Figures of the Earth: Non-Human Phenomenology in Joyce

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My paper addresses the non-human turn in Joyce’s work from the perspective of genetic phenomenology. I begin by commenting on Joyce’s characterization of Molly Bloom as a non-human apparition. I unpack the notion of a non-human apparition in light of Joyce’s interest in the idea of the earth as a generative matrix, and I relate this idea to a genetic enquiry into problems of passive synthesis and the givenness of objects to sense perception. I then trace the elaboration of this theme in a cluster of rhetorical figures from the later novels—puns, clichés, and metonymic associations—that play on the senses of matrix, materiality, and the sex of the mother. The second part turns to representations of the earth in Finnegans Wake. Focusing on scenes of interment and becoming one with the landscape, descriptions of tombs as echo chambers, and of geological sites as giant human bodies, I read Joyce’s earth as the crowning expression of his experiments with a radical (pre- and post-human) phenomenology.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)71
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2017


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