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BOOK REVIEWS George Berkeley, whose idealism provides us with an equally radical form of the subjectivity that Gillespie normally connects to such tenets of modern physics as Schrödinger's cat and Heisenberg's uncertainty principle. There are many interesting insights in this study, but the main effect of reading The Aesthetics of Chaos has been to refocus my attention on the fundamental aims of literary reading and interpretation. In arguing for an interpretive strategy that can accommodate, as much as possible, the range of meanings that emerge from our reading, Gillespie asks only that we do justice to the literary works that enrich our lives by allowing them, in our written interpretations, something like the satisfying fullness and complexity that we find when we first read them. The reminder is both important and timely. PATRICK A. MCCARTHY __________________ University of Miami Joyce & Psychoanalysis Luke Thurston. James Joyce and the Problem of Psychoanalysis. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2004. xii + 232 pp. $75.00 READERS uncomfortable with pervasive Lacanian discourse and with theoretical intensity may find parts of this book tricky to negotiate . For example, a fairly typical theoretical passage asserts that "if a fantasy is rendered 'liveable' only by its obedience of the 'Law of desire' (E:S 324) that stipulates the non-coincidence of $ and a, what would a defiance of that law entail? Without the mediating function of the nom du père, the constitutive lack in subjectivity could not take effect; the two terms of the matheme would therefore fall together, stranding what was situated as the subject in an unspeakable (although not necessarily psychotic) real" (113). If non-Lacanian readers squint a little they can usually figure out what is being conveyed in such sentences. Some may nevertheless feel that the valid and sometimes intriguing points Thurston makes, about Shakespeare, Hogg, Stevenson, Wilde and Freud as well as about Joyce and Lacan, could have been more accessibly expressed if the Lacanian emphasis was less pronounced. Garry Leonard's Reading 'Dubliners' Again: A Lacanian Perspective , by comparison, deploys a Lacanian approach and (intermittently) a Lacanian vocabulary while remaining detached from the possible excesses of the method and consistently alert to alternative readings. It consequently succeeds in addressing any reader interested in Joyce, and those who prefer to skirt the passages of pure Lacanian discourse in Leonard's text can do so with relative impunity. Thurston's book, on 95 ELT 49 : 1 2006 the other hand, seems primarily directed to people who already think and speak as he does, requires consistent assent to his methodology, and occasionally indicates a degree of disdain towards dissenters from his approach. Having cited in quite positive terms a remark made by James Atherton in The Books at the Wake, discussing Joyce's differentiated treatment of demonic possession in male and female characters , he then attributes to the remark an "apparent lack of theoretical sophistication" (112). But Atherton wrote his book in the 1950s, a time when few critics did manifest or pursue theoretical sophistication in Thurston's sense, and in any case his remark has its own validity which such sophistication would not necessarily have enhanced. Part of the difficulty may be that Thurston's book began life as a thesis , and still bears a few too many traces ofthat phase in its existence. On numerous occasions a promised later treatment of something mentioned in passing will be foreshadowed by the phrase "as we shall see," a form of structural scaffolding perhaps acceptable in a thesis but better avoided in a book. After several occurrences, this phrase will more probably induce in the reader a sigh of recognition rather than any eager sense of anticipation. The book has been very diligently proofread at the level of detail: there are extremely few presentation errors apart from an inadvertent use of the adjective "Lacanian" where the name "Lacan" was intended (88), one use of "principle" instead of "principal " (130), one missing word (172), and the spelling of "Pilate" as "Pliate" (203). But the style might have been probed at a deeper level to remove occasional involution and redundant phrases of the "as we shall see" variety. In its austere tone, the text...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1559-2715
Print ISSN
0013-8339
Pages
pp. 95-99
Launched on MUSE
2010-05-21
Open Access
No
Archive Status
Will Be Archived 2021
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