Paul Valéry and the Voice of Desire

Kirsteen Anderson

Legenda (General Series)


1 December 2000  •  230pp

ISBN: 1-900755-40-8 (paperback)  •  RRP £75, $99, €85


For Valéry, 'voice' has a literal or physiological aspect but also refers to the imaginative capacity of consciousness. In this book, Kirsteen Anderson explores the power of voice as image and theme throughout Valéry's writings. She brings his pursuit of voice into dialogue with a range of contemporary approaches to the human subject. These include linguistics, the Kristevan semiotic and the interface between conscious and unconscious mental processes as characterized by Freud, Jung, Klein and Lacan. In this cogently argued study, Anderson shows how Valéry's restructuring of the self in the textual form of the serpent foreshadows central concerns of contemporary autobiographical theory. She highlights the tension between a dominant 'masculine' imaginary and the repressed 'feminine' dimension which underpins Valéry's oeuvre.

Kirsteen Anderson is Lecturer in French at Queen Mary, University of London. Her previous publications include studies of Barthes, Camus, Irigaray and Ponge.


  • ‘Anderson is right. The question of voice goes to the heart of Valéry's relationship with writing... One can learn a great deal from Anderson about this elusive figure of French letters, thanks, above all, to the careful attention she gives to the multiple voices of Valéry she invites us to hear.’ — Suzanne Guerlac, French Studies LVI.2, 2002, 260
  • ‘This accessible study will act as a bridge into the universe of one of the most original and understudied thinker-poets of the twentieth century.’ — unsigned notice, Forum for Modern Language Studies xxxix/1, 2003, 87

Bibliography entry:

Anderson, Kirsteen, Paul Valéry and the Voice of Desire (Cambridge: Legenda, 2000)

First footnote reference: 35 Kirsteen Anderson, Paul Valéry and the Voice of Desire (Cambridge: Legenda, 2000), p. 21.

Subsequent footnote reference: 37 Anderson, p. 47.

(To see how these citations were worked out, follow this link.)

Bibliography entry:

Anderson, Kirsteen. 2000. Paul Valéry and the Voice of Desire (Cambridge: Legenda)

Example citation: ‘A quotation occurring on page 21 of this work’ (Anderson 2000: 21).

Example footnote reference: 35 Anderson 2000: 21.

(To see how these citations were worked out, follow this link.)

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