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The Outsider

Julia Kristeva, Eva Hoffman

26/02/2007 2:15 pm
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‘Between man and citizen there is a scar: the foreigner’ Julia Kristeva

The idea of the ‘foreigner’ or ‘stranger’, provides a nexus for examining the dynamics and tensions of differing cultures in contact which has long been associated with the Jewish people. A foreigner inhabits spaces both inside and out, allowing a dual perspective and it is this prerogative of exile and displacement which is both enlightening and alienating. Both Julia Kristeva and Eva Hoffman have explored the role of a foreigner or stranger within society and also within the individual.

What kind of additional perspective does displacement afford the individual? How are we strangers to ourselves? Is the Jew an eternal foreigner? And can foreigners ever be happy?

In association with the London Review of Books

Julia Kristeva

Since arriving in Paris in 1966 as a doctoral fellow, Bulgarian-born Julia Kristeva has become a dominant figure in contemporary theory, as well as one of the world\'s most respected and rigorous intellectuals. She is a psychoanalyst and Professor of Linguistics at the University of Paris and the author of many acclaimed books including Time and Sense, Strangers to Ourselves, The Sense and Non-Sense of Revolt, and New Maladies of the Soul and her latest, a novel, Murder in Byzantium.

Eva Hoffman


Eva Hoffman grew up in Cracow, Poland and studied music at the Cracow Music Conservatory before emigrating in her teens to Canada and the United States, and eventually settling in Great Britain. After receiving her Ph. D. in literature from Harvard University, she worked as senior editor and cultural critic at The New York Times, and has taught at various British and American universities. Her books, which have been widely translated, include Lost in Translation, Exit Into History, After Such Knowledge and Time, as well as two novels, The Secret and Illuminations (published as Appassionata in the US). She has written and presented numerous programmes for BBC Radio and conceived a series of programmes at the South Bank on Writing and Music. Her awards include the Guggenheim Fellowship, Whiting Award for Writing, an award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and Prix Italia for Radio, for work combining text and music. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, and is currently a Visiting Professor at the European Institute at UCL. She lives in London.