James Joyce and the Difference of Language

James Joyce and the Difference of Language

James Joyce and the Difference of Language

James Joyce and the Difference of Language

Synopsis

This collection of essays is the first to comprehensively examine the critical diversity of Joyce's linguistic practices.

Excerpt

Joyce's attempts to harness the effects of language and, increasingly with time, languages, may arguably be selected as the feature of his writing which mostly conditioned its technical transformations. Indeed, it is hard for a newcomer to the ever-expanding world of Joyce studies to miss the several time-worn pronouncements made by Joyce himself or, vicariously, by friends and fictional alter egos about his felt need to transcend the barriers of expressiveness set by the systems of existing languages. Though such neat polemical slogans have too often been taken as programmatic, to the detriment of the elements of chance and fluidity that Joyce was increasingly willing to admit into the mechanics of literary composition, there is no denying that Joyce's oeuvre is best seen as constantly trying to inform an evolutive linguistic poetics—one which, I wish to contend, conditions, and therefore should remain central to, whatever interpretive avenue we choose to explore.

(R)evolutions

Although Joyce seemed to embark with each new work on a radically different experiment in literary language, it is more helpful to see the whole Joycean output as a discrete continuum in which apparently new departures in fact redeployed earlier narrative-linguistic habits in a different guise. Just as the structure of Joyce's various literary productions is more or less explicitly circular, the 'technical' evolutions that they each enacted within an ongoing creative process must equally be seen as revolutions, inthe . . .

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