AUTHORIAL RIGHTS AND THE CULTURAL ECONOMY OF MADNESS
Summary: This paper centers on representations of madness, and specifically, the authorial role of those representations, asking the question: are authors limited to representing their own mental health in their literary projects? Critics of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (2003), have accused its author, Mark Haddon, of stealing the trope of autism for his commercial gain. Moreover, his representation of autism asserts the very order that the autistic subject has supposedly foreclosed.1 Applying the logic of the cultural economy of representation, wherein Haddon’s exploitation of a subject who is mad is a literary crime because Haddon, the author, is neurotypical, what do we make of a psychotic’s representation of neurotics in their literary oeuvre? I am thinking of James Joyce and his oeuvre, because his psychosis has been an issue since Carl Jung first identified that he had a form of schizophrenia, and Lacan followed up on that question of Joyce’s psychosis in Seminar XXIII. How could Joyce be a psychotic if he could write an apparently neurotypical story such as Ulysses? And yet, he did write the chaotic punning universe of Finnegan’s Wake, a project that one would think would affirm his psychosis. Lacan resists diagnosing Joyce and instead explores Joyce’s role of author in his sinthome. This paper does not resolve the debate around Joyce’s possible psychosis but uses the debate to highlight the problem arising from policing creative authority.