Marianne Choquet – Coming to Voice

I am American and French and I live in Spain. My PhD composite thesis, ‘The Quest to Self-Construct: Lucy Pilgrim’s Map’ is affiliated with the doctorate program The Construction and Representation of Cultural Identities within the English Literature Department at University of Barcelona and has been supported by the International Writing Program at the University of Iowa. Three quarters of this composite thesis is a novel I have written titled Lucy, Go See, which is a bildungsroman yet more than a coming-of-age novel. It is the story of a coming to voice – of a young woman who learns that it is in loving more than being loved that energy is revived and freedom can be born.  The novel is based on a quest: John Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress. The other quarter of the thesis consists of a critical exegesis: the first half of which contains an overview of both genres’ histories, current affairs and gender-related issues and Lucy, Go See’s relationship to them, and the second half is focused on the novel’s construction of an interdependent subject as a continual work-in-progress – meaning, that instead of ending in a fixed adult project called ‘maturity’ as in the quest and bildungsroman, the novel leads to a strength that contains a constituted and valued vulnerability, open to possibility. I also elaborate on the connection of eros, the body, wound, and voice to this self-construction and cultivation.

Recently, I have particularly focused on Luce Irigaray’s paper, ‘Perhaps Cultivating Touch Can Still Save Us’ (in SubStance, Vol. 40, No. 3, 2011). This paper is concerned with the cultivation of energetic resources towards human individuation as well as a sharing that is faithful to one’s natural belonging. I am specifically interested in Irigaray’s work on relational energy, and transcendence in mutually respectful communication and relationships which might save humanity. I agree with Irigaray about the fact that our culture needs an ethical education regarding the regulation of our relational energy, especially our sexual energy, to move beyond the current relationships between humans, which are shaped by dominance and submission more often than mutual blossoming and energy revival. The novel I have written is one subject’s map of this journey, one creating a new way to live freely, concerned by becoming more and more perfectly oneself, in order to share, especially desire, more than by losing one’s self, or demanding such sacrifice from the other. Participating in the seminar has greatly informed the last half of my exegesis work.