Examines the function of the countless saints - genuine and bogus, famous and obscure, ancient and modern - who feature in James Joyce's fiction. Apostolic zealots, mutilated virgins, Celtic wonderers, stigmatic friars and a hairy hermit all make their way through these pages.
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"Schork has provided not only a ‘Lives of Joycean Saints’ and a ‘Joycean Lives of the Saints’; he marshals a staggering amount of data to enable readers of Joyce’s works to read the texts hagiographically. What has been almost hopelessly obscure to most readers becomes much richer through Dr. Schork’s meticulous and insightful work."--Michael O’Shea, Newberry College, Newberry, South Carolina
"An indispensable addition to the continuing project of Joycean exegesis, bringing Protestant and post-Vatican II Catholics up to speed on the plethora of holy men and women whose presence is everywhere in Joyce’s texts as it was in his Ireland. . . . It will be of signal assistance to undergraduates and Joyceans alike."--Eloise R. Knowlton, Hillsdale College, Hillsdale, Michigan
R. J. Schork examines the function of the countless saints--genuine and bogus, famous and obscure, ancient and modern—who hover over James Joyce’s fiction. Apostolic zealots, mutilated virgins, Celtic wanderers, stigmatic friars, Counter-Reformation founders, a hairy hermit, and Little Nelly of Holy God make their way through these pages, as do more fictitious heroes and heroines like St. Pseudonymous, St. Jingo, and St. Notwithstanding. Schork identifies them, traces their inspiration in Joyce’s Irish Catholic upbringing, establishes their context in the Catholic tradition, and explores the mostly humorous and irreverent roles they play in Joyce’s work.
Making extensive use of the notebooks Joyce assembled while writing Ulysses and Finnegans Wake, Schork is also a detective, identifying esoteric genetic sources and literary parallels for Joyce’s hallowed messengers. A Jesuit-trained classics scholar, Schork is uniquely able to trace the considerable impact of Joyce’s classical--and ecclesiastical--education on his work.
With humor and a sense of irreverence equal to Joyce’s own, Schork weaves saintly biographies together with contextual explanations of the Catholic tradition--its feast dates and pilgrimages as well as its early history, relics, rituals, and symbols--illuminating otherwise obscure references and evoking the cultural and religious landscape Joyce inherited and manipulated to serve his art.
By virtue of reading this work, students and scholars of Joyce will become "hagiographically literate"--a condition that, as Schork demonstrates, Joyce’s texts virtually demand.
R. J. Schork is professor emeritus of classics at the University of Massachusetts and author of Greek and Hellenic Culture in Joyce (UPF, 1998), Latin and Roman Culture in Joyce (UPF, 1997), and Sacred Song from the Byzantine Pulpit: Romanos the Melodist (UPF, 1995).
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