email page print pageAll Topic Reviews
"Are You There Alone?""How Come Boys Get to Keep Their Noses?""My Madness Saved Me"10% Happier365 Days49 Up56 UpA Beautiful MindA Beautiful MindA Beautiful MindA Book of ReasonsA Can of MadnessA Child's Life and Other StoriesA Dangerous LiaisonA Fight to BeA First-Rate MadnessA Good Enough DaughterA Heartbreaking Work of Staggering GeniusA Lethal InheritanceA Lethal InheritanceA Life ShakenA Life Worth LivingA Little PregnantA Message from JakieA Million Little PiecesA Numerate LifeA Pocket History of Sex in the Twentieth CenturyA Slant of SunA Special EducationA Tribe ApartAbout FaceAddicted Like MeADHD & MeAEIOUAgainst Medical AdviceAgents in My BrainAileen - Life and Death of a Serial KillerAlgernon, Charlie and IAll Out!All Seasons PassAll That You Leave BehindAlphavilleAlways Too Much And Never EnoughAlzheimer'sAn Anthropologist on MarsAn EducationAn Unquiet MindAngela's AshesAngelheadAnna Freud: A BiographyAnnie's GhostsAnother Bullshit Night in Suck CityAnthology of a Crazy LadyApples and OrangesApproaching NeverlandAre You There, Vodka? It's Me, ChelseaAs I Live and BreatheAs Nature Made HimAt Home in the Heart of AppalachiaAt the End of WordsAvalancheBad BoyBad GirlBeautiful BodiesBeautiful BoyBeautiful WreckBecause We Are BadBecoming AnnaBecoming MyselfBen Behind His VoicesBequest and BetrayalBereftBertrand RussellBlackoutBlanketsBloodlettingBodies in Motion and at RestBoneBorn on a Blue DayBoyBoy AloneBoyleBrain on FireBreaking ApartBreaking the SilenceBrokenBulimics on BulimiaBuzzCamus and SartreCharles DarwinChasing the HighCheeverCherryCity of OneCluesClumsyComfortComplications Compulsive ActsConfessions of a Cereal EaterConfessions of a Former ChildConfessions of a Grieving ChristianConfessions of the Other MotherConfidingConquering the Beast WithinContesting ChildhoodCrackedCrazyCry Depression, Celebrate RecoveryDamned to EternityDancing at the Shame PromDante's CureDaughter of the Queen of ShebaDavid Sedaris Live at Carnegie HallDays With My FatherDefeating the VoicesDementia Caregivers Share Their StoriesDepression and NarrativeDescartesDetourDevil in the DetailsDiagnosis: SchizophreniaDirty DetailsDirty SecretDivided MindsDivine MadnessDon't Get Too ComfortableDown Came the RainDress Your Family in Corduroy and DenimDrinkingDriving My FatherDrunkardDryEarly Embraces IIIEarly ExposuresEinsteinEinstein and OppenheimerElectroboyElegy for IrisElijah's CupElliott Smith and the Big NothingElsewhereEnough About YouEpilepticEvery Girl Tells a StoryEverything In Its PlaceExamined LivesExiting NirvanaFaces of Huntington'sFamily BoundFast GirlFearless ConfessionsFind MeFinding Iris ChangFirst Person Accounts of Mental Illness and RecoveryFirst Person PluralFixing My GazeFlanneryFolie a DeuxFor the Love of ItFortress of My YouthFrank Ramsey (1903-1930)Franz KafkaFraudFree RefillsFreudFreudFreudFriedrich NietzscheFrom Joy Division to New OrderFumblingFun HomeFuriously HappyGalileo Get Me Out of HereGetting OffGirl in Need of a TourniquetGirl Walking BackwardsGirl, InterruptedGirl, InterruptedGirls on the VergeGoing BlindGoing Through Hell Without Help From AboveGraysonGrowing Up JungGuttedHalf a Brain Is EnoughHardcore from the HeartHead CasesHeal & ForgiveHeal & Forgive IIHeavier than HeavenHeinz KohutHeinz KohutHello from Heaven!Hello to All ThatHer HusbandHer Last DeathHigh PriceHole in My LifeHolidays On IceHolidays on IceHope's BoyHouse of Happy EndingsHouse of Happy EndingsHow I Stayed Alive When My Brain Was Trying to Kill MeHow to Lose Friends & Alienate PeopleHow to Make Love Like a Porn Starhow to stop timeHumeHumeHunger Makes Me a Modern GirlHurry Down SunshineI Am Dynamite!I Am I Am I AmI Feel Bad About My NeckI Never Promised You a Rose GardenI Remain in DarknessI'd Rather Eat ChocolateI'd Rather LaughIf I Die Before I WakeImagining RobertIn Search of FatimaIn the Realms of the UnrealIn the Wake of SuicideInside TherapyInternInvisible No MoreIt Happened to NancyIt Takes a Worried ManJack Cole and Plastic ManJean-Paul SartreJohn Stuart MillJourneys with the Black DogJust CheckingKafkaKantLa SierraLab GirlLast Flight OutLearning to FallLet Me Make It GoodLife As We Know ItLife InterruptedLife ReimaginedLimboLincoln's MelancholyListening in the Silence, Seeing in the DarkLittle PeopleLive For Your Listening PleasureLive Through ThisLiving in the Shadow of the Freud FamilyLiving With SchizophreniaLiving with SchizophreniaLockeLonelyLong ShotLook Me in the EyeLooking for The StrangerLoose GirlLosing Mum and PupLosing My MindLove Is a Mix TapeLove SickLove Times ThreeLove Works Like ThisLove You, Mean ItLuckyLudwig WittgensteinLyingMad HouseMad PrideMadame ProustMadnessMagical ThinkingMalignant SadnessManicMarcel ProustMarcus AureliusMary BarnesMaverick MindMaybe You Should Talk to SomeoneMe Talk Pretty One DayMeaningMelanie KleinMemoirMemoirs of an Addicted BrainMemoirs of My Nervous IllnessMen-ipulationMisconceptionsMiss American PieMockingbird YearsMomma and the Meaning of LifeMommies Who DrinkMonkey MindMore, Now, AgainMortificationMy Age of AnxietyMy Body PoliticMy Brain Tumour AdventuresMy DepressionMy Father's HeartMy First Cousin Once RemovedMy Flesh and BloodMy Horizontal LifeMy Life Among the Serial KillersMy Sister LifeMy Stroke of InsightName All the AnimalsNeural MisfireNever EnoughNietzscheNietzsche: The Man and His PhilosophyNinety DaysNo Apparent DistressNo Hurry to Get HomeNo Impact ManNo More ShavesNo One Cares About Crazy PeopleNolaNotebooks 1951-1959NothingOdd Girl Speaks OutOedipus WreckedOf Spirits & MadnessOn Being RapedOn the Edge of DarknessOn the MoveOne Hour in ParisOne Hundred DaysOphelia SpeaksPagan TimePassing for NormalPeople Who Eat DarknessPerfect ChaosPerfect ExamplePermanent Present TensePersepolisPlanet of the BlindPlaying with FirePlease Don't Kill the FreshmanPoisoned LovePollockPOPismPortraits of Huntington'sPoster ChildProzac DiaryPsychiatrist on the RoadPsychosis in the FamilyPuppy Chow Is Better Than ProzacQuitting the Nairobi TrioRaising BlazeReasons to Stay AliveRebuiltRecovered, Not CuredRelative StrangerRescuing JeffreyRestricted AccessRevengeRewind, Replay, RepeatRichard RortyRiding the Bus With My SisterRobert Lowell, Setting the River on FireRoom For JRosemaryRough MagicRunning After AntelopeRunning with ScissorsRXScattershotSchizophreniaSchopenhauerSecond OpinionsSectionedSeeing EzraSeeing the CrabServing the ServantSet the Boy FreeSex & Single GirlsSex ObjectShakespeareShe Bets Her LifeShe Got Up Off the CouchShut the DoorSickenedSilencing the VoicesSimone de BeauvoirSinging in the FireSkin GameSlackjawSlut!SmashedSome Assembly RequiredSome Kind of GeniusSometimes Amazing Things HappenSometimes Madness Is WisdomSongs from the Black ChairSongs of the Gorilla NationSoren KierkegaardSpeak to MeSpeaking Our Minds: Revised EditionSpecial SiblingsSpentStandbyStick FigureStill LivesStretchSunset StorySurviving OpheliaSwing LowTales from Both Sides of the BrainTales of PsychotherapyTalk to HerTell Me Everything You Don't RememberTellingTelling Tales About DementiaTen Years a NomadThe Accidental BillionairesThe AddictThe Anatomy of HopeThe Anti-Romantic ChildThe Art of MisdiagnosisThe Bastard on the Couch CDThe BeastThe Bell JarThe Best Seat in the HouseThe Big FixThe Body SilentThe Boy on the Green BicycleThe Boy Who Loved Too MuchThe Boy Who Loved WindowsThe Bright HourThe Buddha & The BorderlineThe Burn JournalsThe Camera My Mother Gave MeThe Cancer Monologue ProjectThe Center Cannot HoldThe Chelsea WhistleThe Churkendoose AnthologyThe Day the Voices StoppedThe Devil WithinThe DisappearanceThe Discomfort ZoneThe Doctor Is InThe Eden ExpressThe Family GeneThe Family SilverThe Farm Colonies: Caring for New York City's Mentally Ill In Long Island's State HospitalsThe Fasting GirlThe First Man-Made ManThe First TimeThe Geography of BlissThe Glass CastleThe Good DoctorsThe Hillside Diary and Other WritingsThe Incantations of Daniel JohnstonThe Infidel and the ProfessorThe Last AsylumThe Last Good FreudianThe Last Time I Wore a DressThe Liars' ClubThe Lives and Loves of Daisy and Violet HiltonThe Lives They Left BehindThe LobotomistThe Long GoodbyeThe Looked After Kid: Memoirs from a Children's HomeThe Loony-Bin TripThe Madness of Our LivesThe Making of a PhilosopherThe Making of Friedrich NietzscheThe Man Who Couldn't EatThe Man Who Shocked the WorldThe Man Who Tasted ShapesThe Marvelous Hairy GirlsThe Maximum Security Book ClubThe Me in the MirrorThe Memory PalaceThe Mercy PapersThe Mistress's DaughterThe Mother of Black HollywoodThe Naked Bird WatcherThe Naked Lady Who Stood on Her HeadThe Neuroscientist Who Lost Her MindThe Night of the GunThe Noonday DemonThe Notebook GirlsThe NursesThe Only Girl in the CarThe Only Girl in the WorldThe Orchid ThiefThe Other HollywoodThe OutsiderThe Philosopher's Autobiography The Philosophical Breakfast ClubThe Philosophical IThe Pits and the PendulumThe Pornographer's GriefThe Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner The Professor and the MadmanThe Psychopath TestThe Quiet RoomThe Quiet RoomThe RecoveringThe Red DevilThe Rescue of Belle and SundanceThe Ride TogetherThe Rules of the TunnelThe Secret of LifeThe Shaking Woman or A History of My NervesThe Shared HeartThe Shiniest JewelThe Siren's DanceThe Statistical Life of MeThe Story of My FatherThe Strange Case of Hellish NellThe Summer of a DormouseThe SurrenderThe Talking CureThe Thought that CountsThe Three of UsThe Undoing ProjectThe Vagina MonologuesThe Velveteen FatherThe Winter of Our DisconnectThe Woman Who Walked into the SeaThe Years of Silence are PastThe Yellow HouseThe Yipping TigerThick As ThievesThinThings We Didn't Talk About When I Was a GirlThis Close to HappyThomas S. SzaszTiger, TigerTits, Ass, and Real EstateTo Redeem One Person Is to Redeem the WorldTo Walk on EggshellsTransforming MadnessTrue CompassTruth & BeautyTruth Comes in BlowsTuesdays with MorrieTweakTwitch and ShoutUltimate JudgementUndercurrentsUnholy GhostUnlikelyVoices of AlcoholismVoices Of Alzheimer'sVoices of CaregivingVoices of RecoveryVoluntary MadnessWaiting for DaisyWar FareWashing My Life AwayWastedWaveWe're Going to Need More WineWe're Not MonstersWeather Reports from the Autism FrontWeekends at BellevueWhat Did I Do Last Night?What Goes UpWhat I Learned in Medical SchoolWhat's Normal?When a Crocodile Eats the SunWhen Breath Becomes AirWhen Do I Get My Shoelaces Back?.....When It Gets DarkWhen the Piano StopsWhen You Are Engulfed in FlamesWhere Did It All Go Right?Where is the Mango Princess?Where the Roots Reach for WaterWhile the City SleptWhile They SleptWho Was Jacques Derrida?Why I Left, Why I StayedWhy I'm Like ThisWildWill's ChoiceWinnicottWinnieWish I Could Be ThereWith Their EyesWomen Living with Self-InjuryWomen, Body, IllnessWrestling with the AngelYou All Grow Up and Leave MeYou Must Be DreamingYour Voice in My HeadZeldaZor
seems that the depth of Julia Kristeva's thinking -- and in this case of her
reading as well -- resists any reviewing. To do justice to a book of hers, one
should write an essay at the very least. A portrait of her oeuvre deserves a
volume of its own, for her influence spreads over several disciplines, and more
and more languages. This Bulgarian-born Parisienne is at the same time a
psychoanalyst, a linguist, a semiologist, an erudite scholar and critic, and a
most prolific author decided to write a trilogy on Female Genius. The first
volume -- entitled Life -- was devoted to the famous and equally
prolific philosopher Hannah Arendt, the second -- Madness -- to Melanie
Klein, and the final one -- Words -- to the French novelist Colette.
Kristeva considers these authors emblematic of the XX century female genuis
because "at the heart of the precarious solitude of their pioneering work,
which was the price they paid for their unique creativity, Arendt, Klein, and
Colette managed to create the conditions that give rise to a necessarily public
opinion and, why not, a school and, at best, create an effect of seduction that
solicits a communion of readings and a community of readers."
is impossible for me to say what amount of the study I am reviewing is a
product of self-reflection by a woman who unites these three allegedly distinct
commitments: philosophy, psychoanalysis, and literature. However, many of the
ideas in the volume on Melanie Klein come from Kristeva's rethinking of her own
theories. It seems that in this volume she did not draw a sharp line between
Klein's theory and her own, especially when it came to language acquisition and
development of creativity. Still, this is not the only reason for the choice.
Kristeva explicitly considers Klein "the most original innovator, male or
female, in the psychoanalytic arena," who introduced a new approach
without ever abandoning Freudian theory.
as this claim may turn out to be, Kristeva's book will, I am sure, help
delineate Klein's position in a much better way. Melanie Klein has so far very
often been "worshiped to the point of dogmatic fanaticism by her
disciples, and held in utter contempt by her detractors, some of whom did not
hesitate to deny her the analyst title." In her book, Kristeva sails
safely between these extremes in her search for what is still alive in the
Kleinian theory. Specifically, this book could prove to be one of the most
important among almost two-dozen translations of Kristeva in English. The
reason for that could be Melanie Klein's specific place within the realm of
Anglo-American psychoanalysis, where she has too often been neglected.
book can be considered a biography. It tells a lot about Klein's growing up,
her private life, the great controversy in the British Psychoanalytic Society
and her conflict with her daughter. Kristeva relies on the most popular Klein
biography -- the volume by Phyllis Grosskurth -- but writes a different kind of
book. Hers is more of a critical study and an elaboration of Klein's numerous
implicit theses for which biographical data serve as important context. Not
only is Kristeva superbly successful in this elaboration, but also I believe
she is sometimes superior to Klein herself in the conceptual articulation of
clinical aspects of Klein's work are, of course, indispensable in discussing
her theory. They are given due credit here, too: Klein's contribution to our
understanding of negative transference, projective identification, analysis of
children, and so on. Unfortunately, Kristeva writes about Klein's famous cases
with fewer details than they deserve. I assume that her decision to do so was a
consequence of book's length and target -- it is mere 296 pages long and is
intended for a professional audience that should already be familiar with these
cases. Still, we are deprived of the clinical talent Kristeva revealed in her
previous books and it would no doubt further improve this one.
the book contains all of the most important conclusions of Klein's work. One of
them relates the importance of play -- so important in German Romanticism and
never sufficiently elaborated and utilized by Freud. What dreams were to Freud,
play was to Klein: the royal road to the unconscious. Its importance is not
only in overcoming confinements of children's language proficiency, but in that
it gives us a clear insight into one's central anxieties and phantasies, which
Klein considered of utmost importance. Her developmental theory is organized
around succession of schizoid, paranoid, depressive, and Oedipal anxieties (and
defense mechanisms and relations), and her clinical work considers anxiety an
important sign a therapist should always monitor. Kleinianism is also
recognizable for its emphasis on innate (and inborn) fantasies as "metaphors
incarnate" that provide connections between drives -- particularly, the
death drive -- and consciousness.
play is not just a tool that allows us to observe children's psychic life. It
gave Klein the first block to build her theory of creativity. After her
insights about the capacity to play, she postulates depression as the precursor
of creativity (unfortunately, Kay Redfield Jamison has never, as far as I know,
acknowledged Klein's primacy and discussed her position). The ego as a whole
takes shape through depressive position, but it is even more characteristic of
creativity and symbolization that they depend on "death that devours men"
and one's capacity to make reparation to "the bits to which the loved
object has been reduced." Kristeva adds here the concept of ab-ject,
absent -- missing, lost, destroyed -- object, and its importance for knowledge,
creativity, and identity.
renders Kleinian theory "the psychoanalysis as a capacity to think."
I do not know whether Bion ever made a similar statement, but I am sure he
would have liked to. When I began reading this book, I wondered whether Melanie
Klein would have gone that far. Or was that what Kristeva would like Klein had
intended to say? Nevertheless, the book is very convincing on this, no matter
how unusual the idea of matricide and Klein's interpretation of "Oresteia"
might seem at first glance: in order to think, one must first lose the mother;
and after separation -- which in baby's primitive unconscious equals murder -- the
self never stops re-creating her.
did not only posit mother -- and the maternal -- as being of central importance
for personality development. She considered femininity as central to culture
and history as a whole. She hypothesized "a primary feminine phase of
development" for both girls and boys. And all these ideas are reflected in
her views on psychoanalysis as a profession: it is a maternal vocation in that
it restores psychic life, and an aid to a capacity to think, to create symbols
where once anxiety was. Kristeva, on her part, adds quite a contemporary
consideration: "I would like to think that each individual invents his or
her sex in the domain of intimacy. Therein lies genius, which is quite simply
also explains that the works of her three female geniuses are so deeply shaped
by their femininity that they cannot be understood without studying their
biographies: "You are a genius to the extent that you are able to
challenge the sociohistorical conditions of your identity. This is the legacy
of Arendt, Klein, and Colette."
we quite soon going to witness a book that will try to apply these notions to
Julia Kristeva's work? I wholeheartedly admit I am looking forward to it.
Aleksandar Dimitrijevic, Faculty of Philosophy, Department of Psychology, Belgrade, Yugoslavia.