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BOOK REVIEWS So Mullin's book impresses throughout, especially with the rigor of its research into historical and cultural backgrounds. Any reader will find new information here, probably on a wide range of topics. The application of this material to Joyce's texts always remains careful. That it illuminates some texts more usefully than others is probably unavoidable, and all the chapters contain worthwhile insights into Joyce's writing. This is a book which anyone interested in Joyce and his contexts should read. DAVID G. WRIGHT __________________ University of Auckland Keeping Joyce's Audiences in Mind John Nash, ed. Joyce's Audiences. No. 14, European Joyce Studies. New York: Rodopi, 2002. 225 pp. $55.00 JAMES JOYCE'S WORKS might never find the "ideal reader suffering from an ideal insomnia" (Finnegans Wake, 120.13-14), but they will continue to keep critics and scholars busy explicating and glossing Joyce's texts for years. However, the increasingly large number of critical works and classes on Joyce call attention to important differences among readers, reading strategies, and interpretations of previous readings . Moreover, Joyce worked hard to construct his audiences (often telling his early critics and biographers what to print), and he incorporated his critics' words and attitudes into his own works. As such, it is nearly impossible to read Joyce effectively without taking into consideration the importance of his audiences. John Nash's edited collection, aptly entitled Joyce's Audiences, emphasizes the significance of the historical analysis of Joyce criticism. The volume builds on previous research in such works as Dunleavy's Re-Viewing Classics of Joyce Criticism, Deming's James Joyce: The Critical Heritage, and Segall's Joyce in America: Cultural Politics and the Trials of'Ulysses', while also including a more international and historical mix of writers and readers. To read Joyce, one needs to keep the basic rhetorical issue of audience in mind at all times. The best essayists in Nash's collection manage to keep their own audiences in mind when they provide selective critical histories of Joyce's reception while remaining aware of their particular situations as contemporary critics in the ongoing reception of the writer. Since Joyce's prose poses such stylistic difficulties, the "normal reader" might be alienated from reading the Irish writer; hence, Joyce is a test case for anyone interested in the problems of a "plain reader" reading modernist writing. Jean-Michel Rabaté's essay, "Modernism and 480 ELT 47 : 4 2004 'The Plain Reader's Rights': Duff-Riding-Graves Re-Reading Joyce," in a way the keynote to the collection, is a superb examination of the construction of the modern "plain reader" and James Joyce. Lucid, lively, and well written, Rabaté's essay examines Laura Riding and Robert Graves' A Survey of Modernist Poetry (1927) to find out what the early "bill of rights" was for the "plain reader." The concept transforms slightly with Charles Duff's 1932 book James Joyce and the Plain Reader, when the "plain reader" becomes someone who is not a professional reader in need of professorial or critical glosses. As Rabaté shows by close reading phrases in Finnegans Wake, Joyce includes figures of the "plain reader" as part of his structuring designs. For Rabaté, "the point in Finnegans Wake is not to find one's way in the dark forest but that one should accept being lost and even enjoy the feeling." Overall, this edited volume nicely presents three sides of Joyce's readers: readers who would like to find their way, readers who appear to accept being lost, and readers who even enjoy the feeling of being lost. The twelve-essay volume actually begins with Barbara Leckie's analysis of censorship and modernism. The initial reception of Ulysses— with its ostensibly inordinate demands on any reader—enforced class divisions inasmuch as only some individuals had access to aesthetic reading strategies. If one did not have the right education, one could not understand Joyce. In place of this more elitist perspective, Leckie shows how Judge Woolsey's decision to remove Ulysses from the realm of pornography reveals a construction of a more average reader. However, the creation of an average reader for Ulysses tends to downplay Joyce...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1559-2715
Print ISSN
0013-8339
Pages
pp. 480-484
Launched on MUSE
2010-05-21
Open Access
No
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