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Genius in FranceAn Idea and Its Uses$
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Ann Jefferson

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780691160658

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691160658.001.0001

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Julia Kristeva and Female Genius

Julia Kristeva and Female Genius

(p.212) Chapter 18 Julia Kristeva and Female Genius
Genius in France

Ann Jefferson

Princeton University Press

This chapter turns to Julia Kristeva's discussion of female genius. It presents Kristeva's three biographical studies of Hannah Arendt (1999), Melanie Klein (2000), and Colette (2002), published under the collective title Le Génie feminine. Her perspective is predominantly psychoanalytic as she approaches her subject with a certain boldness as she treats female genius as a given rather than defensively pleading the cause. Hence, collectively, the trilogy offers a psychoanalytically grounded account of gender and femininity as part of its reflection on genius. Genius takes a new, explicitly gendered form here and it does so thanks to the mix of literary criticism, feminist theory, and psychoanalysis that is characteristic of the later years of “French theory.”

Keywords:   Julia Kristeva, Hannah Arendt, Melanie Klein, Colette, Le Génie feminine, French theory, feminist theory, psychoanalysis, literary theory, female genius

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