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Mirrored Disjunctions: On a Deleuzo-Joycean Theory of the Image


Critical interpretations of Joyce's discourse on the image have, for the best part, fallen into two categories: idealist or psychoanalytic interpretations of the Joycean imaginary on the one hand, and, on the other, materialist readings often informed by techno-scientific concerns. Different as they are, both these critical paradigms regard the image as a space of dialectical mediation: a means, technical or transcendental, by which an object is given to perception (or a narcissistic subject to self-recognition). This article offers a new point of entry to the issue by recasting Joyce's discourse on the image in a Deleuzian light. In Deleuze, the image is described as an entity existing between the material and the ideal spheres, but in no way functioning as a synthesis of the two. My contention is that through a Deleuzian reading of the discourse on images mobilized in Joyce's fiction—from Dubliners to Finnegans Wake—it is possible to think of the image not as a medium of representation, but as an originary element of being and reality in its own right.