Legal Fiction or Pulp Fiction in “Lestrygonians”

Karen R. Lawrence

in Who's Afraid of James Joyce?

Published by University Press of Florida

Published in print June 2010 | ISBN: 9780813034775
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780813038612 | DOI:
Legal Fiction or Pulp Fiction in “Lestrygonians”

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This chapter focuses on orality and its relation to the psychoanalytic concept of identification. Drawing on Julia Kristeva's influential work on Joyce's use of the symbol of the Eucharist, the chapter juxtaposes Bloom's repulsion from the cannibalistic male-eating rituals he witnesses in the Burton Restaurant with the erotic memory of communion with Molly as they exchanged the seedcake on Howth Hill. Moments of carnivorous and vegetarian assimilation, present and remembered, constitute Bloom's consciousness. The initial description gives substance to Bloom's interiority. It mimes for us the fullness of his inner life, a fullness and richness which the novel will increase in its pages. Although he subsequently does leave home to purchase a pork kidney at Dlugacz's, and is seen “chewing with discernment the toothsome pliant meat,” the initial culinary description pertains to his thoughts only.

Keywords: psychoanalytic concept; Julia Kristeva; Joyce; Eucharist; Bloom

Chapter.  5626 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (20th Century onwards)

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