"This study of Joyce's literary reputation is extremely interesting and provocative.... Joseph Kelly wants us to rethink entirely our notion of who 'James Joyce' is." --Morris Beja, Editor, James Joyce Newsletter
James Joyce began his literary career as an Irishman writing to protest the deplorable conditions of his native country. Today, he is an icon in a field known as "Joyce studies." Our Joyce explores this amazing transformation of a literary reputation, offering a frank look into how and for whose benefit literary reputations are constructed.
Joseph Kelly looks at five defining moments in Joyce's reputation. Before 1914, when Joyce was most in control of his own reputation, he considered himself an Irish writer speaking to the Dublin middle classes. When T. S. Eliot and Ezra Pound began promoting Joyce in 1914, however, they initiated a cult of genius that transformed Joyce into a prototype of the "egoist," a writer talking only to other writers.
This view served the purposes of Morris Ernst in the 1930s, when he defended Ulysses against obscenity charges by arguing that geniuses were incapable of obscenity and that they wrote only for elite readers. That view of Joyce solidified in Richard Ellmann's award-winning 1950s biography, which portrayed Joyce as a self-centered genius who cared little for his readers and less for the world at war around him. The biography, in turn, led to Joyce's canonization by the academy, where a "Joyce industry" now flourishes within English departments.
"This study of Joyce's literary reputation is extremely interesting and provocative... Joseph Kelly wants us to rethink entirely our notion of who 'James Joyce' is." Morris Beja, Editor, James Joyce Newestlatter
Acknowledgments List of Abbreviations Introduction One. Joyce the Propagandist Joyce's First Readers Politics and the Literary Industry in Ireland The Irish Homestead and the Rural Middle Class Joyce's Politics Class Conflict in Dubliners The Socialist Alternative Joyce the Realist Two. The Egoist's Joyce Pound's Half-Thousand Eliot's Geniuses Joyce the Egoist The Modern Classic Three. Ernst's Joyce The Erotic Joyce The Second Round: A Test of Beach's Ulysses Morris Ernst and the Obscenity Laws Class Conflict The Third Round The Preparation The Modern Classic and the Secretary of the Treasury The Briefs Ulysses in School "The Salutary Forward March" Four. Ellmann's Joyce Stanislaus Joyce v. the Critics Mason and Ellmann Mason's Objections to James Joyce Conjecture: Theory and Practice The Gay Betrayers Ellmann's James Joyce Canonization and Dissent Revisionist Views of Joyce Five. Our Joyce Criticism, Inc. The "Scholarly Critic" of Modern Fiction Studies Transition: New York's Joyce The James Joyce Quarterly The Joyce Industry The International James Joyce Symposia The Critical Editions Conclusion: The Trouble with Genius Notes Bibliography Index