Yesterday I recalled the contemporary meaning of The Second Sex which, 60 years after its publication in 1949, has dramatically changed the condition of women (although few women or men have made a point of noting the date).
– Since, for Beauvoir, each “individual’s chances” are not defined in terms of happiness, but in terms of “freedom”; since “we are free to transcend all transcendence [and escape elsewhere], but this ‘elsewhere’ is still somewhere at the heart of our human condition”; since freedom itself, because of the ambiguities and risks it implies “must, in its own name, fight the very means used to attain it”; since freedom upsets the codes of community and can only be conjugated in the singular – “In order for the world to have any importance, for our endeavors to be meaningful and make sacrifices worthwhile, we need to affirm the sense of the dignity of each man, /of each woman/, taken one by one…” – writes Simone de Beauvoir;
– and although dignity, creativity and women’s rights are making progress in advanced democracies, they are still far from being accepted universal values (as is shown by the “national cause” recently proclaimed in France against “violence against women”;
– we need to acknowledge that the gage for the fight for women’s rights is now moving within developing or so-called “emerging” countries.
Conscious of this fact, which is now becoming decisive for the future of human rights on a global scale, the Jury of the Simone de Beauvoir Prize for Women’s Freedom (a 30,000 euro prize funded by Éditions Gallimard, CulturesFrance and Centre National du Livre) awarded the 2008 Prize to Taslima Nasreen and Ayaan Hirsi Ali, two women sentenced to death by Muslim fundamentalists, and the 2009 Prize to the NGO “One million signatures”, which aims to obtain a million signatures in favor of women’s rights in Iran, presenting it to the great Iranian woman poet Silim Behbahani.
Chaired by Julia Kristeva and Sylvie Le Bon de Beauvoir (Honorary President), the jury is made up of the following members:
ELISABETH BADINTER, Philosopher
GÉRARD BONAL, Writer
ANNIE ERNAUX, Writer
CLAIRE ETCHERELLI, Writer
MADELEINE GOBEIL-NOEL, Former Arts Director at UNESCO
LILANE KANDEL, Sociologist
AYSE KIRAN, Doctor at Haceteppe University, Ankara, Turkey
CLAUDE LANZMANN, Writer, Editor of the journal Les Temps Modernes
BJORN LARSSON, Writer, Professor at the University of Lund, Sweden
LILIANE LAZAR, Simone de Beauvoir Society, USA
ANNETTE LÉVY-WILLARD, Journalist at Libération, writer
ANNE-MARIE LIZIN, Senator, Chairperson of the Women’s Council of Wallonia, Belgium
KATE MILLETT, Writer, painter and sculptor, USA
YVETTE ROUDY, French Minister for Women’s Rights from May 1981 to 1986
DANIÈLE SALLENAVE, Writer
JOSYANE SAVIGNEAU, Journalist at Le Monde
ALICE SCHWARZER, Writer, Germany
ANNIE SUGIER, President of La Ligue du Droit International des Femmes (The League of Women's International Law)
LINDA WEIL-CURIEL, Lawyer
ANNE ZELENSKY, Writer, President and Co-founder with Simone de Beauvoir of the Ligue du droit des femmes (The League of Women’s Rights)
The 2010 Prize is awarded to two Chinese women: Ai Xiaoming and Guo Jianmei.
Professor in the Department of Chinese Language and Literature and Director of the Comparative Literature Section at Sun Yat-Sen University in Canton. In addition to her own academic research on the condition of women, her teaching of the history of feminism, women’s fights for their rights, and the defense of migrant workers, Ai Xiaoming is also recognized both in China and abroad for her documentary films made outside official circles:
- White Ribbon ([Baisidai] 57 minutes, 2004), deals with violence against women and is about the murder of a female student.
This documentary also reflects her understanding of cinema as a vehicle for action as well as thought, a means for acting at the heart of the public sphere by offering the individuals filmed a site to express their views and add to information broadcast in the media.
- Taishicun, (100 minutes, 2005), tells the story of the conflict between farm workers and local government regarding elections.
- The Epic of Central Plains ([ZhongYuan JiShi] 140 minutes, 2007) and Care and Love ([Guan Ai Zhi Jia], 108 minutes, 2007), both concern AIDS virus infection in the populations of the Henan and Hebia provinces.
- Nos enfants ([我们的娃娃], 2009) deals with the experiences of parents of children who fell victim to the May 2008 earthquake in Sichuan.
A longtime committed feminist and virulent activist for the “Rights Movement” in China particularly in rural areas, she has been making documentaries since 2004.
Director and lawyer for the Chinese NGO "Women's law studies and legal aid center" attached to Peking University.
Through the defense of individual cases and promotion of changes to the legislative system, the NGO works to improve the status of women in China (fight against domestic violence, against sexual harassment, the need for reform of the rural property laws which leave many women with no land following divorce or their husband’s death).
Guo Jianmei’s other roles include: Executive director of the law society for research in marriage and the family;
Vice-President of the Association of Women Lawyers in Beijing;
Member of the Lawyers’ Association of China, on the Constitution and Human Rights Committee.
She has been involved in the fight to protect the rights and interests of women in China and beyond since 1989, and has published numerous legal articles on these subjects (notably “Studying Law through Cases”, in Volume on Marriage Law, “Guidelines to the Law of Women's Interests and Rights”, “Guidelines to Women’s Rights and Legal Aid Cases”, “Theories and Practice of Protection of Women's Rights and Interests in Contemporary China”, “Laws in Everyday Life” in Volumes on Marriage and the Family, Labor Law and Individual Rights, “The Theory and Practice of Legal Aid in China, Domestic Violence and Legal Assistance”).
The Jury had already come to its decision when we learned that the dissident Liu Xiaobo, writer and former university professor, one of the authors of the Charter 08 for Human Rights, had just been sentenced to 11 years imprisonment. In this context, Ai Xiaoming and Guo Jianmei have had the tenacity and spirit to continue their work for women’s rights with patience and determination. In awarding them this prize, the jury hopes to rally the international community to reassert women’s rights, guarantee the protection of those women who are risking their lives today through their actions, and stand by their side to defend the ideals of equality and peace.
I would like today to recall several points in Beauvoir’s book on China: the marks it bears of the era in which it was written, but also the avenues which speak to us today. I will then very briefly sketch my own outlook on this vast continent and more precisely on the position occupied by women.
It should be remembered that Simone de Beauvoir was one of the first intellectuals from the West to visit China in September and October of 1955, prior to the publication of The Long March in 1957. An on the spot report and attempt to explain a mysterious, fast developing country praised enthusiastically by the author, was Beauvoir’s book a “voyage in Utopia”, to use the phrase of Israeli philosopher and political scientist Denis Charbit, now a member of the Simone de Beauvoir Jury, and a perceptive expert on French politics, a flight towards a new Promised Land after the disappointments of Soviet Communism or indeed of the West as a whole? Beauvoir’s pathos suggests this might be the case.
At the height of the cold war, enthused by a Marxism revised and corrected by her Existentialism, did Beauvoir discover a new chosen land in China? If so, was it a question of not letting Billancourt [heart of the French automotive industry] lose faith after the revelations on the USSR and events in Hungary? Or was it because the context of an “invitation” (from Zhou Enlai himself!) led the philosopher to an outlook of reconciliation with the Chinese leadership rather than the frank and loyal critique Beauvoir’s mind has accustomed us to expect? None of these hypotheses, all of which have been put forward, seem to my mind to fit either Beauvoir’s book or her thought.
For Beauvoir does not fail to express her doubts, uncertainties or disagreements, even if they are so cleverly refined or, at times, expanded so longwindedly throughout her travels that her “Long March” could still be taken for a pilgrimage to a new Promised Land. And commentators have not failed to bring up the multitude of intellectuals who supposedly succumbed both before and after Beauvoir to such naivety, to all appearances seduced by the immensity of the future great power: from André Malraux, the guiding light of French Sinophilia, to the pro-Chinese militants of 1968 like Maria-Antoinetta Macciochi. A closer look, however, shows that it is the specific nature of the (forever enigmatic!) culture of the Chinese continent that surprises observers and fuels both the pathetic enthusiasm of some and the blind panic of others, – for want of any foundation on a rigorous knowledge of Chinese thought or the cultural, social and political history of the country. This lack can also be leveled at Beauvoir, herself aware that The Long March was “her least good book”, without needing to deny either the value of her intellectual curiosity, or the finesse of her psychological observations as she sketches portraits and characters, or her political courage in introducing a timid West and its nigh exhausted Socialism to the promises and risks of a different humanity.
In fact, the immense intellectual curiosity of the author of The Second Sex and her honesty as a writer who was forever attentive to human words and movements succeed in transforming the pathos of her essay-report in search of the best of all possible worlds into her concern to explain political errors, without condemning the faults of a totalitarian regime. This is what allows her to identify areas of promise in the interminable Chinese “long march”, the never-ending Tao, and leads the French philosopher to the following conclusion: China is “Neither paradise nor teeming hell, but a region firmly situated on earth, where men who have just broken the hopeless cycle of an animal existence are struggling to build a human world”. (insert, my translation)
The anthropological experience offered up to the writer’s intuition breaks through each page of the ill-assured (because over-assured?) political reasoning guiding her travels, so that Beauvoir seems to perform a third “long march” of her own as she follows that of China’s modernization after the Communist revolution of 1949 and Mao’s “long march” of 1934-35. Beauvoir had only just been awarded the Goncourt prize in 1954, and here she was already setting off to observe, communicate and commentate what to her were new and fascinating realities: towns, villages, family, work, culture, youth, women – human realities the meaning of which was beyond her. She perceived – that is exactly the right word – that their meaning was not the one those same realities took on within French civilization. Yet, without having the linguistic, ethnological or anthropological means to elucidate the particularities of the Chinese continent, it seems that the writer had only one goal in mind: that of leaving us with a major question mark regarding this emerging otherness, and communicating her own passionate solidarity with “those who are struggling to build a human world”. So that we too might continue to think, love and ask questions along our own “long march”. Indeed D. Charbit notes that Beauvoir writes not “as a tourist, but as a human being searching for such a different and engaging part of humanity that she came to know and love at the risk of projecting her own expectations which, repressed without pity by History, would look to other shores.” (DCh, 5, my translation).
The Long March is in no way one of those “degradations” of “mysticism into politics” to borrow Péguy’s phrase, a criticism leveled by some. Without understanding Chinese, and with only scant reference to the political, cultural and religious history of China, Simone de Beauvoir was above all enthusiastic about the “Chinese scenario of a progressive and peaceful disappearance of capitalism” (Dch, 14) as opposed to violence of the communist dictatorship in the USSR. Still today, some commentators read the same “peaceful scenario” into the progressive disappearance of Chinese socialism in favor of Neo-Capitalism. A new Utopia? Or rather, observation of a cultural diversity yet to be understood, with its contradictions, promises and dangers?
Seduced by the apparently civil behavior of the people and institutions alike, Simone de Beauvoir neglected the repressive reality and most of all the submission of individuals to an interiorized repression accepted by a culture with a long history of feudal, peasant and Confucian customs. Along her way, however, Beauvoir lacked neither “restraint”, nor “vigilance”, nor “lucidity” (DCh, 19). Particularly when her intuition as a writer led her, as a subtle observer, to insist for example on the malleable and mobile manner in which the Chinese, step by step, were bringing about their dynamic process of growth and expansion: Joseph Needham, the eminent expert on the “dialectical” twists typical of “Chinese thought” couldn’t have asked for more! Doesn’t this malleable and mobile model (coming at the cost of what constraints?) still continue today to intrigue with its public and hidden sides, and embarrass commentators who are anxious to see the greater and faster emergence of free individuals with a democracy worthy of their individual rights?
Similarly, Beauvoir’s enthusiasm for the younger generation who, released from the forced marginalization of arranged marriages and the absolute authority of their elders, fuelled the social arena with an urbane energy unknown anywhere else. Yet this, Beauvoir suggests, had nothing to do with the philosophy of emancipation she held dear: freedom to marry had not been achieved, domestic violence was still rife. Whereupon Beauvoir remarks: “When does something become a habit? How many times a week can a husband beat his wife before it is called usual? And how many blows can a wife tolerate? In fact, unless she had a broken limb or a scandal broke out in the community, there was nothing a woman could do about being ill-treated” (LM, 138, my translation). Or else, when little girls lift her skirts to see if this lady sporting nail polish is not hiding some deformity underneath, their teachers laughing as they scolded them leads to the following commentary: “With their slender waists, their plaits, their innocent faces, these young women look like big, well-behaved children themselves… they smile, their voices are gentle, they never issue commands” ( LM, 153), without suspecting that these child-women, school teachers or mothers, practiced a different sort of motherhood and education (but what sort?) which was certainly not free from violence (but what kind?). The philosopher prefers to stick to the social measures called on to protect women. Yet even while praising communist laws coming to the aid of women, she does not fail to notice that reality is slow to change: “Even in France, on this issue customs lag behind the law; there are still arranged marriages, and some are nothing more than trades” (LM, 138). The winners of our prize who are actively involved in fighting violence against women, as well as the recent “national cause” on the same issues, are following on from Simone de Beauvoir’s vigilance.
With her intuition as a writer who tunes in to concrete reality, to objects that encapsulate an issue, Beauvoir perceives more than she explains the striking difference between Chinese bodies and our own (those of the European delegation): this perception pertaining (although the author does not say so) to the difference between male-female relations in Chinese culture on the one hand, and the male-female relationship we have inherited from the ancestral memory of patriarchal and particularly monotheistic societies on the other: “I asked the woman I was speaking with if there was any rivalry at the university between boys and girls: the question surprised her […] A woman does not appear to a man as competition.”(LM, 153) If so, why such violence within the couple? Silence on the writer’s part.
It is clear that Simone de Beauvoir does not take her “anthropological” inquiry as far as the contemporary reader, male or female, would like her to do. Yet at the very moment that we are about to ask more from her, she takes us by surprise with her striking sensibility, reacting, for example, to the suppleness and cheerful gravity of Chinese bodies, for which– like most Western observers who are sensitive to this cultural shock – she only finds words like “childhood”, “nonchalance”, “freshness”. “Everybody was smiling. In Beijing, there is happiness in the air” (LM, 49); “On the construction sites, the rhythm of their work is not at all frenzied, it even seems nonchalant, although a whole crowd is at work” (LM, 27); or else “… eight thousand actors and dancers: the street theatre of Surrealist dreams” (LM, 415). “When you see that, you don’t want to be cynical any more.” “Impossible to imagine anything like it in Rome or Paris, our souls are far too lacking in freshness. Yes, perhaps that is what is most moving in China: the freshness that at times lends human life the glow of a newly washed sky” (LM, 15).
We are aware today of the active role of Chinese women in the intimacy of the couple, starting with sexuality. Encoded since ancient times by the secret influence of Taoism, Buddhism, Confucianism, then that of the Christian missions, this central role of the Chinese woman whose feet needed binding to hold her back was modeled and oriented towards a social participation or even promotion of women by what should be called the history of Chinese feminism since the late nineteenth century, in which the Protestant missions played a major role. Finally, the use of the “second half of the sky” (as President Mao would say) in the ideology of the Communist Party bestowed a central position in social life on women beyond comparison with other emerging countries. Over the last few decades Chinese women – via their intellectual and political elites – are becoming increasingly aware of their rights and the fact that the latter are based on a new philosophy of emancipation inspired by the work of Simone de Beauvoir and the diversity of the global feminist movement. And they are rallying forces against all the violence done them: the murder of female offspring, wife beating, discrimination in the areas of salary, professional promotion, divorce, retirement, etc.: our two prizewinners are evidence of this. Chinese women: a complex development which is just as intrinsic to the history of China as to the mutations of national communism in the context of globalization, and which joins but often races ahead of the essential struggles of women throughout the world.
You will understand then that the 2010 Simone de Beauvoir Prize awarded to Ai Xiaoming and Guo Jianmei is recognition of the achievements and creativity of Chinese women, as well as a signal to those men and women outside of China who follow their combat for women’s and men’s rights with great solidarity. The 2010 Simone de Beauvoir prize is also a message to the rest of us, intellectuals, political scientists, men and women of the globalized world whom it invites to better understand and interpret the specific characteristics of Chinese civilization which remain enigmatic to our metaphysical reasoning. We also still have a “long march” to complete, one undertaken by the generation after Simone de Beauvoir at their own risk, of which I shall try to provide an account alongside others during the Lecture-Debate to be held at the University Denis-Diderot on January 12 at 5 pm. So that we can avoid seeing the particular characteristics of China as a Promised Land, or brandishing them as ready-made excuses and abdicating responsibility for crimes against fundamental liberties. Without ignoring the diversity of China either, like those who attempt to impose our conceptions of democracy and the rights of men and women from the outside. But working together, instead, with the men and women of this great power of the future and already of today, such as Ai Xiaomin and Guo Jianmei, to better promote these universal rights which are never more accessible to all than when they take into account each civilization, each individual and the precise moment of their concrete history.
2. “About Chinese Women”
In February 2009, I returned to China: thirty-five years after my first trip in May 1974 with Philippe Sollers and what our hosts of the time called “the group of comrades from Tel Quel” (Roland Barthes, François Whal and Marcelin Pleynet). We were the first delegation of Western intellectuals, I believe, that China under President Mao received after joining the United Nations.
Contrary to what may have been said about it, the visit was not, in my case, an unconditional allegiance to the ideology in force at the time, and I think this was true for my friends too, although differently for each one. I was deeply intrigued by Chinese civilization as well as the political upheavals that were taking place there, and had been studying for a diploma in Chinese for four years at the University of Paris 7, which is still my university today; a fervent reader of the Englishman Joseph Needham’s famous encyclopedia Science and Civilization in China, I was curious to find an answer to two questions (at least!) which I will formulate as follows, and which still seem relevant to me today:
1. If Chinese communism is different from Western communism and socialism, how have their cultural tradition and national history contributed toward shaping this enigmatic “Chinese road”?
2. Is it true that the traditional Chinese understandings of causality, divinity, male and female, language and writing contribute toward forming a specific human subjectivity which is different from the one formed within the Greco-Judeo-Christian tradition? If so, how can these subjective experiences agree with, oppose or coexist with the other protagonists of our both universal and diverse humanity?
You can imagine that these questions, for a young woman thirty years of age, were as enthusing as they were insoluble. Nevertheless, the reality of the China which I encountered, which was dominated by the phase known as the “Cultural Revolution” during which women and the younger generation were led in onslaught against the former apparatus of the Communist Party, attracted me because of the attention paid to women’s liberation in the present and in the past, to the extent that I returned from the trip with a book which I wrote as a tribute to Chinese women – a book which, by the way, will soon be available translated into Chinese. However, at the same time, the persistence of the Soviet model and the stereotypes of an official discourse which spurned individual and collective freedom of thought would not only make any more thorough investigation of my inquiry practically impossible, but discourage me to the extent of making me give up traveling any further along the path of the apprentice sinologist which I had at first chosen to follow.
On my return to Paris, I devoted myself to semiology and particularly to psychoanalysis, as well as motherhood, without in the least forgetting the questions I formulated earlier. Huge questions, which Jesuits in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries had raised in their own fashion, under the sway of Catholic universalism, the exploration of which humanities and sinology have not neglected pursuing in the meticulous and technical manner that still fascinates me today.
A lot has changed since my first trip, and it was a new China that greeted me in February 2009, with the giant skyscrapers in its cities that have sprung up in the place of old rustic houses in picturesque alleys, or Soviet-style social housing; and instead of the energized masses in blue uniforms of the time, there is now a colorful, enterprising population ready, when it is not frightening it, to defy the globalised world. If my questions remain nevertheless, it is because they stem from an essential inquiry which current affairs render more controversial than ever: does the meeting of such different civilizations (note that I say “meeting”, not “shock”), which globalization now enables, entail major risks? Or beneficial transformations due to mutual loans and unprecedented exchanges?
Allow me to briefly and schematically go over some elements of this “Chinese thought” (to quote the title of famous work by the great French scholar Marcel Granet), which for my part I prefer to call “Chinese experience”, which I sketched roughly in About Chinese Women, and which today attracts worldwide attention along, in the background and in addition, with the “economic miracle” of your growth and its hazards.
When the missionary Longobardi questioned what he called “the religion of the Chinese” (Treaty, 1701) he considered that the Chinese did not know “our God” (by which he meant the God of Catholics: the Father, Son and Holy Ghost), since the Celestial Emperor, Shangdi, is only an attribute, quality or phenomenal reality of Li 理: matter endowed, in an immanent fashion, with “operation”, “order”, “rules”, “action”, “government”, in other words “causality”. The Jesuit scholar is not unaware that this sort of law – Li – might lead the writers who share it to atheism, whereas the various related “spirits” and “deities” are only intended as a sort of religion for the people, and are limited to a role as guardians of the social order.
More importantly, this immanent causality of matter called Li relies on a radical dichotomy between two terms (full/empty, life/death, heaven/earth, etc.) whose harmony it ensures without there being the slightest connection between the two elements, the combinatorial relations of which themselves ensure their dissociation. This raises a problem: without unity, what truth can arise? Can this sort of “causal matter” reveal any truth?
The commentary by Leibniz (1646-1716), on the contrary, makes this immanent causality evolve into an innovative rationalism. Li, in his view, would be a “subtle substance accompanied by perception”: “They (the Chinese) say the truth in creatures”, “for perhaps these terms life, knowledge, authority in Chinese, are taken anthropopatos” (“God” being given human qualities). Did Leibniz foresee a Chinese brand of humanism?
The heterogeneity of Li (matter and/with ordering) and its dichotomy (full/empty, heaven/earth, man/woman), tended, in the view of the philosopher, mathematician and inventor of infinitesimal calculus, to be reduced to what he discovered, using information from the Jesuits, as a pure Reason, which, far from being Cartesian, struck him because of something which today seems to us to be specific to the Chinese experience: concreteness, permanent concern for the logic of the living and the social, undistinguished from an ontological concern for the self.
Another form of being in the world is glimpsed here, to which Leibniz himself came close in his philosophical-mathematical thought: all unity (including that of man and woman) is a point of impact in which an infinite combinatorial series of forces and logics is actualized.
I will return, now, to the questions with which I went to China in 1974, which concern, philosophically, the problem of human – and women’s – rights in that country. Is Chinese experience and/or thought intrinsically defiant towards the concept of an individuality which would be free and open to truth which has come into being through the complex history of Greek/Jewish/Christian interrelations, including their Muslim offshoot?
Chinese history does not fail to confirm this fear. Yet doesn’t the same “ontology of self inseparable from the logic of the living and the social” which defines the individual according to the Chinese experience, also seem likely to harbor “human rights” of another kind: in greater harmony with the laws of the cosmos and social conflicts? As long as the complexity of the desires and significant acts which constitute the inner depths of such an “individual”, who has always already been open to the desires and significant acts of her (or his) surroundings, are unraveled?
For it was the enigma of the “individual” (in quotation marks because it is infinitely divisible and plural) that created an obstacle in the first meetings between the West and China. Foiled in their attempt to interpret the particularities of Chinese thought/experience, philosophers, anthropologists and other specialists had to wait until the epistemological, social and sensualist revolution of the eighteenth century, as well as progress in the human sciences and, in particular, Freudian psychoanalysis in the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries, to attempt to see a little more clearly. For the “enigmas” of Chinese experience could only be apprehended if the interpretative discourse itself became capable of approaching two continents which escape Western metaphysics. Which ones? I am referring to the specific role of woman and of the mother on the one hand and to the indissociable relation between the meaning of language to music (tonal language) and to movement (of the body) on the other hand. In other words, if Western metaphysics has trouble with the Chinese individual, it is because there is no individual, but a complementarity between male and female in each entity; and because the truth of a meaning or of a language is never dissociable from its journey through a sexual body. The long domination of a matrilineal and matrilocal line of descent would necessarily give Chinese men and women the assurance of their psycho-sexual duality (equally important dependence in relation to both mother and father), or let’s say their “psychic bisexuality”, and this with greater force than is the case in other cultures, particularly the Christian West dominated by the patrilinear model. A significant characteristic if ever there were one , even though Yin and Yang are combined in both sexes on both side of the difference between the sexes, this internal cohabitation does not efface the external difference between men and women. On the contrary it promotes the procreating couple while granting women’s pleasure [jouissance] a central place and an inexhaustible “Yin essence”.
Tonal language, which confers meaning giving precedence to intonations over the syntactic curve, preserves the early imprint of the mother/child relation within the social pact par excellence of verbal communication (because all human children acquire melody before grammar, but Chinese children fill these archaic melodic traces with socializable meaning). The Chinese language, thanks to its tones, thus preserves a register which is pre-syntactic, pre-symbolic (sign and syntax being concomitant) and pre-Oedipal (even if the tonal system if only fully realized within the syntax). Writing itself, originally made up of images which became increasingly stylized, abstract and ideogrammatic, has preserved its evocative, visual and gestural character (a memory of movement is necessary as well as memory of meaning in order to write in Chinese). Since these ingredients pertain to more archaic levels of the psyche than those of syntactico-logical meaning, Chinese writing can be considered as an unconscious sensorial depositary from which subjects thinking in Chinese are never definitively separated, and which becomes the primary laboratory for their evolutions, innovations and resurrections.
If I have dwelled on these elementary and fairly schematic reminders, it is not only because I have acquired the conviction that my Chinese students in Paris or Chicago are not aware of them, through not having received the necessary introduction to their traditional national culture, and often experience great pleasure in discovering them in French at American universities, to the point where some of them who had come to study French or American literature or philosophy change courses in order to start studying classical Chinese culture (calligraphy, painting, clan systems in Ancient China, etc.). Neither do I wish to suggest any hierarchy whatsoever of values between civilizations. For it is impossible to identify the advantages or limits of the models of psychic structuring for which I have provided the schema.
However, I think it necessary to insist on this point: under the pressure brought to bear by techniques of production and reproduction and their virtual boom, the complexity of the Chinese model is runs the risk of stabilizing as automation, a mechanical combinatorial series erroneously adapted to fit a fashionable “pattern”, unaware of the sense of unease in our thinking that Greek philosophy and its subsequent Judeo-Christian re-composition have inscribed in the psychic interiority to which the European speaking subject lays claim. On the other side and reflecting it symmetrically, the egotism, a-pragmatism and fundamentalism which surrounds the love unto death of believers of all kinds threatens institutions as well as the mystical margins of what might be called the “animosexuality” (the soul and sexuality [l’âmosexualité]) of the West, which the inconsistent froth of American “soap operas” broadcasts in such profusion.
I had ended my book About Chinese Women in a spirit of inconclusive questioning, while wagering on the promises that Chinese civilization freed from totalitarian communism would offer humanity. On writing as a continuation of prayer by other means, and on women inventing or creating a political, social and symbolic realization of the psychosexual duality capable of putting the old Europe of God and Man (with capital letters) to the test. This was the conclusion to my book, and the least that can be said is that such a test is now underway.
The recent developments of globalization have, however, made me go back on the optimistic tone of the wager, without necessarily discounting its possibility. In my metaphysical thriller Murder in Byzantium (Fayard, 2004), I created the character of a Chinese dissident, Xiao Chang, alias Wuxian or Infinity. In rebellion against the rampant corruption of the global village, with its sects, mafias and manipulations of all kinds, Xiao Chang not only refuses to adapt to such chasms but, in wanting to take on the role of purifier, ends up being beaten by his own fragility and, in the grip of psychosis, becoming a serial killer in a West that is approaching the end of the road. The end of the novel – which I won’t spoil for you – is less pessimistic. For as you know, it is not easy to assassinate an age-old culture, be it Western or Eastern.
And today, at the beginning of 2010, with its fireworks of banks and bombs? Never before has society been so deprived of a future, and never before has humanity been so incapable of thought. Yet swarms of research on modern and ancient China is being carried out in France and all over the world, while a few, in Europe, persist in believing that we can come to a mutual understanding.
The Chinese are looking toward Europe because the riches of the European psyche are attractive, thanks to its myths and its ability to sublimate through the art of living and thinking, as well as its aesthetic and social experiences. A desire for France and for the French language exists, I notice it here today, and however much it is in the minority, its intensity is very real.
The French and the Europeans for their part, despite their clumsiness, their tactlessness and their blunders, take the enigma of Chinese experience seriously and work at deciphering it. Perhaps it is less of a closed book to them because the Enlightenment, humanism and the new knowledge brought by the exact sciences and the sciences of the mind have succeeded in steeping us in the diversity of others. Instead of drowning in the mystique of ideology, which left not even such an incisive mind as that of Beauvoir herself unscathed…
And it is with this concern for reciprocal loans and mutual benefits that I pay tribute to our two prizewinners, that I thank the Simone de Beauvoir Jury who chose them, and express my heartfelt solidarity with our LCAO colleagues who have welcomed us today and whose research is opening new avenues for working together with our colleagues from China both male and, today, female.
Julia Kristeva, translated by Susan Nicholls
Jumat, 16 Juli 2010
Yesterday I recalled the contemporary meaning of The Second Sex which, 60 years after its publication in 1949, has dramatically changed the condition of women (although few women or men have made a point of noting the date).
Anti aging is still dominated by baby boomers trying to stop the clock ticking. But in recent years a growing number of very young women with barely a wrinkle to show are booking themselves in for the same anti aging treatments as their mothers. So just why are women so keen to look younger even before they start to age?
There are many ad views about anti-aging products out there. After doing some research, at least I know that destroying human life in the cells in the human body by free radicals. and cell damage can be reduced, but by using antioxidant agents such as glutathione.
but still many do not know, antioxidant, which can easily be easy to find! Things like fruit, tea and other foods loaded with antioxidants. but other sources, if you search for”better”body’s anti-aging action, is to get an artificial antioxidants.
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Diposkan oleh eastern writer di 03.26
Kamis, 25 Maret 2010
Some alternative energy companies are now developing new ways to recycle waste by generating electricity from landfill waste and pollution.
While new energy solutions are being discovered, refined and brought further and further into the public light, something that does not get a lot of headlines is waste to energy. Now researchers are thinking about using this waste energy.
A good news come from N-Viro International which support clean coal biofuel technology. They convert various types of waste into beneficial alternative fuel products. Their coal clean fuel product of course will help us to save our green environment.
N-Viro International is an environmental and materials operating company that owns patented clean coal technology to convert various types of waste into beneficial opportunity fuels products.
N-Viro Fuel has received alternative energy status from the US Environmental Protection Agency, which qualifies the technology for renewable energy incentives. N-Viro operates processing facilities independently as well as in partnership with municipalities.
Diposkan oleh eastern writer di 17.33
Sabtu, 24 November 2007
[This information was contributed by Kelly Oliver.]
- Le feminin et le sacre. Co-authored with Catherine Clément. Paris: Stock, 1998.
- Le temps sensible: Proust et l'expérience littéraire, Paris: Gallimard, 1994.
- Les Nouvelles maladies de l'ame, Paris: Libraire Artheme Fayard, 1993.
- Soleil noir: Depression et mélancolie, Paris: Gallimard, 1987.
- Histoires d'amour, Edtions Denoël: Paris, 1983.
- Pouvoirs de l'horreur, Paris: Seuil, 1980.
- Polylogue, Paris: Seuil, 1977.
- La Révolution du langage poétique, Paris: Seuil, 1974.
BOOKS IN ENGLISH TRANSLATION
- Time and Sense: Proust and the Experience of Literature, Trans. by Ross Guberman, New York: Columbia University Press, 1996.
- New Maladies of the Soul Trans. by Ross Guberman, New York: Columbia University Press, 1995.
- Black Sun Trans. by Leon Roudiez, New York: Columbia University Press, 1989.
- Tales of Love Trans. by Leon Roudiez, New York: Columbia University Press, 1987.
- Revolution in Poetic Language, Trans. by Margaret Waller, New York: Columbia University Press, 1984.
- Powers of Horror, Trans. by Leon Roudiez, New York: Columbia University Press, 1982.
- Desire in Language, Edited by Leon Roudiez, New York: Columbia University Press, 1980.
- "A New Type of Intellectual: The Dissident," in The Kristeva Reader, Edited by Toril Moi, New York: Columbia University Press, 1986; originally published in 1977.
- "Julia Kristeva in conversation with Rosiland Coward," Desire, ICA Documents, 1984, p. 22-27.
- de Nooy, Juliana. Derrida, Kristeva, and the Dividing Line: An Articulation of Two Theories of Difference. Garland, 1998.
- Huntington, Patricia. Ecstatic Subjects, Utopia and Recognition: Kristeva, Heidegger, Irigaray.
- Julia Kristeva 1966-96: Aesthetics, Politics, Ethics. (special issue of the journal Parallax out of the University of Leeds, UK) 1998.
- Lechte, John and Mary Zournazi, ed. After the Revolution: On Kristeva. 1998. ISBN 1-876017-37-6.
- O'Grady, Kathleen, ed. Julia Kristeva: A Bibliography of Primary and Secondary Sources in French and English: 1966-1996. 1997.
- Oliver, Kelly, ed. Ethics, Politics, and Difference in Julia Kristeva's Writings. 1993.
- Oliver, Kelly. "Julia Kristeva's Feminist Revolutions," Hypatia a journal of feminist philosophy, 8:3, summer 1993, p. 94-114.
- Oliver, Kelly, ed. The Portable Kristeva. 1997.
- Oliver, Kelly. Reading Kristeva: Unraveling the Double-Bind. 1993.
- Reineke, Martha J. Sacrificed Lives: Kristeva on Women and Violence. 1997.
- Smith, Anna. Julia Kristeva: Readings of Exile and Estrangement. 1997.
- Smith, Anne-Marie. Julia Kristeva: Speaking the Unspeakable. Pluto Press, 1998.
[Note: Some of this information was contributed by David Polan.]
http://www.stfx.ca/people/mmoynagh/445/more-445/Concepts/krist_sub.html or click here.
http://www.n2h2.com/KOVACS/CD/2884.html or click here.
http://english.ttu.edu/kairos/1.2/features/eyman/julia.html or click here.
http://pilot.msu.edu/user/chrenkal/980/INTERTEX.HTM or click here.
You can reach the Julia Kristeva page on the Voice of the Shuttle website at: http://www.humanitas.ucsb.edu/shuttle/gender.html#kristeva or click here.
by Kathleen O'Grady
[Copyright 1998 Kathleen O'Grady]
This is a small section (pp. 8-11) of a larger audience dialogue with Julia Kristeva, printed in Parallax: Julia Kristeva 1966-96. Aesthetics, Politics, Ethics. Issue 8 July-September 1998, pp. 5-16. Guest Editor, Griselda Pollock. This interview appears here with the permission of Kathleen O'Grady.
Kathleen O'Grady: Though your work has included linguistic and semiotic studies, literature and psychoanalytic analyses, your writings have been consistently framed by the Johanine quotation, 'In the beginning was the Word.' You adopted Céline's revision in Powers of Horror: 'No! In the beginning was emotion. The Word came next to replace emotion as the trot replaces the gallop'. In Tales of Love you sum up your understanding of Freud with the statement: 'In the beginning was hatred'. Your text on the relation of psychoanalysis and faith is titled, In the Beginning was Love. And more recently your work on Proust has reformulated this statement once again: 'In the beginning was suffering'. This continual transformation of the New Testament invocation ('In the beginning') begs the question: which of your semiotic, psychoanalytic, or Catholic proclivities generates this perpetual revisionism, this persistent desire for tracking and tracing a beginning?
Julia Kristeva: You are posing some very searching questions and not treating me gently here. I will answer the question in two parts: one is the interest in origins, and the other the place of Christian tradition. Origins are one of the fundamental questions of metaphysics that cannot be entirely avoided in linguistics or psychoanalysis. Let me take the psychoanalytical point of view. In anamnesis we have the possibility of entering as far as possible into the investigation of infantile memory to discover the most distant memories of our childhood. These are so often traumatic memories. In this journey, a strange transmutation occurs in our language. In speaking, in traversing the universe of signs, we arrive at emotions, at sensations, at drives, at affects, and even at what Freud named the 'umbilicus of the dream'. This is something unnamable, which becomes, none the less, the source of our investigation. The heteronomy of our psyche has always preoccupied my investigations. I am interested in language [langage], and in the other side of language which is filtered inevitably by language and yet is not language. I have named this heterogeneity variously. I have sought it out in the experience of love, of abjection, of horror. I have called it the semiotic in relation to the symbolic. But it is the doubling of language [la langue] that seems, at the moment, to be of more interest to women than to men.
What the other side of language as metaphysics thinks of as origins, is not an origin. Rather it is heterogeneity vis-à-vis language. I suggest that this is a fundamental point of psychoanalytical theory. Freud frequently reclaimed what he called his dualism: the death drive versus the life instincts. For Freud the psychic apparatus is composed of two distinct economies or logics of Ruth the Moabite. The book of Ruth is a magisterial reflection on the alterity and strangeness of woman which one finds nowhere else. Ruth is a foreigner and yet she is the ancestor of the royal house of David. Thus, at the hear of sovereignty there is an inscription of a foreign femininity. Institutionalized Judaism does not recognize this, yet it is part of a tradition of generosity towards the other that is at the heart of Jewish monotheism. In the Song of Songs the amours relation is figured as a relation between a man and a woman who are strangers, travelers, destined to lose each other. Separation is thus placed at the heart of the relation of one to the other in the Bible. With regards to my interest in narcissism, you will recall the Biblical and Gospel verse on which Thomas Aquinas comments: Love your neighbor as yourself. It can be interpreted narrowly as the legitimation of egotism and individualism. But in my book, Tales of Love, I interpreted it as the necessity of structuring narcissism. To become capable of loving our neighbor as ourself, we have first of all to heal a wounded narcissism. We must reconstitute narcissistic identity to be able to extend a hand to the other. Thus what is needed is a reassurance or reconstruction of both narcissism, personality and, of course, the subject for there to be a relation to the other. To put this into its practical social context, let me recall the enthusiasm with which many of us of the generation of '68 launched ourselves into social activism, and put our selves and our comforts at risk. We struggled to find some meaning in the destruction. We occupied factories; I myself took part in this to find meaning in life. But while reading as usual, and in particular at that moment, these texts, the Bible, the Gospels and Thomas Aquinas, I began to argue that it was important to act on this social plane by moving into the factories, but perhaps it was necessary to be installed within ourselves first of all. This seems to be the primary message of Thomas Aquinas: love the other as oneself, but by being settled within oneself, by delight in oneself. Thus: heal your inner wounds which, as a result will render you then capable of effective social action, or intervention in the social plane with the other. Therefore, I would argue that we must heal our shattered narcissism before formulating higher objectives.
by Kelly Oliver
[Copyright 1998 Kelly Oliver]
Although Kristeva does not refer to her own writing as feminist, many feminists turn to her work in order to expand and develop various discussions and debates in feminist theory and criticism. Three elements of Kristeva's thought have been particularly important for feminist theory in Anglo-American contexts:
- Her attempt to bring the body back into discourses in the human sciences;
- Her focus on the significance of the maternal and preoedipal in the constitution of subjectivity; and
- Her notion of abjection as an explanation for oppression and discrimination.
Theories of the body are particularly important for feminists because historically (in the humanities) the body has been associated with the feminine, the female, or woman, and denigrated as weak, immoral, unclean, or decaying. Throughout her writing over the last three decades, Kristeva theorized the connection between mind and body, culture and nature, psyche and soma, matter and representation, by insisting both that bodily drives are discharged in representation, and that the logic of signification is already operating in the material body. In New Maladies of the Soul, Kristeva describes the drives as "as pivot between 'soma' and psyche', between biology and representation" (30; see also Time and Sense).
She is now famous for the distinction between what she calls the "semiotic" and the "symbolic," which she develops in her early work including Revolution in Poetic Language , "From One Identity to the Other" in Desire in Language, and Powers of Horror. Kristeva maintains that all signification is composed of these two elements. The semiotic element is the bodily drive as it is discharged in signification. The semiotic is associated with the rhythms, tones, and movement of signifying practices. As the discharge of drives, it is also associated with the maternal body, the first source of rhythms, tones, and movements for every human being since we all have resided in that body.
The symbolic element of signification is associated with the grammar and structure of signification. The symbolic element is what makes reference possible. For example, words have referential meaning because of the symbolic structure of language. On the other hand, we could say that words give life meaning (nonreferential meaning) because of their semiotic content. Without the symbolic, all signification would be babble or delirium. But, without the semiotic, all signification would be empty and have no importance for our lives. Ultimately, signification requires both the semiotic and symbolic; there is no signification without some combination of both.
Just as bodily drives are discharged into signification, the logic of signification is already operating within the materiality of the body. Kristeva suggests that the operations of identification and differentiation necessary for signification are prefigured in the body's incorporations and expulsions of food in particular (see Revolution in Poetic Language and Powers of Horror). These bodily "identifications" and "differentiations" are regulated by the maternal body before birth and the mother during infancy. Kristeva proposes that there is a maternal regulation or law which prefigures the paternal law which Freudian psychoanalysts have maintained is necessary for signification (see Powers of Horror and Tales of Love). The regulation or grammar and laws of language, then, are already operating on the level of matter.
The Maternal Body
Following Melanie Klein and in contrast to Freud and Lacan, Kristeva emphasizes the maternal function and its importance in the development of subjectivity and access to culture and language. While Freud and Lacan maintain that the child enters the social by virtue of the paternal function, specifically paternal threats of castration, Kristeva asks why, if our only motivation for entering the social is fear, more of us aren't psychotic? In Tales of Love, she questions the Freudian-Lacanian notion that paternal threats cause the child to leave the safe haven of the maternal body. Why leave this safe haven if all you have to look forward to is fear and threats? Kristeva is interested in the earliest development of subjectivity, prior to Freud's oedipal situation or Lacan mirror stage.
Kristeva argues that maternal regulation is the law before the Law, before Paternal Law (see Tales of Love). She calls for a new discourse of maternity that acknowledges the importance of the maternal function in the development of subjectivity and in culture. In "Stabat Mater" in Tales of Love and "Motherhood According to Bellini" in Desire in Language, Kristeva argues that we don't have adequate discourses of maternity. Religion, specifically Catholicism (which makes the mother sacred), and science (which reduces the mother to nature) are the only discourses of maternity available to Western culture.
In "Motherhood According to Bellini" and elsewhere, she suggests that the maternal function cannot be reduced to mother, feminine, or woman. By identifying the mother's relation to the infant as a function, Kristeva separates the function of meeting the child's needs from both love and desire. As a woman and as a mother, a woman both loves and desires and as such she is primarily a social and speaking being. As a woman and a mother, she is always sexed. But, insofar as she fulfills the maternal function, she is not sexed. Kristeva's analysis suggests that to some extent anyone can fulfill the maternal function, men or women.
By insisting that the maternal body operates between nature and culture, Kristeva tries to counter-act stereotypes that reduce maternity to nature. Even if the mother is not the subject or agent of her pregnancy and birth, she never ceases to be primarily a speaking subject. In fact, Kristeva uses the maternal body with its two-in-one, or other within, as a model for all subjective relations. Like the maternal body, each one of us is what she calls a subject-in-process. As subjects-in-process we are always negotiating the other within, that is to say, the return of the repressed. Like the maternal body, we are never completely the subjects of our own experience. Some feminists have found Kristeva's notion of a subject-in-process a useful alternative to traditional notions of an autonomous unified (masculine) subject.
Abjection and Sexism
In Powers of Horror, working with Mary Douglas's Purity and Danger (Douglas, Mary. Purity and Danger, New York: Routledge, 1969.), Kristeva develops a notion of abjection that has been very useful in diagnosing the dynamics of oppression. She describes abjection as an operation of the psyche through which subjective and group identity are constituted by excluding anything that threats one's own (or one's group's) borders. The main threat to the fledgling subject is his or her dependence upon the maternal body. Therefore, abjection is fundamentally related to the maternal function. As Kristeva claims in Black Sun, matricide is our vital necessity because in order to become subjects (within a patriarchal culture) we must abject the maternal body. But, because women cannot abject the maternal body with which they also identify as women, they develop what Kristeva calls a depressive sexuality (see Black Sun). Kristeva's analysis in Black Sun suggests that we need not only a new discourse of maternity but also a discourse of the relation between mothers and daughters, a discourse that does not prohibit the lesbian love between women through which female subjectivity is born.
In Tales of Love, Kristeva suggests that misplaced abjection is one cause of women's oppression (see p. 374). In patriarchal cultures, women have been reduced to the maternal function; that is to say, they have been reduced to reproduction. So, if it is necessary to abject the maternal function to become a subject, and women, maternity, and femininity all have been reduced to the maternal function, then within patriarchy, women, maternity, and femininity are all abjected along with the maternal function. This misplaced abjection is one way to account for women's oppression and degradation within patriarchal cultures.
Although many feminist theorists and literary critics have found Kristeva's ideas useful and provocative, Kristeva's relation to feminism has been ambivalent. Her views of feminism are best represented in her essay "Women's Time" in New Maladies of the Soul. In this essay originally published in 1979, Kristeva argues that there are three phases of feminism. She rejects the first phase because it seeks universal equality and overlooks sexual differences. She implicitly criticizes Simone de Beauvoir and the rejection of motherhood; rather than reject motherhood Kristeva insists that we need a new discourse of maternity. In fact, in "A New Type of Intellectual: The Dissident," Kristeva suggests that "real female innovation (in whatever field) will only come about when maternity, female creation and the link between them are better understood" (298).
Kristeva also rejects what she sees as the second phase of feminism because it seeks a uniquely feminine language, which she thinks is impossible. Kristeva does not agree with feminists who maintain that language and culture are essentially patriarchal and must somehow be abandoned. On the contrary, Kristeva insists that culture and language are the domain of speaking beings and women are primarily speaking beings. Kristeva endorses what she identifies as the third phase of feminism which seeks to reconceive of identity and difference and their relationship. This current phase of feminism refuses to choose identity over difference or visa versa; rather, it explores multiple identities, including multiple sexual identities. In an interview with Rosalind Coward, Kristeva proposes that there are as many sexualities as their are individuals.
- For a more detailed account of Kristeva's ambigious relation to feminism, see my "Julia Kristeva's Feminist Revolutions" Hypatia a journal of feminist philosophy, 8:3, summer 1993, p. 94-114.
- She introduces her notion of subject-in-process/on trial in her early texts including Revolution in Poetic Language, "Le Sujet en Proces" in Polylogue and Desire in Language, and develops this notion in her later writings.
- Her recent analysis in New Maladies of the Soul also carries this suggestion.
Introduction to Julia Kristeva
Julia Kristeva (b. Bulgaria, 1941-): psychoanalyst, linguist, semiotician, novelist, and rhetorician
- 1965 - emigrated to Paris for doctoral studies. joined 'Tel Quel group' eventually marrying its head, Philippe Sollers.
- 1968 - involved in leftist French politics, publishing in Tel Quel.
- 1970 - part of Tel Quel's editorial board, attended Lacan seminars.
- 1973 - state doctorate in Paris, thesis published as Revolution in Poetic Language (1984).
- 1974 - University of Paris, chair of linguistics and visiting appointments at Columbia University.
- 1979 - begin psychoanalytic career.
- 1990 - novel, Les Samourais, published.
- symbolic - the domain of position and judgment, chronologically follows semiotic (post-Oedipal), is the establishment of a sign system, always present, historical time (linear), and creates repressed writing.
- semiotic - the science of signs (that which creates the need for symbolic),cyclical through time, pre-Oedipal, and creates unrepressed writing. Exists in children before language acquisition and has significance.
- semanalysis - word coined by Kristeva to differentiate her type of linguistic analysis which is a dissolving of the sign through critical analysis, avoids the text designing its own limits, and stresses the heterogeneity of language rather than homogeneity of conventional linguistic model.
- intertextuality - also a term which originates in Kristeva's work, used to designate the transposition of one or more systems of signs on to another which is accompanied by a new enunciative and denotative position.
- jouissance - total joy or ecstacy achieved through the working of the signifier implying the presence of meaning.
- (fear - mark of the failure of language to provide symbolization.)
- other - what exists as opposite of, or excluded by, something else.
- Other - a hypothetical space or place which is that of the pure
- signifier, rather than a physical entity.
- chora - a Platonic term for a matrixlike space that is nourishing, unnameable, and prior to the individual. Chora becomes the focus of the semiotic as the 'pre-symbolic.'
- writings have gone from macrocosmic to microcosmic to fiction.
- never privledges either semiotic or symbolic, but strives for equilibrium.
- all are under the desire to return to period of preseparation.
- the body is outside the domain of sign and appears as trace writing.
- semiotic, pre-language self displayed through words outside symbolic definitions.
- is feminine (semiotic is feminine for Kristeva) but is available to the masculine.
- distinct from language used for ordinary communication, an otherness of language.
- it embodies contradiction, life and death, being and non-being, good and evil can exist simultaneously in a text.
- is the movement between: the real and the non-real.
- transcends the laws of logic presenting itself as the production of meaning.
"Thanks to the stamp of feminism, do we not sell many books whose naive whining or commercialized romanticism would normally be scoffed at? . . . However questionable the results of women's artistic productions may be, the symptom has been made clear: women are writing. And we are eagerly awaiting to find out what new material they will offer us."
- first and second generation feminists and the resulting violence.
- Freud defended and defined.
- anti-motherhood attitude is alienating.
- childbirth creates child as symbolic phallus, so that motherhood can be a normalizing and fulfilling experience.
- create child or literature.
- desexualization, 'I' as attacker and as victim.
- Return to religion, community for sake of singularity.
- analysis of the rhetoric in art and poetry.
- Semiotic discussions as possible link to pre-genre study.
Kristeva, Julia. About Chinese Women. Trans. Anita Barrow. New York: Marion Boyars, 1977.
- - -. Black Sun: Depression and Melancholy. Trans. Leon Roudiez. New York: Columbia UP, 1989.
- - -. Desire in Language: A Semiotic Approach to Literature and Art. Ed. Leon Roudiez. Trans. Thomas Gora, Alice Jardine, Leon Roudiez. New York: Columbia UP, 1980.
- - -. In the Beginning was Love: Psychoanalysis and Faith. Trans. Arthur Goldhammer. New York: Columbia UP, 1987.
- - -. New Maladies of the Soul. Trans. Ross Guberman. New York: Columbia UP, 1995.
- - -. Powers of Horror: An Essay on Abjection. Trans. Leon Roudiez. New York: Columbia UP, 1982.
- - -. Revolution in Poetic Language. Trans. Margaret Waller. New York: Columbia UP, 1984.
- - -. Strangers to Ourselves. Trans. Leon Roudiez. New York: Columbia UP, 1991.
- - -. Tales of Love. Trans. Leon Roudiez. New York: Columbia UP, 1987.
Moi, Toril, ed. The Kristeva Reader. New York: Columbia UP, 1986.
Caws, Mary Ann. "Tel Quel: Text and Revolution." Diacritics 3.1 (1973): 2-8.
Clark, Suzanne and Kathleen Hulley. "An Interview with Julia Kristeva: Cultural Strangeness and the Subject in Crisis." Discourse: A Review of the Liberal Arts, Vol. 13, No. 1, Fall-Winter, 1990-91, pp. 149-80.
Fletcher, John and Andrew Benjamin, eds. Abjection, Melancholia, and Love: The Work of Julia Kristeva. London and New York: Routledge, 1990.
Lechte, John. Julia Kristeva. London and New York: Routledge, 1990.
Phillips, Adam. "What is there to Lose?" London Review of Books, Vol. 12, No. 10, May 24, 1990, p. 6-8.
Steiner, Wendy. "The Bulldozer of Desire." The New York Times Book Review, November 15, 1992, pp. 9, 11.
:: Presented by Alice Kelsey in English 510, 5 August 1996