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"See Ourselves as Others See Us": Joyce's Look at the Eye of the Other

Kimberly J. Devlin
PMLA
Vol. 104, No. 5 (Oct., 1989), pp. 882-893
DOI: 10.2307/462579
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/462579
Page Count: 12
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"See Ourselves as Others See Us": Joyce's Look at the Eye of the Other
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Abstract

Joyce's early and middle fictions often examine the pivotal role the gaze of the other plays within human consciousness. The self's enthrallment to the other's eye is dramatized even more vividly in Joyce's final work, Finnegans Wake, where the dreaming subject conceives of himself pervasively as object, scrutinized by a gaze alternately critical and flattering. The power of the gaze to decenter and destabilize the self expresses itself formally in the Wake's odd, controversial narrative structure: the dream text unravels largely from the vantage point of the internalized gaze, its innovative form constituting an attempt to represent the other within the self-a presence often elided by the waking mind. Joyce's final oeuvre inscribes the dream return of a psychic obsession that surfaces initially in his earlier explorations of the self-conscious subject. This essay treats Finnegans Wake as an uncanny text, strange and yet familiar.

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