Joyce, Milton, and the Theory of Influence

Joyce, Milton, and the Theory of Influence

Joyce, Milton, and the Theory of Influence

Joyce, Milton, and the Theory of Influence

Synopsis

From the Foreword: "[Hogan's] fresh approach to the often tenuous aspects of literary influence provides him with a tool with which to view both Milton and Joyce anew, and in the process offers literary critics a theoretical method that can be extended to other authors as well. Fully examines the relationship between these two giants; it also provocatively sketches a sophisticated theory of literary influence that avoids the Freudian pitfalls of Bloom on the one hand and the gassy tenuousness of poststructuralist intertextuality on the other. Hogan is a gifted writer with a lively and engaging prose style."--R. B. Kershner, University of Florida

Patrick Hogan examines the complex and conflicted relation of James Joyce's works--primarily the epic novels Ulysses and Finnegans Wake --to one of the most important and influential epics in English, Milton's Paradise Lost, and to other Milton works.
Though Stephen Dedalus expresses his poetic ambition as "rewriting Paradise Lost," though he teaches "Lycidas," and though Milton is amply present in Finnegans Wake, virtually nothing has been written on this important literary relationship. Hogan traces the deep structural affinities that link the writers, arguing that Milton provided a crucial model for Joyce to create his great "works of mourning," Ulysses and Finnegans Wake.
In addition, Hogan sets the novels in a larger tradition of European and Middle Eastern retellings of the fall of humankind, including eighteenth- and nineteenth-century revisions of Paradise Lost. From this perspective, he analyzes the structure and technique of Ulysses and of Finnegans Wake and interprets key passages in a way that helps make these works comprehensible even to a novice reader.
As part of his study Hogan draws on psychoanalysis, cognitive science, Sanskrit aesthetics, and cultural materialism to formulate a theory of influence with implications that reach beyond the study of Joyce and Milton.
Patrick Colm Hogan is associate professor of English and associate head of the Department of English at the University of Connecticut. He is the author of The Politics of Interpretation: Ideology, Professionalism, and the Study of Literature and On Interpretation: Meaning and Inference in Law, Psychoanalysis, and Literature, and the coeditor of Criticism and Lacan: Essays and Dialogue on Language, Structure, and the Unconscious, and Literary India: Comparative Studies in Aesthetics, Colonialism, and Culture.

Excerpt

The relationship between John Milton and James Joyce has hitherto been carefully ignored, except for the predictable statement of the obvious: that a few remarkable similarities were quickly offset by enormous differences. Blind geniuses who have written works of epic proportions, Milton and Joyce were separated by more than just three centuries--most important, by their nationalities and religion, and perhaps most of all by their vastly divergent creative temperaments. Joyce can easily be viewed as playing the cavalier to Milton's roundhead.

In Joyce, Milton, and the Theory of Influence, Patrick Hogan has looked far beyond these superficies and has isolated conjunctive factors that reopen many significant issues in Ulysses and Finnegans Wake, through the nature of a potent Miltonic influence--and beyond it. His fresh approach to the often tenuous aspects of literary influence provides him with a tool with which to view both Milton and Joyce anew, and in the process offers literary critics a theoretical method that can be extended to other authors as well. Yet, just as Milton is employed as a method for reading and reevaluating the Joyce texts, he also emerges newly explicated in the process. Joyce and Milton share the stage in their own rights, the theoretical materials elucidating the works of both geniuses.

Bernard Benstock . . .

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