The Illicit Joyce of Postmodernism: Reading Against the Grain

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For nearly three quarters of a century, the modernist way of reading has been the only way of reading James Joyce—useful, yes, and powerful but, like all frameworks, limited. This book takes a leap across those limits into postmodernism, where the pleasures and possibilities of an unsuspected Joyce are yet to be found.
    Kevin J. H. Dettmar begins by articulating a stylistics of postmodernism drawn from the key texts of Roland Barthes, Mikhail Bakhtin, and ...

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Overview

For nearly three quarters of a century, the modernist way of reading has been the only way of reading James Joyce—useful, yes, and powerful but, like all frameworks, limited. This book takes a leap across those limits into postmodernism, where the pleasures and possibilities of an unsuspected Joyce are yet to be found.
    Kevin J. H. Dettmar begins by articulating a stylistics of postmodernism drawn from the key texts of Roland Barthes, Mikhail Bakhtin, and Jean-François Lyotard. Read within this framework, Dubliners emerges from behind its modernist facade as the earliest product of Joyce’s proto-postmodernist sensibility. Dettmar exposes these stories as tales of mystery, not mastery, despite the modernist earmarks of plentiful symbols, allusions, and epiphanies. Ulysses, too, has been inadequately served by modernist critics. Where they have emphasized the work’s ingenious Homeric structure, Dettmar focuses instead upon its seams, those points at which the narrative willfully, joyfully overflows its self-imposed bounds. Finally, he reads A Portrait of the Artist and Finnegans Wake as less playful, less daring texts—the first constrained by the precious, would-be poet at its center, the last marking a surprising retreat from the constantly evolving, vertiginous experience of Ulysses.
    In short, The Illicit Joyce of Postmodernism explores what happens when the extra-literary pronouncements of Eliot, Pound, and Joyce, as well as Joyce’s early critics, are set aside and a new, “unauthorized” Joyce is allowed to appear. This postmodern Joyce, more willful and less easily compartmentalized, stands as a counterpoint to the modernist Joyce who has perhaps become too familiar.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780299150600
  • Publisher: University of Wisconsin Press
  • Publication date: 7/28/1996
  • Pages: 292
  • Product dimensions: 6.13 (w) x 9.21 (h) x 0.82 (d)

Meet the Author

Kevin J. H. Dettmar is associate professor and director of undergraduate studies in the Department of English at Clemson University. He is the editor of Marketing Modernisms: Self-Promotion, Canonization, Rereading and Rereading the New: A Backward Glance at Modernism.
 

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Table of Contents

Preface
Acknowledgments
Abbreviations
1 The Illicit Joyce of Postmodernism 3
2 Theorizing Postmodern Stylistics 12
3 From Interpretation to "Intrepidation": "The Sisters" 51
4 The Dubliners Epiphony": (Mis)Reading the Book of Ourselves 76
5 Dedalus, Dead Alas! Dead at Last 106
6 Toward a Nonmodernist Ulysses 137
7 JJ and the Carnivalesque Imagination 174
Afterword: On Ignoring Finnegans Wake 209
Notes 221
Bibliography 255
Index 269
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