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BOOK REVIEWS Conrad's writing as it does, it challenges old assumptions and engages current controversies in revelatory and rich close readings. ANDREA WHITE California State University at DomÃ-nguez Hills Joyce & the Early Freudians Jean Kimball. Joyce and the Early Freudians: A Synchronic Dialogue of Texts. Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2003. xviii + 240 pp. $55.00 JOYCE and the Early Freudians demonstrates Jean Kimball's long engagement with her material. Kimball carefully reviews previous scholarship on Joyce and psychoanalysis, and she creates the kind of scholarly dialogue that can only come from years of thoughtful analysis. The modesty and care of the book are striking, especially since many recent critical books feel rushed, and are less like a book than a series of related essays. Joyce and the Early Freudians holds together well as a single narrative. Its claims are limited. Rather than undertaking psychoanalytic readings of Joyce's works, Kimball seeks to situate it in dialogue with Freud's and his followers between 1900-1922 as an influential cultural phenomena in the air at the time Joyce was writing (although, she is careful to note, not the only influence). She rejects the primary assumption of Ellmann's biography that there is any direct connection between Joyce and psychoanalysis. She catalogues and discusses the many works of psychoanalysis that were in Joyce's library, and argues that they were a key intertext of his work, especially Ulysses (she also analyzes briefly A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, focusing on the opening childhood "overture"). She proposes "to examine selectively Joyce's interaction —in most cases not provable, but highly probable and certainly not impossible—with this early psychoanalytic literature and evidence of its incorporation into the text of Ulysses." She depends most on biographical details, and therefore she is careful not to claim too much, as evidenced by her qualified tone. Kimball does not argue that Joyce acquired his ideas about psychology from Freud. She rejects the idea that Joyce could be influenced in any traditional sense: "By the time Joyce wrote Ulysses, he was all but immune to influence as we commonly understand it, although he was always almost preternaturally aware of analogous relationships and astonishingly sensitive to confirmation, in anything he read, of what he himself had thought or felt or experienced—or read somewhere else. 474 ELT 47 : 4 2004 What did not relate he ignored." In fact, sometimes Kimball goes out of her way to point out that Joyce's ideas on psychology were still, indeed, original. In that way, Joyce and the Early Freudians exhibits the unfortunate tendency in some Joyce scholarship of making the genius of Joyce its primary subject. She writes, "some psychoanalytic hypotheses that appear to find an echo in Ulysses duplicate insights of classical writers, but are fitted into a different frame. When such perceptions enter Joyce's fiction, it is my assumption that they carry both contexts with them, but it is also my assumption that, in some way, such insights were Joyce's insights first, that they buttress his own thinking." It seems at times like Kimball is apologizing for or hedging on an argument that seems obvious: "It is certainly reasonable to assume that, having bought these early works, Joyce read them and gleaned from them details he could use in his autobiographical portrait of the twentieth-century artist ." And she repeatedly states that the connections she posits cannot ultimately be proven. Kimball seems to be assuming that some in her audience might believe that to acknowledge that Joyce had such works in his orbit is to question his greatness Having said that, though, Kimball does good work here in analyzing Joyce's reading habits and library habits in Trieste and Zurich. She argues persuasively that the form of the case study "harmonized" with Joyce's strong historical and autobiographical impulses. Her reading of the "Scylla and Charybdis" episode from Ulysses as a synthesis of psychoanalysis and a range of other texts, including Shakespeare, is especially useful. Unfortunately, Kimball does not reflect at all on the nature of intertextual analysis or her methodology, despite the fact that she describes her book as a textual study...


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pp. 474-475
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Will Be Archived 2021
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