This essay measures the extent to which gift-giving fails in an economy of reciprocity. Reading James Joyce’s story “A Mother” in terms of Derrida’s notion of the gift as “absolute loss,” I consider the implications of an economy of loss for Joyce’s notion of sacrifice. Thus, I argue that the absence of an economy of sacrifice integrating “absolute loss” engenders the zero-sum game at the heart of Dubliners. I depart from other readings of the short story in the context of an economy based on the ideal of balanced reciprocity, since these versions deny the pure gratuity of gift in its connotations of sacrifice and loss. While such theories form a good starting point for analyzing the “moral economy” of Dubliners, they tend to overlook the fact that the only means to counteract the paralysis resulting from reciprocity is through the suspension of the economy of exchange.
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Jolas, Eugene. (ed
In this essay, Kazuo Ishiguro’s “Bewilderment Trilogy” is read as a series of Bildungsromane that test the limits of that genre. In these thematically unrelated novels, characters reach critical points in their lives when they are confronted with the ways in which their respective childhoods have shaped their grownup expectations and professional careers. In each, the protagonist has a successful career, whether as a musician (The Unconsoled), a detective (When We Were Orphans), or a carer (Never Let Me Go), but finds it difficult to overcome childhood trauma. Ishiguro’s treatment of childhood in these novels foregrounds the tension between individual subjectivity and the formal strictures and moral rigors of socialisation. In this respect, he comes close to modernist narratives of becoming, particularly James Joyce’s A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. Narrative strategies such as epiphanies and the control of distance and tropes such as boarding schools and journeys to foreign lands provide the analytical coordinates of my comparative study. While raising the customary questions of the Bildungsroman concerning socialisation and morality, I argue, Ishiguro manipulates narration very carefully in order to maintain a non-standard yet meaningful gap between his protagonists’ understanding of their lives and the reader’s.
Adaptation of Shakespeare’s plays has been part of his legacy from the beginning, as works by artists such as Nahum Tate, Henry Purcell, and John Dryden can attest. Shakespeare’s Sonnets, too, have been put to many uses over the years. They have been set to music, they have been quoted by politicians, they have been used as wedding vows, and they have appeared on greeting cards. For many, they represent the ultimate statement on love. In the four hundred years since Shakespeare’s death, they have found their way into a variety of media, including music, drama, books, television, and film. Whereas the plays have long been acknowledged as a rich source of inspiration—both serious and parodic—by artists and auteurs, ranging in kind from novelist James Joyce to dramatist Tom Stoppard to comedian Ben Elton, the poems have received less scrutiny in this regard. However, they represent a gold mine of untold riches, especially in terms of biography, which has yet to be sufficiently tapped. In this paper I take a look at the various uses the sonnets have been put to, primarily in books, television, and film, and come to some conclusions regarding their success in remediation.
A critical day in the life of Leonard Rose, an Edinburgh (Embra) criminal with undertones of Homer’s Odysseus and James Joyce’s Leopold Bloom. He thinks of his son, Stevie, whom he has not seen for fifteen years. After his morning ablutions he attends the cremation service of a notable lawyer, who had ties to local crime kingpin, Big Sam. Leonard is shaken by visions of the people he murdered for Big Sam. Stevie is waiting outside, accompanied by two detectives. Leonard is told that his ex-wife, Penny, is setting up Glasgow gang boss Boy ‘The Boiler’ Boyle. Leonard takes the police to his bar, the End of the World, aware that Big Sam’s number two, Nessie, is following. After knocking the policemen out and overpowering Nessie and his men, Leonard and Stevie go to Big Sam’s palatial home. When he understands that Penny intended to betray Big Sam as well, Leonard deserts his son and goes home, free of emotional and professional ties. He decides to leave Edinburgh and go inland, where no one knows him. But before that he will knock on his female neighbour’s door, hoping she will give his attentions a positive reception.
The paper examines the view and representation of space in Terézia Mora’s prose, primarily based on her novel entitled The Only Man on the Continent (Der einzige Mann auf dem Kontinent). In the universe of the novel the perception of space basically determines the individual’s space of action and highly influences his self-image as well as his attitude toward alterity. The city not only functions as space, but also forms a multicultural medium which becomes itself the subject of reflection and metanarration. In the novel the anthropological places and non-places, in Augé’s sense, change their function and thus the borders of referential, mental and virtual worlds are blurred, the notion of space itself is revaluated. The protagonist is the Ulysses of our days; his journeys and adventures mainly take place in his imagination. In the virtual world he loses his sense of reality, which can also be perceived in the narrative procedures of the text: the novel is in fact the protagonist’s quest for identity, his endless monologue, which is interrupted by the omniscient narrator’s comments from time to time. In the meantime the evident intertextual context also gets shape: the text maintains an ironical intertextual connection with James Joyce’s Ulysses.
Considered “the great witch of Brazilian literature”, acclaimed as the best woman-writer of Jewish origin and the perfect example of an exquisite reconfiguration of European modernist ideas, Clarice Lispector is a fascinating author. This is obvious since her first novel Perto do coração selvagem (Near to the Wild Heart, 1943), a book that was awarded several literary prizes in Brazil, even if afterwards the text would be often ignored within the critical studies dedicated to Lispector. Compared to Borges and Kafka and even to the narrative strategies used by Virginia Woolf (apparently influenced by James Joyce’s stream of consciousness, even if Lispector underlined that she had not read Joyce’s creation much later) her book entitled Agua viva (1973) represents a perfect example of a very special kind of aesthetic experiment, underlying the importance of art (painting or literature) in its protagonist’s life. Without being precisely an autobiography, this book is obviously influenced by the author’s life and work, also expressing Lispector’s ideas on two important issues of 20th century Latin American literature: exile and violence.