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James Joyce and the Language of History : Dedalus's Nightmare - Robert Spoo

James Joyce and the Language of History

Dedalus's Nightmare

Hardcover Published: 29th September 1994
ISBN: 9780195087499
Number Of Pages: 208

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"History is a nightmare from which I am trying to awake." Stephen Dedalus's famous words articulate the modern complaint concerning the burden of the past. In James Joyce and the Language of History: Dedalus's Nightmare, Robert Spoo argues that Joyce's creative achievement, from the time of his sojourn in Rome in 1906-07 to the completion of Ulysses in 1922, cannot be understood apart from the ferment of historical thought that dominated the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
Tracing Joyce's historiographic art to its formative contexts - the discourse of Romanticism, the New History and Nietzschean antihistoricism, doctrines of progress, Irish history and politics, traditions of rhetoric, the ideological language of literary history - Spoo reveals a modernist author passionately engaged with the problem of history, forging a new language that both dramatizes and redefines that problem.
Born into a culture oppressed by its history, Joyce was preoccupied by it. Torn between conflicting images of Ireland's past, he was confronted with the challenge of creating a historical conscience. His art became his political protest, and the belief that individual passion and freely expressed works of fiction defy and subvert dominant discourses is the basis of his historiographic art.
Both broadly philosophical and alert to the subtleties of Joyce's texts, this study uses a critical approach that draws on the historical and philosophical thought that shaped Joyce and his contemporaries. Spoo provides a rich and evocative context for reading Ulysses as well as other Joycean texts. He shows that for Joyce, as for his fictional alter ego, Stephen Dedalus, there is no waking from the nightmare of history, only the ceaseless reweaving of the texts that make history a nightmare.

Industry Reviews

"Robert Spoo's book provides an indispensable contribution to the current critical discussion of Joyce and history. Lucid in its theorizing, rich and detailed in its textual engagements, this is a work that restores Stephen Dedalus to the center of the Joycean project and so renews and deepens our
sense of its intellectual coherence."--Vincent Sherry, Villanova University
"Robert Spoo has illuminated the cunning passages of Joycean historiography with many cunning passages of his own. He has written one of the most consistently interesting and important books about Joyce published in recent years."--Modernism/Modernity
"Although Joyce himself declared while writing Ulysses the character Stephen Dedalus no longer interested him, Robert Spoo has given us...a complex portrait of Stephen worthy of our interest."--English Literature in Transition 1880-1920
"Spoo has written an intellectually sophisticated, and in places brilliant book. It maintains a high level of critical poise, shedding fresh light upon the structural and stylistic contours of Joyce's work....And it offers many original and carefully developed analyses of particular
passages."--James Joyce Literary Supplement

A Note on Citations
Introductionp. 3
Joyce's Attitudes Toward History: Rome, 1906-7p. 14
Nietzsche and the Malady of Historyp. 17
W. E. H. Lecky and Moral Historyp. 22
Guglielmo Ferrero and the New Historyp. 27
Fabricated Ghosts: A Metahistorical Reading of A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Manp. 38
Clongowes: The Heads of Great Men in the Books of Historyp. 40
Historical Texts and Textilesp. 46
Conjured Ghosts and Contextualist Fabricsp. 49
Romantic Aesthetics and Stephen's Double Discourse of Historyp. 57
Teleology, Monocausality, and Marriage in Ulyssesp. 66
The Goal of History and Storyp. 69
Origin and Causationp. 78
Marriage as Telosp. 81
"Nestor" and "Proteus": History, Language, Intertextualityp. 89
"Nestor": Art Versus Historyp. 92
Jules Laforgue and the Nightmarish Jester of Historyp. 98
"Words alone are certain good": "Proteus" and Languagep. 105
"Aeolus," Rhetoric, and Historyp. 113
Giambattista Vico and the Invincible Enthymemep. 116
Historiographic Oratoryp. 120
Poundian Pellets and Dedalian Parablesp. 127
"Innuendo of Home Rule": Advertising and Historyp. 131
The Language of Literary History: "Oxen of the Sun," "Circe," and Beyondp. 135
Anthologies and the Discourse of Literary Historyp. 137
Styles of History in "Oxen of the Sun"p. 145
"Oxen" and "Circe": Literature-and-History Versus Drama-and-Lifep. 150
The Terror of History and the Spectrality of Myth in the "Nostos"p. 157
Notesp. 163
Indexp. 187
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780195087499
ISBN-10: 0195087496
Audience: General
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 208
Published: 29th September 1994
Publisher: Oxford University Press Inc
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 23.77 x 15.75  x 2.24
Weight (kg): 0.43