The Materialization of Kristeva’s Chora Into Carol Ann Duffy’s “The Grammar of Light”

Jingjing FU


This paper aims at approaching Carol Ann Duffy’s poem, “The Grammar of Light”, from the theoretical perspective of Julia Kristeva’s chora. Both Duffy and Kristeva are concerned with language and its signifying process in relation to sensory experience. In writing this poem, Duffy deliberately employs the terms of linguistics and visual experience to construct her imaginary grammar of light, while Kristeva’s major proposition, the semiotic and the symbolic, encourages the transgression of the formal signifying system of language and connects it to the realm of the psycho-somatic. As a result, by proposing “The Grammar of Light” serves as a framework to materialize Kristevan chora, this paper sets out to analyze how the poem reworks the semiotic mode of signification.


Carol Ann Duffy; “The Grammar of Light” Julia Kristeva; The semiotic; The symbolic

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