Anne-Marie Smith

Julia Kristeva


Titel: Julia Kristeva, 1998
Uitgever: Pluto Press
ISBN13: 978-0-7453-1057-2ISBN: 9780745310572


Julia Kristeva's most remarkable contribution to modern thought has been her revelation of how pre-verbal experience - poetic, infantile, maternal and spiritual, or simply the experience of suffering - enters language through the processes of literature, art and psychoanalysis. Speaking the unspeakable, her work is therefore of great significance in the fields of literary study, critical theory and psychoanalysis.

Anne-Marie Smith's concise introductory study examines Kristeva in the light of her contemporary activity as writer, teacher and psychoanalyst. Tracing the evolution of Kristeva's thinking over the last thirty years she draws attention to its conceptual coherence and value as a work-in-progress of cultural critique. Smith provides close readings of the original texts, new translations and first-hand accounts of Kristeva's lectures. Kristeva's influence in Anglo-American thought is set against her place in the French intellectual tradition. She emphasises Kristeva's involvement in public cultural activity and personal commitment to psychoanalytic practice as well as her insistent interrogation of the place of women and of foreignness in social structures. Smith focuses on specific later texts, referring back to the seminal work, to give a sense of chronology and interconnectedness while concentrating on certain fundamental concepts.

Anne-Marie Smith teaches literary translation at the Université de Paris VIII.

Julia Kristeva is one of France's leading feminist theorists. Since the publication of her first work in the journal "Critique" in 1967, her interests have shifted from linguistic science, structuralism and critical analyses of the maternal, to an increasing emphasis on psychoanalysis and its cultural importance. The most striking feature of Kristeva's critical work, apart from her sheer productivity, is its conceptual coherence and the sense it produces of a vast, integrated work-in-progress of cultural critique. Smith's focus in this introductory study is on Kristeva's writings in the light of her contemporary activity as a writer, teacher and analyst in fin de siecle Western culture. She provides an account of the concepts, themes and controversies that are central to Kristeva's thinking, and assesses the critical purchase of Kristeva's work, her influence on contemporary critical activity and the importance of her willingness to be a public thinker.
Smith presents Kristeva as a vibrant thinker who has constantly engaged with the cultural environment of which she is a product, and whose influence extends well beyond the world of French intellectual activity.





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