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In the Mood for Julia Kristeva

  • Book cover of Julia Kristeva Black Sun appears here on Post Mutant Eggplant – Tristana/Toledo


    Julia Kristeva


    Sollers and Julia.. (photo above) Julia Kristeva married Derrida’s close ally.

    Derrida’s closest intellectual comrade in the late 1960s and early 1970s was the writer and editor Philippe Sollers, who published a number of Derrida’s early essays in Tel Quel. But the friendship soured. Sollers wanted Tel Quel to become the cultural journal of the French Communist Party (PCF) and enforced strict obedience to the Moscow line. At a dinner with the Derridas, one telquelian launched into a passionate defence of the Soviet invasion of Prague, where Marguerite’s relatives lived. It did not go down well. Sollers was also worried that Derrida’s reputation might eclipse his own, suspecting that Derrida’s essay in praise of his novel, Numbers, was a covert ‘attempt at appropriation’. In 1967 Sollers had secretly married the Bulgarian literary theorist Julia Kristeva, whose career he was also keen to promote over Derrida’s. Rebuffed in their efforts to capture the cultural apparatus of the PCF, in the early 1970s Sollers and Kristeva converted to Maoism. This led to a deepening estrangement from Derrida, whose friend Lucien Bianco, a distinguished Sinologist, had disabused him of any illusions about revolutionary China. When Derrida gave an interview to La Nouvelle Critique, a PCF literary journal, Sollers and Kristeva protested by ‘boycotting’ a dinner in his honour. Derrida’s Tel Quel years were over. Years later, in her novel The Samurai, Kristeva would mockingly depict Derrida as Saïda, founder of ‘condestruction theory’, a man who was so attractive to American feminists that they ‘all became “condestructivists”’.)(Via Not In the Mood – a review of Derrida’s bio..)

    Sollers is also an interesting writer. For Maoism, read Chinese Women, which is both good and sad – Alan Sondheim via email

    Julia Kristeva ‘James Bond of Feminism

    In November this year, Kristeva visited China to give lectures at Fudan University in east China’s Shanghai.
    This was not Kristeva’s first time in China, as she had previously visited in 1974 with a group of left-wing students who were championing social equality. Afterwards, she wrote about her experience in a book titled About Chinese Women.

    Julia Kristeva (click to see large)

    Julia Kristeva (24 June 1941) is a Bulgarian-French philosopher, literary critic, psychoanalyst, sociologist, feminist, and, most recently, novelist, who has lived in France since the mid-1960s.
    Her sizable body of work includes books and essays which address intertextuality, the semiotic, and abjection, in the fields of linguistics, literary theory and criticism, psychoanalysis, biography and autobiography, political and cultural analysis, art and art history. Together with Roland Barthes, Todorov, Goldmann, Gérard Genette, Lévi-Strauss, Lacan, Greimas, and Althusser, she stands as one of the foremost structuralists, in that time when structuralism took a major place in humanities. Her works also have an important place in post-structuralist thought.

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