"The Semiotic Chora Ordering the Drives"
What is the chora? How is it manifested? (2169-70, a non-expressive totality formed by the drives, analogous to vocal or heiratic rhythm)
Where would you place the features associated with the "chora" in the Freudian or Lacanian terms? What shift of valuation does her scheme represent?
Why is the chora repetitive? (2171, effectuates discontinuties by temporarily articulating them and then starting over, again and again) Is this repetition similar to that posited by Freud?
How may the chora be ordered or shaped? (2171) How is this different from ordering by the "symbolic law" (Lacan)? (2172)
What is the effect of postulating a "semiotic" process or order?
Are its features generally benign? (2172-73, in addition to their creative traits, they "are on the path of destruction, aggressivity, and death") What does it mean to say that "the subject is both generated and negated" within the chora? (2173)
What are some sensory and potentially literary markers of changes within the semiotic processes? (2173, gesture, color, voice) How are metaphor and metonymy present within the chora?
Where are the processes of semiosis and pre-linguistic formations especially present? (2174)
What function does syntax serve in this process? (2174) What are consequences of Kristeva's focus on "the text" as the locus of distinctions between the semiotic and the symbolic?
"The Thetic: Rupture and/or Boundary"
What is the "thetic" phase, and what effects does it have? (2175) What processes create it? (2176, "deepest structure of the possiblity of enunciation") What for her may be the importance of such a distinction?
What does it mean to say that enunciation is thetic?
"Genotext and Phenotext"
What is the "genotext" and what are its properties? (2176-77, a process) Is it inherently linguistic? (a process; includes both semiotic and symbolic processes) What relation does it bear to language? (2177, uses phonomatic devices such as rhyme and musical devices such as rhythm)
What relation does the "phenotext" it bear to the genotext? (2177, language which communicates; the signifying process includes both) What rules does it obey? What example does she give to illustrate the difference (spoken vs. written Chinese)
What may block the full operation of the creation of genotext and phenotext, and how can we trace these omissions? (2178, sociopolitical constraints)
What function may these terms serve, in psychology or criticism?
What kind of literature is especially to be admired, according to her theories? (literature of the avant garde, in general apolitical; admired examples are Joyce and Mallarme, 2178)
Would Georgy Lukacs have agreed with her definitions of revolutionary literature?
During what periods are such forms of literature likely to occur? (during revolutionary periods) Is there any paradox to the claim that the best literature is the apolitical literature of revolutionary periods?
In addition to the examples she mentions, can you think of other forms of writing which may fit her notion of the semiotic?
What does Kristeva believe are inherent qualities of this semiotic language? How can it form a corrective to the symbolic order? (2178)
Does she believe that political implications follow from her descriptions of the phenotext and genotext? To what extent are literary texts generally social or political in orientation? (2178)
What categories of discourse do she and Lacan respectively identify? (2178, Lacan: the hysteric, the academic, the master, and the analyst; Kristeva: narrative, meta-language, contemplation, and text-practice.) Are these categorizations useful?
Do you see any analogy between Kristeva's emphases and those of any other critics we have read?
Do you find parallels with Helene Cixous? Why may Kristeva have been of interest to modern feminists?
Page numbers are from the Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism, 2001.