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About At the Risk of Thinking

At the Risk of Thinking is the first biography of Julia Kristeva--one of the most celebrated intellectuals in the world. Alice Jardine brings Kristeva's work to a broader readership by connecting Kristeva's personal journey, from her childhood in Communist Bulgaria to her adult life as an international public intellectual based in Paris, with the history of her ideas. Informed by extensive interviews with Kristeva herself, this telling of a remarkable woman's life story also draws out the complexities of Kristeva's writing, emphasizing her call for an urgent revival of bold interdisciplinary thinking in order to understand--and to act in--today's world.


Table of contents

Author's Note
Introduction: At the Risk of Thinking
The Question of the Intellectual-Again
In the Face of Resistance
My Coup de Foudre
Why Now? The Contestatory Intellectual
Notes on the Biography
Part I Bulgaria, My Suffering (1941–1965)
A Production of History
Stoyan Kristev
All My Childhood Was Bathed in This
Kristina Kristeva
One Spoonful at a Time
I Didn't Want to Take Care of All That
The Journalist
Pure Oxygen
The Writer
Sputnik or the New Novel
Endings, Beginnings
Part II The Crazy Truth of It (1965–1979)
Early Exile
The Lost Territory 
Tzvetan Stoyanov
Mentors and a Doctorate
Philippe Sollers
Tel Quel 
Sit Down! Sit Down!
Dominique Rolin
Beneath the Paving Stones
Semiotike (1969) 
Language, the Unknown (1969)
Émile Benveniste
The Text of the Novel (1970)
Ilse Barande
Revolution in Poetic Language (1974)
The Pedagogical Imperative
The Desire for China 
About Chinese Women (1974)
The Intimate Acts of the Modern Personality
Reliance: An Ethic of Care
The Crossing of Signs (1975)
New York City
The Dissident
Polylogue (1977)
Crazy Truth (1979)
Part III Becoming Julia Kristeva (1980–TODAY)
A Vertical Present
Yes, Yes, of Course, But What Shall We Do Now?
Death, That Strange Voice . . .
1 The 1980s: Strangers to Ourselves and Others
Ça continue: Work, Family, the Île de Ré
Whatever Happens to Me, That's What I Write About
Questions of Civilization Cannot Be Managed by Politics
Powers of Horror (1980)
Tales of Love (1983)
In the Beginning Was Love (1985)
Black Sun (1987)
Strangers to Ourselves (1988)
And Yet, It's up to Women . . . 
If You Could Just Die . . .
2 The 1990s: Revolt, She Said
Accolades and Accusations
New Directions: Fiction and Revolt
Thinking Through the Novel
The Samurai (1990)
The Old Man and the Wolves (1991)
Possessions (1996)
Time and Sense (1994)
Revolt After the Revolution
New Maladies of the Soul (1993)
The Sense and Non-Sense of Revolt (1996)
Intimate Revolt (1997)
The Future of Revolt (1998)
Nations Without Nationalism (1990)
Revolt, She Said (1998)
The Severed Head (1998)
Transcend yourself!
The Feminine and the Sacred (1998)
Hannah Arendt (1999)
I Cannot See Any Light . . .
3 The 2000s: An Intellectual Who Works on the Invisible
Against Cynicism
I Can Only Rely On My Own Strengths
Psychoanalysis Is a Humanism
Singular Universalism and Human Rights
Crisis of the Subject (2000)
At the Risk of Thought (2001)
Micropolitic (2001)
Chronicles of a Sensitive Time (2003)
Open Letter to the President (2003)
Their Look Pierces Our Shadows (2011)
Murder in Byzantium (2004)
Hatred and Forgiveness (2005)
Alone, a Woman (2007)
Melanie Klein (2000)
Colette (2002)
Teresa, My Love (2008)
This Incredible Need to Believe (2007)
Reinventing Secular Humanism
The "French Death of God Theologian"
The Crisis of Ideality
Teresa, Our Contemporary
Representing the Atheists of the World
4 The 2010s: Traveling Through Myself
No One Owns the Truth
The Why Rather than the How
No One Pays Attention to the Political Until It Feels Spiritual
Perpetual Motion
Beauvoir Presents/In the Present (2016)
Passions of Our Time (2013)
The Enchanted Clock (2015)
It's a True Nightmare or a Pitiful Farce, I'm Not Sure Which . . . 
Who's Afraid of Julia Kristeva?
A Violence That Reaches the Heart
It's Just Not My Life
Appendix 1: Document #10 of the “Sabina” File
Appendix 2: A Chronological List of Kristeva's Books in French


“Alice Jardine's intellectual biography of Julia Kristeva is breathtaking. Exploring the relationship between Kristeva's life and her writings, Jardine reflects not only on the powerful influences on Kristeva's thinking and the importance of Kristeva's work for contemporary culture, but also on what it means to write a biography. Beautifully written and full of insight, Jardine's biography is a must read for anyone interested in French Theory and Kristeva's definitive role in its development.” –  Kelly Oliver, W. Alton Jones Professor of Philosophy, Vanderbilt University, USA

“People, cities, vibrant seminar rooms, intellectual and amorous encounters: following the thread of Kristeva's books, Alice Jardine takes us on a journey across shifting social and political landscapes in her passionate biographical account of one of the most important thinkers of our epoch.” –  Miglena Nikolchina, Professor of Literary Theory, University of Sofia, Bulgaria

“With a light and magical touch, Alice Jardine narrates the story of Julia Kristeva's journey from the Black Sea to the Atlantic to the expanse of human singularity. In her intimate account, Jardine shows how Kristeva became one of the most extraordinary intellectuals of our era. Scholars will be delighted with new biographical nuggets, such as why it was that Lacan didn't make it to that trip to China. But more, for every reader, here is is a story that will inspire us all to think more deeply, to revolt against preconceptions, and--instead of being shaped by the Big Other--to become our own force in creating the meaning of our lives.” –  Noëlle McAfee, Professor of Philosophy and Director of the Psychoanalytic Studies Program, Emory University, USA




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