Strangers To Ourselves, Julia Kristeva's latest book to be translated into English, is concerned with the notion of the 'stranger' - the foreigner, outsider or alien - as well as with the idea of 'strangeness' within the self - a person's deep sense of being, as distinct from outside appearance and one's conscious idea of oneself. Kristeva examines estrangement from self, country and mother tongue.
Beginning with the personal and moving outward through the paradigm of literature and philosophy, Kristeva discusses the foreigner in Greek tragedy, in the Bible and in the literature of the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, the Enlightenment and in the twentieth century.
Kristeva includes a discussion of the legal status of foreigners to offer perspective on our own civilisation. Her insights into the problems of nationality, particularly with regard to France, are timely and relevant in an increasingly integrated world.
Stranger To Ourselves is the winner of the Prix Henri Hertz for 1989, awarded by the Chancellerie des Universites de Pris to the best book of the year by a faculty member.