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“A Rank Outsider”: Gambling and Economic Rivalry in Ulysses

From: James Joyce Quarterly
Volume 48, Number 1, Fall 2010
pp. 75-88 | 10.1353/jjq.2010.0041



The 1904 Ascot Gold Cup Race presents an opportunity to contrast two competing economic experiences inherent within a capitalist system: the gambler’s trust in luck and the investor’s trust in time. Using Walter Benjamin’s analysis of the effect of capitalistic industrialization on experience, this study examines the competition between Leopold Bloom and Blazes Boylan as a contrast of economic strategies and the location of human value within them. Thus, Joyce’s reading of experience within a capitalistic world leads to a simultaneous critique of the modern urban world and an affirmation of the human response to it.

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