The importance of Irigaray's work lies n the fact that feminist and philosophical discourses are brought together in a feminist appropriation of Spinoza. The author draws on both philosophy and psychoanalysis in a rejection of traditional literary modes and thus frees literature from male dominance. "Elemental Passions" was first published in France in 1982. It explores the man/woman relationship in a series of lyrical meditations on the senses and the four elements. Its form resembles a series of love-letters, in which, however, the identity and reality of the addresses are deliberately obscured in order to escape from conventional, male-imposed conceptual patterns.
Luce Irigaray is Director of Research in Philosophy at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Paris. A doctor of philosophy, Luce Irigaray is also trained in linguistics, philology, psychology and psychoanalysis. Now acknowledged as a key influential thinker of our times, her work focuses on the culture of two subjects, masculine and feminine - particularly through the liberation of a feminine subjectivity - something she explores in a range of literary forms, from the philosophical to the scientific, the political and the poetic.