Monique Wittig's critiques of hetero-phallocentrism and literary works on the 'lesbian' have been separately engaged with by figures such as Judith Butler, Naomi Schor, Susan Rubin Suleiman, and Teresa de Lauretis. Yet rarely is Wittig's literature and philosophy read and analysed in tandem. This paper, which represents part of a larger PhD project to (re)engage with Wittig's uniquely queer-feminist theory, aims to show why such a mixed reading is not only philosophically productive, but necessary to fully understand Wittig's political aims. My reading of Wittig' texts The Straight Mind and Other Essays and The Lesbian Body proceeds through a parallel engagement with Derrida on language and interpretation. I aim to show the overlaps between Derrida's work and Wittig's concept of the 'lesbian' as encapsulated in her emphasis on the materiality of language, the inability of language to be fully separated from multiple meaning, as well as the metaphysical consequences this has for any conception of a speaking subject. This analysis will, ultimately, reinforce the inextricable connections between Wittig's literary and theoretical writings, and point toward reading Wittig’s ‘lesbian’ project as theoretically and linguistically opening interpretations of the self beyond mythic constraints of heterosexism and phallocentrism.


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