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The Strong Spirit: History, Politics and Aesthetics in the Writings of James Joyce 1898-1915
The Strong Spirit: History, Politics and Aesthetics in the Writings of James Joyce 1898-1915
by Andrew Gibson
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 47.66

5.0 out of 5 stars "how to change it, as the strong spirit knows", 14 Aug 2013
Late in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, James Joyce's ego Stephen Dedalus talks of 'flying by the nets' of 'nationality, language, religion' to escape their constriction of his soul. James Joyce has been seen as displaying the same spirit. Frustrated with Irish provincialism and the country's obsession with nationalism and the struggle with Britain, he emigrated to Europe and became more modern than his compatriots. Much in Joyce's writing seems to encourage this view, especially if he is placed alongside contemporaries who were vociferous about their nationalism. Yet since the 1980s this reading has been overturned, or at least complicated, in academic literary studies, and Joyce has been viewed as a more politically engaged writer.

The best exponent of this political reading of James Joyce is Andrew Gibson. In Joyce's Revenge (2002) Gibson provided a reading of Ulysses as a work entirely motivated by anti-colonial politics. Various other critics had made this case, but Gibson nailed it down with extraordinary rigour, rooting his claims in historical research of a quality rarely seen hitherto. The Strong Spirit extends this method to Joyce's earlier work. The new book is again researched with formidable historical diligence. Even a reader uninterested in Joyce would likely learn new things about Irish history from this book.

Gibson sees the period 1898-1915 as actually comprising four smaller periods. Each of these is shaped by particular political events, mainly determined by the British government. In each micro-period Gibson finds Joyce writing certain works which correspond to the political temper of the time. Most strikingly, this method has allowed Gibson to produce a radically new reading of the play Exiles. Fastening on the play's setting in summer 1912, Gibson views the whole work as an allegory of the relation between Irish nationalism and Ulster (and southern) Unionism. Exiles also allows Gibson, late in his book, to introduce the theme of gender, which had been adumbrated in similar dramatic form by Joyce's earliest theatrical inspiration, Henrik Ibsen.

The Strong Spirit has a single-minded political focus, but also touches upon diverse areas. Its sections open up distinct questions. Does Joyce's early story 'The Dead' crucially invoke a folk memory of the famines of the mid nineteenth century? Does Joyce's unsuccessful early novel Stephen Hero draw on the political tradition of Fenianism? How did debates about higher education for Catholics shape the final chapter of the Portrait? The Strong Spirit should be productive as the basis for new research and debate among Joyceans, whether they accept its claims or challenge them. It is among the most important historical and political readings of Joyce's early work to date. All scholars of that work should consider its findings, which are presented in commendably brisk and lucid prose.


Spring and All (New Directions Pearls)
Spring and All (New Directions Pearls)
by William Carlos William
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 1923, 29 July 2013
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A lovely facsimile of the original edition of Dr Williams' groundbreaking collection of poetry and prose. Takes us back to the modernist period of its emergence.


Berlin Childhood Around 1900: Hope in the Past
Berlin Childhood Around 1900: Hope in the Past
by Walter Benjamin
Edition: Paperback
Price: 12.95

5.0 out of 5 stars Classic Benjamin, 29 July 2013
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Crucial and sumptuous, though deliberately episodic work from one of the great European writers of his generation. Will be of great interest to readers of literature as well as theory or philosophy.


One-Way Street and Other Writings (Penguin Modern Classics)
One-Way Street and Other Writings (Penguin Modern Classics)
by Walter Benjamin
Edition: Paperback
Price: 7.69

4.0 out of 5 stars One Way Street mk II, 29 July 2013
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Interesting new translation, punchier than before; but I'm not sure that Penguin should have published a volume called One Way Street when a classic Verso volume of this title had long existed.


The Office: An American Workplace - Complete Season 4 [DVD]
The Office: An American Workplace - Complete Season 4 [DVD]
Dvd ~ Steve Carell
Offered by comedyfactory
Price: 17.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding comedy, 30 Sep 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This is a superb comedy season. Fans of great US television comedy will not be disappointed. It's well presented and full of great moments.


Krazy and Ignatz: The Komplete Kat Komics 1925 and 1926 (Krazy & Ignatz)
Krazy and Ignatz: The Komplete Kat Komics 1925 and 1926 (Krazy & Ignatz)
by George Herriman
Edition: Paperback
Price: 13.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Krazy & Ignatz, 9 Jan 2012
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An excellent collection of the Krazy Kat comics from 1925 and 1926. Recommended to those who have a yen for the peculiar language and landscape of Cococino County.


Run Devil Run
Run Devil Run
Offered by skyvo-direct
Price: 5.86

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Macca makes Rock & Roll, 25 Jun 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Run Devil Run (Audio CD)
Essential listening from the start with McCartney's Elvis vocal on opening track 'Blue Jean Bop'. Later nighlights include a Cajun flavoured Chuck Berry cover.


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