Teresa, My Love

An Imagined Life of the Saint of Avila

Julia Kristeva. Translated by Lorna Scott Fox

Columbia University Press

Teresa, My Love

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Pub Date: November 2014

ISBN: 9780231149600

648 Pages

Format: Hardcover

List Price: $40.00£32.95

Pub Date: November 2014

ISBN: 9780231520461

648 Pages

Format: E-book

List Price: $39.99£32.95

Teresa, My Love

An Imagined Life of the Saint of Avila

Julia Kristeva. Translated by Lorna Scott Fox

Columbia University Press

Mixing fiction, history, psychoanalysis, and personal fantasy, Teresa, My Love turns a past world into a modern marvel, following Sylvia Leclercq, a French psychoanalyst, academic, and incurable insomniac, as she falls for the sixteenth-century Saint Teresa of Avila and becomes consumed with charting her life. Traveling to Spain, Leclercq, Julia Kristeva's probing alter ego, visits the sites and embodiments of the famous mystic and awakens to her own desire for faith, connection, and rebellion.

One of Kristeva's most passionate and transporting works, Teresa, My Love interchanges biography, autobiography, analysis, dramatic dialogue, musical scores, and images of paintings and sculpture to engage the reader in Leclercq's—and Kristeva's—journey. Born in 1515, Teresa of Avila outwitted the Spanish Inquisition and was a key reformer of the Carmelite Order. Her experience of ecstasy, which she intimately described in her writings, released her from her body and led to a complete realization of her consciousness, a state Kristeva explores in relation to present-day political failures, religious fundamentalism, and cultural malaise. Incorporating notes from her own psychoanalytic practice, as well as literary and philosophical references, Kristeva builds a fascinating dual diagnosis of contemporary society and the individual psyche while sharing unprecedented insights into her own character.
Teresa, My Love is written with force, drive, and a verbal agility that carries the reader off and turns the book into a page-turner. Verena Conley, Harvard University
Julia Kristeva's psychoanalytic investigation of love leads her to the extraordinary case of Teresa of Avila, and to the 'inoperable' rapport of desire and the need to believe. Kristeva remains faithful to psychoanalysis and to non-belief while offering this thoroughly engaging 'imagined life' of Saint Teresa. It is of the greatest pertinence in a world that seems to have revived the need to believe in aggressive forms. Peter Brooks, Princeton University
Clearly documents the undeniable literary talent of author Julia Kristeva... a compelling and entertaining read that lingers in the mind long after the novel itself is finished... an extraordinary literary accomplishment Midwest Book review
Abbreviations and Chronology
Part 1: The Nothingness of All Things
1. Present by Default
2. Mystical Seduction
3. Dreaming, Music, Ocean
4. Homo Viator
Part 2: Understanding Through Fiction
5. Prayer, Writing, Politics
6. How to Write Sensible Experience, or, of Water as the Fiction of Touch
7. The Imaginary of an Unfindable Sense Curled Into a God Findable in Me
Part 3: The Wanderer
8. Everything So Constrained Me
9. Her Lovesickness
10. The Ideal Father and the Host
Part 4: Extreme Letters, Extremes of Being
11. Bombs and Ramparts
12. "Cristo como hombre"
13. Image, Vision, and Rapture
14. "The soul isn't in possession of its senses, but it rejoices"
15. A Clinical Lucidity
16. The Minx and the Sage
17. Better to Hide...?
18. "... Or 'to do what lies within my power' "?
19. From Hell to Foundation
Part 5: From Ecstasy to Action
20. The Great Tide
21. Saint Joseph, the Virgin Mary, and His Majesty
22. The Maternal Vocation
23. Constituting Time
24. Tutti a cavallo
Part 6: Foundation–Persecution
25. The Mystic and the Jester
26. A Father Is Beaten to Death
27. A Runaway Girl
28. "Give me trials, Lord; give me persecutions"
29. "With the ears of the soul"
Part 7: Dialogues from Beyond the Grave
30. Act I. Her Women
31. Act II. Her Eliseus
32. Act III: Her "Little Seneca"
33. Act IV. The Analyst's Farewell
Part 8: Postscript
34. Letter to Denis Diderot on the Infinitesimal Subversion of a Nun
Notes
Sources

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Honorable Mention - Translation Prize in Fiction

About the Author

Julia Kristeva is professor of linguistics at the Université de Paris VII and author of many acclaimed works and novels, including The Severed Head: Capital Visions, Hatred and Forgiveness, This Incredible Need to Believe, Murder in Byzantium, Melanie Klein, Hannah Arendt, New Maladies of the Soul, Strangers to Ourselves, and Powers of Horror: An Essay on Abjection. She is the recipient of the Hannah Arendt Prize for Political Thought and the Holberg International Memorial Prize.

Lorna Scott Fox is a journalist, critic, translator, and editor currently based in London. She lived in Mexico and Spain from 1986 to 2004, where she was also active as an art critic. Her articles and reviews have appeared in several journals, including the London Review of Books and The Nation.