Something of a historical event, this book combines loosely "autobiographical" texts by two of the most influential French intellectuals of our time. "Savoir," by Hélène Cixous, is a brief but densely layered account of her experience of recovered sight after a lifetime of severe myopia, an experience that ends with the unexpected turn of grieving for what is lost. Her literary inventiveness mines the coincidence in French between the two verbs savoir (to know) and voir (to see). Jacques Derrida's "A Silkworm of One's Own" complexly muses on a host of autobiographical, philosophical, and religious motifs including his varied responses to "Savoir." The two texts are accompanied by six beautiful and evocative drawings that play on the theme of drapery over portions of the body.
Veils suspends sexual difference between two homonyms: la voile (sail) and le voile (veil). A whole history of sexual difference is enveloped, sometimes dissimulated here in the folds of sails and veils and in the turns, journeys, and returns of their metaphors and metonymies.
However foreign to each other they may appear, however autonomous they may be, the two texts participate in a common genre: autobiography, confession, memoirs. The future also enters in: by opening to each other, the two discourses confide what is about to happen, the imminence of an event lacking any common measure with them or with anything else, an operation that restores sight and plunges into mourning the knowledge of the previous night, a "verdict" whose threatening secret remains out of reach by our knowledge.
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able already animal appears Authorized avowal become believe belong bless blind body circumcision cloth coming course culture curtain death dream especially event everything example eyes face feminine finally finished French Freud fringes give given glory going hand happened head hear Hélène hide holds holy infinite it's keep knowledge known language late leave less letter lifting lips living longer look mean memory miracle mourning myopia nature never once one's oneself operation Paul perhaps possible prayer question recall remains sails Savoir secret seen separation shawl shroud sight silk silkworm skin talk tallith that's thing thread touch trans translation Translator's true truth turn unique unveiling veil verdict visible voilà voile wear weaving woman writing