Who's Afraid of James Joyce?

Who's Afraid of James Joyce?

Who's Afraid of James Joyce?

Who's Afraid of James Joyce?


"The author of the acclaimed The Odyssey of Style in Ulysses here presents her thinking on James Joyce dating from that landmark work. Who's Afraid of James Joyce? is consistently erudite and thought provoking."--John Gordon, Connecticut College

"Contains riches and will become an essential resource for new generations of Joyce critics looking to build on Lawrence's immense contributions to the field. The glittering intelligence of the individual pieces in this collection reminds us that each time Lawrence returns to Joyce's body of work, she manages not just to extract a creative reading, but to develop a fundamentally new way of approaching these immensely influential stories and novels."--Sean Latham, University of Tulsa

The development of Joycean studies into a respected and very large subdiscipline of modernist studies can be traced to the work of several important scholars. Among those who did the most to document Joyce's work, Karen Lawrence can easily be considered one of that elite cadre.

A retrospective of decades of work on Joyce, this collection includes published journal articles, book chapters, and selections from her best known work (all updated and revised), along with one new essay. Featuring engaging close readings of such Joyce works as Dubliners and Ulysses, it will be a welcome addition to any serious Joycean's library and will prove extremely useful to new generations of Joyce critics looking to build on Lawrence's expansive scholarship. Both readable and lively, this work may inspire a lifetime of reading, re-reading, and teaching Joyce.

A volume in The Florida James Joyce Series, edited by Sebastian D. G. Knowles


How daring is “Telemachus”? Karen Lawrence rightly scoffs at the “risks” that the narrator takes in the first episode, comparing the adverbial intrusions to “a clown walking a tightrope only one foot above the ground.” But as Ulysses progresses Joyce is provoked to more and more elaborate circus acts, leading to the double high-wire display in “Ithaca,” where questioner and answerer pass the trapeze from one hand to the other, high among the stars. If Ulysses is a three-ring circus, and it has long been recognized as such, then Karen Lawrence must be our ringmaster. Watching Karen Lawrence put the narrator through his paces in the sawdust of “Circe” and “Eumaeus,” one feels the same delight of an audience watching a lion dancing in the ring: the only thing missing is ice cream (from Rabaiotti’s, perhaps).

Lawrence’s term for the ponderous stylistics of “Telemachus” is “adverbial mania”: an excellent coinage in a book full of mots and phrases justes. Lawrence calls the figuration of women in Joyce’s life and work a “skirtscreen,” another wonderfully felicitous phrase extracted from Finnegans Wake’s “squirtscreened.” In Lawrence’s convincing formulation, “Penelope” represents the problem of female representation by the male pen, “a staging of alterity that reveals itself as masquerade.” Always and everywhere, Karen Lawrence has her ear to the ground of Joyce’s text, hearing echoes that we can only guess at. When Mrs Sinico exclaims, “What a pity there is such a poor house tonight!,” the reader could be forgiven for thinking it a stray remark that happens to catch her neighbor’s sympathy: in “Reopening ‘A Painful Case,’” Karen Lawrence and Paul Saint-Amour show us that Mrs Sinico’s statement is the opening salvo in a carefully calculated assault on Mr Duffy’s defenses.

“The drama of the writing usurps the dramatic act,” the telling trumps the tale: so it is for Lawrence’s Joyce, and in Lawrence Joyce has found his perfect reader, for in matters of style she is very nearly unmatched. Many . . .

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