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Martin, J. (2000). Joyce's Argument with Himself/or, Reading Joyce's inside Narrative. J. Appl. Psychoanal. Stud., 2(2):129-137.

(2000). Journal of Applied Psychoanalytic Studies, 2(2):129-137

Joyce's Argument with Himself/or, Reading Joyce's inside Narrative

Jay Martin, Ph.D.

James Joyce's argument with himself about where he should practice his art and with what literary tradition he should identify—Irish, British, or European—is represented by several of the characters and episodes in his short story “The Dead.”

In the main character, Gabriel Conroy, Joyce represented the conflicts that he himself experienced. But in many of the minor characters Joyce also reflected parts of his own wishes and fears.

In this story, Joyce rejects the possibilities of artistic identification with Ireland and England, and, in the dynamics of the tale, arrives at the understanding that to fulfill his artistic aspirations, he must make an identification with the great European tradition, and also live in Europe; if he stays in Ireland or attempts to be an English author, he will be, as he portrays Gabriel to be, paralyzed, imitative, and a failure as an artist. Joyce himself took the decisive path that Gabriel could not choose.

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