James Joyce's extimate modernism in Ulysses: a Lacanian take on language, subjectivity and temporality

Korkmaz Karaman, F. Tuba
The high modernist struggle to represent the modern individual and their predicament finds its best form in the works of James Joyce, whose writing discloses a radical departure from and a challenge to Cartesian epistemology, and linearity as its keyword as well as realism as its literary reflection. Joyce’s break away from linearity is reflected both in the form and the content of his writing to such an extent that his narrative style acts out the subject matter of his works. I claim that the psychoanalytical theories of Jacques Lacan and his concept of extimité enable a thorough exploration of the Joycean subject in a nonlinear temporality and non-causal language. Ulysses is the impeccable embodiment of extimité not only due to its meticulous display of the extimate inter/intra-subjective relations, but also because its form is the extimate of its content. Extimité emerges as the defining characteristics of Joycean writing in its treatment of subjectivity, language and temporality, and it becomes possible to decipher the ways by which Joyce’s reconfiguration of reality is reflected in his use of content and form in their extimate relation. Therefore, this dissertation argues that reading Joyce’s Ulysses through the Lacanian concept of extimité, along with its relation to sinthome, objet a and desire/lack as exemplified in the topological images containing Möbian relations, unifies the fragmentary elements in the novel on a new hermeneutical ground, not by assigning semantic dimensions to these fragments but by casting a new hermeneutics over the extimate relationality between them.


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Citation Formats
F. T. Korkmaz Karaman, “James Joyce’s extimate modernism in Ulysses: a Lacanian take on language, subjectivity and temporality,” Ph.D. - Doctoral Program, Middle East Technical University, 2022.