Dream I Tell You

Helene Cixous, Author, Beverley Bie Brahic, Translator , trans. from the French by Beverley Bie Brahic. Columbia Univ. $29.50 (143p) ISBN 978-0-231-13882-6

If countless millennia of dream interpretation and a century of Freud et al. haven't quite unlocked the secrets of dreams, neither have they succeeded in making other people's dream lives as interesting as one's own. But if any writer might form an exception to this rule, it is the grande dame of intellectual France, Cixous, whose dreams are addressed to no less than her intimate friend Jacques Derrida—who has since responded to this book with one (Geneses, Genealogies, Genres and Genius ) of his own. Cixous's dream diaries, selected from the past decade and presented without editing (Brahic's translation captures their late night spontaneity) are models of lucidity. Whether describing an awkward dinner with Heidegger, a scene from her Algerian childhood or a tour of Auschwitz, her grasp of both essential detail and emotional nuance is always convincing. The dreams never feel padded or faked, and make their transition to the page with an ease and precision possible only through real intellectual rigor and self-knowledge. Though probably a worthy introduction for novices to Cixous's wide-ranging oeuvre—which includes drama and poetry as well as literary criticism—devotees will be those most richly rewarded by these brief, glimmering, allusive texts, which constitute a gloriously subjective intellectual autobiography. (Apr.)

Reviewed on: 02/06/2006
Release date: 03/01/2006
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 160 pages - 978-0-231-13883-3
Hardcover - 143 pages - 978-0-7486-2131-6
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