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Ulysses in Focus

Genetic, Textual, and Personal Views

Michael Groden

Publication Year: 2010

Michael Groden has been at the forefront of some of the most important developments in James Joyce studies over the past three decades. He was a major figure in and early adopter of genetic scholarship--the method of analyzing a literary work by looking at its development from draft to draft, particularly suited to Joyce's stories and novels. He defended Hans Walter Gabler's Ulysses edition in the "Joyce Wars" and helped introduce the National Library of Ireland's new Joyce manuscripts to the world.

Bringing together twelve essays in three areas of Joyce criticism and scholarship, this refreshing book offers various personal adventures from a life lived with Joyce’s work. In a manner that is at once modest, rigorous, and accessible, Ulysses in Focus engagingly connects these scholarly developments and contretemps to the author's personal history and provides fascinating new genetic readings of several episodes of Ulysses that advance our understanding of the novel’s composition.

Published by: University Press of Florida

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. vii-viii

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pp. ix-x

The turn to autobiography, or “life-writing,” in academia has value only in proportion to the general conclusions that can be drawn from the particular narrative, and just as all young intellectual would-be artists can see themselves in Stephen Dedalus, so all budding Joyceans can see themselves in Michael Groden, ...

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pp. xi-xii

Much of “Ulysses” in Focus began as talks and lectures at various conferences, universities, and other organizations, and I thank the many people, unfortunately too numerous to mention individually here, who invited me to lecture and accepted my proposals for conference papers. ...


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pp. xiii-xiv


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pp. xv-xviii

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pp. 1-13

“This monument of literature”: so Stuart Gilbert honored Ulysses even before it could be legally purchased in any English-speaking country. The designation of “monument” certainly fits a work about which so many critical books and articles have been written, which headed a list of the most important twentieth-century novels

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1. The Archive in Transition: The National Library of Ireland’s New Joyce Manuscripts

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pp. 14-31

The list of new e-mail messages on that day in late September 2001 seemed unremarkable: the usual barrage of promises of better porn and lower debt, plus a few items of actual correspondence. None of those appeared to be particularly important. Among them was one from Noel Kissane, someone I did not know, ...

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2. When First I Saw, Part 1: Choosing and Being Chosen by Ulysses

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pp. 32-52

I first read Ulysses when I was nineteen, in the fall of 1966 at the start of my sophomore year at Dartmouth College. I had been miserable during much of my freshman year there, to the point of considering transferring to another college. Because during my high school years I had planned to become a mathematician ...

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3. From Monument to Mobile: Genetic Criticism and Ulysses

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pp. 53-68

As the “Aeolus” episode of Ulysses nears its conclusion, Stephen Dedalus comes to the end of his short vignette about two old ladies who have climbed to the top of Nelson’s Pillar. Feeling dizzy from the height, the women “pull up their skirts” and “settle down on their striped petticoats, peering up at the statue of the onehandled adulterer.” ...

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4. When First I Saw, Part 2: Discovering Joyce’s Manuscripts

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pp. 69-80

Looking back now at my first encounter with Ulysses in 1966, I can easily view it as a point of origin. Much of what has happened in my life since then stems from it, and I can draw a straight line from it through many subsequent events, including the writing of this book. ...

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5. The James Joyce Archive and Hans Walter Gabler’s Edition of Ulysses: A Personal History

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pp. 81-104

Was any other novel’s introduction into the reading world quite like that of Ulysses? The February 1921 New York court decision that declared the book obscene while Joyce was still writing it led to its publication in France as a collector’s item, a cult object. Joyce wanted Ulysses published in English-speaking countries, ...

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6. Revisiting the “Cyclops” Manuscripts, Part 1: Wandering in the Avant-texte

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pp. 105-119

“Ulysses” in Progress treats Joyce’s novel as a monument. Not unusually for a manuscript study from 1977, my book was researched and written in ignorance of anything that might be called “theory,” and its facts were gathered and presented as part of an argument that took for granted the unity of the published Ulysses ...

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7. Revisiting the “Cyclops” Manuscripts, Part 2: The National Library of Ireland Draft and Its Contexts

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pp. 120-143

Revisiting the “Cyclops” manuscripts in the light of new theories and models, wandering in them and setting them in motion, is one thing. But, as I’ve suggested several times in this book, revisiting the manuscripts acquired a new urgency and excitement in 2002 when the National Library of Ireland announced its acquisition ...

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8. Mobile Pages: Ulysses in Print and on a Screen

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pp. 144-158

Leopold Bloom has just received a tantalizing letter from Martha Clifford, and you are looking at it along with him. You have read about fifteen sentences before you come to two—“Please write me a long letter and tell me more. Remember if you do not I”—one a complete sentence and one a fragment. ...

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9. Mobile Notes: Annotating Ulysses in Print and on a Screen

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pp. 159-173

The footnote, once considered the treasure of a special artistic talent—the inscription on the pedestal of a monument—has sunk in reputation to a bauble dropped to the bottom of a scholar’s page or tossed onto a heap at the back of a book. And yet a note, whether an expository addendum to a text, an annotation, or a reference, ...

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10. The Case of the Snuffed Footnote: A Report from the Stacks

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pp. 174-184

It was only a minor puzzle—I knew that, I knew that. But it got to me, and it was as tenacious as a bookworm inching closer and closer to the paste in the binding. I couldn’t stop thinking about those simple but treacherous words: R. M. Weber, Dichtung und Dichter, Berlin, 1890. ...

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Epilogue: Privacy in Bloom

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pp. 185-194

Ever since I first read Ulysses, Leopold Bloom has provided the clearest and most dependable image I’ve found of the kind of person I’d like to be, someone who lives an ordinary life and survives it with optimism, good humor, integrity, and dignity. A thirty-eight-year-old canvasser for ads, a graduate of what he terms the “university of life” …

Appendix 1. Remarks on the National Library of Ireland’s Newly Acquired Joyce Manuscripts

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pp. 195-199

Appendix 2. Extant Manuscripts for Ulysses as of Summer 2002

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pp. 199-204


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pp. 205-220

Works Cited

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pp. 221-236


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pp. 237-245

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About the Author, Further Reading

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Michael Groden is Distinguished University Professor in the Department of English at the University of Western Ontario. He is the author of “Ulysses” in Progress, ...

E-ISBN-13: 9780813036564
Print-ISBN-13: 9780813034980
Print-ISBN-10: 0813034981

Page Count: 272
Publication Year: 2010

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Joyce, James, 1882-1941. Ulysses -- Criticism, Textual.
  • Joyce, James, 1882-1941 -- Manuscripts.
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