Turning from Kristeva’s reading of Louis-Ferdinand Céline to her reading of James Joyce requires several adjustments, not all of them comfortable or easily approached, primarily because Joyce may be the most Kristevan writer Kristeva has never extensively written about. While her contribution to poststructural theories of intertextuality, readability, authorship, sexuality, and many others suggest potentially rich intersections with Joyce’s writing (an affinity she has explicitly asserted for decades), we cannot look to her for an authoritative or well-developed reading of his texts. The association of his name with hers has not been established by the sort of extended readings she has produced on Céline, Mallarmé in La Révolution du langage poétique, or more recently Proust in Time and Sense: Proust and the Experience of Literature (1996). Despite persistent references in Kristeva’s work and her featured presentation at the 1984 Frankfurt meeting of the International James Joyce Foundation — a conference including another featured reading by Derrida and panels on “Deconstructive Criticism of Joyce” and “James Joyce/Jacques Lacan” — the theoretical juxtaposition of James Joyce/Julia Kristeva is largely the story of a missed encounter, or that of an encounter yet to take place. By regularly invoking his name in her work, Kristeva gives the impression of a reading that exists without being offered, deferred, always not yet. It is as if, as she says of Céline, “[t]he enchantment will have to wait for some other time, always and forever” (Powers of Horror, p. 23).
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