"a virgin with no legs to leave me, no arms to hold me, no head to talk to me"

1934 Magritte Le Viol 72×54 cm
The following is Susan Gubar’s interpretation of Magritte’s painting (above) in her article “Representing Pornography: Feminism, Criticism, and Depictions of Female Violation” (1987). Do you have a different take on the image?
Endowed with blind nipples replacing eyes, a belly button where her nose should be, and a vulva for a mouth, the female face is erased by the female torso imposed upon it, as if Magritte were suggesting that anatomy is bound to be her destiny. That the face associated with the body is sightless, senseless, and dumb implies, too, that Magritte may be subscribing to the view of one of William Faulkner’s fictional surrogates, a man who celebrates the feminine ideal as “a virgin with no legs to leave me, no arms to hold me, no head to talk to me” and who therefore goes on to define woman generically as “merely [an] articulated genital organ.”
While an anatomical surprise turns the female into a bearded lady, the articulation of the woman as genital organ makes her inarticulate, closing down all of the openings that ordinarily let the world enter the self so that Magritte’s subject seems monstrously impenetrable or horrifyingly solipsistic. Paradoxically, even as it fetishizes female sexuality, Le Viol denies the existence of female genitalia, for the vulva-mouth here is only a hairy indentation. In this reading of the painting’s title, the represented figure-robbed of subjectivity and placed on display like a freak-deserves to be raped: this is the only consummation which will penetrate her self-enclosure and, given the humiliation of her fleshiness, it is all she is good for. When the female is simultaneously decapitated and recapitated by her sexual organs, the face that was supposed to be a window to the soul embodies a sexuality that is less related to pleasure and more to dominance over the woman who is “nothing but” a body.
(p. 722) (Please note that the discussion of the painting continues for a couple more pages.)

The following images are also mentioned:

René Magritte : Tenant L’Evidence Eternelle, 1938.
La Philosophie dans le Boudoir, c.1947

Why are many pornographic novels written as if by a woman?

Warning: the material below may disturb some.

Angela Carter (1878 1978)  in The Sadeian Woman: An Exercise in Cultural History answers:

Many pornographic novels are written in the first person as if by a woman, or use a woman as the focus of the narrative; but this device only reinforces the male orientation of the fiction. John Cleland’s Fanny Hill and the anonymous The Story of O,1 both classics of the genre, appear in this way to describe a woman’s mind through the fiction of her sexuality. This technique ensures that the gap left in the text is of just the right size for the reader to insert his prick into, the exact dimensions, in fact, of Fanny’s vagina or of O’s anus. Pornography engages the reader in a most intimate fashion before it leaves him to his own resources. (pp. 15-16)

Also read Kristine Ong Muslim’s “Preface to a Pornographer’s Dirty Book”


Nick Admussen’s Movie Plots

I am very happy to say that Nick Admussen’s first chapbook Movie Plots has been published by Epiphany Editions in New York. Movie Plots is “a series of disorientingly absorbing prose poems that take thirty different film genres as points of departure for riffs on identity, the imagination, the meaning and coherency of life, and even more indefinable matters.” The chapbook is now available here and you can read some piecese here. There are about half a dozen poems that touch on China and Asian experience.
“Softcore” (p. 11), “Hardcore Pornography” (p. 18) and “Vintage Pornography” (p. 25) — yes! — are just some of the pieces I enjoyed and will return to.

“They’re fascinating and maybe just a little weird—like their ideal readers, perhaps.” Indeed!

Nick Admussen’s translations were published in issue #11 of Cha.