"After the Race" and the Origins of Joyce's Art
Publication Year: 2013
Joyce's "After the Race" is a seemingly simple tale, historically unloved by critics. Yet when magnified and dismantled, the story yields astounding political, philosophic, and moral intricacy.
In Before Daybreak, Cóilín Owens shows that "After the Race" is much more than a story about Dublin at the time of the 1903 Gordon Bennett Cup Race: in reality, it is a microcosm of some of the issues most central to Joycean scholarship.
These issues include large-scale historical concerns--in this case, radical nationalism and the centennial of Robert Emmet's rebellion. Owens also explains the temporary and local issues reflected in Joyce's language, organization, and silences. He traces Joyce's narrative technique to classical, French, and Irish traditions. Additionally, "After the Race" reflects Joyce's internal conflict between emotional allegiance to Christian orthodoxy and contemporary intellectual skepticism.
If the dawning of Joyce's singular power, range, subtlety, and learning can be identified in a seemingly elementary text like "After the Race," this study implicitly contends that any Dubliners story can be mined to reveal the intertextual richness, linguistic subtlety, parodic brilliance, and cultural poignancy of Joyce's art. Owens’s meticulous work will stimulate readers to explore Joyce's stories with the same scrutiny in order to comprehend and relish how Joyce writes.
Published by: University Press of Florida
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List of Figures
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“After the Race” is, after “Eveline,” the second shortest story in Dubliners, and generally taken to be the slightest. What Cóilín Owens has done is more than rehabilitate this minor story: he has revived the far more important question of Joyce’s origins as an artist. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man never really told us anything...
Preface and Acknowledgments
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When one of his admirers approached James Joyce on a Zurich street and asked to kiss the hand that wrote Ulysses, its proprietor declined the off er, saying “It did lots of other things too” (JJII 110). His reply (perhaps inflected by the Matthean verse, “If your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off ” [5: 30]), might have counted among...
List of Abbreviations
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When James Joyce has Leopold Bloom entertain a “[g]ood puzzle” to “cross Dublin without passing a pub” (U 4.129–30), he is parodying the remark attributed to Sir Edward Carson that he rejoiced in the thought that he could traverse the city without passing a single shop bearing an Irish Catholic surname. In Edwardian...
2: The Automobile Age
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“Automobilism” was all the rage in Edwardian Britain. Readers of “quality mags” were regularly entertained and instructed in the romance and hazards of this latest bourgeois indulgence. Round the fires at private clubs, gentlemen could read stories that began like...
3: The Biographical Crisis
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The genesis of Dubliners is familiar to every student of Joyce: in AE’s famous invitation (July 1904) to write a short story suitable for the Irish Homestead. Genial AE asked him if he could submit “anything simple, rural?, livemaking?, [pathetic?] which could be inserted so as not to shock the readers . . . playing to the...
4: Arthur Griffith and the Great Game
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During Joyce’s first sojourn in Paris (December 1902 to April 1903), a series of political events was evolving that, aft er his return to Dublin, would approach a temporary convergence and bear upon his first imaginative efforts. In January 1903, a Land Conference between landlords and tenants produced a report on the reform...
5: Robert Emmet Centennial
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Robert Emmet was a son of Dublin City. He was born, bred, educated, and executed there. His life, rebellion, and death took place on the same streets along which Joyce walked and sent his imaginary cars in “After the Race.” Emmet and Joyce passed their youths between the same...
6: Rhetoric—Modern and Classical
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“After the Race” is a broad satire on the subject and a parody of the style of the stories read by British gentlemen during the reign of the King Edward VII. As ironically implied by Villona’s term of address on which it ends, it satirizes the expectations aroused by an account of the Gordon...
7: The Infernal
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Filled though it is with verifiable “street furniture,” “After the Race” is moored above infernal fires. Consider this familiar Irish folktale...
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The wide-ranging approach of this book—embracing all of the salient circumstances bearing upon Joyce’s writing of “Aft er the Race”—may have at first seemed excessive. But as the painstaking method has set forth, it is necessary if one is to make an adequate assessment of its multivalent language and technical...
Appendix: Schema for "After the Race"
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Page Count: 320
Publication Year: 2013