Date of Award

2016

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts Honours

School

School of Arts and Humanities

First Advisor

Dr Marcella Pollain

Abstract

Kristeva and Jung are both concerned with marginalization. For Jung, it is marginalization of the hidden unconscious (Hauke, 2000). For Kristeva, it is marginalization of the hidden physical realm of women and the “feminine” (Hauke, 2000, p127). Using Kristeva as my primary theorist, I will compare her subject-inprocess theory of the maternal and abject to Jung’s static unitary theory of individuation and the Shadow. Because of the parameters of this project, I have not been able to focus on the nature of Jung’s central feminine principle. By comparing Kristeva to Jung, women’s shame, as represented by patriarchy’s rejection of the mother, has an opportunity to be reclaimed as a radical feminine authority. In this essay, I will explore the notion that, if women in a postmodern culture can recognize the unconscious function of how shame and guilt work on their subjectivity, in the context of the denied feminine principle of the maternal, they may come closer to experiencing what we colloquially call ‘who they really are’ (Jung,1953/1970; Kristeva,1980/1982). This essay will also discuss the role of practice led research and Elena Ferrante’s writing on my - 4 - Honour’s project. I have chosen Ferrante rather than an Australia text because of the strength of my response to her work, its visceral and sometimes poetic language and her mother daughter subject theme. It also came to be incredibly relevant to creative exploration of Kristeva. My thesis will explore this topic in three sections, and will necessarily rely on translated texts. The first section will review Kristeva’s theory of the maternal and the abject focusing on the texts of The Stabat Mater (1976/1985), Women’s time (1977/1995), Powers of horror: An essay on abjection (1980/1982), The impudence of uttering: Mother tongue (2010) and Reliance, or maternal eroticism (2014), as well as Guberman’s Julia Kristeva interviews (1992). I will also refer to Revolution in poetics (1974/1984), Desire in language: A semiotic approach to literature and art (1980), and Black sun: Depression and melancholia (1989). Kristeva’s theory will then be compared to Jung’s theory of individuation and agent provocateur, the Shadow, focusing on his key texts of Jung: Modern man in search of a soul (1933), The collected works: Volume seven, two essays on analytical psychology (1953/1970), and The archetypes and the collective unconscious (1959). In this way, I hope the potential for a feminine subjectivity will be revealed. The second section will review the selected examples of Elsa Morante’s House of liars (1951) and Elena Ferrante’s Troubling love (2006/2015) and their exploration of how women’s shame and guilt, in the context of the motherdaughter dyad, work on their protagonists’ subjectivity. By focusing on the recent Italian literary phenomenon, author Ferrante, this second section predominantly relies on a small pool of Italian scholars who have translated their commentary into English (Giorgio, 2002; Benedetti, 2007; Sambuco, 2012; Milkova, 2013). Consequently, Australian and other international and translated media supplement this section. The third section will show how Kristeva’s theories of the maternal and the abject have informed my novella and my protagonist’s individuation/subject-in-process journey. This section will also refer to my creative writing practice and Practice-Led Research.

My thesis will explore this topic in three sections, and will necessarily rely on translated texts. The first section will review Kristeva’s theory of the maternal and the abject focusing on the texts of The Stabat Mater (1976/1985), Women’s time (1977/1995), Powers of horror: An essay on abjection (1980/1982), The impudence of uttering: Mother tongue (2010) and Reliance, or maternal eroticism (2014), as well as Guberman’s Julia Kristeva interviews (1992). I will also refer to Revolution in poetics (1974/1984), Desire in language: A semiotic approach to literature and art (1980), and Black sun: Depression and melancholia (1989). Kristeva’s theory will then be compared to Jung’s theory of individuation and agent provocateur, the Shadow, focusing on his key texts of Jung: Modern man in search of a soul (1933), The collected works: Volume seven, two essays on analytical psychology (1953/1970), and The archetypes and the collective unconscious (1959). In this way, I hope the potential for a feminine subjectivity will be revealed. The second section will review the selected examples of Elsa Morante’s House of liars (1951) and Elena Ferrante’s Troubling love (2006/2015) and their exploration of how women’s shame and guilt, in the context of the motherdaughter dyad, work on their protagonists’ subjectivity. By focusing on the recent Italian literary phenomenon, author Ferrante, this second section predominantly relies on a small pool of Italian scholars who have translated their commentary into English (Giorgio, 2002; Benedetti, 2007; Sambuco, 2012; Milkova, 2013). Consequently, Australian and other international and translated media supplement this section. The third section will show how Kristeva’s theories of the maternal and the abject have informed my novella and my protagonist’s individuation/subject-in-process journey. This section will also refer to my creative writing practice and Practice-Led Research.

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