Luce Irigaray was born in 1930 in Belgium, though she is now a French national. As Margaret Whitford has noted, however, she strongly resists the tendency of criticism to focus on biography, fearing the kinds of ad feminam critiques that operate by ‘neutralizing a woman thinker whose work is radically challenging [by reducing her] to her biography’ (Whitford 1991, 1–2). Her work is in the fields of philosophy, linguistics and psychoanalysis, and she is also a regular contributor to Communist newspapers, especially in Italy. Although she rarely writes specifically about literary texts, she does have important things to say to feminist literary theory — those realms of oppression, repression and expression identified by Showalter as the foci of feminist thinking.
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