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Title: The position of the child in Irish literature
Author: Mooney, Mick
Awarding Body: University of Glasgow
Current Institution: University of Glasgow
Date of Award: 2007
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The thesis is fundamentally an interrogation of what is called the 'position of the child' vis-à-vis the 'position of the father'. The concept of the child as defined by age, knowledge, experience, or innocence is dismissed. The concept of position is drawn from Lacan's Schema L and Schema R which map out relations between the registers of the Symbolic, Imaginary and Real. Schema L is used to define the position of the child, or the subject who is both defined and excluded from a relation, and also what is called the position-as-child in a father-occluded Imaginary, produced from a culture with phallic jouissance as its dominant mode of pleasure and pain. The logic of such a culture is of the phallic exception. Schema R is skewed in Figure 3 to sketch a model of 'phallic mobility' and 'feminine mobility' between the father and child positions, as well as a Law of the Father and a Law of Desire. Foucault's analysis of Western sexuality from the eighteenth century onwards is proffered as the historical basis for the Law of the Father, when the parent-child relation becomes preponderant as the socialisation process. Around this period, literature develops a notably half-articulated (Imaginary) relation between writer and reader in Sentimental and Romantic discourse, and the position-as- child becomes a staple of aesthetic as well as regulatory, political interest. The military and structural violence of colonialism forcibly imposes an English 'position-as-child' on a native populace. The colonial ideology comprising a half-articulated, nostalgic, analeptic and Imaginary framing of both native culture and the child is considered a means for overdetermining a proleptic path the native and child then must follow towards a colonial and patriarchal position of the father. The glaring (phallic) exception to half-articulation is Romantic Hamlet. Dispossessed of land and title, incredibly articulate yet politically inept, Hamlet falls every time in Act 5 just like MacPherson's ideal for the Celt in Ossian (1765). How the reception of Hamlet in Romanticism peculiarly ignores the question of land, and how Hamlet invites a neighbouring, Nordic nation to establish a government is, at a period of colonial expansion, eminently gratuitous. Hamlet is the idealised position-as-child in a historically situated, colonial-inspired, father-occluded Imaginary. The main body of the thesis then proceeds by chapters on authors and the voices of characters reaching for a healing in a father-occluded Imaginary.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral