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James Joyce and the Problem of Psychoanalysis
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  • Page extent: 246 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.55 kg

Library of Congress

  • Dewey number: 823.912
  • Dewey version: 22
  • LC Classification: PR6019.O9 Z8285 2004
  • LC Subject headings:
    • Joyce, James,--1882-1941--Criticism and interpretation
    • Psychological fiction, English--History and criticism--Theory, etc
    • Lacan, Jacques,--1901-
    • Psychoanalysis and literature--Ireland
    • Psychoanalysis in literature

Library of Congress Record


 (ISBN-13: 9780521835909 | ISBN-10: 0521835909)

From its very beginning, psychoanalysis sought to incorporate the aesthetic into its domain. Despite Joyce's deliberate attempt in his writing to resist this powerful hermeneutic, his work has been confronted by a long tradition of psychoanalytic readings. Luke Thurston argues that this very antagonism holds the key to how psychoanalytic thinking can still open up new avenues in Joycean criticism and literary theory. In particular, Thurston shows that Jacques Lacan's response to Joyce goes beyond the 'application' of theory: rather than diagnosing Joyce's writing or claiming to have deciphered its riddles, Lacan seeks to understand how it can entail an unreadable signature, a unique act of social transgression that defies translation into discourse. Thurston imaginatively builds on Lacan's work to illuminate Joyce's place in a wide-ranging literary genealogy that includes Shakespeare, Hogg, Stevenson and Wilde. This study should be essential reading for all students of Joyce, literary theory and psychoanalysis.

• A study which combines literary criticism with investigation of psychoanalytic readings of texts • A detailed investigation of French psychoanalytic theorist Jacques Lacan's response to and use of Joyce's works • Examines both Joyce's writing and Lacan's response to it in the light of psychoanalytic interests within contemporary literary criticism and theory


Prologue: Groundhog Day; Part I. On Traduction: 1. An encounter; 2. Freud's mousetrap; 3. The pleasures of mistranslation; Part II. Unspeakable Joyce: 4. How am I to sign myself?; 5. Egomen and women; 6. God's real name; Conclusion: mememormee.


Review of the hardback: '… ingenious arguments …' The Times Literary Supplement

Review of the hardback: 'Thurston is able to demonstrate that it is the work of the late Lacan that finally offers us a way out of the hermeneutic trap of trying to solve the riddles of the text. … a thoroughly researched, well informed and well written account of the late Lacan's encounter with Joyce - a phase in the history of psychoanalysis and its engagement with literature which is not known enough in the Anglo-American Academy because the primary texts are largely untranslated, and, as this study convincingly argues, may well be untranslatable.' Anglia

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