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ELT 40:2 1997 fives that transcend postcolonial ones or strong arguments for seeing these writers as representing a distinctive "Irish" literary imagination. In spite of the limitations of Moynahan's definition of "Irishness," this book offers hope for a more pluralistic conception of Irish literature and culture because his attempt to legitimize the Anglo-Irish as more Irish than Anglo reveals the pitfalls of coping with either literary history or the contemporary political situation in Ireland from binary perspectives .Moreover, the details and arguments he assembles ultimately if not intentionally undermine the very notion of an "Anglo-Irish" tradition by reminding us of the limits of postcolonial discourse, but not successfully transcending that hegemonic model. The literature Moynahan discusses cannot be contained in artificial constructions of literary tradition circumscribed by either postcolonial polarities or by class and religious differences. AProtestant Ascendancy, defined by class and religion, did exist in Ireland; however, literature by and about members of this group transcends social and religious differences and belongs to a larger cultural tradition. As Moynahan remarks at the outset, Irish literary and cultural studies need to move beyond "more conventional and patriotic formulations of Irish literary culture." While challenging postcolonial models, Moynahan does not move beyond their basic assumptions. He nevertheless offers a masterful and insightful survey of what it meant to live and write in a hyphenated culture and of some of the best literature produced in Ireland in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Mary Helen Thuente Indiana University-Purdue University Joyce & Literary Tradition M. Keith Booker. Joyce, Bakhtin, and the Literary Tradition: Toward a Comparative Cultural Poetics. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1995. 273 pp. $47.50 ONE OF THE DAUNTING tasks of every reader of Joyce is to leam how to read him in light of his literary predecessors. What the reader soon discovers is that despite the numerous impressive studies focusing on Joyce and other canonical writers, little is available in terms of a critical vocabulary examining or describing the relationship itself. Missing from discussions of Joyce and company are theories illuminating the issue of literary indebtedness. Thus generations of readers learned from Stuart Gilbert to find "parallelisms" between Ulysses and the Odyssey 238 BOOK REVIEWS without questioning the concept of parallelism itself. At least not until Fritz Senn proposed the term "dislocute" to describe the unruly intertexuality of Ulysses and taught us how to read Joyce interactively— Joyce through Homer and Homer through Joyce. Keith Booker's work at first glance promises a "comparative cultural poetics"—derived from Bakhtin—which would offer a new understanding of Joyce's "place" in the literary tradition. In an ambitious study, Booker initiates what he calls "dialogues" between Joyce and a number of his literary forefathers—Homer, Rabelais, Dante, Goethe, Shakespeare, and Dostoyevsky—to "emphasize" Joyce's relationship to the western literary tradition." Unlike studies closely exploring Joyce's relation to Shakespeare, Dante (or more recently to Shaw and Milton), Booker claims that his chapters "are not comparative studies of individual authors but more general discussions of cultural issues." What these "general discussions" mainly yield is "Joyce's antagonism to traditional cultural authority" by showing how Joyce challenges previous masters by engaging in "subversive dialoguéis]" with them. Thus Booker's thesis is very much in keeping with the primary lesson taught to the reader of the "Oxen of the Sun" chapter in Ulysses. Booker's further point is to show how the readings "suggest a Joyce whose works are politically committed, historically engaged, and socially relevant. In short, they suggest a Joyce whose work differs radically from conventional notions of modernist literature as culturally elitist, historically detached, and more interested in individual psychology than in social reality." Given the intensely political/cultural/historical discussions of Joyce in the last decade or so, one wonders if "conventional" readings of Joyce as a high modernist can still be regarded as the critical norm. In his first chapter on Joyce and Homer, '"Reminds One of Homer,'" Booker has to dredge up T. S. Eliot's essay on Joyce's "mythical method" to prove that unlike what Eliot suggests, Joyce is "challenging the authority of the epic with his novel" and is...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1559-2715
Print ISSN
0013-8339
Pages
pp. 238-243
Launched on MUSE
2010-05-21
Open Access
No
Archive Status
Archived
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