Richard Rowan’s Search for Other Jouissance in James Joyce’s Exiles

Document Type: Original Article


M.A. in English Language and Literature, Shahid Beheshti University, Tehran, Iran


This paper traces Jacques Lacan’s theory of jouissance in James Joyce’s Exiles. According to Lacan, there are two kinds of jouissance, namely phallic and Other. The former is achievable through desire for different things in the Symbolic order while the latter is beyond the given order and can be attained through particular activities in sinthome. All major characters of the play are involved with jouissance in one way or another.  Richard Rowan as the major character in the play has got along with phallic jouissance and he is trying to move toward the Other jouissance via denial of the Symbolic order and dedication of his time to writing. After living in exile for years and experiencing the pleasures of the phallic jouissance, he is back to find a solution to his problem with the Symbolic order. The jouissance beyond the phallic one for Richard lies in writing which turns out to be his sinthome. An untextualized writing is considered to be Richard’s sinthome that open up the path toward Other jouissance for him.