- Kristeva, Julia
- (1941– )French feminist . Born in Bulgaria, Kristeva came to Paris in 1965 and became a leading member of the Tel Quel group of activist left-wing theorists. Since 1974 she has worked as professor of linguistics at the university of Paris, and as a practising psychoanalyst. Together with Irigaray and Cixous, Kristeva has been the most influential of French feminists whose thought has been shaped by psychoanalysis as well as Marxism, philosophy, and literature. Just as her Bulgarian background inhibited her from embracing Maoism with the enthusiasm of many Parisian intellectuals of the late 1960s, so her experience of psychoanalysis keeps her at some distance from more extreme postmodernist pronouncements on the death of the subject, and the non-existence of meaning, love, and other human categories. Her work has centred upon the balance between a ‘semiotic’, a pre-Oedipal, rhythmic, and sensual order, and the conventional or ‘symbolic’ system of propositions and representations. Unlike Cixous and Irigaray she does not appeal to biological determinism (a view of what is inherently or essentially female) in her view of femininity and female writing. When they work as marginal and avant-garde artists, men such as the poet Mallarmé also can channel the irruption of the semiotic into the symbolic order. Her works include La Révolution de langage poétique (1974, trs. as Revolution in Poetic Language, 1984), and Histoires d’amour (1983, trs. as Love Stories, 1987).
Philosophy dictionary. Academic. 2011.