"The instinct of the celibate": Boarding and borderlines in "the boarding house"

Richard Brown, Gregory Castle

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

2 Scopus citations


Both Gregory and Richard were new to the idea of this kind of collaboration, with no preconceptions about how to proceed with it. We wrote brief statements and then exchanged longer, independently conceived pieces of around two thousand words-Richard on boards, boarding, and boarders and Joyce's references to the popular press and song, Gregory on the culture of confession as it impinges upon Bob's masculinity. Since we found much to agree with in each other's starting positions, we merged the independent approaches rather than staging a dialogue or debate between them. As this eminently Hegelian process of dialectical synthesis developed, it became apparent that we both shared an interest in the cultural politics of Bob Doran's situation, and Foucault as well as Žižek emerged as vital points of reference. We both found that the independent sections reflected on each other in unanticipated ways, allowing new insights and associations to come about. The collaborative aspect of the essay might therefore be characterized as being a "laboratory" as well as a "shop window," to borrow two terms of reference offered by Jonathan Arac in a 1997 essay on collaborative work in the humanities. But neither term would completely define the process or the essay that resulted from it, which is in its own way a "third thing," one that has been produced from our two separate contributions but would hardly have come into its present final form if it had been written by either one of us without the other.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationCollaborative Dubliners
Subtitle of host publicationJoyce in Dialogue
PublisherSyracuse University Press
Number of pages20
ISBN (Print)9780815632702
StatePublished - Dec 1 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Arts and Humanities


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