Joyce: The Man, the Work, the Reputation

Joyce: The Man, the Work, the Reputation

Joyce: The Man, the Work, the Reputation

Joyce: The Man, the Work, the Reputation

Excerpt

With his first major work appearing on the eve of the First World War and his last on the eve of the Second, James Joyce has seemed a symptom and portent of our age. At the same time he has challenged and delighted readers, scholars, critics, and artists with his verbal magic and unique vision. If the discovery of Joyce has at times been a grim work in progress, it is also a fascinating search, a second Quest for Corvo, as the Dublin Joycean, Niall Sheridan, has suggested.

The authors of this volume feel that the time has come to appraise the position of Joyce in the modern world. Though it is manifestly impossible to cover all the relevant material, the volume may provide something for beginners and advanced Joyceans alike.

But if no single volume can say the last word about Joyce, our analyses of his works attempt merely to discover a way of approach to what he wrote, to suggest a method of reading Joyce that will be profitable and exciting. The elaborate paraphrase of a "skeleton key" is not needed to accomplish this, nor must critical exegesis exhaust the possibilities of every paragraph Joyce wrote. Yet, at the same time, we hope that the avenues opened by our exploratory analyses will lead easily to further, extended insights.

In similar fashion, we have not tried to do again the biography of Joyce. In a few pages, we discuss only those categories of Joyce's life in which there has hitherto appeared to be confusion. In "The Joyce Enigma" and "The Problem of Biography," we seek to identify the points of dispute, and, if we can, illuminate cloudy places. These chapters should be looked upon principally as points of departure for further investigation.

What, then, does the book do? It is the first extended treatment of the history of Joyce's critical reputation. Making use of hundreds . . .

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