Joyce's Grandfathers: Myth and History in Defoe, Smollett, Sterne, and Joyce

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9780820314952: Joyce's Grandfathers: Myth and History in Defoe, Smollett, Sterne, and Joyce

Deriving its title from Stephen Dedalus's observation in Ulysses that the artist is the "father of all his race, the father of his own grandfather," Joyce's Grandfathers is a study of literary relationship and the ways in which a truly new work of art can shed light on the themes and techniques of older ones. John M. Warner first places Ulysses within the tradition of the English novel and then reads the works of earlier writers - Defoe, Smollett, and Sterne - "through the lens" of Joyce's masterpiece. The result is a significant addition to the study of both eighteenth- and twentieth-century literature.
Warner contends that Joyce's experimentation with narrative form was in large part a reaction against the realistic, diachronic mode of fiction that predominated during the nineteenth century. In Defoe, Smollett, and Sterne, Joyce found not only earlier challenges to that mode but also "a revolutionary nostalgia for myth that paralleled his own response to his rationalist culture." Yet their works also revealed a clear responsiveness to historical circumstances, creating a tension between the timelessness of myth and the chronology of history. Unlike the realists, these particular eighteenth-century novelists "did not try to conceal the tensions between the synchronic and diachronic thrusts of their fiction but rather explored them openly, unafraid of jagged edges and cacophonous effect." It was these explorations, Warner argues, that Joyce found especially useful in the writing of Ulysses. By compelling us to look backward and to see what he saw in his eighteenth-century forebears, Joyce "recreates" them for us.
This study is thus as much an effort to recontextualize the writing of Defoe, Smollett, and Sterne as it is to place Ulysses within the tradition of the English novel. The usual mode of the literary historian is to locate the influence of an earlier work on a later. By deliberately evoking a double perspective on literary history, however, Warner enables us to understand how Joyce both uses and creates a tradition for his novel - how he "fathers his own grandfathers."

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Warner, John M.
Published by Univ of Georgia Pr (1993)
ISBN 10: 0820314951 ISBN 13: 9780820314952
New Hardcover Quantity Available: 2
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Murray Media
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Book Description Univ of Georgia Pr, 1993. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P110820314951

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