Celebrate Bloomsday!

James Joyce set his classic novel, Ulysses, on the 16th of June, 1904. The day, nicknamed “Bloomsday” after the protagonist Leopold Bloom, has since become a commemoration of the life and work of James Joyce. In honor of Bloomsday 2014, sample several recent articles on James Joyce and Ulysses.

Ddmlq_74_1Beth Blum’s article “Ulysses as a Self-Help Manual” examines Declan Kiberd’s “Ulysses” and Us, a guide for the common reader of Ulysses, that attempted to “pry Joyce’s masterpiece from the grip of the ‘corporate university.’” Read an excerpt:

‘It is time to reconnect Ulysses to the everyday lives of real people,’ Kiberd declares. Instead of tracing Homeric parallels or poring over skeleton keys, we should, he suggests, approach Joyce’s text as nothing other than a ‘self-help manual.’ Ulysses, he explains, ‘is a book with much to teach us about the world–advice on how to cope with grief; how to be frank about death in the age of its denial; how women have their own sexual desires and so also do men; how to walk and think at the same time.’ Kiberd’s book was received favorably in the popular press and, perhaps unsurprisingly, less so in the academic journals. Scholars appreciated his lucid, jargon-free prose but recoiled at his brash claims, his reliance on ‘anecdotal’ evidence, and the text’s ‘gossipy biographical flourish.’ If Joyce’s goal was really to reach the ‘common reader,’ reviewers wondered why he did not write more simply.

To read more of “Ulysses as a Self-Help Manual,” click here.

Ddclj_64_2In “Non serviam: James Joyce and Mexico,” Brian L. Price juxtaposes Mexican authors and James Joyce and considers how Joyce is “assimilated into their own cultural projects as literary object and literary experience.” Read an excerpt:

Non serviam is Lucifer’s declaration that he will not serve the God of heaven. It is a challenge to authority, a declaration of autonomy, and–at least since Blake–it was become a motto for embattled artists. Thus, near the end of A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (1916), James Joyce’s fallen angel, Stephen Dedalus, declares that he will not answer the Church’s call to serve a priesthood to which he had earlier dedicated himself following the spiritual retreat in the third chapter…. Despite Stephen’s explicit declaration that he will not serve either Irish nationalism or the British literary canon, however, he is ‘supersaturated’ with that in which he says he does not believe: Ireland, Catholicism, and Shakespeare plague him throughout A Portrait of the Artist and Ulysses. This tension between the desire for unfettered artistic exploration and the omnipresence of national concern is one of the hallmarks of Mexican cosmopolitan writing.

To read more of “Non serviam: James Joyce and Mexico,” click here.

For a comprehensive list of all Duke University Press journal articles on James Joyce, click here.


Ulysses as a Self-Help Manual? James Joyce’s Strategic Populism,” by Beth Blum in Modern Language Quarterly, volume 74 and issue 1 (March 2013)

Non serviam: James Joyce and Mexico” by Brian L. Price in Comparative Literature, volume 64 and issue 2 (Spring 2012)

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