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Joyce's Loss of Faith


Geert Lernout's Help My Unbelief: James Joyce and Religion argues that James Joyce lost his faith in the Roman Catholic Church and its dogma and that the historical conditions of Joyce's loss of his faith provide an inescapable context for reading Joyce's works. Lernout explains the beliefs and practices of the Church of Rome that Joyce encountered from the nineteenth century to the beginning of the twentieth century. By attending to the tradition of freethinking writers of the same period, he demonstrates that Joyce's revolt against Christianity was part of a larger network of anti-religious thinking in literature and philosophy. Through anecdotal and epistolary evidence of Joyce's religious crisis and Joyce's reading in freethinkers and heretics, Lernout provides illuminating readings of A Portrait of the Artist, Dubliners and Ulysses.