminine of Difference

Gilles Deleuze, Hélène Cixous and Contemporary Critique of the Marquis de Sade


Marta Zajac

The work follows the vicissitudes of the concept of difference in contemporary cultural discourse: a shift from the Platonic notion of difference as a pillar of separation to Gilles Deleuze’s notion of pure difference as the ground for communication. Special attention is paid to the relevance of pure difference for gender studies, in particular, as a means of redefining the key relations of mind-body and man-woman. The shape the relations in question assume in patriarchal reality (and the consequent subjugation of the feminine) is presented indirectly, via contemporary readings of the Marquis de Sade, which in large part treat the libertine community as a caricature of patriarchy. On the other hand, the liberating effect of pure difference is traced in the feminine tenor of Gilles Deleuze’s and Hélène Cixous’s reflection on thought and subjectivity, the affinity between these two gender-marked voices being itself of feminine nature. The principal aim of this book is to point out difference-related controversies of gender theory.
Contents: Philosophy in the Bedroom – The Master is He Who Speaks, or on Mind-Body – Philosophers Hate Mothers, or on Man-Woman – Feminism and Patriarchy Conceive the Binary Pair – Philosophy out of the (Bed-)Room – Thought in Difference, or on the Collapse of the Labyrinth – Subject in Difference, or on Becomings – The (Gestalt) Switch of Difference.