Focusing on Hélène Cixous’s OR les lettres de mon père (1997), the article considers how a prominent work of the “linguistic turn” already works with the entanglement of matter and meaning. Cixous foregrounds the materiality of language, showing it is indispensable to signification. The materially inscribed letters “or” (for example, in or, hors, Georges, gorge, Oran, mort, mord, orage, sort, oreille, corps, encore) germinate multiple narrative lines that revolve around a box of letters from the narrator’s dead father. Cixous’s work explores this entwinement of language-as-materiality with materiality-as-signification in exceptional ways, which problematizes the idea of a material turn coming “after” the so-called linguistic turn of poststructuralism. The text’s polyphonic physique resists conventional oppositions of materiality and signification and unfolds a space where they are co-productive of each other. Writing in this sense—feminine writing—sidesteps the subject/object split and explores subjectivity as uniquely textured formations of continuous meaning-mattering.

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