The American Journal of Semiotics

Volume 18, Issue 1/4, 2002

Julia Kristeva
Pages 1-14

Thinking about Literary Thought

To these rather restrained opinions, one must add the unremitting efforts of the media but also of academia—these powers and institutions are decidedly united—who aim to ridicule and discredit for ever more literary theory’s encroachment, or attempted encroachment, of its authority on literature. It may seem paradoxical that such a sparing, abstract, or even, as they say, insignificant activity should elicit such an . . . eroticization. Why so much passion for such an elusive object? We must look back to the beginnings of theoretical thought in the area of arts and literature, in order to attempt to uncover the reasons for this apparent anomaly.