Abjection () The act of bringing down or humbling.
Essai sur l'abjection) is a 1980 book by Julia Kristeva
In this, we find possibly the most direct aspect of the abject as a literary device rather than a trajectory or catalyst for literary furtherance: where in pre-modern times literature would seek the supplication of tragedy via God, via prayer, via faith, we find that the modern writer is divorced from religion. As Kristeva says, that option is forfeited—even if faith is central in the story, even if the author actually speaks with conviction of the power of God, there is still the modern angle of society and social ills being more real, more present, than the relationship of the protagonist with God. It is not a question of God being present, being extant, or not: it is a question of death and how society deals with death. When even the most pitiful death occurs in a pre-modern text, unless it is of someone evil and unredeemed, the death is predicated on the repair of supplication, of consecration, of burial even in holy ground. I mentioned in the introduction to this essay how I like to read vampire stories—supposedly true ones—from the Balkans: often, in historical, native, vampire lore from this region the curse of the vampire is itself broken and the undead goes back to being normal, nice, docile, dead once the corpse is buried in a proper manner in a consecrated churchyard. In much of modern literature, there is no curse but neither is there consecration. Both are removed. In any case, the abject is localized in the horror of what has happened: a murder, an unexplained death, a body thrown out without proper burial. These are all things that understandably repulse us and likewise horrify us in their ability to occur in the first place.
Powers of horror an essay on abjection - Expert and …
Kristeva further remarks that abjection “becomes a substitute for the role formerly played by the sacred, at the limits of social and subjective identity. But we are dealing here with a sublimation without consecration. Forfeited.”