Past Its Sell-by Date

Michael Patrick Gillespie

in Bloomsday 100

Published by University Press of Florida

Published in print October 2009 | ISBN: 9780813034027
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780813038162 | DOI:
Past Its Sell-by Date

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  • Literary Studies (20th Century onwards)


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No matter what position an individual occupies on the academic great chain of being, nearly everyone falls victim to the most common of scholastic anxieties: the fear of being exposed as a person who does not know as much as everyone else. In a field like Joyce studies, this apprehension can become especially intense for anyone attempting to engage the range of critical commentaries now in print. Diverse methodologies jockey for pride of place in scholarly journals. This chapter is a trenchant and sardonic metacritique of Joycean scholarship and depicts the would-be reader as a bewildered consumer baffled by the endless array of critical works on offer. It stresses the need for a more discerning assessment of the quality and value of Joyce criticism and discusses the advantage of a therapeutic disengagement from the compulsive overproduction of academic writing. This chapter draws upon comforting images from American commodity culture to find the same reassurance in dealing with the consumption of literary criticism.

Keywords: James Joyce; literary criticism; Joycean scholarship; academic writing; commodity culture; scholarly journals; reader; consumer

Chapter.  6399 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (20th Century onwards)

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