The judgement of Paris (and the choice of Kristeva): French theory and feminism this side of the Channel

Winter 1989

Bowlby takes the mythical decision by Paris of which of three goddesses was the most beautiful and turns it on its head in a contemporary context - asking why Paris, France, and French feminist theory in particular, is seen as so attractive to those across the channel. The typical British response, she argues, is fascination and respect, followed by a judgement that ‘They Go Too Far’. Bowlby looks at feminist responses to French theory, in particular that of Helen Cixous, Luce Irigary and Julia Kristeva (the three goddesses in her version of the story), and at how Kristeva tends to come out on top. Considering remarks made by Kristeva about American adulators of her work, Bowlby questions where we should place Kristeva and her ideas in the UK.

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