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States of Desire: Wilde, Yeats, Joyce, and the Irish Experiment
     

States of Desire: Wilde, Yeats, Joyce, and the Irish Experiment

by Vicki Mahaffey
 

ISBN-10: 0195115929

ISBN-13: 9780195115925

Pub. Date: 05/28/1998

Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA

This book is an intimate study of the three giants in Irish literary history: Oscar Wilde, William Butler Yeats, and James Joyce. In addition to constructing a narrative of Irelands political and literary past, Vicki Mahaffey interweaves the lives and writing of the authors into a portrait of national imagination, shaped not only by a vast cultural and mythic

Overview

This book is an intimate study of the three giants in Irish literary history: Oscar Wilde, William Butler Yeats, and James Joyce. In addition to constructing a narrative of Irelands political and literary past, Vicki Mahaffey interweaves the lives and writing of the authors into a portrait of national imagination, shaped not only by a vast cultural and mythic heritage, but also by the hard fact of English political domination.

States of Desire argues that what people desire is fundamentally connected to how they write and read. Not only do language and narrative shape desire (and vice versa), but because these processes are socially conditioned, some political circumstances, such as those present in Ireland at the turn of the century, foster experimental desire more successfully than others. Mahaffey's contribution to the critical discourse on literary modernism is to assign a political motive to the art of modernist wordplay; in doing so, she offers a more compelling and socially driven version of the oft-told tale of literary modernism. Irish writers, she argues, sought to disrupt the rigidity of political thinking and social control by turning language into a weapon; by opening up infinite new possibilities of meaning and association, linguistic play makes it impossible for thought to be monopolized by the state or any other institutional power. In this light, the text becomes a prism of political, cultural, and erotic desires: a fountain of conscious and unconscious linguistic suggestion. Defying semantic control and refuting societal repression, Wilde, Yeats, and Joyce literally fought, in their lives and in their work, for a freedom of expression which—as was painfully evidenced in the case of Wilde—was not to be had for the asking.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780195115925
Publisher:
Oxford University Press, USA
Publication date:
05/28/1998
Edition description:
ON DEMAND
Pages:
288
Product dimensions:
6.20(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.10(d)

Table of Contents

Abbreviations xix
1. Introduction: Reading and "Irish" Desire
3(34)
Reading as "Habit"
7(1)
Starting Again: Experimental Reading and Desiring
8(1)
Verbal Experimentation in Ireland
9(4)
Iconoclasm as De-siring
13(6)
A Micropolitics of Experiment
19(2)
Fretting Nationalism and Masculinity
21(3)
Beyond Radicalism
24(3)
Oedipal Desire
27(4)
Territorializing and Deterritorializing Desire
31(6)
2. Wilde's Desire: A Study in Green
37(50)
A Scary Wildman, or Nothing Wilde?
41(9)
Flowers of Green: Ireland, Crime, and Youth
50(15)
Mature Individualism
65(5)
De Profundis: Taming Wilde
70(3)
Pere-version and Im-mere-sion: Parental Corruption
73(3)
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man and the Prohibition of Desire
76(5)
Wilde Im-mere-sions of Desire
81(6)
3. "Horrible Splendour of Desire": The Will of W. B. Yeats
87(55)
Hanrahan's Passion: Hunt as Flight
92(4)
"It Was the Dream Itself Enchanted Me"
96(5)
The Rose
101(7)
Celtic Rosicrucianism
108(4)
A Woman's Rose
112(9)
The Secret Rose
121(3)
The Wind Among the Reeds
124(8)
The Tower and The Winding Stair
132(10)
4. Joyful Desire: Giacomo Joyce and Finnegans Wake
142(68)
Joyce's War on Status
146(4)
Giacomo Joyce: Joyce and Wunderlich
150(17)
Fascism and Silence: The Coded History of Amalia Popper
167(10)
From Italy to Ireland: The Ambivalence of Men toward Men
177(6)
Female Desire and Power in Finnegans Wake
183(10)
Marriage as "Marriage"
193(5)
"Male and Female Unmask We Hem"
198(7)
Waking Desire
205(5)
5. Conclusion
210(3)
Notes 213(40)
Selected Bibliography 253(8)
Index 261

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