The Ireland of Ulysses was still a part of Britain. This book is the first comprehensive, historical study of Joyce's great novel in the context of Anglo-Irish political and cultural relations in the period 1880-1920. The first forty years of Joyce's life also witnessed the emergence of what historians now call English cultural nationalism. This formation was perceptible in a wide range of different discourses. Ulysses engages with many of them.
In doing so, it resists, transforms and works to transcend the effects of British rule in Ireland. The novel was written in the years leading up to Irish independence. It is powered by both a will to freedom and a will
to justice. But the two do not always coincide, and Joyce does not place his art in the service of any extant political cause. His struggle for independence has its own distinctive mode. The result is a unique work of liberation - and revenge.This eminently learned but lucidly written book transforms our understanding of Joyce's Ulysses. It does so by placing the novel firmly in the historical context of Anglo-Irish political and cultural relations in the period
1880-1920. Gibson argues that Ulysses is a great work of liberation that also takes a complex form of revenge on the colonizer's culture.
`The book's achievement and its considerable claim on the reader's attention arise from two virtues: the consistency of the interpretative perspective from chapter to chapter and the abundance of eye-opening, contextualizing historical detail. Many readers will learn a great deal about the Irish contexts of Joyce's writing, from the Great Famine until the early 1920s, though the book's primary focus is the period 1880-1920. Even readers who are
historically well-informed are unlikely to have anticipated Gibson's deft evocations of Joyce's transformations of contradictory perspectives.'
James Joyce Broadsheet
`The arrival of this book is a welcome occasion. Andrew Gibson combines a wealth of knowledge and research - about the particularities of English and Irish cultural politics between 1880 and 1920 - with an admirable sensitivity to the Joycean text. The book has much to do with what postcolonial theory calls 'hybridity' and 'mimicry', but is also densely and precisely historicized. Like the simultaneously meticulous, informed, and irreverent Joyce he
describes, Gibson is scrupulous about historical particularity and cunning in his application of it. Joyce's Revenge immerses itself in a broad range of specific cultural discourses on subjects from nationalist
politics to medical debates to the politics of street names, the politics of Shakespeare and bardolatry, Protestant-Catholic relations, Jewishness, Irish historiography, women's journals, and astronomy. The result is an important new study that will alter the ways we read Ulysses.'
Professor Vincent J. Cheng
1: `Patiens Ingemiscit': Stephen Dedalus, Ireland and History
2: `Only A Foreigner Would Do': Leopold Bloom, Ireland and Jews
3: `Gentle Will is Being Roughly Handled': "Scylla and Charybdis"
4: `A Look Around': "Wandering Rocks"
5: `History, All That': "Sirens", "Cyclops"
6: `Waking Up in Ireland': "Nausicaa"
7: `An Irish Bull in an English Chinashop': "Oxen of the Sun"
8: `Strangers in My House, Bad Manners to Them!': "Circe"
9: `Mingle Mangle or Gallimaufry': "Eumaeus"
10: `An Aberration of the Light of Reason': "Ithaca"
11: `The End of All Resistance': "Penenlope"