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

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This article analyses the role of troubadour lyric in the development of 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 troubadour lyric, the paper aims, firstly, to expand the textual corpus beyond the lyrics analysed in her works in order, secondly, to outline various ways in which these lyrics might speak back to her. I argue that the works of poets neglected by Kristeva and Lacan, like Jaufre Rudel and Raimbaut de Vaquieras, might offer certain compromises between the two theorists on the subject of the semiotic; that an encounter between Kristeva and Bernart de Ventadorn could provide new perspectives on the objet a; and that the lyrics of the trobairitz suggest new possibilities for the abject. Taking the Old Occitan love lyric corpus in its heterogeneous entirety, we might conclude that the theoretical tensions outlined between Kristeva and Lacan are already articulated in the very medieval texts that the two seek to analyse.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)122-137
Early online date28 Sept 2018
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 28 Sept 2018


  • Kristeva
  • Psychoanalysis
  • Lacan
  • Troubadour
  • Occitan
  • Jaufre Rudel
  • Trobairitz
  • Bernart de Ventadorn
  • Feminism


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