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Flaubert, Joyce: Vision, Photography, Cinema

From: MFS Modern Fiction Studies
Volume 54, Number 4, Winter 2008
pp. 689-714 | 10.1353/mfs.0.1567



Much attention has been paid in recent years to the influence of the emerging medium of film on modernist literary experimentation. This essay, while acknowledging the importance of this relationship across the art forms, considers the importance of Flaubert’s development of cinematographic techniques of writing as a crucial literary antecedent to Joyce’s adoption and elaboration of such techniques. The essay considers Flaubert and Joyce’s often analogous views of vision and photography and examines Joyce’s attitudes to the cinema before looking in detail at examples from both authors’ works which suggest an extensive technical intertextuality between the two oeuvres.