La orfandad

Julia Kristeva remarks somewhere (my wording may not be exact) that “in every bourgeois family group there is one child who has a soul.” And thus we meet them, in novel after novel: not only those who go literally motherless and fatherless, but also the children “with souls” who, for precisely that reason, will be persecuted by their foolish parents or parental stand-ins; ostracized, abused, made to submit to some hellish moral and spiritual reaming-out. Ruthlessly, imperviously, the realistic novels of the 18th and 19th centuries compulsively foreground this “orphaning” of the psyche; shape it into parable, and in so doing (I think) dramatize the painful birth of the modern subject—that radically deracinated being, vital yet alone, who goes undefined by kinship, caste, class, or visible membership in a group.


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Filed under Bibliography, Resources

2 responses to “La orfandad

  1. Hattie

    Could it be that people with souls are commoner than they used to be? I had to spend some time recently with an empty,soulless woman who was doing an impersonation of a caring human being. She literally gave me nightmares.What if once upon a time most b.people were like her?

  2. Z

    But why would more people have souls now than before?

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