Passions of the Times

Columbia Univ. Jul. 2018. 384p. ed. by Lawrence D. Kritzman. tr.from French by Constance Borde & Sheila Malovany-Chevallier. ISBN 9780231171441. $35; ebk. ISBN 9780231547499. PHIL
In this wide-ranging collection, philosopher, feminist, psychoanalyst, and language lover Kristeva presents densely considered and engaging thoughts and reflections. Pieces range from autobiographical, such as the opening essay on her native Bulgarian culture's reverence for all matters textual through professionally acute and specialized examinations of Freudian concepts and contemporary inheritances from the works of Lacan, Merleau-Ponty, and Barthes. While the pieces are lucid and carefully argued, each serves a high-calorie portion of deeply webbed exposition, making the volume most suitable for graduate departments in linguistics, psychology, and philosophy and for large public library collections that serve curious readers seeking connections between wholly contemporary communication models, such as social media, and classic works on the problematic between the self and reflective and experiential language. Kristeva's scope is both international and cross-cultural, reaching as far as China, and as close to Western experiences as suburbia's socioeconomic decline.
VERDICT As ever, Kristeva presents her own positions with determination she is able to validate from varied sources and sound documentation.
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