chapter  4
Joyce’s knots: death and sex before the Wake 103
ByKnots
Pages 22

As far as the role of the Imaginary Order in Joyce’s life and work is concerned we must now look to Lacan’s sustained interaction with the ‘Borromean knot’ in the sessions of Seminar XXIII; which, as Adrian Price has pointed out, should in fact topologically rather be called a ‘link’, knot being ‘a misnomer, as Lacan apparently came to realise sometime over the 1975 Christmas break’.1 However, as the designation ‘Borromean knot’ has retained currency in subsequent Lacanian studies it will be used here, for purposes of familiarity. Lacan introduces the Borromean knot, which is so called because of its having been the heraldic emblem of the Borromeo family, in Seminar XIX, going on to discuss it at certain points in the Seminars up to his year on Joyce. In his introduction to it he demonstrates that in the case of these three rings it is ‘only because of the third [that] they hold together’.2