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.