Kristeva, Julia

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Kristeva, Julia

Julia Kristeva, 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, has also been a professor of linguistics at the Univ. of Paris Diderot (1974, emeritus since 2011). 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. In 2018 a Bulgarian government committee investigating Communist-era security and intelligence services alleged that Kristeva had been recruited as a state security agent in 1971, a claim she denounced defamatory.

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).

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