This is a book that requires persistent and diligent study. If you take your eye off the ball for a moment you will lose sight of it. Kristeva can be a tough read and a grounding in the basics of Freud, Lacan and Melanie Klein are a good preliminary preparation prior to reading her books. For anyone interested though in how the borders of the self are established, maintained and sometimes crumble, there is a lot to learn here. Kristeva has the idea that we are 'subjects in process' and that there is no such thing as a fixed or stable identity. This book looks at how the self becomes defined as such and how horrifying it can be when our borders crumble and the outside world and our internal psyches become mixed up and indistinguishable, as in psychosis. Kristeva in this book exposes the tenuously constructed and easily dismantled nature of the self and takes the reader to a place outside of the cultural security of linguistic definitions of societal being, a place where markers of certainty can disappear and everything is in a state of flux. At a time when simple definitions of human psychology abound this is an unusually deep and rich well and it brings us back to the essential mystery of human beings, who are so much more than flesh, blood and bone.
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