The Spectres of James Joyce and Brian Friel Hermeneutic Hauntology, Borders, and Ghost language

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Virginie Roche-Tiengo


This chapter explores the ways in which Jacques Derrida’s notion of hauntology pervades and intertwines the works of James Joyce and Brian Friel with the mnesic decay of spectres’ evanescent and polymorphic apparitions. It considers how spectres desynchronize memories of the past, interrupt all forms of specularity and exchange and cross hermeneutic borders in both Joyce and Friel. Then it focuses on how Joyce and Friel embarked on a journey of intersectionality and linguistic exile to unearth a subversive ghost language. And finally, it unveils Friel’s hauntological incursion into Joyce’s kindred wandering mind and discloses similar images of ghostly echoes and allusions to exile, mourning, Thanatos and keening.

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How to Cite
Roche-Tiengo, V. (2021). The Spectres of James Joyce and Brian Friel: Hermeneutic Hauntology, Borders, and Ghost language. Imaginaires, (23), 71-84.
Author Biography

Virginie Roche-Tiengo, Université Sorbonne Paris Nord

Virginie Roche-Tiengo teaches legal English at the University Paris 13, Sorbonne
Paris Cité, France and is Assistant Dean for International and Institutional Relations
in Sorbonne Paris Cité Law Faculty. Following her Ph.D. at the Sorbonne on Lost
Unity: The Poetics of Myth in the Theatre of the Irish Playwright Brian Friel, she has
published on Irish drama, in particular the work of Brian Friel, Thomas Kilroy, Frank
McGuinness, and Samuel Beckett. The latest international conference she co-organized
in October 2018 was entitled Crossing Borders: Contemporary Anglophone Theatre
in Europe. The conference aimed to allow academics, translators, publishers and a
wide range of theatre practitioners, to confront their experience with Anglophone theatre throughout Europe. 22 papers from 11 European countries (Czech Republic,
France, Germany, Great-Britain, Greece, Italy, Malta, Montenegro, Serbia, Spain, and
Portugal) were selected and the Play An Irish Story by Kelly Rivière was staged in the
MSH (Maison des Sciences de l’Homme) Paris Nord. Virginie Roche-Tiengo is currently
working on the Brian Friel Papers in the National Library of Ireland and in the
archives of NUI Galway as part of a new book project. She is a member of GIS Eire
and GIS Sociability and will be working in the National Archives of London on eighteenth
century Irish playwrights (Richard Brinsley Sheridan and Charles Macklin) in
July 2022. She is involved in the Molière Kansas City 2022 Project in Missouri, USA.
Her research focuses also on law, crossing borders and the Irish stage.