R is for Revolt, She Said

Revolt, She Said by Julia Kristeva

Book 18 in A to Z Challenge

About the book: "May '68 in France expressed a fundamental version of freedom: not freedom to succeed, but freedom to revolt. Political revolutions ultimately betray revolt because they cease to question themselves. Revolt, as I understand it--psychic revolt, analytic revolt, artistic revolt--refers to a permanent state of questioning, of transformations, an endless probing of appearances." In this book, Julia Kristeva extends the definition of revolt beyond politics per se. Kristeva sees revolt as a state of permanent questioning and transformation, of change that characterizes psychic life and, in the best cases, art. For her, revolt is not simply about rejection and destruction--it is a necessary process of renewal and regeneration.

This is a sort of mid-read review as I haven't finished for it's not the easiest read. I take it a few pages a day in order to let Kristeva's words sink in. This also isn't fiction. So, it's different than most of the books we've reviewed so far this month. This book is definitely not for everyone. For me, I found it very interesting.

I've had a mild fascination with Kristeva ever since I found sections from her book Powers of Horror about abject while working on a policy debate file. It'd started off as me reading De Sade and trying to write a sado-masachism file or at least a response to another team's based on some of their evidence but once I found the information about abjection, I decided that was a better route to take.  It started with De Sade and lead to research on jouissance and that lead to a focus on abjection. Not all would find that interesting, but for me, I want to know more.

I picked Revolt, She Said because it starts with an R and unlike Power of Horror (which I do own and would like to read some day) it is only around 139 pages in length. It's more of a question/answer type of book, an intellectual interview as someone asks questions and Kristeva provides answers. Even though it's just text, at time you can hear the tone changes and attitude that some questions evoked. This made it all the better to read, though the discussions held my interest either way.

However, the 139 pages is one of the slower reads of the month, but not because of boredom by any means of the imagination. (The Floating Islands is in second place on slowness but that review won't be till May.) This is a book with deep answers and language that is intense that I had to savor a couple pages at a time. I found every answer fascinating and will need to read more. Hope to get Powers of Horror read in the future (though it's much longer than 139 pages with similar language and fascination).

It's not a book for everyone but if you have an interest in psychoanalysis, revolution, France and Julia Kristeva, it's a must read. 

Reviewed by:
Dawn Embers



Natalie Zaman said...

While I love books that can be devoured in one sitting, I also (and maybe more)LOVE the kind you have to savor, or stop and think about... this one looks intriguing! Thanks so much for stopping by mine and commenting! That is the one thing I have to say was hard about being away. Not having my actual laptop and consistent internet access made it a challenge to keep up with everything--I'm now playing catch-up! ♥

Dawn Embers said...

Natalie Zaman - Thanks for the comment. I do like a quick read too and have done a couple of those for the blog, but sometimes it's nice to savor the knowledge being provided.

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