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By Robert Spoo

"History is a nightmare from which i'm attempting to awake." Stephen Dedalus's recognized grievance articulates a attribute sleek angle towards the perceived burden of the previous. As Robert Spoo exhibits during this learn, Joyce's inventive success, from the time of his sojourn in Rome in 1906-07 to the final touch of Ulysses in 1922, can't be understood except the ferment of ancient idea that ruled the 19th and early 20th centuries. Tracing James Joyce's historiographic artwork to its formative contexts, Spoo unearths a modernist writer passionately engaged with the matter of heritage, forging a brand new language that either dramatizes and redefines that challenge.

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Additional info for James Joyce and the Language of History: Dedalus's Nightmare

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Whether exquisitely sublimated by the aesthete or cerebrally spiritualized by the teleologist, history's body returns with eyes Joyce's Attitudes Toward History: Rome, 1906-7 37 staring out of death to strike down the denier. Joyce's art depended on acceptance and retrieval of the past as much as on rejection of it. With "moral history" yielding to a more inclusive comic sense of "Irish history," with the monologic voice of Nietzschean antihistoricism giving way to multivocal textualizations of historical experience, Joyce was ready, in principle if not in fact, to begin Ulysses.

599-602). O'Molloy alludes to the shooting of General Bobrikoff, the Russian governor-general of Finland, by a Finnish aristocrat on June 16, 1904, an hour or so before "Aeolus" takes place. 603). He only thinksaboul political assassination because he is sworn to destroying religious and political institutions in a bloodless, Blakean coup of the mind and spirit. By razing the past within himself he will make room for present and future possibilities. " Throughout 1906-7 Joyce interested himself in socialist politics and theories of anarchism;25 and as this was a formative period for his ideas about history and literature, it should not be surprising that a kind of aesthetic anarchism informs much of his later work.

In early 1905 he wrote Stanislaus: "I am sure . . that the whole structure of heroism is, and always was, a damned lie and that there cannot be any substitute for the individual passion as the motive power of everything—art and philosophy included" (Letters II 81). The same phrase, "individual 30 James Joyce and the Language of History passion," occurs in a lecture Joyce prepared in 1907 on the Irish poet James Clarence Mangan, in which he characterized poetry as a revolt against received historical notions, those "idols of the market place": "The history of [Mangan's] country encloses him so straitly that even in his hours of extreme individual passion he can barely reduce its walls to ruins" (CW18 5).

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