Reading Derrida Reading Joyce (Florida James Joyce)
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The complex and tantalizing relationship between the two men has intrigued Joyceans and Derrideans alike. Alan Roughley here offers remarkable readings of both Joyce and Derrida texts, in particular of Finnegans Wake and Glas. Exploring how Joyce's ghost haunts many of Derrida's major writings, Roughley concentrates on two areas: how Derrida reads Joyce and sees his work as deconstructive and how English-speaking Joyceans have made use of Derrida's theories.
Long overdue, this is the first major comprehensive study of the relationship between Joyce and Derrida. It demonstrates specific ways in which the major works of one of the century’s most important literary writers are some of the most powerful forces in the work of the century’s most complex and controversial theorist. It will appeal to Joyceans of all persuasions, including anti-Derrideans, and to anyone with an interest in philosophy and contemporary theory.
In comparing the projects of the two writers, Derrida's critique of the sort of historical and empirical proof demanded by critics such as Lernout is that the "pure historicity" sought by both Husserl and Joyce cannot be produced by the complicity of an empiricism and historicism that ignores the ways in which they themselves represent history: "no de facto historical totality will yield [historicity] of itself" (Derrida 1989:103).
The double structure produced in the distance between the assertion of metaphysical premises and propositions and the ironic detachment from them is a "trait, or rather retrait" that "would far exceed the periodizations of 'literary history' . . . from Homer to Joyce, before Homer and after Joyce" (Derrida 1992b:50). It is the effects of such double structures (assertions and ironic detachment) or traits as they operate between Socrates and Plato, Socrates and Freud, Freud and Joyce, and
"With a whole family of James, Jacques, Giacomo, the Giacomo Joyce scans all the Envois which are sealed, near the end, by the Envoy of G.C." (Derrida 1984a:151). Derrida follows this with a recitation of the passages from Giacomo Joyce we have just examined. In an interview with Derek Attridge examined in the next chapter, Derrida explains how he sees writing involved in another version of the double structure. As a writer
dream] in it'' and "shar[ing] it in belonging to the dream of Joyce, in taking a part in it . . . walking around in his space." Joyce has a universal impact on the literary institution and a constitutional effect on his readers: "Aren't we, today," Derrida asks, "people or characters in part constituted (as readers, writers, critics, teachers) in
transcendental form. The difficulty of apprehending the operations of archewriting is the difficulty of apprehending the operations of the trace: it only appears in the process of its own disappearing. One way of engaging with the operations of archewriting in Joyce's texts is to attend to the ways in which his writing obliterates the proper name in a process of