The Feminine and the Sacred

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Overview

In November 1996, Catherine Clement and Julia Kristeva began a correspondence exploring the subject of the sacred. In this collection of those letters Catherine Clement, writing from Dakar, Senegal, approaches the topic from an anthropologist's point of view and Julia Kristeva responds from a psychoanalytic perspective. Their correspondence leads them to a controversial and fundamental question: Is there anything sacred that can at the same time be considered strictly feminine? The two voices of the book work in tandem, fleshing out ideas, blending together into a melody of experience. Two women, writing to each other about two themes, have produced a dialogue that delves into the mysteries of a woman's experience of belief, the relationship between faith and sexuality, the body and the senses - an experience, they argue, women feel with special intensity. Although their discourse is not necessarily about theology, Clement and Kristeva consider the role of women and femininity in the religions of the world, from Christianity and Judaism to Confucianism and African animism. The authors are the first to admit that what they have undertaken is "as impossible to accomplish as it is fascinating." Nevertheless, their lively, free-minded exchange succeeds in raising questions that are perhaps more important to ask than to answer.
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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Two great French thinkers ponder whether a specifically feminine form of the sacred exists. They write about women's experience with belief<-->an experience, they argue, that women feel with particular intensity<-->"at the crossroads of sexuality and thought, body and meaning." Their book takes the form of correspondence as they consider the role of women and femininity in the world's religions. Kristeva, in Paris, takes the psychoanalyst's view and Cl<'e>ment, based in Senegal, writes from the perspective of anthropology. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
The New York Times
A lively exchange of letters.... ranges widely over the place of women in monotheistic, traditional, and animistic religions.

— Alan Riding

Le Monde

Wise and passionate.... [Clément and Kristeva's] mutual confidence makes them reveal each other with a fascinating percision.

The New York Times - Alan Riding

A lively exchange of letters.... ranges widely over the place of women in monotheistic, traditional, and animistic religions.

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Catherine Clément is a prolific essayist and novelist. Her works in English include Opera, Or the Undoing of Women; The Newly Born Woman (with Hélène Cixous); The Weary Sons of Freud; and The Lives and Legends of Jacques Lacan.Julia Kristeva, psychoanalyst and professor of linguistics at the University of Paris, is the author of many acclaimed books including Time and Sense, Strangers to Ourselves, The Sense and Non-Sense of Revolt, and New Maladies of the Soul.

Columbia University Press

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