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Title: Writing the symptom : Lacan's Joycean knot
Author: Thurston, Luke
Awarding Body: University of Kent at Canterbury
Current Institution: University of Kent
Date of Award: 1997
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The thesis explores the encounter between psychoanalysis and literature in Lacan's reading of Joyce, and the new possibilities it opens for literary theory. In introduction, it considers how the publipation of Lacan's work in English has obscured these possibilities, and contributed to certain misunderstandings of Lacan (for instance, around the term 'writing' as invoked by some Joycean critics). Part I sets out the question of the aesthetic in Freud (his readings of Hamlet and Michaelangelo's statue Moses), and traces its transformation in Lacan's earlier work, up to the introduction of anamorphosis. Part II returns to Lacan's introduction of the term 'subject' to psychoanalysis, in a representational economy governed by a specifically 'phallocentric' politics (the privileging of the Name-of-the-Father as the safeguard against psychosis); and charts the 'subversion' of this economy by writing-firstly in its contestation by Jacques Derrida in the name of an ungovernable différance of writing, and subsequently (in the 1970s) in Lacan's own elaboration of a 'writing' which is increasingly associated with a 'real' incommensurable with the subject's truth. The final avatar of this real is Lacan's Borromean knot, which the thesis presents in order to show how it provides the basis for the reading of Joyce as sint home. Part III traces this reading, weaving it together with an account of the encounter between Joyce and psychoanalysis, both in the historical real and 'in theory' (chiefly, the encounter with Jung). The question of the author is reworked in terms of Lacan's notion of Joyce as a 'writing-being'; the 'death of the author' proposed by Roland Barthes is shown to elide precisely the central stake of Lacan's concept of writing: its non-metaphorical relation to the real. A translation of Lacan's seminar Le Sinthome (SXXIII, 1975-6) is given as an appendix to the thesis.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: PN Literature (General)