Engendered Trope in Joyce's Dubliners

Engendered Trope in Joyce's Dubliners

Engendered Trope in Joyce's Dubliners

Engendered Trope in Joyce's Dubliners

Synopsis

Earl G. Ingersoll convincingly argues that his study is a "return to Lacan", just as Lacan himself believed his own work to be a "return to Freud". In this succinct and accessible study of trope and gender in Dubliners, Ingersoll follows Lacan's example by returning to explore more fully the usefulness of the earlier Lacanian insights stressing the importance of language. Returning to the semiotic - as opposed to the more traditional psychoanalyticLacan, Ingersoll opts for the Lacan who follows Roman Jakobson back to early Freud texts in which Freud happened upon the major structuring principles of similarity and displacement. Jakobson interprets these principles as metaphor and metonymy; Lacan employs these two tropes as the means of representing transformation and desire. Thus, psychic functions meet literary texts in the space of linguistic representation through the signifier: metaphor is a signifier for a repressed signified, while metonymy is a signifier that displaces another.

Excerpt

Over the past four decades, Joyce criticism has grown steadily into what some might consider another "multinational," based in the United States. Joyce himself would certainly be amused, since he once had a famous laugh at the expense of the academic world, quipping that he intended to keep the professors busy for one hundred years with Ulysses alone. Frequently, new schools of critical theory seem to have followed Joyce's program for professors, focusing on what have been thought the more difficult parts of Joyce's production, Ulysses and Finnegans Wake, and then moving "backward" through A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man to Dubliners. Poststructuralist readings have been no exception.

AsGeert Lernout in The French Joyce indicates, applications to Joyce's work of what David Lodge has called the nouvelle critique have been "authorized" by the two men most central to poststructuralist theory, Jacques Derrida and Jacques Lacan. Derrida appeared at the 1984 Joyce Symposium in Frankfurt; the "Ulysses Gramophone" that took him two hours to read was later published, along with "Two Words for Joyce." Lacan read a paper at the 1975 Joyce Symposium in Paris, later published as Joyce le symptome, and devoted several of his seminars to Joyce. Bernard Benstock, the editor of the Frankfurt conference volume, has said, "Of all the fierce winds of controversy surrounding Joyce the most volatile remains that of the impact of the theories of Jacques Lacan" (Augmented Ninth 16). That impact has been clearly demonstrated in numerous Lacanian readings of Joyce texts and in the Fall 1991 issue of the James Joyce Quarterly called "Joyce Between Genders: Lacanian Views."

Book-length studies in the past two decades have already begun to offer Lacanian readings of Joyce's work after Dubliners or of his . . .

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