The Mental Construction of Reality in James Joyce

José Miguel Alonso-Giráldez
2020 Oceánide  
The purpose of this study is to analyse how James Joyce builds a large part of his narrative through a verbal tissue that is born from the cognitive experience, from the deep interaction between mind and environment. Beyond the psychoanalytic approach or Psychological realism, Joyce, particularly in Ulysses, displays this reading of reality in which a series of cognitive events form a narrative continuum. Reality appears before us through the perceptions of the protagonists, and that is the
more » ... and that is the reason why we only access an incomplete view of reality itself. Partiality or incompleteness is a fundamental characteristic of Ulysses. However, Joyce aspires to build up a coherent and solid universe. Joyce creates a continuous reality through the semantic flow, often chaotic and blurry. Joycean language reveals the inconsistencies and instabilities of one's life, when it is impossible to transmit what cannot be apprehended completely, whether due to mental dysfunctions, hallucinations or other causes, as in Finnegans Wake. In this study, we also consider etymology as a tool that provides stability and linguistic richness to Joyce's narrative, although subjecting it to hard transformations or mutation processes. Joyce finds great stylistic possibilities in the words used as semantic repositories that come from the past, and, with his passion for language, is able to build cognitive moments that rely on etymology. In the light of the most recent cognitive theories applied to Joyce's work, this study shows how the combination of mind, body and environment builds reality in Joyce, especially in Ulysses, overcoming traditional analyses around the inner monologue or the individual mind. Confirming previous studies, we consider that Joyce builds reality through microhistories, sketches, discursive or introspective cognitive events. However, to form a continuous substrate, that contributes to the construction of identity in Ulysses, Joyce deploys strategic frameworks, such as paternity or adultery.
doi:10.37668/oceanide.v13i.42 fatcat:3zgygljczre63gvqhv6gfea5mu