‘Mother-Daughter Syntax’

Sound, Borders and the Inheritance of the Maternal in James Joyce’s “Eveline”


  • Michela Borzaga University of Utrecht, Netherlands




James Joyce, Dubliners, Eveline, transnational, Orpheus myth, inheritance of the maternal, sound


This article offers a re-reading of James Joyce’s “Eveline” as a transnational story. The concept of the transnational is brought into conversation with motherhood studies, more precisely, with the notion of the ‘mother-daughter dyad’ (Hirsch). The key here is to ex­plore the formal and narratological clues that Joyce uses to convey religiously inflected inheritances of the maternal, inner splits, patterns of repression and matrophobic reflexes. Joyce partly maps Eveline’s psyche by engaging the reader in a set of delicate auditory exercises and, thereby, offers an indirect re-writing of the Orpheus myth. This article shows how the short story has been conceived as a sort of soundbox and demonstrates that Stephen Clingman’s conceptualisation of the transnational through ‘vertical’ versus ‘horizontal’ patterns of identity can be productively applied in the exploration of literary representations of mother-daughter relations as well.


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How to Cite

Borzaga, M. (2022). ‘Mother-Daughter Syntax’: Sound, Borders and the Inheritance of the Maternal in James Joyce’s “Eveline”. Acta Neophilologica, 55(1-2), 5–18. https://doi.org/10.4312/an.55.1-2.5-18