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Review of Ruben Borg, The measureless time of Joyce, Deleuze and Derrida

Faculty Advisor




literary criticism

Abstract (summary)

Ruben Borg's dense but meticulous study of temporality in Finnegans Wake is not a book for the uninitiated. The Measureless Time of Joyce, Deleuze and Derrida provides virtually no plot markers or character discussion in its elucidation of James Joyce's final novel, and readers will struggle to locate accessible overviews of previous discussions of time central to Wake scholarship. This study really suffers from the lack of either a formal introduction or a comprehensive conclusion, and readers are tasked with making the distinction between early ruminations on temporality invoked in first appreciations of Joyce's work and more recent writings on representation that are key to Borg's readings. The author is most skilled here in running over philosophical treatises strewn across three centuries of Western thought, though his argument demands of his readers both a considerable knowledge of Joyce's novels, especially this most challenging one, and a deftness of mind in connecting principles of language theory to theories of time. The end result is undoubtedly ambitious: approaches to temporality are shown to be important to our understanding of Joyce's narrative structure, and Borg uses them to investigate principles of composition inherent in all of Joyce's work.

Publication Information

Monk, C. (2009). [Review of The Measureless Time of Joyce, Deleuze and Derrida, by R. Borg]. The Modern Language Review, 104(2), 559–561.



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