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Qui est La?: displaced subjects in Wide Sargasso Sea and Le ravissement de Lol V. Stein.

The scene corresponds exactly to the !hysteric's^ symptom. . . . In the scenes as well as the symptom, the continuation and in Jacques Lacan's sense, unrealized life of a desiring body enters into play. (David-Menard, Hysteria from Freud to Lacan 30-31; my emphasis)

Within the first few pages of Marguerite Duras' Le ravissement de Lol V. Stein, we learn that the 19-year-old protagonist is beautiful, witty, bright, and not there.

. . . il manquait deja quelque chose a Lol pour etre -- elle !Tatiana^ dit: la. Elle donnait l'impression d'endurer dans un ennui tranquille une personne qu'elle se devait de paraitre mais dont elle perdait la memoire a la moindre occasion . . . une part d'elle-meme eut ete toujours en allee loin de vous et de l'instant . . . dans rien encore, justement, rien. (12-13)

!. . . something was already missing in Lol, in order for her to be -- as she {Tatiana} says: there. She gave the impression of enduring in bored tranquility a personality which she ought to assume but which she would forget at the least occasion . . . a part of her had always been moving away from you and the present moment . . . into nothing, precisely nothing {or nowhere}.^(1)

On the penultimate page of Jean Rhys's Wide Sargasso Sea, another bright and beautiful heroine, Antoinette, has a dream that foreshadows her supposed fatal escape from the attic in Rochester's mansion. She is poised on a ledge and hears her mother's dead parrot, Coco, call: "I heard the parrot call as he did when he saw a stranger, "Qui est la? Qui est la?" !Who is there? Who is there?^ (190). Nowhere in this dream is Antoinette's name given in response to the parrot's question. Like Lol, Antoinette is not there. Both Le ravissement de Lol V. Stein and Wide Sargasso Sea use the same concept, and the same word, "la," to signal for the female subject a displacement from where she is supposed to be: there. To trace this displacement, we need to ask two questions: (1) What is the connection between place and subjectivity in these novels? and (2) What happens to that subjectivity when that connection is disrupted?

In describing the Oedipal arrangement of desire that motivates pornographic narratives and Hollywood films, Teresa de Lauretis claims that a heroine accedes to the symbolic in these films not when she attempts to express her own desire, but when she meets the hero, there, at the place where he is awaiting her to fulfill his. Deprived of a story of her own, the heroine's story begins only when she takes her place as love object in the hero's story. When she is not there, Freud designates her an hysteric. Consider his assessment of Dora, another intelligent and attractive heroine who is not there:

!Herr K.^ suddenly clasped the girl to him and pressed a kiss upon her lips. This was surely the situation to call up a distinct feeling of sexual excitement in a girl of fourteen who had never before been approached. But Dora had at that moment a violent feeling of disgust, tore herself free from the man, and hurried past him . . . In this scene . . . the behavior of this child of fourteen was already entirely and completely hysterical. ("Fragment" 28)

What immediately follows is one of Freud's definitions of hysteria:

I should without question consider a person hysterical in whom an occasion for sexual excitement elicited feelings that were preponderantly or exclusively unpleasurable; and I should do so whether or not the person were capable of producing somatic symptoms. (28)

Given his Oedipal model, which describes libido as masculine and desire as fundamentally heterosexual, Freud could only interpret Dora's failure to be there, at the place of masculine desire, as hysterical -- just as the authorities represented in the novels suspect Lol of illness and accuse Antoinette of madness because they fail to respond in a predictable way to their male lovers' desire.

Freud's definition of hysteria rests upon the strict division of gender that his Oedipal scenario prescribes. The active position of desire is masculine, the passive position of object of desire is feminine. But Freud's model derives from his interpretation of the primal scene in which the child witnesses its parents having sex, a scene that suggests that placement or position is key: the man is on top, the woman is on the bottom. How then are gender and place co-implicated in this scene? With one notable exception, Freud neglects place in favor of gender as the primary, if not sole, criterion of subjectivity. The exception is Freud's exploration in Beyond the Pleasure Principle of the fort/da game of the young Hans, one context where we see subjectivity as an effect primarily of place rather than gender. The young child rehearses his mother's absence by tossing a spool from his crib and saying "fort" or there; when he reels in the spool and it reappears he cries out "da" or here. His here/there game gives Hans symbolic control over the disappearance and reappearance of the spool, and enables him to master his anxiety over his mother's disappearance. This early separation from its mother is one of the child's first manifestations of independent subjectivity. If the child can distinguish there, which designates the absent spool or the absent mother, from here, which designates the child, then it can begin to conceive of itself as separate from the mother. The child can think: "I am in that place where mother is not -- I am here; mother is in the place where I am not -- she is there." When we extrapolate to the case of Freud's Oedipal child, a clear distinction between here and there leads to a clear distinction between active and passive positions of desire. The child as the subject of desire is here, whereas the mother as object of his desire is there. If gendered subjectivity is the effect of distinguishing between a subjective here and an objectified there, then the question of Antoinette's and Lol's not being there is ultimately a question of an "other" subjectivity, one which resists being defined as object of another's desire.

Since my preliminary introduction, I have left Antoinette on a ledge, listening to various voices and trying to decide if she should jump. But unlike her prototype Bertha in Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre (1844), Antoinette has been given a story of her own, which explains her supposed "mad" leap from the mansion attic. As a child growing up in Dominica after the Emancipation Act, Antoinette witnesses the burning of her home by hostile former slaves. Her mother, Annette, is driven mad after losing her favored son and her parrot Coco in the fire and so Antoinette is sent to a convent. After a number of years of parochial seclusion, Antoinette is married off to "the man" (unnamed throughout the novel, but modelled as a younger version of Rochester from Jane Eyre), who falls madly in lust with her and then, terrified by reports of her mother's madness and wantonness, flees the sensuous atmosphere of the Windward Islands and locks her up in his English mansion. In the dream scene that closes the novel, Antoinette escapes from the attic where she has been confined since her arrival in England. While wandering around a mansion that combines features from her childhood home, Coulibri, with what appears to be Rochester's mansion, Thornfield, she describes what happens:

I went into the hall with the tall candle in my hand. It was then that I saw her -- the ghost. The woman with streaming hair. She was surrounded by a gilt frame but I knew her. I dropped the candle I was carrying . . . and I ran . . . (188-89)

The ghost that Antoinette confronts is an image of herself that is disembodied, not really there. Faced with her mirror image, Antoinette fails to have a Lacanian experience. Instead of seeing an integrated and comforting illusion that consolidates her subjectivity, she panics and is thereafter led to the ledge where she is confronted by a series of desperate and displaced identifications:

I heard the parrot call as he did when he saw a stranger, Qui est la? Qui est la? and the man who hated me was calling too, Bertha] Bertha] The wind caught my hair and it streamed out like wings. It might bear me up, I thought, if I jumped to those hard stones. But when I looked over the edge I saw the pool at Coulibri. Tia was there. She beckoned to me and when I hesitated, she laughed. I heard her say, You frightened? And I heard the man's voice, Bertha] Bertha] All this I saw and heard in a fraction of a second. And the sky so red. Someone screamed and I thought, Why did I scream? I called "Tia]" and jumped and woke. (189-90)

Nowhere do we find a single, integrated Antoinette in this dream. If a distorted image appears, her name never does. Instead the dream presents Antoinette with four displacements in response to the parrot's question, "Qui est la?": (1) Bertha, (2) her mother's parrot, Coco, (3) Tia, and finally, (4) a grammatical displacement from first person to third, then back to first again. Beginning with her mother and ending with language, this sequence charts Antoinette's progressive distancing from the maternal to the symbolic.

The first displacement in Antoinette's dream, Bertha, is the name Rochester uses for the madwoman in the attic in Jane Eyre. This displacement traces Antoinette's identification with her mad mother since Bertha is the suppressed name of both mother and daughter: (Bertha) Antoinetta Mason.(2) In Wide Sargasso Sea "the man" calls Antoinette "Bertha" after he hears reports of the sensuality and madness of her mother, Annette. There is some truth to the reports but not the truth Antoinette's husband sees. Like her mother, Antoinette needs a devoted lover or "she won't be satisfy. She is Creole girl, she have the sun in her" (158). Antoinette attempts to retain her husband's love with obeah. She uses an unpredictable "love potion" that she gets from her nurse, Christophine, to entice her husband into another night of lovemaking. But the plan backfires when the man suspects he has been poisoned and flees his femme fatale in terror and rage. He then dismisses the dangerous sexual encounter by accusing Antoinette of madness and calling her "Bertha." Antoinette recognizes the new name as an entrapment in a symbolic attic, a there in a patriarchal household: "'Bertha is not my name. You are trying to make me into someone else, calling me by another name. I know, that's obeah too'" (147). If Antoinette uses obeah to try to keep him close to her, "the man" uses it to keep her away. By calling his wife Bertha, the man in Wide Sargasso Sea distances Antoinette to a place where he has symbolic control over her, a there he can dismiss as madness. The control is not merely symbolic, but also political, since he has the right to confine her to his house or to an institution. This naming, as well as his meticulously-controlled discourse in the face of further temptation, is meant to keep Antoinette's -- and his own -- jouissance at bay. Describing the hysterical Darstellung in which language "does not serve to kill the thing," Monique David-Menard writes:

These statements of words !Antoinette's story, for example^ cannot be heard by the man who elicits them from a woman; he cannot allow himself to recognize himself in them without running the risk of impotence . . . this form of encounter short-circuits the phallic function in a violent way on all sides: the man is confronted directly with what prohibitory language and the phallic function have as their goal to fail to recognize. (186)

Only by denying both desires can Antoinette's husband consolidate his own phallic position to become a "damned hard man" (156), one who has seen Medusa's head and in terror turns to "A stone" (148).

One might trace the man's oscillation between what Antoinette offers and what the phallic function offers by contrasting his encounters with Antoinette with the letters to his father that punctuate them. It is not a coincidence that what begins the man's doubts about his relation to Antoinette is a letter from a supposed bastard son of her step-father, Daniel Cosway, a son obsessed with the loss of his own phallic privilege as an illegitimate son. Cosway's concerns exacerbate his own concerns about his position as younger son in an English family whose wealth and power are assured by primogeniture. Thus, to maintain his fragile position, and to keep Antoinette there, he must not listen to her when she says "There is always the other side, always" (128). He tells her he will listen "only if you promise to be reasonable" (129). "Reasonable," of course, means a story he recognizes and can understand. He does not understand the story Antoinette tries to tell him about her mother, Annette: about her desperate attempts to maintain Coulibri as a safe place to raise her children amid hostile blacks and snobbish whites, which she can only secure by making an unfortunate marriage, by trapping herself within it until it burns down. In fact it is specifically her mother's story, one that prefigures her own, that the man tries to suppress. But Antoinette insists on a hearing: "'You have no right,' she said fiercely. 'You have no right to ask questions about my mother and then refuse to listen to my answer'" (129). Only during the initial honeymoon and for a few brief moments after is Antoinette's husband willing to play a role in her story. He does follow her to Granbois, her mother's house, for the honeymoon and he does have a brief glimpse of the pleasure he must leave behind when he abandons the place. However, despite Antoinette's attempt, the man is never convinced of the truth or relevance to himself of the story of Antoinette's mother.

David-Menard in Hysteria from Freud to Lacan gives one possible explanation of the symbolic violence in the man's use of "Bertha" and his distancing of Antoinette into madness: ". . . in the Darstellung of jouissance, hysterics are struggling directly with the symbolic. In other words, we may wonder what type of man makes a woman hysterical" (182). Vorstellung describes the symbolic order, the site of re-presentation, the means of placing objects there (fort); Darstellung is the site of a making-present of jouissance, the means of recalling things here (da). Representation seeks to find its object there where language has placed it. But the hysteric also wants the here, the repetition of jouissance, rather than just the representing of the absent object. By saying "Bertha," the man is representing Antoinette, placing her there in the symbolic attic of madness where he can retain control. In doing so, he denies at once her desire and her stories. Antoinette's mad rage can then be seen not as the cause of her entrapment but as the result of her struggle to resist it. Suspicious of her passion and her energy, the man fears he cannot keep his wife in her place simply by calling her mad. He reinforces the symbolic entrapment with a literal one, and locks her up in his mansion. If neither gender codes nor symbolic violence can keep her in her place, the physical walls of his own inherited mansion do, at least for a short time.

The second displacement, to the parrot Coco, offers one alternative to the madness represented by Antoinette's identification with her mother. This displacement represents Antoinette's choice between the previous madness (the lack of self-recognition), and self-objectification (the other extreme, naming oneself in the third person). Antoinette hears the parrot call as it used to in the presence of a stranger: "Qui est la? Qui est la?" -- a question it answers itself, "Che Coco. Che Coco" (41). In the dream, the parrot's refrain suggests that it takes Antoinette for a stranger. The recognizable Antoinette is not there. Coco's response suggests that in her place is "coco," a crazy person. In responding to its own question "Qui est la?" Coco offers an alternate subjectivity when it refers to itself in the third person, "Che Coco." If Antoinette loses her right to tell her side of the story, she too will lose her ability to conceive of herself from any other position than her husband's. This is precisely what happens to her mother, Annette, when she marries Mr. Mason. While he rescues Annette from poverty and supposedly provides a safe space for her children, Mr. Mason also clips Coco's wings, and refuses to leave the island despite his wife's fears of racial hostility. If the place Mason constructs for his wife gives rise to a subjectivity, it is a subjectivity that is immobile, unable to spread its wings. When Coulibri is burnt to the ground and Coco is trapped in the flames as a result, he physically restrains Annette from going to save her parrot: "'Wants her jewel case?' Aunt Cora said. 'Jewel case? Nothing so sensible,' bawled Mr. Mason. 'She wanted to go back for her damned parrot. I won't allow it.'" Compare this to Dora's first dream:

A house was on fire. My father was standing beside my bed and woke me up. I dressed quickly. Mother wanted to save her jewel-case; but father said: "I refuse to let myself and my two children be burnt for the sake of your jewel-case." We hurried downstairs, and as soon as I was outside I woke up. (64)

Dora's mother wants to save her jewel case, which Freud interprets as a symbol for female genitalia. But unlike Dora's mother, Antoinette's mother does not want her jewel box, that box of treasures kept under lock and key. Annette wants her parrot, who speaks, even if not very well, who flies -- or used to -- and who protects her from strangers.

The parrot's death, a direct result of its clipped wings, prefigures Annette's death. This is what Antoinette remembers after the fire: "!I^ heard my mother screaming 'Qui est la? Qui est la?' then 'Don't touch me. I'll kill you if you touch me. Coward. Hypocrite. I'll kill you'" (47). These are "hysterical" words in which Annette refuses to be there for a husband who constrains her, and then fails to protect her. In her own rage and grief, Annette repeats the parrot's refrain as if it were her own; just as in the dream, Antoinette will also repeat the parrot's cry. And, like the parrot, neither of these women finds a satisfactory response to her own question about who is there. In fact all three will die as a result of being in a building that catches fire. Unable to spread their wings and fly off, they succumb to the flames of desires that are never articulated, subjectivities that never develop. The only difference is that Antoinette is the one who ignites her own fire, so at least she wrests some modicum of agency from her entrapment. The cost of this agency is death, as it often was for condemned witches.(3)

The third displacement in Antoinette's dream is to Tia. Tia represents a displacement to an other constituted not by gender but by race. This is a suspicious displacement since it puts Antoinette in the top position of the race hierarchy even though it takes her away from the bottom position of the gender hierarchy. Antoinette recalls Tia, her childhood friend, just after she sees the pool at Coulibri where the two swam together. The pool, an imperfect mirror, reflects back to Antoinette a poor black little girl whom she insults and who then betrays her for a few shiny pennies. Tia steals Antoinette's dress and leaves her own. Wearing Tia's dress, Antoinette is just a "white nigger now, and black nigger better than white nigger" (24). These words suggest that Antoinette cannot use race as a means of gaining the privileged position.

But despite the race antagonism that troubles their relationship, Antoinette still considers Tia her friend. When she sees Tia the night Coulibri burns down, Antoinette is suddenly comforted: "I ran to her, for she was all that was left of my life as it had been. We had eaten the same food, slept side by side, bathed in the same river. As I ran I thought, I will live with Tia and I will be like her" (45). If Coco offers only a constrained subject position, perhaps Tia's position is where Antoinette wants to be. After all, the positions they occupied in the past -- sleeping side by side, bathing in the same river -- were close. But, suspicious of Antoinette's motives, Tia closes ranks with her own people and betrays Antoinette again, throwing a stone that cuts her forehead. Antoinette does not feel the cut but looks at Tia: "I saw her face crumple up as she began to cry. We stared at each other, blood on my face, tears on hers. It was as if I saw myself. Like in a looking glass" (45). This is a curious identification. Unlike her future husband, Antoinette does not shut out even the hostile other, Tia, but identifies with her. For Antoinette, the rather solipsistic self/other dialogue of the mirror stage can only produce ghosts, images of herself as not there. Instead of a mirror, Antoinette has a "looking-glass" that depends on susceptibility to a racial other to produce images of herself, a susceptibility that lowers ego barriers and makes the here/there (Britain/ Caribbean) distinction less acute. That this susceptibility leads to a later betrayal is the real tragedy, produced by the same kind of hatred that inures her husband to her side of the story. In fact, it may be precisely Antoinette's urge to walk through the mirror, to place herself in the other position, that leads to the tragic ending of her marriage, for describing the incident with Tia to her husband she says, "I think it did spoil me for my wedding day and all the other days and nights" (133). Ostensibly referring to the physical scar, Antoinette's words also suggest her psychic wound, her fear of being betrayed again because of her identification with the other, or put another way, with her ability to objectify herself. It also indicates her identification across racial lines, which makes her alien to her husband who suffers from racial prejudice.

In her dream, Tia stands for all the ambivalence of Antoinette's identification across race lines. Tia also foreshadows Antoinette's subsequent betrayal by her husband when she tries to identify across gender lines. But if race complicates the place of subjectivity for Antoinette, it is not merely because she identifies with the black girl Tia. This identification is troubled by her own inherited complicity with the hierarchical placement of whites above blacks. Prefiguring her own husband's objectification of her, Antoinette may also be guilty of maintaining her distance from the black servants of her own household. If she loves her nanny, Christophine, as if she were her mother, she still treats her like a servant. Like the mother objectified by the young Hans, and like any mother in a patriarchal family, Christophine is the object of the child's love and desire. In fact, Antoinette calls Christophine her "da" when introducing her to her new husband on her honeymoon, curiously foreshadowing her own imminent objectification (72). Antoinette's displacement across race lines -- when she identifies with Tia, and when she seeks Christophine's protection from her own husband -- suggests that gender is not the only means by which a subject defines its own, or the other's, place. It also suggests that any role -- Antoinette's, the man's, Christophine's -- combines both subject and object positions depending upon where it is placed with reference to others. But while Antoinette's dream displacements suggest that she recognizes this, her husband stubbornly resists this insight. While Antoinette's refusal to remain closed to the other results in tragedy it does offer one short glimpse of an other story, one her husband envisions in a moment of weakness during the honeymoon, a moment in which he is overwhelmed by the beauty of the forest and the memory of pleasure with Antoinette, when he too comes close to the precarious pleasure of the other's desire: "Only the magic and the dream are true -- all the rest's a lie. Let it go. Here is the secret. Here" (167). The "here" is the dangerous pleasure of Darstellung, the suspension of symbolic distinction that might occur if he were to participate in, rather than resisting, his wife's desire.

The fourth displacement in Antoinette's dream is a grammatical alternation between first and third person. Since none of the other displacements were successful, and because of the real constraints of her position in the attic, Antoinette's last resort is a displacement via language. When the parrot calls "Qui est la? Qui est la?" and answers itself, "Che Coco. Che Coco," it shifts from first to third person position. Coco's question "Qui est la?" is implied first person: "I ask who is there." But the response, "Che Coco," shifts this speaking "I" to the third person position: "Coco is there." Coco plays on the grammatical impossibility: "I am there." This is the same mad impossibility that confronts Antoinette in the attic: I am no longer here in Dominica, but there in England. I am there in his space, in the place of his desire.(4)

Near the end of her dream, Antoinette says: "Someone screamed and I thought, Why did I scream?" (190). This displacement reverses the previous one. Now Antoinette shifts from an alienated third person position, "Someone screamed," to a re-appropriated first person "I scream." Occurring just before Antoinette escapes the attic and burns down the mansion, this displacement suggests that she has found a way to end her story, to make it her own. Until her escape Antoinette has been trapped in the attic with only one outing -- "When we went to England," she says to Grace Poole, who responds: "You fool . . . this is England." But since Antoinette is never really allowed to see it, she cannot know what it is like. She says, "I don't believe it . . . I never will believe it." In her second version of the dream, Antoinette has a premonition of the attic. She is in an enclosed garden with different trees: "There are steps leading upwards . . . I think, 'It will be when I go up these steps. At the top.'. . . 'Here, here.' 'Here, in here,' a strange voice said" (60). Deprived of real contact with there, Antoinette can only escape madness and bring her own closure to her dream -- and the narrative of her life -- by burning down the structure that has confined her to an omnipresent here. In her last desperate attempt to gain contact with there, Antoinette sets fire to the very walls of her own dwelling. Like her previous attempts to negotiate her here with the other's there, this one ends tragically. But perhaps this is the only way for Antoinette to make a last-ditch effort at subjectivity -- to toss the spool from her crib on the grandest scale.

So far we have seen how the displacement of subjectivity works at the story level in Wide Sargasso Sea, but we can also trace it at the discourse level. For example, the "I am there" paradox describes the narrative structure of the novel. Wide Sargasso Sea is divided into three main sections. Part One is a first person narrative told from the point of view of the young Antoinette and narrated in past tense by an older Antoinette. Translation of her childhood story enables the narrator of the first section to distinguish the present, story-telling time from the past, story-told time. As narrator, the older Antoinette can distinguish the temporal here from there in a way that the character of the younger Antoinette cannot.

Part Two is told from the retrospective point of view of the already jaded husband and consists largely of an account of the honeymoon and its breakdown. However, this section is interrupted a few times by Antoinette trying to tell the story of her mother. This is an example of the narratorial "I" of the first section trying to insert itself "there" in the other's story. At the story level this attempt is not successful, since the husband ends up locking her up. But for a short while at the discourse level, the husband's narrative is contaminated by her attempt to tell her mother's story. Moreover, while Part Two is largely told from the man's perspective, there is a twelve page interruption, from Antoinette's perspective, concerning her visit to Christophine, her "other" mother. Still, in the end her husband regains control of the narrative at the cost of Antoinette's silence. As the narrator says, "She was silence itself" (168).

Finally Part Three, which begins briefly in Grace Poole's voice, switches to Antoinette's voice. As if to parallel her physical entrapment in the attic, this voice is an internal monologue that sinks into a dream. Without a setting and the encounters that it might afford, Antoinette can only move her story forward by producing them herself in her dream. The narratorial "I" becomes both subject and object of the dream. Like the symbolic elaboration of the fort/da game, the dream becomes the only way to maintain both a here and a there. By maintaining these two levels of reality, the dream becomes the means by which Antoinette -- as observer and participant -- becomes conscious of her own story, the means by which she can play out the "I am there" paradox and thus figure out what will bring her story its proper closure.

In the end Antoinette repudiates madness, rejects the simple distinction between the here that defines her own subject space and the there that defines her husband's house and country. By accepting the marriage with an Englishman, Antoinette opens herself to an erotic and emotional encounter with a man who comes from there. By burning down the house in which she is then confined, she opens herself to a physical encounter with the other place, the other culture. While Antoinette's refusal to remain closed to the other results in tragedy in both cases, it does offer one short glimpse of another story that her husband characterizes in a moment of weakness, when he too, comes close to the pleasure and danger of remaining open to the other place:

I shall never understand why, suddenly, bewilderingly, I was certain that everything I had imagined to be truth was false. False. Only the magic and the dream are true -- all the rest's a lie. Let it go. Here !Granbois^ is the secret. Here. (167)

His sudden, if brief, insight echoes Antoinette's words: "There is always the other side, always" (128). The "here" he describes is Granbois, Antoinette's mother's house and site of their honeymoon. It is also the "here," or the "making-present" of the hysterical Darstellung, the site of jouissance. It is a here that he abandons when he decides to leave, when he decides "I hated the place" (172), and that he makes hateful to Antoinette as well: "'I loved this place and you have made it into a place I hate . . . all the other things are nothing to what has happened here. I hate it now like I hate you and before I die I will show you how much I hate you'" (147). The place (linked with her mother, her sexuality, her desire) that he makes hateful to Antoinette will thereafter always elude him, until it comes back as madness rather than pleasure. In Wide Sargasso Sea, Granbois becomes a metaphor for Antoinette's sensuous subjectivity. Despite her fear, she ventures beyond the here of her mother's bungalow, to the there of her husband's England. But as in her past, she encounters in her husband an other who fears her, and who cannot play the here/there game she is playing. And so she is again punished for her excursions beyond her own subjective boundaries. As a result of being locked in the attic, she discovers that subjectivity defined by shifting place can no longer work for her: she has nowhere else to shift. What gets lost when her husband fails to meet Antoinette, is precisely what gets recuperated in Duras' novel: the willingness to share that intermediate space between here and there, between self and other.

While displaced subjectivity is also crucial to Le ravissement de Lol V. Stein, the displacement is even more radical since it is based on a deliberate and unimpeded shifting of positions between active and passive, subject and object, masculine and feminine, so that it becomes impossible to fix gender in a single position as in Freud's Oedipal model. Furthermore the results of Lol's displacements are too ambiguous to be tragic. Like Antoinette, Lol suffers from "la folle passion" (13); but unlike Antoinette, she offers no apparent resistance to the Oedipal arrangement of her desire. She gives the impression of being there, of fulfilling her position as obedient daughter or submissive wife, but without being fully invested in that position: "Elle donnait l'impression d'endurer dans un ennui tranquille une personne qu'elle se devait de paraitre mais dont elle perdait la memoire a la moindre occasion" (12). In This Sex Which Is Not One, Luce Irigaray describes the strategy that Lol seems to follow:

One must assume the feminine role deliberately. Which means already to convert a form of subordination into an affirmation, and thus to begin to thwart it. . . . If women are such good mimics, it is because they are not simply reabsorbed in this function. They also remain elsewhere. (76, my emphasis)

Lol mimics the feminine position, but only as a screen for the elsewhere that circumvents it. What is this elsewhere?

Lol's full name, Lola Valerie Stein, is abbreviated to suggest that Lol isn't really "Lol-la." And only the empty "V" of her middle name Valerie remains to indicate where else she might be, a "V" which points to the ground, to the unconscious, to her genitals, to a black hole where erotic pleasure becomes the force field produced by the collapse of subjectivity into nothing. It is precisely this nothing that Lol embodies -- this not being there at the same time that she plays the feminine role -- that attracts men to her. Her husband loves "cet effacement continuel qui le faisait aller et venir entre l'oubli et . . . ce corps . . . cette virtualite constante et silencieuse qu'il nommait sa douceur . . ." (33) !this constant self-effacement which kept him moving back and forth between the forgetfulness and . . . this silken body . . . this constant, silent promise of something different which he called her gentleness . . ." (24)^. Jack Hold, her later lover, also gravitates to this nothing: "elle a ete a cote de moi separee de moi, gouffre et soeur" (166) !"she was beside me and separated from me by a great distance, abyss and sister" (156)^. This nothing, so productive of pleasure in Le ravissement de Lol V. Stein, is precisely what "the man" in Wide Sargasso Sea cannot comprehend. He refers to his honeymoon and to the grief of the black boy whom he leaves behind as "nothing." His section ends, "Who would have thought that any boy would cry like that. For nothing. Nothing" (173).

Where is this Lol who is there without being there? Where is the "la" that gives closure to her name? As her school friends discovered, Lol slips through our fingers as soon as we try to place her. Still, if we follow Jack Hold, who narrates Lol's story, the attempt may bring us, as it does him, a good deal of pleasure, since we become voyeurs of Lol's desire just as he does. In fact, the voyeuristic perspective gives Jack access not only to the conventional heterosexual story that would gender Lol as feminine to Jack's masculine, but also to a more complex "hystery" of Lol's desire. Like an hysteric, Lol refuses to choose a single gender identity or a single object of desire when faced with a Freudian primal scene: her story becomes what I call a "hystery" precisely because it substitutes the more fluid identifications and desires of the hysteric into the story of desire that Jack narrates. After a typical bourgeois girlhood -- except for her peculiar emotional indifference -- Lol falls in love with Michael Richardson. At a ball following their engagement, she and her best friend Tatiana Karl watch as he is seduced by Anne-Marie Stretter. Lol suffers an emotional collapse, followed by an indifferent marriage to Jean Bedford. Ten years and three children later, Lol reenacts the scene of the ball with different players. She encounters her childhood friend, Tatiana Karl, and begins an affair with Tatiana's lover, Jack Hold. Like Anne-Marie Stretter, Lol walks in on a couple and walks away with the man.

Visually, one might represent the two triangles which ground Lol's adventures as follows:

The main difference between the two triangles, besides the ten-year separation, is that Lol deliberately maintains all the relations in the second love triangle, urging Jack Hold to continue his affair with Tatiana as the price of her participation in the menage-a-trois. So the "la" where one might find Lol is somewhere in this second reenactment (a hysterical Darstellung) of the primal scene of the ball at T. Beach, and this is precisely where Jack Hold seeks her:

Je vais donc la chercher, je la prends, la ou je crois devoir le faire, au moment ou elle parait commencer a bouger pour venir a ma rencontre, au moment precis ou les dernieres venues, deux femmes !Anne-Marie Stretter and her daughter^, franchissent la porte de la salle de bal du Casino municipal de T. Beach. (14)

!I am therefore going to look for her, I shall pick her up at that moment in time which seems most appropriate, at that moment when it seems to me she first began to stir, to come toward me, at the precise moment when the last arrivals, two women, came through the door into the ballroom of the Town Beach casino. (4-5)^

This "la," the scene of Lol's abandonment by her fiance, showcases her peculiar knack for not being there. Mesmerized by the affinity between Michael Richardson and Anne-Marie Stretter, Lol is initially absent to the pain that everyone expects her to feel: ". . . la souffrance n'avait pas trouve en elle ou se glisser . . . elle avait oublie la vieille algebre des peines d'amour" (19) !suffering had failed to find any chink in her armor . . . she had forgotten the age-old equation governing the sorrows of love" (9)^. Instead of being there to experience pain, Lol is initially elsewhere experiencing jouissance. She breaks down only when the pair of new lovers leave and she can no longer watch them. If she can get away with not being there, it's because she occupies both positions -- here and there -- at once. Lol is a voyeur. Not surprisingly, David-Menard makes an important connection between the voyeur and the hysteric. She refers to Freud's claim that the hysteric is trying to reconstruct the scene of the initial sexual trauma. Thus the hysteric does not so much try to "make present" in her symptom a site on the body that reminds her of the forbidden pleasure, but to position her body so that it repeats the position it had in the scene of the original trauma. The hysteric's preoccupation with the entire scene parallels the voyeur's ability to take pleasure from both identifying with each of the lovers and from looking at the arousing scene, that is, at the whole syntax of seduction including all possible roles: active, passive, participant, voyeur, object of the voyeur's gaze, etc. What makes Lol an exemplary hysteric is that she gets away with reconstructing her initial traumatic scene at the ballroom by reconstructing her fantasy with the new players, Jack and Tatiana. Unlike Freud, and Antoinette's husband, who had to resist the hysteric's story (that is, to resist the countertransference), Jack Hold is intrigued by Lol's fantasy and not only encourages it, but derives great pleasure from it himself, implicating him in the same kind of fluid identifications and desires, the same kind of "hystery," as Lol. Thus, the slippery "la," the elusive elsewhere into which Lol escapes, corresponds to the myriad displacements possible in a voyeuristic scenario.

The primal scene of the ball at T. Beach illustrates the most basic slippage of subjectivity in the voyeuristic scene, the slippage of the vicarious participant between the passive and active positions of desire. Initially Michael Richardson ravishes Lol out of her passivity into an active desire for him. But at the ball, Lol watches as Anne-Marie Stretter ravishes Michael Richardson out of his relative indifference into active desire. Lol watches the couple and identifies with both positions: the subject of desire that she previously was and which Michael becomes, and the object of desire that Anne-Marie becomes and that she might have been for Michael. Moreover, like Michael, she desires Anne-Marie; like Anne-Marie, she desires and wants to be desired by Michael. Even at this basic level of participant in the network of desire, the distinction between active and passive begins to be problematic. For example, all three characters become more physically passive when overwhelmed by active desire. Lol is rooted "la" to her spot behind the bar; both Michael and Anne-Marie become mute, incapable of doing anything but dancing. As a vicarious participant, Lol can slip without hindrance between the passive and active positions of desire. The difference between the here and there of desire collapses: for Lol, there are no dancers, only the dance. What ensues is an unbearable pleasure followed by a hysterical "scene" where Lol herself collapses.

Teresa de Lauretis, analyzing the woman spectator in film and narrative, writes, "This manner of identification would uphold both positionalities of desire, both active and passive aims: desire for the other, and desire to be desired by the other" (143). She correctly points out that even if a woman spectator can identify as a participant with either the active or passive positions she sees, she simultaneously distances herself from the scene of pleasure by becoming an observer. Thus in Le ravissement de Lol V. Stein, not only can Lol participate vicariously at the imaginary level, she can also observe by shifting to the symbolic level. On one hand, her identification as participant with either Anne-Marie or Michael offers the pleasure of hysterical Darstellung, the "making present" of the scene of jouissance. On the other hand, as an observer, Lol can also take pleasure in the representation of the scene, in the symbolic Vorstellung. Anne-Marie and Michael represent for her the very scene of her previous desire. Lol's crisis comes when the image that supports her jouissance and her subjectivity disappears -- curiously enough, when her mother's body visually "screens out" the lovers by stepping between them and her daughter. Later, after her mother's death, Lol reconstructs a love triangle with herself, Jack Hold, and Tatiana Karl in order to recuperate the triangle she lost when she had to leave the ball. She uses Tatiana's position as a post for observing her own participation in her affair with Jack Hold. Of course, the play on Jack Hold's name is precisely that he cannot hold Lol, cannot hold her either here or there, but must let her slip, as she slips out of her childhood girlfriends' grasp. Still, as long as Lol can sustain the double identification, imagine herself both here as participant and there as observer, she can maintain both her jouissance, and her peculiar kind of subjectivity. This is the surplus of pleasure that de Lauretis correctly identifies.

De Lauretis criticizes this "surplus of pleasure" as the means by which women are seduced back into accepting the conventional feminine role represented in the film. But if women spectators can be both participants and observers, why then do they remain trapped in the feminine position? Why does de Lauretis miss the destabilizing consequences of this complex shifting of positions and levels? Why, for example wouldn't some men become seduced into accepting the feminine passive role for themselves in order to reap both kinds of pleasure? Duras' interpretation of the voyeuristic scene is more disruptive of gender than de Lauretis's argument would predict. First, in Duras' novel, active does not necessarily correspond to masculine, and passive does not necessarily correspond to feminine, as they do in the Freudian model that Hollywood films seem naively to reproduce. When Lol desires Anne-Marie and Tatiana, she does not always do it "as a man." Also, while Lol seems the most passive character in the novel, she is also the one whose fantasy seems to control the desire and behavior of the other characters. Two examples of Lol's seduction of her husband, Jean Bedford, illustrate this:

S'il s'arretait, elle s'arretait aussi. Il s'amusa a le faire. Mais elle ne s'apercut pas de ce jeu. . . . Tout en ayant l'air de la mener, il la suivit. (27)

!If he stopped, she also stopped. He enjoyed doing this. But she didn't notice this game. . . . Even as he seemed to lead her, he was actually following her.^

Elle se releva vers lui, quelqu'un qui etouffe, qui cherche l'air, et il l'embrassa. C'etait ce qu'elle vouilait. . . . Elle provoquait le desir. (29)

!She raised herself to him, a self choking, a self gasping for air, and he kissed her. It was what she wanted. . . . She provoked desire.^

These passages show how Lol can control the scene of desire even while she seems to play the passive, feminine role.

Second, Lol does not respect the obvious distinction between reality and imagination that de Lauretis's movie spectators respect. To put it another way, Lol refuses to remain merely an observer of the scene before her. She insists on both observing and participating in it. Because the scene before her is live rather than a movie, Lol can just step into it where a movie spectator can only observe the film. Furthermore, as Lol enters the scene where her own fantasy is being played out, she begins to rearrange the roles so as to perpetuate both the imaginary (observing and participating in the scene) and symbolic (directing the scene) levels of desire. When she rediscovers her childhood passion for Michael in her encounter with Jack Hold, her control of the scene of desire takes on this directing capacity. And she not only directs Jack to continue his affair with Tatiana as a means of satisfying her voyeurism, but she does it in a way that lets Jack experience it with pleasure also. Her kind of control produces a surplus of pleasure for both positions of desire. Moreover, because Lol controls the script even as she is both observing and participating in it, she has access to a triple pleasure -- not only participating and observing, but also writing in a figurative sense -- rather than merely a double identification. Thus, Le ravissement de Lol V. Stein does not reinscribe femininity the way a Hollywood film might reinscribe it.

One detail may suggest the complex erotic investment involved in this voyeuristic scene. Jack Hold's retrospective narrative of the entry of Anne-Marie at the T. Beach ball is interrupted by an unattributed fragment of dialogue: "Il faut que j'invite cette femme a danser" (18) !"'I have to invite that woman to dance'" (8)^. On the first page of the novel, we learn that Lol used to invite Tatiana to dance, ". . . allez Tatiana, allez viens, on danse Tatiana, viens" (11) !Come, Tatiana, come, let's dance, Tatiana, come on" (2)^. So the voice seems to be Lol's. But Tatiana is also watching the scene and could be imagining Lol's response -- or even expressing her own -- to the appearance of the breathtaking Anne-Marie. After all, Tatiana too loved to dance. Still another possibility is that these are Michael's words spontaneously uttered when he sees Anne-Marie, words that Lol overhears, Tatiana remembers, and Jack Hold writes ten years later. The fact that the only access Jack Hold, the primary narrator, has to this part of Lol's past is the account given to him by Tatiana Karl complicates the scene: as in the hysteric's memories, it is nearly impossible to distinguish true memory from fantasy. And to further prevent us from too easily fixing this voice, Jack Hold says that he no longer believes anything Tatiana said about the ball: "Je ne crois plus a rien de ce que dit Tatiana, je ne suis convaincu de rien" (14) !"I no longer believe a word Tatiana says. I'm convinced of absolutely nothing" (4)^. So the difficulty of placing this desiring voice suggests the difficulty of stopping the slippage of desire in the (primal) ball scene.

The fact that pronouns are no better tagged than voices in Duras' text reinforces this slippage of desire. Consider the following description of ravishment from the initial ball scene:

Des qu'elle fut dans ses bras, a sa gaucherie soudaine, a son expression abetie, figee par la rapidity du coup, Tatiana avait compris que le desarroi qui l'avait envahi, lui, venait a son tour de la gagner. (19)

!The moment she was in his arms, from her sudden awkwardness and her benumbed expression, caught and frozen as she had been by the rapidity of it all, she too had been overwhelmed by the same feeling of confusion which had taken hold of him, Tatiana had realized. (9)^

The "elle" at first appears to be Anne-Marie who finds herself either awkward in Michael's arms, or in Michael's awkward arms depending upon who is referred to by "sa gaucherie" and "son expression." Also, "figee" and "abetie," while they do not qualify Anne-Marie directly -- they modify the feminine noun "expression" -- certainly call her to mind. Is the feminine the gender of a character, or of a word? Furthermore, the subject of the sentence is Tatiana, casting some doubt about who the "elle" really is. In this slipping of desire, who is being ravished by whom? Narrated by Jack Hold, remembered by Tatiana, experienced by Anne-Marie, Michael, Lol, Tatiana or all of the above according to how the pronouns are read, this passage characterizes the complex erotic investment possible in a voyeuristic scene. This kind of pronoun ambiguity characterizes most of Le ravissement de Lol V. Stein. But curiously enough, it does not distract from the plot. In fact, it does not seem to matter which character -- or which writer or reader -- occupies the positions of desire produced by Duras' texts.

By re-enacting her primal scene with new characters and new displacements, Lol reveals the inadequacy not only of the here/there dichotomy, but of the simplistic self/other dichotomy as well. Depending on the voyeuristic scene to experience both desire and subjectivity, Lol recreates her primal scene by beginning an affair with Jack Hold. Narrator of her story, he describes her impersonal obsession with ravishment:

Lol reve d'un autre temps ou la meme chose qui va se produire se produirait differemment. Autrement. Mille fois. Partout. Ailleurs. Entre d'autres, des milliers qui, de meme que nous, revent de ce temps, obligatoirement. Ce reve me contamine. (187)

!Lol dreams of another time when the same thing that is going to happen would happen differently. In another way. A thousand times. Everywhere. Elsewhere. Among others, thousands of others who, like ourselves, dream of this time, necessarily. This dream contaminates me. (177)^

From past tense the narrative switches to the present of Darstellung. Lol brings Jack to T. Beach, to the very site of her former crisis, in order to seduce him and to subject Tatiana to the ravishment of losing her lover that possessed Lol ten years previously. She seduces Jack, a voyeur and hysteric himself, with the story of her own past. While he does not suffer from the typical symptoms perhaps because he is such a good and unhindered storyteller, Jack shares with hysterics these characteristic traits: (1) bisexuality, (2) susceptibility to non-Oedipal desires, (3) fascination with scenes of desire as opposed to simple positions, (4) an urge to tell stories about desire and simultaneously experience it, (5) disruption of integral and stable masculine subjectivity. Finally, like Freud, who admits he suffered from mild hysteria, Jack is fascinated by the hysterical figure Lol. Unlike Antoinette's husband, who will not hear of the sensuality and madness in Antoinette's past, Jack is mesmerized by Lol and participates in her jouissance. Overcome by a sense of obligation -- to Lol's desire? -- he undresses her. Then, we hear an echo of Coco: "Qui est la dans le lit? Qui, croit-elle?" (187) !"Who is there on the bed? Who does she think it is?" (178)^. Since Jack is the narrator, we assume that the questions are his. However, the second question switches to Lol's perspective: Who does she believe was there in bed? This indicates a shifting at the level of participation, at the imaginary level. What follows is a switch to the level of observation, the symbolic level. For the response to the question of who is there involves no participating subject, but rather a scene that is observed: "La crise est la" (187) !"The crisis is here/there"^. In Lol's reenactment of her fantasy, desire and subjectivity become a property of the voyeuristic place. And to reinforce the slipping of Lol right out of the scene, we have the following passage, suggesting that even in her own fantasy, Lol is not all there:

Elle ne bouge plus, se souvient sans doute qu'elle est la avec l'amant de Tatiana Karl.

Mais voici qu'elle doute enfin de cette identite, la seule qu'elle reconnaisse, la seule dont elle s'est toujours reclamee du moins pendant le temps ou je l'ai connue. Elle dit:

-- Qui c'est?

Elle gemit, me demande de le dire. Je dis:

-- Tatiana Karl, par example. (188)

!She is no longer moving, now doubtless remembers that she is here with Tatiana Karl's lover.

But now at last she begins to doubt that identity, the only identity familiar to her, the only one she has used at least as long as I have known her. She says:

"Who is it?"

She moans, asks me to tell her. I say:

"Tatiana Karl, for example." (178-79)^

Tatiana Karl is not physically there, in this scene. However, Lol brings her back by playing her role. This puts Lol in two different places at once: She is here with Tatiana Karl's lover; she is there where Tatiana is, being ravished by the theft of her lover. This second position corresponds to Lol's position vis-a-vis Anne-Marie. What it suggests is that, as Lacan has said, desire is always the desire of the other. But here there is an other to the other. Lol is first Anne-Marie's and Michael's other, the condition of their desire. Later, Tatiana becomes Lol's and Jack Hold's other, the condition of Jack and Lol's desire for each other.

To put one final twist on this voyeurs' scenario, Lol insists that Jack Hold continue his affair with Tatiana so she can continue to watch them from the rye field outside their rendezvous motel. Thus Jack, by identifying with his own and Lol's position, can be both here in the motel with Tatiana and there in the rye field watching with Lol. Not only does she play at the shifting identifications that define the voyeur's position, she also makes it possible for Jack Hold to do the same. The fact that he can narrate her hystery is evidence of his complicity in her desire, and an indication of the necessity of writing as a means of symbolizing this complex sujet-en-proces.

Freud's Oedipal model requires that a child witnessing the primal scene of parental intercourse identify with the same sex parent, or in the negative Oedipus, with the opposite sex parent. This model fixes gender and so cannot account for the ambiguous and provisional kind of subjectivity experienced by the voyeur. In analyzing Dora's resistance to her father's affair with Frau K., Freud first believed that she identified with Frau K. and was jealous of the diversion of her father's attention to a new woman. Later, he recognized a homoerotic current suggesting Dora's identification with her father in his desire for Frau K. What he did not analyze was the voyeuristic pleasure available to Dora from the undecidability of gender identification and desire, and from the whole syntax of seduction. The dangerous pleasure so close to madness that both Antoinette and Lol experience may explain why Freud insisted on fixing gender to one of two opposing positions.(5) This madness may represent a deviation from or threat to the socially constructed masculine ego. It may also represent an even more fundamental threat to the entire system of gender difference upon which Freud's culture and to a lesser extent our own is constructed. While Freud did consider that all individuals had a bisexual potential, he never saw this bisexuality as radically disrupting the gender dichotomy inherent in his view of society and his Oedipal model. That is, a child identified either with the same or the opposite sex parent, but rarely with both or neither. Beneath the potentially radical concept of bisexuality, it always seems like Freud had a nostalgia for clear, decidable and opposing genders.

Cora Kaplan offers one way out of the Oedipal impasse that fixes gender positions according to whether one identifies with the subject or the object of desire. In her discussion of the mechanics of fantasy in "The Thornbirds," she claims, like Freud, that alternations of frustrated and satisfied desire constitute subjectivity. She considers the crucial role of fantasy as reproducing the site rather than the object of desire. And so she reads the hysteric's resistance to distinct and dichotomous gender roles as the index of a splitting inherent in subjectivity, a splitting denied by the masculine ego. This splitting is more than just a mere alternation of gender identifications. She cites Laplanche and Pontalis in order to suggest that the subject in fantasy may be "desubjectivized," may inhabit the "very syntax" of the fantasy rather than any single position in it. Thus she argues that in reading romances, the "reader identifies with both terms in the seduction scenario, but most of all with the process of seduction" (142). This suggests, as Julia Kristeva has said, that subjectivity may well be a process rather than a condition, a verb rather than a noun.(6) To be a subject one has to keep repeating, like Lol, the process of fluid and multiple identifications with positions both within the fantasy (participation) and in the syntax of the fantasy itself (observation). Moreover, to escape Lol's incipient madness, one must also be able to represent this double identification in literal writing as Jack Hold -- and Duras -- does. In Rhys's Wide Sargasso Sea and Duras' Le ravissement de Lol V. Stein we witness with voyeuristic pleasure the emerging of this other kind subjectivity -- one that need not choose between the fort and da of self and other.


1 My translation. Unless otherwise noted, subsequent translations with page references are from Seaver's translation.

2 Both mother and daughter slightly alter the second name Antoinetta: the mother is Annette, the daughter is Antoinette.

3 See Clement's essay in Cixous and Clement for a discussion linking hysterics and witches.

4 This is the collapse of two positions which Teresa de Lauretis calls "the masochistic position, the (impossible) place of a purely passive desire" (151).

5 See Judith Butler for a convincing critique of Freud's concept of bisexuality, especially 57-77.

6 See Julia Kristeva's discussion of the "sujet-en-proces" in The Revolution in Poetic Language for a similar reformulation of subjectivity as fluid, that is, as both in process and on trial (the two translations of "proces").


Ames, Sanford Scribner. Remains to be seen: Essays on Marguerite Duras. New York: Peter Lang, 1988.

Bernheimer, Charles, and Claire Kahane. In Dora's Case: Freud, Hysteria, Feminism. New York: Columbia UP, 1985.

Blais, Joline. "Plotting Against Oedipus: Narrative Alternatives to Hysteria in the Novels of Jean Rhys and Marguerite Duras." Diss. U of Pennsylvania, 1991.

Butler, Judith. Gender Trouble. New York: Routledge, 1990.

Cixous, Helene, and Catherine Clement. The Newly Born Woman. Trans. Betsy Wing. Minneapolis: U of Minnesota P, 1986.

David-Menard, Monique. Hysteria from Freud to Lacan. Trans. Catherine Porter. Ithaca: Cornell UP, 1983.

de Lauretis, Teresa. Alice Doesn't: Feminism, Semiotics, Cinema. Bloomington: Indiana UP, 1984.

Duras, Marguerite. Le Ravissement de Lol V. Stein. Paris: Gallimard, 1964. Trans. Richard Seaver. The Ravishing of Lol Stein. New York: Pantheon, 1966.

Freud, Sigmund. Beyond the Pleasure Principle. 1920. Standard Edition 18. Ed. James Strachey. London: Norton, 1953-74.

-----. "Fragment of an Analysis of a Case of Hysteria." 1905. Standard Edition 7. Ed. James Strachey. London: Norton, 1953-74.

-----, with Joseph Breuer. Studies on Hysteria. Rpt. of Standard Edition 2. New York: Hogarth, 1955.

Irigaray, Luce. This Sex Which Is Not One. Trans. Catherine Porter. Ithaca: Cornell UP, 1985.

Kaplan, Cora. Sea Changes: Essays on Culture and Feminism. London: Verso, 1986.

Kloepfer, Deborah. The Unspeakable Mother: Forbidden Discourse in J. R. and H. D. Ithaca: Cornell UP, 1989.

Kristeva, Julia. The Revolution in Poetic Language. New York: Columbia UP, 1984.

Lacan, Jacques. Ecrits: A Selection. Trans. Alan Sheridan. New York: Norton, 1966.

-----, with the Ecole Freudienne. Feminine Sexuality. Ed. Juliet Mitchell and Jacqueline Rose. Trans. Jacqueline Rose. New York: Norton, 1982.

Rhys, Jean. Wide Sargasso Sea. New York: Norton, 1966.

Joline Blais is adjunct assistant professor at Queens College and the College Course Program at Vassar. She is currently doing research on representations of prostitution, which will involve on-site interviews in Malaysia. She is also working on a novel, "Oyinbo Pepe." Her book manuscript, "Perverted Plots: Reading Hysteria in Jean Rhys and Marguerite Duras," is under consideration at university presses.
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Title Annotation:Marguerite Duras; Jean Rhy
Author:Blais, Joline
Publication:College Literature
Date:Jun 1, 1993
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