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Powers of Horror: An Essay on Abjection…
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Powers of Horror: An Essay on Abjection (European Perspectives: a Series… (edition 1982)

by Julia Kristeva

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517233,667 (4.01)4
Powers of Horror is an excellent introduction to an aspect of contemporary French literature which has been allowed to become somewhat neglected in the current emphasis on para-philosophical modes of discourse."
Member:Macspee
Title:Powers of Horror: An Essay on Abjection (European Perspectives: a Series in Social Thought & Cultural Ctiticism)
Authors:Julia Kristeva
Info:Columbia Univ Pr (1982), Edition: First Translated Edition, Hardcover, 219 pages
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Powers of Horror: An Essay on Abjection by Julia Kristeva

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English (1)  French (1)  All languages (2)
"Powers of Horror" seems to be an enlighted as well as enlightening book, what concerns moments of personal nausea or in the sublimated or attenuated form: moments of the belief, that one has to reject something, which would be deeply rooted in her/his unconscious; abjection here marks this borderland of repulsiveness, in which the schizophrenic process has such fertile grounds to develop.
In Kristeva's words: "These body fluids, this defilement, this shit are what life withstands, hardly and with difficulty, on the part of death. There, I am at the border of my condition as a living being. My body extricates itself, as being alive, from that border. Such wastes drop so that I might live, until, from loss to loss, nothing remains in me and my entire body falls beyond the limit - cadere, cadaver."
In the Translator's Notice, on page X, we are confronted with a quote from Stuart Schneiderman ("Returning to Freud"), which expresses the well-known search of Lacanian psychoanalysts for the object a:
"For the psychoanalysts the important object is the lost object, the object always desired and never attained, the object that causes the subject to desire in cases where he can never gain the satisfaction of possessing the object. Any object the subject desires will never be anything other than a substitute for the object a."
Kristeva's book is well developped in a Lacanian perspective but she seems to go beyond its limits, for she considers abjection, after clarifying the concept's meaning, in a comparative manner across modern literature, biblical texts and - last but not least - Céline's prose as a major psychological tendency which can be evaluated not only in individuals, but in collectivities.
3 vote davidgregory | Jan 16, 2011 |
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Powers of Horror is an excellent introduction to an aspect of contemporary French literature which has been allowed to become somewhat neglected in the current emphasis on para-philosophical modes of discourse."

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