JuliaKristeva and journeys to the end of night
Revolution in language
Dialogue across borders
I begin my explorations of the work of women poststructuralist writers with a
new reading of JuliaKristeva. Within the academy, Kristeva is best known for
bringing an unorthodox Lacanian perspective to the psychoanalytic study of
cultural forms. What is less commonly recognised is that the entire trajectory of
her writing career has been plotted between the twin poles of literature and
theology. On occasions she has explored the sharp forces of repulsion
This article proposes a reading of Jane Campion‘s film The Piano as psychic allegory; as a Gothic psychomachia, in which Eros and Thanatos are the chief contenders. It is argued that the factitious Victorianism and the apparent proto-feminist agenda of this film should not blind the reader to the fact that this is a cinematic text which radically interrogates the very readings that it ostensibly elicits; readings inevitably of a ‘politically correct’ tenor. The film poses many questions and provisional answers are offered by orchestrating a dialogue between the film and Julia Kristeva‘s musings on depression and melancholia in her book, Black Sun.
This book generates a critical framework through which to interrogate the way in which religious feminists have employed women's literature in their texts. This is in order that both the way we read literature and the literature we read might be subject to scrutiny, and that new reading practices be developed. Having both the critical and constructive agenda, this is a book in two parts. The first part locates the study of the use of women's writing by religious feminists in a much wider frame than has previously been attempted. In the past individual religious feminists have been criticised, often publicly and loudly, for the use they have made of particular literary texts. Having critically surveyed previously unacknowledged constraints under which religious feminists read women's literature, the second part of the book explores how the work of women poststructuralist thinkers and theorists can enrich the reading practices. It offers alternative models for an engagement between literature and theology. Julia Kristeva is best known within the academy for her unorthodox application of Lacanian theory to contemporary culture. Her work challenges religious feminists to reassess the utilitarian approaches to literary texts and enquire into whether these might have a more powerful political role when their status as literature is recognised and affirmed. The book elucidates Luce Irigaray's thinking on sexual difference and also demonstrates its significance for feminist religious readers.
At the time of their publication, Joanna Baillie‘s dramas were considered to be works of genius in their sustained and powerful fixation on one of the several possible human passions. In their very focus on these intense emotions, however, the plays actually reified the dangers inherent in the extremes of human passion. In other words, by fixing her attention on the passions, Baillie revealed that the emotions she was supposedly focused on often masked other, even more powerful desires. Thus, in Orra fear is the result of the heroines hatred of male dominance, while in De Monfort hatred is shown to be the symptom of incestuous love. But what has not been noticed about Baillie‘s plays is their almost obsessive interest in dead, abjected male bodies. Both plays present a very gothic vision of the indestructible patriarchy, an uncanny phallic power that cannot die, that persistently resurrects and feeds on itself or the legends that it has constructed.
Not only did Sigmund Freud know literature intimately, and quote liberally from literatures of several languages, he has also inspired twentieth-century writers and philosophers, and created several schools of criticism, in literary and cultural studies. Freud was not just practising psychotherapy on his patients, helping them in difficult situations, but helping them by studying the unconscious as the basis of their problems. This book deals with Freud and psychoanalysis, and begins by analysing the 'Copernican revolution' which meant that psychoanalysis decentres the conscious mind, the ego. It shows how Freud illuminates literature, as Freud needs attention for what he says about literature. The book presents one of Freud's 'case-histories', where he discussed particular examples of analysis by examining obsessional neurosis, as distinct from hysteria. It analyses Freud on memory, in relation to consciousness, repression and the unconscious. Guilt was one of his central topics of his work, and the book explores it through several critical texts, 'Criminals from a Sense of Guilt', and 'The Ego and the Id'. The book discusses Melanie Klein, a follower of Freud, and object-relations theory, while also making a reference to Julia Kristeva. One of the main strands of thought of Jacques Lacan was the categories of the Imaginary, the Symbolic, and the Real, as well as paranoia and madness, which are linked to literature here. The book finally returns to Freud on hysteria, and examines him on paranoia in Daniel Paul Schreber, and the psychosis of the 'Wolf Man'.
Gothic Terror(ism) and Post-Devolution Britain in Skyfall
The article examines the phenomenon of terrorism presented in Sam Mendes‘s film Skyfall (2012), with relation to Julia Kristeva‘s concept of the abject, developed further by Robert Miles in the context of nationalism and identity. While exploring the extraterritorial nature of terrorism, which in Skyfall breaches the borders of the symbolic order, threatening the integrity of the British nation-state represented by M, Bond, and MI6, the article also focuses on the relationship between the major characters, whose psychological tensions represent the country‘s haunting by the ghosts of colonialism, as Britain is forced to revisit its imperial past(s) and geographies at the fragile moment of post-devolutionary changes.
This essay draws on Julia Kristeva‘s concept of ‘borderline’ experience, a feature of psychotic discourse, to examine the representation of madness, split personality and sociopathic behaviour in James Hogg‘s The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner and the contemporary, muted Gothic of John Burnside‘s The Locust Room (2001). The main characteristics of borderline experience - a concern with authenticity and the proper name, with uncertain boundaries between inside and outside, truth and delusion - are central concerns in Hogg and Burnside, and the essay assesses the value of borderline discourse for a critical reading of madness in Gothic.
interpretations and reimaginings. Novelists, filmmakers, comic-book writers and artists in endless other media have been haunted by the Creature-turned-monster. Its composite quality can in many ways be read as an exceptional example of the abject, which, as JuliaKristeva puts it, ‘disturbs identity, system, order’. She argues that the abject ‘does not respect borders, positions, rules’, and remains ‘the in-between, the ambiguous, the composite’ (4). Is it the Creature’s deformed body that repulses or scares Victor, for instance, or its nearly human shape? The monster’s body
Transculturality and Otherness in twenty-first-century Irish poetry
homogenous cultural groups.
However, the recent demographic changes have increasingly given rise to renegotiations of the concept of Irishness, including a necessary dismantling of the
myth of Irish homogeneity both past and present.
In view of these changes, JuliaKristeva’s notion that we need to recognise
the foreigner ‘within ourselves’ so that ‘we are spared detesting him in himself ’ (Kristeva, 1991: 1) has become particularly relevant. Taking his cue from
Kristeva, the cultural philosopher Wolfgang Welsch has developed the concept
of ‘transculturality’, arguing that
The female vampire: Chantal Chawaf ’s
JuliaKristeva opens her text, Soleil noir: dépression et mélancolie, with the
claim that ‘Ecrire sur la mélancolie n’aurait de sens, pour ceux que la
mélancolie ravage, que si l’écrit même venait de la mélancolie’ (‘For those
who are racked by melancholia, writing about it would have meaning only
if writing sprang out of that very melancholia’).1 This chapter explores the
possibility of writing ‘de la mélancolie’ through focusing on the work of
Chantal Chawaf, whose writing may be