May ’68 in France expressed a fundamental version of freedom: not freedom to succeed, but freedom to revolt. Political revolutions ultimately betray revolt because they cease to question themselves. Revolt, as I understand it—psychic revolt, analytic revolt, artistic revolt—refers to a permanent state of questioning, of transformations, an endless probing of appearances.
In this book, Julia Kristeva extends the definition of revolt beyond politics per se. Kristeva sees revolt as a state of permanent questioning and transformation, of change that characterizes psychic life and, in the best cases, art. For her, revolt is not simply about rejection and destruction—it is a necessary process of renewal and regeneration.
Julia Kristeva is a cultural theorist and psychoanalyst.