Chapter

Introduction

Vike Martina Plock

in Joyce, Medicine, and Modernity

Published by University Press of Florida

Published in print January 2010 | ISBN: 9780813034232
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780813038803 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5744/florida/9780813034232.003.0001
Introduction

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James Joyce apparently had ample reason to see analogies between the progress of his health and his avant-garde novel. Both troubled him exceedingly in the years from 1917 to 1922. However, Joyce's statement also hints at another parallel between Ulysses and his physical condition. Joyce suggests that both his ocular troubles and his book are “complicated” and therefore elude analytical or diagnostic certainty. This book is an attempt to do a bit of diagnosing. Its focus is on Joyce's obsession with health, debility, and medicine — topics and subjects that crop up everywhere in his writing. Hence, while Joyce's physical body repeatedly made the acquaintance of the doctor's surgical knife and the question of his health remained “in the doctor's hands,” the book dissects, analyzes, and examines Joyce's textual corpus in search for medical references and intertexts. However, it is an exploration of Joyce's aesthetics as well as a sociohistorical analysis.

Keywords: James Joyce; health; avant-garde novel; Ulysses; debility; medicine; textual corpus; medical references; intertexts; aesthetics

Chapter.  1705 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (20th Century onwards)

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