Rewriting Difference

Luce Irigaray and 'the Greeks'

Edited by Elena Tzelepis & Athena Athanasiou
Foreword by Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak

Subjects: Continental Philosophy, Feminist, Gender Studies, Ancient Greek Philosophy, Literature
Series: SUNY series in Gender Theory
Paperback : 9781438431000, 301 pages, June 2010
Hardcover : 9781438430997, 301 pages, June 2010

Alternative formats available from:

Table of contents

Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak

1. Thinking Difference as Different Thinking in Luce Irigaray’s Deconstructive Genealogies
Athena Athanasiou and Elena Tzelepis

2. The Question of Reading Irigaray
Elizabeth Weed

3. Kore: Philosophy, Sensibility, and the Diffraction of Light
Dorothea Olkowski

4. In the Underworld with Irigaray: Kathy Acker’s Eurydice
Dianne Chisholm

5. Textiles that Matter: Irigaray and Veils
Anne-Emmanuelle Berger

6. Mothers, Sisters, and Daughters: Luce Irigaray and the Female Genealogical Line in the Stories of the Greeks
Gail Schwab

7. Antigone and the Ethics of Kinship
Mary Beth Mader

8. Mourning (as) Woman: Event, Catachresis, and “That Other Face of Discourse”
Athena Athanasiou and Elena Tzelepis

9. Weird Greek Sex: Rethinking Ethics in Irigaray and Foucault
Lynne Huffer

10. Autonomy, Self-Alteration, Sexual Difference
Stathis Gourgouris

11. Hospitality and Sexual Difference: Remembering Homer with Luce Irigaray
Judith Still

12. “Raising Love up to the Word”: Rewriting God as “Other” through Irigarayan Style
Laine M. Harrington

13. Dynamic Potentiality: The Body that Stands Alone
Claire Colebrook

14. Sameness, Alterity, Flesh: Luce Irigaray and the Place of Sexual Undecidability
Gayle Salamon

15. “Women on the Market”: On Sex, Race, and Commodification
Ewa Plonowska Ziarek

16. Irigaray’s Challenge to the Fetishistic Hegemony of the Platonic One and Many
Tina Chanter

17. Who Cares about the Greeks? Uses and Misuses of Tradition in the Articulation of Difference and Plurality
Eleni Varikas

18. Conditionalities, Exclusions, Occlusions
Penelope Deutscher

19. The Return
Luce Irigaray


A transdisciplinary reader on Luce Irigaray's reading and re-writing of Ancient Greek texts.


In this definitive reader, prominent scholars reflect on how Luce Irigaray reads the classic discourse of Western metaphysics and also how she is read within and against this discourse. Her return to "the Greeks," through strategies of deconstructing, demythifying, reconstructing, and remythifying, is not a nostalgic return to the ideality of Hellenocentric antiquity, but rather an affirmatively critical revisiting of this ideality. Her persistent return and affective bond to ancient Greek logos, mythos, and tragedy sheds light on some of the most complex epistemological issues in contemporary theory, such as the workings of criticism, the language of politics and the politics of language, the possibility of social and symbolic transformation, the multiple mediations between metropolitan and postcolonial contexts of theory and practice, the question of the other, and the function of the feminine in Western metaphysics. With a foreword by Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak and a chapter by Irigaray responding to her commentators, this book is an essential text for those in social theory, comparative literature, or classics.

Elena Tzelepis is Lecturer in the Classics Department at Columbia University. Athena Athanasiou is Assistant Professor of Social Anthropology at Panteion University in Greece.


"This is no doubt a state-of-the-art edited collection which will make a major contribution not merely to existing Irigaray scholarship and to the fields of feminism, gender and queer studies but, more widely, in contemporary critical and cultural theory. " — Year's Work in Critical and Cultural Theory

"The real strength, and rare quality, of this book lies in its willingness to engage in a nuanced—at times, even critical—approach to Irigaray's feminism. " — New Formations

"This singular volume begins to take account of the enormous influence and range of the work of Luce Irigaray. Taking as a point of departure the key critical writings on Greek philosophy that form the basis of Irigaray's theories of sexual difference, the sexed body, and writing, this anthology brings Irigaray's Greek legacy into the present to consider feminist philosophy as a critical rereading of philosophy's foundations. Here we see that the departures from that important tradition are as important as the debts we owe. Once again we see that to read Irigaray means learning to read in both directions at once. As well, we see in vivid terms that Irigaray's work poses an enormous challenge for rethinking relations of eros and love, recrafting philosophy through new textual and corporeal practices, both embodied and critical. The volume recognizes Irigaray as a feminist philosopher whose work has itself produced an impressive legacy of diverse and vital criticism among major contemporary thinkers. This is an invaluable text for those who wish to understand just how radically feminist thought intervenes in questions of history, love, embodiment, and critical readings in philosophy. " — Judith Butler, author of Frames of War: When Is Life Grievable?

"This book will captivate feminist scholars and classicists alike, presenting the complex panorama of an interdisciplinary study in which the primacy of the 'text' (be it Irigaray's or that of the ancient tradition) is at the same time confirmed and trespassed. " — Adriana Cavarero, author of Stately Bodies: Literature, Philosophy, and the Question of Gender