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When Julia Met Jaufre: Encounters with Troubadour Lyric in the Work of Julia Kristeva

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© 2018, © 2018 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. This article analyses the role of troubadour lyric in the psychoanalytic theory of Julia Kristeva, particularly her models of the semiotic, the objet a, and the abject. This objective necessarily involves an investigation of her relationship with Lacanian psychoanalysis, and often entails the palimpsestic project of reading Kristeva, reading Lacan, reading troubadour lyric. However, rather than simply documenting the instances of Kristeva’s engagement with lyric, the article expands the textual corpus beyond the lyrics analysed by Lacan and Kristeva in order to outline various ways in which the three textual corpora might illuminate, critique, and speak (back) to each other. The first section suggests that the works of Jaufre Rudel and Raimbaut de Vaqueiras, poets neglected by Kristeva and Lacan, might offer certain compromises between the two theorists on the subject of the semiotic. Focussing on the Thing and objet a, the second section formulates readings of a lyric by Bernart de Ventadorn, exploring ways in which Kristeva’s work might be seen to converge and diverge with both Lacanian and feminist reading practices. The article’s final part argues that the lyrics of the trobairitz suggest new, feminist possibilities for the abject.



Julia Kristeva, Jacques Lacan, Jaufre Rudel, Bernart de Ventadorn, Trobairitz, Troubadour Lyric

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Romance Studies

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Informa UK Limited


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