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.
'... ingenious arguments ...'. The Times Literary Supplement '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