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Kristeva's Biography & Bibliography



Julia Kristeva

A French linguist and semiologist of Bulgarian origin, Julia Kristeva (1941) is a prominent figure in the field of literary studies.

Kristeva distinguished herself in the late sixties by proposing an analytical approach which she calls semanalysis (Sémiotikè: recherches pour une sémanalyse, 1969), based on the great semiological theories (of Saussure, Peirce, and Barthes). She presents semanalysis as a theoretical tool to reveal the movements of the signifying process [signifiance] as they occur in the text. She has given us the concepts "geno-text" (textual genesis) and "pheno-text" (the material form of the text), centred on the subject's experience, which is simultaneously constructed and rejected by language. She is also interested in poetic language (La révolution du langage poétique, 1974), and in Polylogue (1977), she proposes a theory based on the study of cultural codes (dialogism). She developed a semiology of paragrams along these lines, which conceives of the sign as a dialogical element. It is significant that the foundational work of her theories is based on mathematical language, particularly on logic which, because it avoids stasis, can account for the modulations that occur in textual signifying processes [signifiance].

Other than her works on linguistics and semiology, Kristeva has written about art (Jardin des Tuileries, 2001), psychoanalysis and faith (Au commencement était l’amour, 1985). She has also distinguished herself as a novelist (Les samouraïs, 1990) and remains an incontrovertible authority in the field of feminist studies (Le féminin et le sacré, 1998).

Selected Bibliography

In English

Kristeva, J., The Kristeva Reader, ed. Toril Moi, New York: Columbia University Press, 1986. (Includes “Word, Dialogue and Novel”.)
French, P. & R.-F. Lack, ed., The Tel Quel Reader, London: Routledge, 1998. (Includes “The Subject in Process” and “Toward a Semiology of Paragrams”.)

In French

Kristeva, J., Polylogue, Paris: Seuil, 1977.
Kristeva, J., La révolution du langage poétique, Paris: Seuil,1974.
Kristeva, J., Semeiotike : recherches pour une sémanalyse, Paris: Seuil, 1969.

Kristeva's Theories

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