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Monique Wittig L’Opoponax


Bye Bye Binary’s selection for their storefront.

“We [on] don’t like it because we [on] become two.” * In L’Oppoponax, a book about childhood, the indefinite and collective pronoun “on” designates both the narrator Catherine (who thus escapes the gender mark), as well as the other children. This choice of pronoun establishes the basis of Monique Wittig’s literary project: the universalization of minority points of view.

* Roxanne Maillet takes up this sentence from L’Oppoponax in 2018, to launch a call for typographic contributions, inviting the design of alternative glyphs and signs for non-binary identities.

“The “opoponax” uses neither the language of adults nor that of children; he is neither the novelist nor a narrator. Confronting – in a moving “we” – the “he” and the “I”, he seems to have cancelled them out by the other: this voice which speaks in the present tense of very concrete things, which is gradually strengthening and discovering itself, could it not simply be ours?

My Opoponax is perhaps, indeed it is almost certainly the first modern book ever written about childhood. My Opoponax is the capital execution of ninety per cent of the books that have been written about childhood. It is the end of a certain literature and I thank God for it. It is a book that is both admirable and very important because it is governed by an iron rule, never or almost never broken, that of using only pure descriptive material, and only one tool, pure objective language. The latter takes on its full meaning here. It is the very same language – but brought to the plainsong by the author – that childhood uses to clear out and count its universe. Which is to say that my Opoponax is a masterpiece of writing because it is written in the exact language of the Opoponax.” (Marguerite Duras)

This work received the Prix Médicis in 1964 and was reissued in 1983 with an afterword by Marguerite Duras.


  • Monique Wittig
  • Editions de minuit
  • Language French
  • Release2018
  • Pages272
  • Format9 x 11 cm
  • ISBN9782707344472

Evénement Focus "Verre" à l'occasion de l'exposition "Metaverre" chez Mathilde Hatzenberger du 16 mai au 7 juillet. Bienvenue ! Cette semaine : Présentation et signature par Christian Heck de "Présence de la Lumière Inaccessible : Les Vitraux de Conques et la peinture de Soulages" ce jeudi 23 mai à 16h à la galerie Faider

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