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Julia Kristeva and Feminist Thought$
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Birgit Schippers

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780748640898

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748640898.001.0001

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The Singularity of Genius

The Singularity of Genius

(p.115) 4 The Singularity of Genius
Julia Kristeva and Feminist Thought

Birgit Schippers

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter introduces Kristeva's recent writings on the female genius, focusing on her work on Hannah Arendt and on the development of Arendtian themes in Kristeva's ideas. So far, this aspect of Kristeva's œuvre has not received much coverage in the critical commentary; hence, this chapter aims to provide a more detailed examination and discussion of Kristeva's work on Arendt, and seeks to initiate a feminist interpretation of these texts. It begins by attending to an exposition and assessment of Kristeva's Romantic heritage and its impact on the concept of (female) genius; it then proceeds to discuss her engagement with Arendtian conceptions of narrative, life and rebirth, before considering the question of political bonds and its implications for feminist thought. The chapter concludes with some tentative thoughts on a recent development in Kristeva's writings: namely, her engagement with the work of Simone de Beauvoir. Building upon Kristeva's insistence on the singularity and plurality of life, it will be suggested that her engagement with Arendt's ideas establishes the framework of a political philosophy that could, potentially, come to shape a feminist appropriation of Kristeva's work.

Keywords:   Hannah Arendt, female genius, narrative, life, political bonds, Simone de Beauvoir, singularity, plurality, feminist political philosophy

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