The Sense and Non-Sense of Revolt: The Powers and Limits of Psychoanalysis

The Sense and Non-Sense of Revolt: The Powers and Limits of Psychoanalysis

by Julia Kristeva
     
 

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Linguist, psychoanalyst, and cultural theorist, Julia Kristeva is one of the most influential and prolific thinkers of our time. Her writings have broken new ground in the study of the self, the mind, and the ways in which we communicate through language. Her work is unique in that it skillfully brings together psychoanalytic theory and clinical practice,

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Overview

Linguist, psychoanalyst, and cultural theorist, Julia Kristeva is one of the most influential and prolific thinkers of our time. Her writings have broken new ground in the study of the self, the mind, and the ways in which we communicate through language. Her work is unique in that it skillfully brings together psychoanalytic theory and clinical practice, literature, linguistics, and philosophy.

In her latest book on the powers and limits of psychoanalysis, Kristeva focuses on an intriguing new dilemma. Freud and psychoanalysis taught us that rebellion is what guarantees our independence and our creative abilities. But in our contemporary "entertainment" culture, is rebellion still a viable option? Is it still possible to build and embrace a counterculture? For whom—and against what—and under what forms?

Kristeva illustrates the advances and impasses of rebel culture through the experiences of three twentieth-century writers: the existentialist John Paul Sartre, the surrealist Louis Aragon, and the theorist Roland Barthes. For Kristeva the rebellions championed by these figures—especially the political and seemingly dogmatic political commitments of Aragon and Sartre—strike the post-Cold War reader with a mixture of fascination and rejection. These theorists, according to Kristeva, are involved in a revolution against accepted notions of identity—of one's relation to others. Kristeva places their accomplishments in the context of other revolutionary movements in art, literature, and politics. The book also offers an illuminating discussion of Freud's groundbreaking work on rebellion, focusing on the symbolic function of patricide in his Totem and Taboo and discussing his often neglected vision of language, and underscoring its complex connection to the revolutionary drive.

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Editorial Reviews

Washington Post
Kristeva is a figure of far-reaching eloquence.

— Denis Donaghue

Washington Post - Denis Donaghue
Kristeva is a figure of far-reaching eloquence.

Denis Donaghue
Kristeva is a figure of far-reaching eloquence.
Paul Wessels
Kristeva dazzles, seduces, and intellectually accelerates. . . she mobilises psychoanalysis to investigate contemporary responses. . . that destabilise and problematise complacent, somanmbulistic identity. That is, placing revolt and its necessity at the epicentre of our lives.
Library Journal
Kristeva, a psychoanalyst and prolific French post-structuralist writer (Possessions, LJ 2/1/98), presents a new academic treatise on revolt. Beginning with a lengthy psycholinguistic analysis of revolt, she focuses on three examples of rebellion in the lives and works of Louis Aragon, Jean-Paul Sartre, and Roland Barthes. As the title implies, this is a dense work, drawing from a variety of humanistic traditions: psychoanalysis, linguistics, literature, and philosophy, among others. As with most French post-structuralist writers, Kristeva presupposes the reader's working knowledge of Jacques Lacan, Ferdinand de Saussure, Barthes, and others. Her style is really quite blinkered and maddening for those who graduated either before or after these writers came into vogue, as well as those for whom the luster of postmodernism has simply worn off. Those in the opposite camp, however, will eagerly devour this translation. For anyone else who can wade through the tedious argumentation to the author's conclusions, this is also a rewarding read. Recommended only for academic libraries.--David Valencia, King Cty. Lib. Syst., Federal Way, Washington Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.\

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780231109970
Publisher:
Columbia University Press
Publication date:
12/19/2001
Series:
European Perspectives: A Series in Social Thought and Cultural Criticism Series
Pages:
288
Product dimensions:
5.70(w) x 8.80(h) x 0.60(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

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Meet the Author

Julia Kristeva is a practicing psychoanalyst and professor of linguistics at the University of Paris. She is the author of many acclaimed books, including Time and Sense; Strangers to Ourselves, and New Maladies of the Soul, all published by Columbia.

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