A Jar, a Blouse, a Letter

Maria Dimitrova in the London Review of Books:

6244_Page_1In Laurent Binet’s novel The Seventh Function of Language (2015), Julia Kristeva is cast as a spy for Bulgarian intelligence, responsible for the death of Roland Barthes. Last Tuesday, the Bulgarian Dossier Committee, in charge of examining and declassifying communist-era State Security records, announced that Kristeva had been an agent of the First Chief Directorate.

On Thursday, Kristeva denied the allegations, describing them as ‘grotesque’ and ‘completely false’. On Friday, the Dossier Commission published her entire dossier – nearly 400 pages – on their website. Yesterday, Kristeva issued another statement, insisting she had ‘never belonged to any secret service’ and had not supported ‘a regime that I fled’. She criticised the ‘credence given to these files, without there being any questioning about who wrote them or why’:

This episode would be comical, and might even seem a bit romantic, were it not for the fact that it is all so false and that its uncritical repetition in the media is so frightening.

The dossier consists of a ‘Work’ file (documents attributed to Kristeva), a ‘Personal’ file (documents collected about Kristeva) and forms and cards registering her as a ‘secret collaborator’ (dated 14 November 1969) and an ‘agent’ (21 June 1971). A faint inscription in pencil next to her name on one of the forms says ‘Refugee’: a dangerous status for her to have, especially for her relatives. ‘The contact with our authorities should be kept alive,’ Kristeva’s father advises her in a letter. ‘People should feel that in you and your sister they have grateful, patriotic fellow citizens. Such a contact will make our life here easier.’

More here.