Prologue: Stephen Dedalus's Hell

John Casey

in After Lives

Published in print October 2009 | ISBN: 9780195092950
Published online February 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780199869732 | DOI:
Prologue: Stephen Dedalus's Hell

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This chapter explores the evaporation, in effect, of real assent to beliefs in the afterlife, especially in hell. Starting from the author's personal experiences of Catholicism before Vatican II, it goes on to consider whether in the modern world such beliefs are inevitably entertained with ironic overtones. The hell sermons in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce are of exceptional interest here, for Joyce is able to deploy irony toward a boy's belief in hell, and the Catholic traditions that stand behind it, while holding back from satire.

Keywords: James Joyce; Stephen Dedalus; hell sermons; Vatican II; Catholicism; irony

Chapter.  4623 words. 

Subjects: East Asian Religions

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