The Samurai

Julia Kristeva, Author, Barbara Bray, Translator Columbia University Press $54 (341p) ISBN 978-0-231-07542-8
In a quote on the cover of Kristeva's first novel, Elaine Showalter equates the Bulgarian-born critic and psychoanalyst with Simone de Beauvoir. Like de Beauvoir, Kristeva was at the center of an intellectual movement, and like de Beauvoir she has written a roman a clef about French intellectuals, the ``brave samurai . . . fueled by an extreme of tension, an expenditure of energy, that may threaten one's vital equilibrium.'' Unfortunately, an ``extreme of tension'' does not fuel this novel, which by all rights should be a gripping account from the intellectual front. As an integral part of the magazine Tel Quel (she was married to its editor, Phillipe Sollers), Kristeva knew firsthand the likes of Barthes, Derrida, Foucault and Lacan--all of whom appear here. But no matter how often Kristeva writes ``what you say is marvelous,'' no character--not even her fictional stand-in, Olga--is as compelling to the reader as they evidently were to the writer. The image left by Kristeva's account of the various intellectual posturings--through Paris, China and the U. S.; through love, adultery, sex and even childbirth--is one of self-congratulatory narcissists unimpeded by any real concern for enlightenment. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 12/14/1992
Release date: 11/01/1992
X
Stay ahead with
Tip Sheet!
Free newsletter: the hottest new books, features and more
X
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
X
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
X
Email Address

Password

Log In Lost Password

PW has integrated its print and digital subscriptions, offering exciting new benefits to subscribers, who are now entitled to both the print edition and the digital editions of PW (online or via our app). For instructions on how to set up your accout for digital access, click here. For more information, click here.

The part of the site you are trying to access is now available to subscribers only. Subscribers: to set up your digital subscription with the new system (if you have not done so already), click here. To subscribe, click here.

Email pw@pubservice.com with questions.

Not Registered? Click here.