2012 Student Research Conference:
25th Annual Student Research Conference

Ghosts & Benedictions: James Joyce's The Dead
Nathan J. Sandbothe
Dr. Hena Ahmad, Faculty Mentor

In his Two Words for Joyce, Jacques Derrida writes "every time I write, and even in the most academic pieces of work, Joyce's ghost is always coming on board." This paper draws on Derrida's notion of ghosts and examines different hauntings inside the text of James Joyce's short story The Dead. I apply Derrida's ghost motif to several different levels of the text and study how it operates both narratively and textually. I show how Derrida's ghosts relate to what Hugh Kenner terms the "Uncle Charles Principle," a sort of textual haunting in which the narrator's voice is supplanted by his characters' idiom. I relate this principle to Derrida's term "(con)fusion," which suffuses Joyce's text, and in light of Derrida's concept of marginality, displaces the traditional hierarchy between narrator and character.

Keywords: james joyce, jacques derrida, hugh kenner, the dead, dubliners, literature, ghosts, deconstruction


Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 110-2
Location: VH 1320
Time: 8:15

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