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Pauline O’Callaghan – Gabriel’s (O)Bo-Gender, Sinthome and the Courtly Love in The Dead


THE LETTER 35 (Autumn 2005) pages 84-92


The Dead, the final story in Joyce’s collection Dubliners, seems to illustrate many of Lacan’s later theories on the structure of the human psyche, the relationship between the sexes and the nature of love. According to Lacan, Joyce had a symptom due to the fact that his father was lacking. ‘…I thought that it was the key to what had happened to Joyce. That Joyce has a symptom which starts, which starts from the fact that his father was lacking (carent): radically lacking, he talks of nothing but that.’ Lacan claims that it was by wanting to make a name for himself that Joyce compensated for the paternal lack. Joyce’s writings, he says, were altogether essential for his ego and bear witness to the way in which Joyce remains rooted in his father even as he disowns him; and this was his symptom. ‘The father,’ he says in the same seminar, ‘is a symptom or a sinthome.’

Gabriel’s (O)Bo-Gender, Sinthome and the Courtly Love in The Dead

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