Julia Kristeva

University of Paris, chair of linguistics and visiting appointments at Columbia University

Psycholinguistics / Post-structuralism / Feminism


Official Site
Introduction: by Alice Kelsey
Intertextuality and Bakhtin
Philosophy Documentary Center
Feminist Theory Website
UC Research: "The Stranger's Stranger"
Interview: NY Arts


“It is probably necessary to be a woman (ultimate guarantee of sociality beyond the wreckage of the paternal symbolic function, as well as the inexhaustible generator of its renewal, of its expansion) not to renounce theoretical reason but to compel it to increase its power by giving it an object beyond its limits.” (“From One Identity to Another”)

“Academic discourse, and perhaps American university discourse in particular, possesses an extraordinary ability to absorb, digest, and neutralize all of the key, radical, or dramatic moments of thought, particularly, a fortiori, of contemporary thought. . . Only one theoretical breakthrough seems consistently to mobilize resistences, rejections, and deafness: psychanalysis . . . as that which, with Freud and after him, has led the psychoanalytic decentering of the speaking subject to the very foundations of language.” (“Psychoanalysis and the Polis,” 89)

“Thus it seems that one does not interpret something outside theory but rather that theory harbours its object within its own logic. Theory merely projects that object onto a theoretical place at a distance, outside its grasp, thereby eliciting the very possibility of interrogation.” (“Psychoanalysis and the Polis,” 91)

“Breaking out of the enclosure of the presentness of meaning, the new ‘interpreter’ no longer interprets: he speaks in ‘associates,’ because there is no longer an object to interpret; there is instead, the setting off of semantic, logical, phantasmatic, and indeterminable sequences. ” (“Psychoanalysis and the Polis,” 92)


Select Bibliography

  • Revolution in Poetic Language. Trans. Margaret Waller, Introduction by Leon S. Roudiez, New York: Columbia University Press, 1984 [originally: La révolution du langue poétique, Editions du Seuil, 1974].
  • About Chinese Women. Trans. Anita Barrows, London: Marion Boyars, 1974/1977.
  • Polylogue. Paris: Seuil. 1977.
  • Desire in Language: A Semiotic Approach to Literature and Art. Ed. Leon S. Roudiez, Trans. Thomas Gora, Alice Jardine, Leon S. Roudiez. New York: Columbia, 1980. [8 of the 10 essays were originally published in the author's Polylogue (1977) and 2 in the author's Semeiotiche: Recherges pour un sémanalyse. Edition du Seuil, 1969]
  • Powers of Horror: An Essay on Abjection. Trans. Leon S. Roudiez, New York: Columbia University Press, 1980/1982.
  • “Psychoanalysis and the Polis,” Trans. Margaret Waller, Critical Inquiry 9 (1982) 77-92; repr. in Gayle L. Ormiston, Alan D. Schrift (eds). Transforming the Hermeneutic Context. Albany, NY: State University of NY Press, 1990, 89-105.
  • The Old Man and the Wolves. Trans. Barbara Bray, New York: Columbia University Press, 1991/1994.