“Nihilistic depression comes from the programmed decline of the singularity that is intelligence acting through love which slumbers within each one of us and which, in longing to encounter the totally other, recognizes what is extraordinary in him or in her, makes it exist in the space of time, and takes inspiration from it in order not to die itself of boredom in a world devoid of a beyond.” —
Julia Kristeva, “This Incredible Need to Believe”
“[The abject] is simply a frontier, a repulsive gift that the Other, having become alter ego, drops so that the “I” does not disappear in it but finds, in that sublime alienation, a forfeited existence.” — Julia Kristeva, The Powers of Horror: An Essay on Abjection
“If abomination is the lining of my symbolic being, “I” am therefore heterogeneous, pure and impure, and as such always potentially condemnable. I am from the very beginning subject to persecution as well as to revenge. The infinite meshing of expulsions and hazings, of divisions and inexorable, abominable reprisals is then thrown into gear. The system of abominations sets in motion the persecuting machine in which I assume the place of the victim in order to justify the purification that will separate me from that place as it will from any other, from all others.” — Julia Kristeva, The Powers of Horror: An Essay on Abjection
“The other that will guide you and itself through this dissolution is a rhythm, text, music, and within language, a text. But what is the connection that holds you both together? Counter-desire, the negative of desire, inside-out desire, capable of questioning (or provoking) its own infinite quest. Romantic, filial, adolescent, exclusive, blind and Oedipal: it is all that, but for others. It returns to where you are, both of you, disappointed, irritated, ambitious, in love with history, critical, on the edge and even in the midst of its own identity crisis; a crisis of enunciation and of the interdependence of its movements, an instinctual drive that descends in waves, tearing apart the symbolic thesis.” — Julia Kristeva, Desire in Language: A Semiotic Approach to Literature and Art
“Why does corporeal waste, menstrual blood and excrement, or everything that is assimilated to them, from nail-clippings to decay, represent — like a metaphor that would have become incarnate — the objective frailty of symbolic order?” — Julia Kristeva, The Powers of Horror: An Essay on Abjection
“Loathing an item of food, a piece of filth, waste, or dung. The spasms and vomiting that protect me. The repugnance, the retching that thrusts me to the side and turns me away from defilement, sewage, and muck. The shame of comprimise, of being in the middle of treachery. The fascinated start that leads me toward and separates me from them.” — Julia Kristeva, Powers of Horror: An Essay on Abjection
“We may call it a border; abjection is above all ambiguity. Because, while releasing a hold, it does not radically cut off the subject from what threatens it—on the contrary, abjection acknowledges it to be in perpetual danger.” — Julia Kristeva, Powers of Horror: An Essay on Abjection
“When the starry sky, a vista of open seas or a stained glass window shedding purple beams fascinate me, there is a cluster of meaning, of colors, of words, of caresses, there are light touches, scents, sighs, cadences that arise, shroud me, carry me away, and sweep me beyond the things that I see, hear, or think. The “sublime” object dissolves in the raptures of a bottomless memory. It is such a memory, which, from stopping point to stopping point, remembrance to remembrance, love to love, transfers that object to the refulgent point of the dazzlement in which I stray in order to be.” — Julia Kristeva, Powers of Horror: An Essay on Abjection
“FLASH - instant of time or of dream without time; inordinately swollen atoms of a bond, a vision, a shiver, a yet formless, unnameable embryo. Epiphanies. Photos of what is not yet visible and that language necessarily skims over from afar, allusively. Words that are always too distant, too abstract for this underground swarming of seconds, folding in unimaginable spaces. Writing them down is an ordeal of discourse, like love. What is loving, for a woman, the same thing as writing. Laugh. Impossible. Flash on the unnameable, weavings of abstractions to be torn. Let a body venture at last out of its shelter, take a chance with meaning under a veil of words. WORD FLESH. From one to the other, eternally, broken up visions, metaphors of the invisible.” —
Julia Kristeva, from Stabat Mater
“Anne confirmed me in that conviction: “I speak,” she would often say, “as if at the edge of words, and I have the feeling of being at the edge of my skin, but the bottom of my sorrow remains unreachable”” —
Julia Kristeva, Black Sun.
“A new rhetoric of apocalypse (etymologically, apocalypse means de-monstration, dis-covering through sight, and contrasts with aletheia, the philosophical disclosure of truth) seemed necessary for a vision of this nevertheless monstrous nothing to emerge - a monstrosity that blinds and compels one to be silent. Such a new apocalyptic rhetoric was carried out in two seemingly opposite, extreme fashions that complement each other: a wealth of images and a holding back of words.” —
Julia Kristeva, Black Sun.
“Let us keep in mind the speech of the depressed - repetitive and monotonous. Faced with the impossibility of concatenating, they utter sentences that are interrupted, exhausted, come to a standstill. Even phrases they cannot formulate. A repetitive rhythm, a monotonous melody emerge and dominate the broken logical sequences, changing them into recurring, obsessive litanies. Finally, when that frugal musicality becomes exhausted in its turn, or simply does not succeed in becoming established on account of the pressure of silence, the melancholy person appears of asymbolia or the excess of an unorderable cognitive chaos.” —
Julia Kristeva, Black Sun.
“There looms, within abjection, one of those violent, dark revolts of being, directed against a threat that seems to emanate from an exorbitant outside or inside, ejected beyond the scope of the possible, the tolerable, the thinkable. It lies there, quite close, but it cannot be assimilated. It beseeches, worries, and fascinates desire, which, nevertheless, does not let itself be seduced. Apprehensive, desire turns aside; sickened, it rejects. A certainty protects it from the shameful—a certainty of which it is proud hold on to it. But simultaneously, just the same, that impetus, that spasm, that leap is drawn toward an inescapable boomerang, a vortex of summons and repulsion places the one haunted by it literally beside himself.” —
Julia Kristeva, Powers of Horror: An Essay on Abjection
Powers of horror: an essay on abjection, Julia Kristeva