Was Joyce mad? not by a transparent sheet . . .
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Was Joyce mad? not by a transparent sheet . . . book
The second epigraph to Derrida’s essay ‘Cogito and the History of Madness’ is taken from a recollection of Joyce discussing his modernist masterpiece Ulysses in Jacques Mercanton’s ‘The Hours of James Joyce’. Joyce here says of the work: ‘In any event this book was terribly daring. A transparent sheet separates it from madness.’1 Thus we return to the ‘sheet’ that was discussed at the beginning of chapter 1. It is this specific ‘sheet’ – Joyce’s, with its peculiar and particular property of ‘transparency’ – that we will now attempt to theorise in relation to the centrality we have found it to hold for Saussure, and then by combining it with Lacan’s polar reference to the symptom and the ‘sinthome’ in the next chapter. It will be by invoking the unificatory/separatory principle outlined at the outset of this work that we shall attempt to commence this theorisation.