Joyce among the Jesuits

Joyce among the Jesuits

Joyce among the Jesuits

Joyce among the Jesuits

Excerpt

Every honest to goodness man in the land of the space of today knows that his back life will not stand being written about in black and white. Putting truth and untruth together a shot may be made at what this hybrid actually was like to look at. [FW 169]

To concentrate solely on the literal sense or even the psychological content of any document to the sort neglect of the enveloping facts themselves circumstantiating it is just as hurtful to sound sense (and let it be added to the truest taste). [FW 109)

THI STUDY of Joyce's Jesuit schooling was originally projected along lines far more ambitious than those that now circumscribe it. Critics of Joyce, kind and unkind, and commentators, informed or misinformed, seem generally agreed that, however various or significant the influences that converge in his work, the earliest, most nearly central, and most pervasive was the Catholicism of his youth. Whether inspiration or infection, Joyce's Catholicism, they agree, was at the root of both his qualities and his defects. Accepting it, Joyce inherited a past, a tradition, and a world- memory; rejecting it, he sought a future and found, in perilous balance over the void of an intensely doubtful soul, a world-view. Consequently, his Catholicism is as essential to an understanding of Joyce as it is to an understanding of Dante, Cervantes, or Augustine. It does not, of course, afford a complete or final explanation of the man or his work, but no final and complete explanation . . .

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