While a few studies have referred to Kristevan notions of the abject in approaches to Amélie Nothomb's oeuvre, this article proposes fuller exploration of the theory articulated in Pouvoirs de l'horreur in order to enrich our understanding of the Belgian writer's work, particularly her auto-fictions set in the Japan of her early childhood and young adulthood. In addition to illuminating key aspects of the narrator's evocation of pre-conscious life and the birth of desire, Kristeva's theory elucidates the narrator's mix of fascination and repulsion for particular images, her oral fantasies, the horror and seduction of the loss of self, and the ambiguity of the encounter with the cultural Other of Japan. Finally, this article uses Kristeva's analysis to suggest an explanation for the narrator's turn to writing and highlights the function of choice in her response to the abject.


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pp. 94-107
Launched on MUSE
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