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MacCabe, Colin. James Joyce: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford UP, 2021. 




List of illustrations 


1. A publication in pot-First World War Paris

2. Dubliners

3. A Portrait 

4. Ulysses

5. Finnegans Wake

6. The Aunt Josephine Paradox

Further reading





James Joyce is one of the greatest writers in English. His first book, A Portrait of the Artist as A Young Man laid down the template for the Coming of Age novel, while his collection of short stories, Dubliners, is of perennial interest. His great modern epic, Ulysses, took the city of Dublin for its setting and all human life for its subject, and its publication in 1922 marked the beginning of the modern novel. Joyce's final work, Finnegans Wake is an endless experiment in narrative and language. But if Joyce is a great writer he is also the most difficult writer in English. Finnegans Wake is written in a freshly invented language, and Ulysses exhausts all the forms and styles of English. Even the apparently simple Dubliners has plots of endless complexity, while the structure of A Portrait of the Artist as A Young Man is exceptionally intricate.


This Very Short Introduction explores the work of this most influential yet complex writer, and analyses how Joyce's difficulty grew out of his situation as an Irish writer unwilling to accept the traditions of his imperialist oppressor, and contemptuous of the cultural banality of the Gaelic revival. Joyce wanted to investigate and celebrate his own life, but this meant investigating and celebrating the drunks of Dublin's pubs and the prostitutes of Dublin's brothels. No subject was alien to him and he developed the naturalist project of recording all aspects of life with the symbolist project of finding significant correspondences in the most unlikely material. Throughout, Colin MacCabe interweaves Joyce's life and history with his books, and draws out their themes and connections.


Harry Levin / James Joyce (1941)


Levin, Harry. James Joyce: A Critical Introduction. New York: A New Direction Book, 1941.

*翻訳:ハリー・レヴィン著 『ジェイムズ・ジョイス―その批評的解説―』飛田茂雄・永原和夫共訳、北星堂書店、1978年



Preface to the Revised Edition

 I The Uncreated Conscience
 1. Reality
 2. The City
 3. The Artist

 II The Personal Epic
 1.    The Two Keys
 2.    Montaeg
 3.    Stasis

 III The Fabulous Artficer
 1.    The Nightmare of History
 2.    The Language of the Outlaw
 3.    Richness

 Revisiting Joyce




HARRY LEVIN, born at Minneapolis, Minnesota, in 1912, was educated at Harvard University, where he is now Irving Babbitt Professor of Comparative Literature and Chairman of the Department Comparative Literature. He has also taught at the Sorbonne, Tokyo University, the Salzburg Seminar in American Studies, and the University of California(Berkeley). He is a member of The National Institute of Arts and Letters, The American Philosophical Society, The American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the French Legion of Honor. His other book include: The Overreacher:  Study of Christopher Marlowe; The Power of Blackness: Hawthorne, Poe, Melville; The Question of Hamlet; Contexts of Criticism; The Gates of Horn: A Study of Five French Realists, and Refractions: Essays in Comparative Literature. Among the works that he has edited are Hawthorne’s Scarlet Letter, Shakespeare’s Coriolanus and Comedy of Errors, the plays of Ben Jonson, and The Portable James Joyce.