In this article, certain specific meanings that accrued to Lucia Joyce while her father wrote “Work in Progress” are explored. These meanings developed and intensified during her mental breakdown and found their way into Joyce’s text from 1931 onwards. They include female violence and clairvoyancy. A section about “Electra” investigates the former, especially the kind based in animosity between a daughter and a mother, and extends to a discussion about female character development across Joyce’s work. A section about “lightning” looks at second-sightedness and romantic associations with lightning—as a sudden revelation or exposure. A genetic method is used that acknowledges the role of contingency in the composition and the conceptualization of “Work in Progress” and suggests that a secondary tragic linear plot about Lucia is scored across the primary circular plot about human history.


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pp. 335-357
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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