LES WITTIGS: a collective reading
Join us at rile* for a collective reading of Monique Wittig’s epic novel Les Guérillères (1969) as a part of the first edition of Lesbiennale, Lesbian* Arts Festival. Together we will read an revised version of the entire 144 pages of the novel, translated to english in 1971 by David La Vay.
Les Guérillères is an epic novel that follows a group of peop(el)le(s) in a fight for a new feminist epistemology written by Monique Wittig, a lesbian feminist writer, theorist and activist. Wittig’s novels are experiments in building worlds outside of hetero-patriarchal logics, unsettling seemingly self-evident relationships between language and reality, signification and subjectivity, and even, women and feminism. Les Guérillières, like all her novels, makes radical in(ter)ventions into gender through language; she demonstrates that the only way to speak toward a new world is with a new language.
In Les Guérillières Wittig tries to universalize the point of view of elles. She writes: “The goal of this approach is not to feminize the world, but to make the categories of sex obsolete in language. I, therefore, set up elles in the text as the absolute subject of the world.” Unfortunately, the only english translation of the text by David La Vay (1971), translated elles to the women, a category which Wittig vehemently denounced throughout her work, and which she argued was enmeshed in heterosexual and patriarchal systems of knowing.
For ‘LES WITTIGS: a collective reading’, we will read a revised version of the 1971 english translation, leaving space for the readers to collectively experiment with the pronouns and subjects within the novel. This rereading seeks to question what language we need now in order to make the lives and bodies, both within and outside of the novel, legible for ourselves and one another.
LES WITTIGS is part of Lesbiennale, Lesbian* Arts Festival 2021
More info and for a full overview of the program and events during the festival visit lesbiennale.art