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Joyce's "Delicate Siamese" Equation: The Dialectic of Home in Ulysses
Jules David Law
Vol. 102, No. 2 (Mar., 1987), pp. 197-205
Published by: Modern Language Association
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/462548
Page Count: 9
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For Joyce's Stephen Dedalus, the word home is itself both "familiar" and "foreign," a paradox that confronts him with questions of both political and linguistic identity. Stephen's solution is to idealize the notions of exile and exteriority, but Joyce recognizes that this attempt to domesticate the experience of cultural alienation is a project wed to figurative language and one that may well end up reinscribing the very oppositions it intends to bring under its control. Nowhere is this dilemma more clear or more urgent than in the "Nestor" episode of Ulysses, Joyce's most fully articulated confrontation between interiority and exteriority, patriotism and exile. What makes the confrontation truly dialectical is not simply the figurative reconciliation or balancing of Manichean oppositions but rather the referral of the conflict to a historically occluded political subtext, whose very enigma points forward to tensions as yet untranscended in our own contemporary culture.
PMLA © 1987 Modern Language Association