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June 15th, 2011 at 8:01 am

Nicholas Rombes on the Face of Julia Kristeva

Julia Kristeva

“No matter if this was the actual face of Kristeva or not. For me, it was. And it was more than a face. It was the doorway into her words, her language, there on the page in plain sight, undisguised but still hidden.”

Nicholas Rombes, author of New Punk Cinema and Cinema in the Digital Age, recently wrote a piece in The Rumpus on Julia Kristeva’s face.

More precisely, he talks about how the cover to Kristeva’s Powers of Horror: An Essay on Abjection helped him fall in love with Kristeva and her words.

Here is an excerpt from the essay:

Winter term 1989—and I want to say that that’s when I fell in love with Julia Kristeva’s words. But first I fell in love with her face, or what I thought was her face. That’s more precise. I fell in love with the face on the cover a book of theory called Powers of Horror: An Essay on Abjection, by Julia Kristeva, translated by Leon S. Roudiez. For no where in the book does it say just who is the woman on the cover. This was in 1989, pre-Web, and I was either too lazy or interested in preserving the mystery of Kristeva to track down print images of her to compare to the cover….

Reading too much Kristeva I found that my own spoken words became, for a short time, garbled as if in translation. When I became lost in the thicket of Kristeva’s words, which was practically all the time, I turned to the cover, to her face staring past the camera, contemplating escape, I thought. her eyes have just glanced something too beautiful and terrible for forget. Hell, perhaps. She is about to speak. Or else she has just spoken. Or else she is waiting, interminably, for an answer that will not satisfy her.

No matter if this was the actual face of Kristeva or not. For me, it was. And it was more than a face. It was the doorway into her words, her language, there on the page in plain sight, undisguised but still hidden….

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