Julia Kristeva: Psychoanalysis and Modernity (Suny Series in Gender Theory)

A comprehensive examination of Kristeva's work from the seventies to the nineties.

This is the first systematic overview of Julia Kristeva's vision and work in relation to philosophical modernity. It provides a clear, comprehensive, and interdisciplinary analysis of her thought on psychoanalysis, art, ethics, politics, and feminism in the secular aftermath of religion. Sara Beardsworth shows that Kristeva's multiple perspectives explore the powers and limits of different discourses as responses to the historical failures of Western cultures, failures that are undergone and disclosed in psychoanalysis.

“…one of the best books on a French figure to be published in recent years. Beardsworth brilliantly and provocatively deepens our understanding of the foundations of Kristeva’s psychoanalytic position and situates her thought in the broader fields of modern and continental philosophy. It is a book that challenges not only our most basic assumptions about Kristeva, but also those concerning psychoanalysis itself.” — Continental Philosophy Review

"I am pleased to say that this is one of the best books on Kristeva I've read. It develops an original reinterpretation of Kristeva's work and offers a new undertaking of the vexed relations between subjectivity and the social. This is a timely and important book that changes our understanding of Kristeva's work, its relation to feminism, psychoanalysis, and the broad culture of modernity." — Ewa Plonowska Ziarek, author of An Ethics of Dissensus: Postmodernity, Feminism, and the Politics of Radical Democracy and editor of Gombrowicz's Grimaces: Modernism, Gender, Nationality

"This is the best available study of Kristeva's thought. Beardsworth clearly and cleanly exposes the inner workings of the system of critical thought of this towering intellectual figure. This will become the primary text for understanding—one might even say for constructing—Kristeva's relationship to most of the diverse streams of contemporary feminism." — Gregg M. Horowitz, author of Sustaining Loss: Art and Mournful Life

"This is an original and utterly compelling philosophical reading of Kristeva. In the course of crystallizing the fundamental gestures of Kristeva's thought, Beardsworth has provided a riveting psychoanalytic redescription of the meaning of modernity." — J. M. Bernstein, author of Adorno: Disenchantment and Ethics

"Beardsworth's thesis—that Kristeva diagnoses a loss of loss as well as a need for a recovery of loss—is stunning and original. Her analysis of Kristeva's relationship to Lacan is lucid and insightful and her recuperation of Kristeva's notions of melancholy and abjection for feminist theory is exciting and productive." — Kelly Oliver, author of Reading Kristeva: Unraveling the Double-Bind
Sara Beardsworth is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Southern Illinois University.