Kristeva, Julia

Kristeva, Julia,

1941–, French critic, psychoanalyst, semiotician, and writer, b. Sliven, Bulgaria. Writing in French, she has explored many subjects including structuralist linguistics and semiotics, psychoanalysis, and contemporary feminism; many of her books have been translated into English. She studied at the Univ. of Sofia and settled (1966) in Paris, where she received (1973) a doctorate in linguistics from the École Pratique des Hautes Études. Kristeva, who became a psychoanalyst at 40, is also a professor of linguistics at the Univ. of Paris. In general, she takes a poststructuralist approach, analyzing the relationships among language, society, and the self with its individual psychology and sexuality. Her books include Semeiotiké (1969), Revolution in Poetic Language (1974, tr. 1984), Black Sun: Depression and Melancholia (1987, tr. 1992), Time and Sense: Proust and the Experience of Literature (1994, tr. 1996), and The Sense and Non-Sense of Revolt (1996, tr. 2000). The subjects of her early 21st-century trilogy on "female genius" are Hannah Arendt (tr. 2001), Melanie Klein (tr. 2002), and Colette (tr. 2005). She has also written several novels.


See T. Moi, ed., The Kristeva Reader (1986) and K. Oliver, The Portable Kristeva (1997); R. M. Guberman, ed., Julia Kristeva Interviews (1996); studies by J. Lechte (1990), J. Fletcher and A. Benjamin, ed. (1990), D. R. Crownfield (1992), K. Oliver (1983 and 1993), A.-M. Smith (1998), and J. Lechte and M. Zournazi, ed. (1998); bibliography by J. Nordquist (1995).

Kristeva, Julia

(1941-) Bulgarian-born linguistic theorist and psychoanalyst who emigrated to France in 1966. Influenced by BAKHTIN, her most discussed work is perhaps her theory – expounded in The Revolution in Poetic Language (1974) – of the 'S emiotic’, ‘pre-linguistic’, pre-Oedipal dimensions of personality which become submerged by language and social conventions but are reflected in the work of the avant-garde. She promoted a shift away from the Saussurian concept of LANGUAGE towards a poststructuralist view that emphasized linguistic complexity. Kristeva has made significant contributions to feminist theory, although rejecting the idea of an ultimately distinctive feminine voice.