Internal Colony

Jon Hegglund

in World Views

Published in print March 2012 | ISBN: 9780199796106
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199932771 | DOI:

Series: Modernist Literature and Culture

Internal Colony

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This chapter examines Joyce's Ulysses, as an object generated out of imperial cartographies of the internal colony of Ireland. It begins with a critical examination of the nineteenth-century Ordnance Survey of Ireland undertaken by the British military, the first comprehensive cartographic survey of a colonial territory. Moving to Joyce's novel, the chapter shows how Ulysses uses the imperial map of a bounded, objectified colony to emphasize the tensions between the map as a tool of imperial possession and the map as a canvas for the creation of an emergent communal identity. Ultimately, Joyce creates a world that is anti-topographical, subverting the mimeticism of the novel's early chapters with a formalism that denies the possibility of his novel having any kind of stable spatial ground. Such anti-representational formalism extends to the political vision of the novel, which is not necessary nationalist (as some recent critics have argued) but radically anti-national in its suspicion of any static spatial representation of culture.

Keywords: survey; internal colony; cartography; topography; nationalism; James Joyce; Ulysses; Ireland

Chapter.  11986 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Literary Studies (20th Century onwards)

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