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

States of Desire

Wilde, Yeats, Joyce, and the Irish Experiment

Hardcover Published: 19th May 1998
ISBN: 9780195115925
Number Of Pages: 288

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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.

Industry Reviews

"Looks at issues of authority, responsibility, and identity and emerges with new and often startling perspectives on her subject. The writing is lucid and compelling, the scholarship thorough. This is a book not to be missed." English Literature in Translation 1880-1920

Abbreviationsp. xix
Introduction: Reading and "Irish" Desirep. 3
Reading as "Habit"p. 7
Starting Again: Experimental Reading and Desiringp. 8
Verbal Experimentation in Irelandp. 9
Iconoclasm as De-siringp. 13
A Micropolitics of Experimentp. 19
Fretting Nationalism and Masculinityp. 21
Beyond Radicalismp. 24
Oedipal Desirep. 27
Territorializing and Deterritorializing Desirep. 31
Wilde's Desire: A Study in Greenp. 37
A Scary Wildman, or Nothing Wilde?p. 41
Flowers of Green: Ireland, Crime, and Youthp. 50
Mature Individualismp. 65
De Profundis: Taming Wildep. 70
Pere-version and Im-mere-sion: Parental Corruptionp. 73
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man and the Prohibition of Desirep. 76
Wilde Im-mere-sions of Desirep. 81
"Horrible Splendour of Desire": The Will of W. B. Yeatsp. 87
Hanrahan's Passion: Hunt as Flightp. 92
"It Was the Dream Itself Enchanted Me"p. 96
The Rosep. 101
Celtic Rosicrucianismp. 108
A Woman's Rosep. 112
The Secret Rosep. 121
The Wind Among the Reedsp. 124
The Tower and The Winding Stairp. 132
Joyful Desire: Giacomo Joyce and Finnegans Wakep. 142
Joyce's War on Statusp. 146
Giacomo Joyce: Joyce and Wunderlichp. 150
Fascism and Silence: The Coded History of Amalia Popperp. 167
From Italy to Ireland: The Ambivalence of Men toward Menp. 177
Female Desire and Power in Finnegans Wakep. 183
Marriage as "Marrage"p. 193
"Male and Female Unmask We Hem"p. 198
Waking Desirep. 205
Conclusionp. 210
Notesp. 213
Selected Bibliographyp. 253
Indexp. 261
Table of Contents provided by Syndetics. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780195115925
ISBN-10: 0195115929
Audience: Professional
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 288
Published: 19th May 1998
Publisher: Oxford University Press Inc
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 23.67 x 16.26  x 2.74
Weight (kg): 0.64