Poststructuralism, psychoanalysis, linguistics: Julia Kristeva’s Revolution in Poetic Language
Julia Kristevas Revolution in Poetic Language first appeared in French in 1974. It was translated in much abridged form in 1984. The abridgement is no doubt due to the great length and scope of the original text, which had 640 very dense pages. Kristevas main claim about the symbolic realm and its relation to the semiotic chora explains her important position within poststructuralism. First, among poststructuralists, she is perhaps the most dependent on Freudian psychoanalysis. In terms of poststructuralism and linguistics, Kristevas arguments are important because they allow poststructuralist linguistics to be situated within contemporary linguistics through a series of carefully argued critical points. Revolution in Poetic Language provides the most comprehensive study of linguistics of any poststructuralist work. This is because Kristeva seeks to demonstrate how a very wide range of theories of language presuppose and yet deny extra-linguistic processes. A scientific theory of opposed natural drives or instincts is not the basis for Kristevas work.