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"I Really Am a Stranger to Myself": A Lacanian Reading of Identity in John Banville's Eclipse
Linnaeus University, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, School of Language and Literature.
2012 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year)), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

This essay engages in a Lacanian reading of identity in John Banville’s Eclipse and argues that the protagonist Alex Cleave illustrates certain of Jacques Lacan’s ideas concerning subjectivity and the subject. Alex Cleave has a fragmented sense of identity and experiences alienation as well as loss and lack of authenticity. He is an actor and tries to create identity within his roles. Alex’s confusion about himself is played out in his relationships. Alex Cleave is a self-absorbed character who does not care for other people but only for himself. He uses other people, his family, ghosts and his stalking victims, as sources for an ideal ego and as a contrast to himself. The essay argues further that the novel suggests that identity is unstable and constructed within language. Alex Cleave tries to actively create identity by incorporating characteristics he has studied in his roles as well as other people, and he writes down his story, giving himself an identity in a book, Eclipse. To support its claims, the essay draws upon theories of Jacques Lacan and Jacques Derrida. Derrida’s concept of différance is used to explain the instability of identity. Lacan’s ideas about the development of identity in the course of the mirror stage and the Oedipal crisis are drawn upon. Furthermore, Lacan’s ideas about the unconscious, the Other and the imaginary and the symbolic order are employed.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. , 57 p.
Keyword [en]
Banville, Lacan, Derrida, identity
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-20430OAI: diva2:536845
Subject / course
Humanities, Theology
Available from: 2012-08-28 Created: 2012-06-25 Last updated: 2012-08-28Bibliographically approved

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Kerren, Ulla
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