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Joyce's Allmaziful PlurabilitiesPolyvocal Explorations of Finnegans Wake$
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Kimberly J. Devlin and Christine Smedley

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780813061542

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813061542.001.0001

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Joyce’s Countergospel in II.4

Joyce’s Countergospel in II.4

Chapter:
(p.201) 12 Joyce’s Countergospel in II.4
Source:
Joyce's Allmaziful Plurabilities
Author(s):

David Spurr

Publisher:
University Press of Florida
DOI:10.5744/florida/9780813061542.003.0013

David Spurr’s analysis of II.4 focuses on the “joysis crisis” (395.32) at its center—the moment when Tristan French kisses Isolde. The kiss evokes others in the fictions of Joyce and those of his predecessors, Richard Wagner and Dion Boucicault. The presentation of it in the Wake foregrounds the double function of the tongue as sexual organ and organ of speech, as desire and signification are united. The amorous encounter is given the magnitude of a religious epiphany, bringing together—but without prioritizing—body and spirit, flesh and word. The jouissance of the kiss signals both liberation from the logos of the law and a new relation to language. Joyce’s mixing of the sacred and the profane produces a heretical but celebratory “countergospel,” in his ongoing recasting of the traditional New Testament Gospel throughout II.4.

Keywords:   Tristan and Isolde, Richard Wagner, Dion Boucicault, kiss, jouissance

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