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Marginal ModernityThe Aesthetics of Dependency from Kierkegaard to Joyce$
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Leonardo Lisi

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780823245321

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: May 2013

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823245321.001.0001

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Conflict and Mediation in James Joyce's “The Dead”

Conflict and Mediation in James Joyce's “The Dead”

(p.220) CHAPTER SEVEN Conflict and Mediation in James Joyce's “The Dead”
Marginal Modernity

Leonardo F. Lisi

Fordham University Press

This chapter uses the aesthetics of dependency to question the relation between the ending of Joyce's short story “The Dead” and the narrative of the Morkan sisters’ annual dance that precedes it. Reconsidering Roman Jakobson's famous distinction between metaphor and metonymy, the chapter argues that “The Dead” is organized by two separate narrative logics that also divide the text into an irreconcilable and ideologically charged opposition between past and present. This contradiction, in turn, is mediated not through a subsumption of its terms to a common identity but through the imposition of a distinct interpretative position that provides the conditions for a purposeful relation to the gap between sign and referent, concept and percept, that underlies modernist experience more generally. As in the other works examined in this book, this purposeful relation is enacted in the story through the constitutive function of a linear progression that negotiates the difference between its various terms.

Keywords:   James Joyce, “The Dead”, Roman Jakobson, Metaphor, Metonymy, Aesthetics of dependency

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