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ELT 46 : 1 2003 I/Eye-Catching Joyce Kimberly J. Devlin. James Joyce's "Fraudstuff". Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2002. xv + 201 pp. $55.00 JOYCE SEEMS to have anticipated Lacan in recognizing the individual 's urge both to see what lies behind the veils concealing the identities of others and simultaneously to adorn one's own elusive "I" with psychic cloaks of many colors, fabrics, and styles. Either way, according to Devlin, the scopic drive inevitably involves some type of fraud, although the requisite deception may be either unconscious, self-directed, or both. Elaborating on Lacan's (interrelated) theories about the gaze and the screen, Devlin reveals Joyce's increasingly subtle, yet paradoxically "wild" treatment of the complicated relationships among identity formation, subjectivity, and desire. Devlin wisely begins by examining the Stephen of Stephen Hero, a perfect straw man for her arguments about the incoherence of identity. Viewing himself as an integrated, self-conscious original, the early Stephen pits himself against the Dublin mimic men and women whom he sees as enslaved to the conventions of church and state. As early as Portrait, however, Stephen has become decentered, and radically dependent on others and otherness to define himself. Devlin offers three reasons for this shift. First, Joyce had come to see the artist himself as fraudulent. Second, Joyce had reconsidered his early disdain for Irish nationalism. And, finally, he had embraced an ontology that recognized the thoroughgoing constructedness of the subject. Unlike Stephen Hero's self-sufficient protagonist, Portrait's Stephen can develop a sense of self only by identifying with familiar myths, historical figures, fictional heroes, and significant others. Paradoxically, Portrait's Stephen thus becomes more a nineteenth-century figure than his earlier version, as Joyce realizes and represents the ways in which present, internal aspects of subjectivity derive from past externalities. In representing Stephen's internalization of external authorities, Joyce exposes the machinations of the gaze, the regulatory agency that, Lacan insists, "the subject tries to adapt himself to." But the gaze also has the effect of "annihilating ... the I/Eye of the subject," making him feel preoccupied, so to speak, by indefinable otherness. From Portrait on, de-idealized, lacking, visually impaired selves take center stage in Joyce's fictions. The result of internalizing others' ways of being (under a relentless, prescriptive psychic gaze) is a subject who lacks authenticity 106 BOOK REVIEWS yet is supersaturated with cultural discourses. The subject who is aware of such self-overdetermination experiences a number of boundary crises, a consideration of which leads, in Devlin's second chapter, to castration anxiety. Devlin uses Joan Riviere's essay, "Womanliness as Masquerade," as a gloss on Lacan's "The Signification of the Phallus," emphasizing particularly Lacan's insistence on the phallus as symbolic signifier. Having thus prepared the ground for interpreting castration anxiety, phallic compensation, and gender fraud in Ulysses, Devlin moves into the text of "Cyclops," where Bloom is confronted by a band of heckling brothers intent on "having the phallus." The most hostile of the group, however, turns out to be the narrator, the Nameless One, who insists on seeing a lack of phallic power, not only in Bloom, but in everyone. His agenda, Devlin believes, is to establish himself as the gaze, "Joyce's hyperbolic parody of phallic penetrative vision." As such, he epitomizes the hostile other Bloom "unconsciously fears and relentlessly tries to trick." Devlin here compares the Nameless One's aggressive gaze to Molly Bloom's, but points out important differences between the two. While the Nameless One purposefully discovers fraud in others to support his own authenticity, Molly admits to being a performer; and, unlike the Nameless One, Molly recognizes other points of view. From the "extreme 'masculinity'" imposed in "Cyclops" Devlin moves to the "extreme 'femininity'" enforced in "Nausicaa," arguing that the juxtaposition and strategies of the two chapters "accurately reflect the ideological mandate for unambiguous gender." In effect, homosexuality is disallowed. Yet Joyce achieves the opposite of this manifest project, revealing the artifice of both masculinity and femininity and the fears that insistence on either-or gender division hides. In chapter three, Devlin continues her discussion of "Nausicaa," focusing on Gerty MacDowell's "performances...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1559-2715
Print ISSN
0013-8339
Pages
pp. 106-109
Launched on MUSE
2010-05-21
Open Access
No
Archive Status
Ceased Publication
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