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The IUP Journal of English Studies :
An Introduction to Selected Patterns of Lexical Coinages in James Joyce’s Novels
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The verbal imitations of mental processes are successfully attempted by James Joyce in his three novels, namely, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, Ulysses, and Finnegans Wake. Joyce’s experiment with English language structures and vocabulary to capture the ceaseless flow of thought process is strikingly noticeable. His use of the literary technique “stream of consciousness” delineates the flow of expressions, associations, hesitations, impulses, and rational thoughts of his characters. Joyce’s verbatim reproductions of the workings of the mind have caught the reader’s attention owing to his startling experiments with the traditionally accepted norms of word formation. Joyce coins innumerable lexical items through strange combinations of letters, compounding, suffixation, conversions, and many such devices. This paper attempts to highlight some of the structures of his coinages as it might interest those readers who intend to understand the logic behind such word formation strategies.

 
 
 

Authors of all literary ages, more specifically modernists and postmodernists, have played with words. Modernists exhibit remarkable deviations from the preexisting modes of literary writing in terms of its discourse, syntax, and lexis. One of the obvious reasons for this is the novelist’s preoccupation with consciousness, i.e., conscious and unconscious workings of the human mind. An author’s choice of words and his skill in drafting his discourses by arranging words in a structured whole is termed as his style. Joyce’s thought process plunges deeper and deeper and tramples upon those arenas of mind which reside in the innermost recesses of mind, hidden and unexplored. He projects the crudeness or rawness of chaotic thought process, which certainly cannot be expressed with traditional grammar and vocabulary. It is important to note that A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (henceforth Portrait), being Joyce’s first experiment with the stream of consciousness technique, does not record much innovation in lexis, but it certainly is a precursor to the liberties he was intending to take in his masterpiece Ulysses and a far more complex creation, namely, Finnegans Wake. In Portrait, Joyce’s (1951) focus is to give an autographical account of a writer in the making, and once the writer acquires wings of poesy, his soaring attains new heights which is unprecedented.

 
 

Journal of English Studies