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Poetry of James Joyce Reconsidered

Marc C. Conner

Publication Year: 2012

To many, James Joyce is simply the greatest novelist of the twentieth century. Scholars have pored over every minutia of his public and private life from utility bills to deeply personal letters in search of new insights into his life and work. Yet, for the most part, they have paid scant attention to the two volumes of poetry he published.

The nine contributors to The Poetry of James Joyce Reconsideredconvincingly challenge the critical consensus that Joyce’s poetry is inferior to his prose. They reveal how his poems provide entries into Joyce's most personal and intimate thoughts and ideas. They also demonstrate that Joyce's poetic explorations--of the nature of knowledge, sexual intimacy, the changing quality of love, the relations between writing and music, and the religious dimensions of the human experience--were fundamental to his development as a writer of prose.

This exciting new work is sure to spark new interest in Joyce's poetry, and will become an essential and indispensable resource for students and scholars of his life and work.

Published by: University Press of Florida

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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Table of Contents

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pp. vii-viii

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pp. ix-x

Joyce’s final paragraph of Dubliners is bowed, as a piece of music for a stringed instrument requires bowing: a downward stroke “falling on every part of the dark central plain,” upbow “on the treeless hills,” downbow “falling softly upon the Bog of Allen...

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pp. xi-xii

This book began in Dublin in 2004, at the Nineteenth International James Joyce Symposium, where I delivered a paper on issues of knowledge in Joyce’s poetry. At that gathering I met two other scholars doing interesting work on the poetry, Myra...

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1. The Poetry of James Joyce Reconsidered

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pp. 1-32

What would it mean to consider James Joyce seriously as a poet? How do we evaluate Joyce’s actual poetic production? And what relation does his poetry bear to his achievements in narrative? It has been over 100 years since scholarly assessments of Joyce’s poetry began, with Arthur Symons’s 1907 review of Chamber...

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2. Reading Joyce’s Poetry against the Rest of the Canon

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pp. 33-50

I take the epigraph for this essay from the wire that Stephen Dedalus sent to Buck Mulligan at The Ship pub in Lower Abbey Street. Mulligan had been waiting there with Haines, his English visitor, for Stephen to appear, flush with his salary for teaching at Mr. Deasy’s school, to buy them drinks. Reading the telegram..

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3. The Unconsortable Joyce: Chamber Music

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pp. 51-77

The 1905 ordering of James Joyce’s Chamber Music began with “He who hath glory lost,” what was to become poem XXI of the version eventually published by Elkin Mathews in 1907. Stanislaus Joyce claimed that he ordered the final sequence...

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4. Verse after Verlaine, Rime after Rimbaud: Joyce and the “poisondart” of Chamber Music

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pp. 78-104

That Joyce’s poems have been published alongside his “shorter pieces” or in the same volume as Exiles has been a determining factor in their reception or nonreception, to an even greater degree, perhaps, in the age of globalization, when the term “exile” has...

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5. “That high unconsortable one”: Chamber Music and “A Painful Case”

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pp. 105-116

The genesis of Dubliners is familiar to every student of Joyce, in George Russell’s famous invitation ( July 1904) to write a short story suitable for the Irish Homestead. AE asked Joyce if he could submit “anything simple, rural?, livemaking?, [pathetic...

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6. “After Music": Chamber Music, Song, and the Blank Page

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pp. 117-142

Chamber Music is the orphan of the Joyce canon, disowned by its author, ignored or chastised by a series of exasperated critics, “a misbirth with a trailing navelcord” like the one Stephen observes in Ulysses (U 38). But before we condemn the...

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7. Joyce’s Poetics of Knowledge

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pp. 143-169

As Stephen Dedalus, aspiring Irish poet, wanders Sandymount Strand midway through the “Proteus” episode of Ulysses, he asks himself the question that will haunt him throughout the day: “What is that word known to all men?” (U 3.435). Although in “Scylla and Charybdis” Stephen will suggest that the word is “love...

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8. Orpheus Rebound: The Voice of Lament in Joyce’s Poetic Consciousness

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pp. 170-186

In the broadest sense of the word, Joyce is a poet, a writer with great creative imagination expressed artistically through the mastery and power of language. The dominant poetic voice in Joyce’s works, as this essay attempts to argue, is Orphic, a voice characterized...

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9. Bleeding from the “Torn Bough”: Challenging Nature in James Joyce’s Pomes Penyeach

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pp. 187-208

Any essay on James Joyce’s poetry, even one in a collection that is devoted to it, still must answer the question, why the poetry? Perhaps even more specifically, why the lyrics, which have always been viewed as slighter than the satires? I have argued elsewhere that it is the lyric moment, the epiphany, that proved as important...

List of Abbreviations

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pp. 209-210

Works Cited

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pp. 211-222

List of Contributors

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pp. 223-224


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pp. 225-233

Further Reading

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pp. 234-235

E-ISBN-13: 9780813042237
Print-ISBN-13: 9780813039763
Print-ISBN-10: 0813039762

Page Count: 246
Publication Year: 2012