The concept of sin in the novel of James Joyce «A portrait of the artist as a young man»: conceptual inversion

Tyumen State University Herald. Humanities Research. Humanitates


Vesntik TSU. Philology. 2014

The concept of sin in the novel of James Joyce «A portrait of the artist as a young man»: conceptual inversion

About the authors:

Ekaterina V. Novokreshchennykh, Cand. Sci. (Philol.), Senior Lecturer, Department of English Language, University of Tyumen;; ORCID: 0000-0002-1000-3470

David Cocksey,
Dr. Philol. Sci., Head of English Language Institute, Jean-Francois Champollion University Centre, Albi (France)


The article deals with the ethico-religious concept of sin in the novel of J. Joyce «A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man» within the discursive-cognitive paradigm. It is proved that the concept is verbalized through the opposition of «right/wrong», «obedience/disobedience», «love/sin», «life/death». The authors look intently at conceptual inversions of the concept, i.e. historical transformations of its meanings. These inversions are studied within the structure of the novel’s hero, Stephen Dedalus. The ‘time integrity’ of the hero, according to Mikhail M. Bakhtin, is taken as a basis of the hero’s structure and considered as a sequence of phases of his life that corresponds to the sequence of the chapters. At each phase, there is an inversion of some initial conceptual opposition. The inversion is then neutralized (i.e. the initial opposition is retrieved) and arises again until it is finally reinforced in the end of the last phase, thus desemantizing the concept of sin.


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