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In appealing to the concepts and concerns of phenomenology, my reference is to the legacy of the later Husserl, the author of a new transcendental aesthetic first glimpsed in the .It is during this phase that Husserl’s focus begins to shift from an interest in the pure logical description of the workings of consciousness to problems of genesis and emergence, that is, to an interrogation of the conditions by which objects come to attention—of the manner by which they are given as already there, able to carry within themselves the memory of their constitution.1 Coming in the wake of his analysis of time-consciousness, and taking stock of the aporias engendered by his own account of the temporal dimension of phenomenal experience, the turn to a genetic method coincides with the intuition that the living present (the underlying temporal form of intentional consciousness) must be seen to have its own constitutive horizon.2 The analysis of passive synthesis thus seeks to thematize a kind of absolute, immemorial past, a phenomenological ground more primordial than intentionality.3It is at the point, too, that Husserl’s thought confronts its empiricist limit.My paper addresses the non-human turn in Joyce’s work from the perspective of genetic phenomenology.
I would argue that this peculiar treatment of the figure points to the foundation of a new phenomenology, replacing thought (and by extension, the intentional form of subjective consciousness) with digestion (what Staten terms the “general gastronomics” (Staten 1997, pp.
I will begin by looking at the figure of the pussens as the site of an arbitrary, metonymic association between Molly and the earth.
Critics have remarked on the psychological implications of the role of the cat in the Bloom household, highlighting its role as a site of displaced emotion between Leopold Bloom and his wife.
As Paul Ricoeur has noted, “in becoming more and more existential the phenomenology of the late Husserl became more and more empirical, for the whole order of understanding—predicative judgement, affirmation and negation, activity of synthesis and consecution—henceforth proceeds from ‘passive synthesis’ initiated on the very level of perception” (Ricoeur 1967, p. Here we might attempt a brief point-by-point summary of the broader applications of Husserl’s concept of passivity.
A little reductively, perhaps: (1) the discussion of passivity in the later work opens onto a regressive investigation of the workings of sense perception; (2) it delineates the outer limits of the ego as it relates to others and actively intends the world; (3) it is bound up with the theme of an infinitely receding past and attaches to a pre-predicative dimension of experience; and (4) it accounts for the constitution of material reality in so far as this is perceived as already there or pre-given.4Without implying any direct indebtedness to Husserl, I wish to suggest that Joyce’s declared intent to think through the peculiar phenomenality of the earth rests on these same passive-genetic principles.