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Teresa, My Love

Mixing fiction, history, psychoanalysis, and personal fantasy, Teresa, My Love turns a past world into a modern marvel, following Sylvia Leclercq, a French psychoanalyst, academic, and incurable insomniac, as she falls for the sixteenth-century Saint Teresa of Avila and becomes consumed with charting her life. Traveling to Spain, Leclercq, Julia Kristeva's probing alter ego, visits the sites and embodiments of the famous mystic and awakens to her own desire for faith, connection, and rebellion. One of Kristeva's most passionate and transporting works, Teresa, My Love interchanges biography, autobiography, analysis, dramatic dialogue, musical scores, and images of paintings and sculpture to engage the reader in Leclercq's-and Kristeva's-journey. Born in 1515, Teresa of Avila outwitted the Spanish Inquisition and was a key reformer of the Carmelite Order. Her experience of ecstasy, which she intimately described in her writings, released her from her body and led to a complete realization of her consciousness, a state Kristeva explores in relation to present-day political failures, religious fundamentalism, and cultural malaise. Incorporating notes from her own psychoanalytic practice, as well as literary and philosophical references, Kristeva builds a fascinating dual diagnosis of contemporary society and the individual psyche while sharing unprecedented insights into her own character.
Product Details

Table of Contents

Abbreviations and Chronology Part 1: The Nothingness of All Things 1. Present by Default 2. Mystical Seduction 3. Dreaming, Music, Ocean 4. Homo Viator Part 2: Understanding Through Fiction 5. Prayer, Writing, Politics 6. How to Write Sensible Experience, or, of Water as the Fiction of Touch 7. The Imaginary of an Unfindable Sense Curled Into a God Findable in Me Part 3: The Wanderer 8. Everything So Constrained Me 9. Her Lovesickness 10. The Ideal Father and the Host Part 4: Extreme Letters, Extremes of Being 11. Bombs and Ramparts 12. "Cristo como hombre" 13. Image, Vision, and Rapture 14. "The soul isn't in possession of its senses, but it rejoices" 15. A Clinical Lucidity 16. The Minx and the Sage 17. Better to Hide...? 18. "... Or 'to do what lies within my power' "? 19. From Hell to Foundation Part 5: From Ecstasy to Action 20. The Great Tide 21. Saint Joseph, the Virgin Mary, and His Majesty 22. The Maternal Vocation 23. Constituting Time 24. Tutti a cavallo Part 6: Foundation-Persecution 25. The Mystic and the Jester 26. A Father Is Beaten to Death 27. A Runaway Girl 28. "Give me trials, Lord; give me persecutions" 29. "With the ears of the soul" Part 7: Dialogues from Beyond the Grave 30. Act I. Her Women 31. Act II. Her Eliseus 32. Act III: Her "Little Seneca" 33. Act IV. The Analyst's Farewell Part 8: Postscript 34. Letter to Denis Diderot on the Infinitesimal Subversion of a Nun Notes Sources

Promotional Information

In the vein of A. S. Byatt's Possession, a scholar immerses herself in a quest to reconstruct the life of an ecstatic saint, turning a past world into a modern marvel.

About the Author

Julia Kristeva is professor of linguistics at the Universite de Paris VII and author of many acclaimed works and novels, including The Severed Head: Capital Visions, Hatred and Forgiveness, This Incredible Need to Believe, Murder in Byzantium, Melanie Klein, Hannah Arendt, New Maladies of the Soul, Strangers to Ourselves, and Powers of Horror: An Essay on Abjection. She is the recipient of the Hannah Arendt Prize for Political Thought and the Holberg International Memorial Prize. Lorna Scott Fox is a journalist, critic, translator, and editor currently based in London. She lived in Mexico and Spain from 1986 to 2004, where she was also active as an art critic. Her articles and reviews have appeared in several journals, including the London Review of Books and The Nation.


Teresa, My Love is written with force, drive, and a verbal agility that carries the reader off and turns the book into a page-turner. -- Verena Conley, Harvard University Julia Kristeva's psychoanalytic investigation of love leads her to the extraordinary case of Teresa of Avila, and to the 'inoperable' rapport of desire and the need to believe. Kristeva remains faithful to psychoanalysis and to non-belief while offering this thoroughly engaging 'imagined life' of Saint Teresa. It is of the greatest pertinence in a world that seems to have revived the need to believe in aggressive forms. -- Peter Brooks, Princeton University Clearly documents the undeniable literary talent of author Julia Kristeva... a compelling and entertaining read that lingers in the mind long after the novel itself is finished... an extraordinary literary accomplishment Midwest Book review

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