A New Approach to Joyce: The Portrait of the Artist as a Guidebook

By Robert S. Ryf | Go to book overview

12 Joyce and Our Twentieth-Century World

THIS BOOK has examined some of the basic relationships that exist among Joyce's works and suggested a few of the meanings that the intelligent reader may perceive as he reads Joyce and thinks about him. But we have not yet confronted what may be a more basic problem --why should an intelligent reader spend a considerable amount of time reading Joyce and thinking about him?

Of course we may insist that Joyce is a major writer, a classic, but we must pin these terms down and look behind them. If we assume, for example, that Joyce is a twentieth-century classic, and press for specific reasons why this is true, we may discover several, depending upon our particular interest and approach. Students of literary history, for example, would of course be aware of Joyce as an experimentalist, an innovator. Analysts of literary influences would know that almost every important writer after Joyce was influenced by him, that the course of literature was changed by him in a way that may be said of very few writers.

But I suspect that, underlying these particularized reasons is the more basic perception of his supreme relevance to the world in which we live. This after all is the important issue; although Ben Jonson once said of Shakespeare, "He was not of an age but for all time,"

-191-

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A New Approach to Joyce: The Portrait of the Artist as a Guidebook
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Acknowledgments *
  • Contents *
  • Introduction 1
  • Understanding Joyce: A Background 7
  • The Portrait and Chamber Music 37
  • The Portrait and Stephen Hero 42
  • The Portrait and Dubliners 59
  • The Portrait and Ulysses 77
  • The Portrait and Finnegans Wake 98
  • Joyce's Esthetic Theories Applied 106
  • Joyce's Use of Irony 156
  • Joyce and Our Twentieth-Century World 191
  • Notes 209
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