UBC Theses and Dissertations

UBC Theses Logo

UBC Theses and Dissertations

A noisy subject : reading identity in the "Nausicaa" and "Circe" episodes of Ulysses Gibson, Matt Douglas


Reading Ulysses forces an awareness of the indeterminacy of meaning, thus problematizing readings that assign the text a communicative function. In order to consider the multiplicity of readings required by Ulysses without tracing the implications of every interpretive possibility, this analysis theorizes the text in the terms of information theory; redundancy and noise are used to discuss how indeterminate readings “communicate” a set of binary oppositions. Each attempt to assign the text a mimetic status is frustrated by redundancies that require other readings, thereby producing noise. Reading is always incomplete, always in process; the text produces not identities but rather processes of identification. This methodology is developed with reference to readings of “Nausicaa” and “Circe.” Readings of both episodes are seen to produce not characters (identities) but rather roles: an association of a name (“Gerty” or “Leopold,” for example) with a positioning within a binary (male/female, occidental/oriental, desire/desired etc.). While roles are always a product of indeterminate readings, the binary oppositions that inform them remain stable. This fixity may be read as an ideology that underlies the formation of roles by/from the text. Thus, reading Ulysses engages a process of identification that imposes a (de)limitation of subjectivity without the formation of identity.

Item Media

Item Citations and Data


For non-commercial purposes only, such as research, private study and education. Additional conditions apply, see Terms of Use https://open.library.ubc.ca/terms_of_use.