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Dwelling in Language

Character, Psychoanalysis and Literary Consolations

Margrét Gunnarsdottir Champion

Since the heyday of narratology, character has been a contested theoretical field, moving uneasily between mimetic, structuralist and interdisciplinary paradigms. Built on Jacques Lacan’s ideas about subjectivity, langugage and ethics, Dwelling in Language broaches new ground by exploring character’s ontological identity, its mode of being in literature. Through an alternative poetics, anchored in the Lacanian subject, the author’s readings of a variety of texts from medieval poetry to the contemporary novel aim at defamiliarizing the realist premise of previous investigations: character is shown to be a phenomenon of viscerality, narcissistically binding readers to the fiction, but at the same time subverting that bond by evoking the insentient materiality of signification.

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