Alice Jardine, At the Risk of Thinking: An Intellectual Biography of Julia Kristeva – Bloomsbury, January 2020
At the Risk of Thinking is the first biography of Julia Kristeva–one of the most celebrated intellectuals in the world. Her some fifty books, translated across the globe, address topics such as the history of love, questions surrounding female genius, new forms of revolt, and the importance of understanding the history and influence of religion. She is the author of six novels and her prize-winning contributions have informed the fields of philosophy, literary criticism, critical theory, psychoanalysis, and feminism, among others.
Alice Jardine’s biography brings Kristeva’s work to a broader readership by connecting Kristeva’s personal journey–from her childhood in Communist Bulgaria to her adult life as an international public intellectual based in Paris–with the history of her ideas. This itinerary has recently taken on new meaning as Kristeva has been accused of spying for the Bulgarian Secret Services in the early 1970s–a totally unanticipated slap in the face by history. Informed in part by extensive interviews with Kristeva herself, this telling of a remarkable woman’s life story also clearly analyzes the complexities of Kristeva’s writing, emphasizing her call for an urgent revival of bold interdisciplinary thinking in order to understand–and to act–in today’s world.