Reading Joyce's Poetry against the Rest of the Canon

Edited by Marc C. Conner

in The Poetry of James Joyce Reconsidered

Published by University Press of Florida

Published in print April 2012 | ISBN: 9780813039763
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780813043159 | DOI:
Reading Joyce's Poetry against the Rest of the Canon

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This essay examines the apparent creative contradictions often noted in comparing Joyce's prose and poetry, asking why we find there such apparently traditional poetry, given the radical, experimental quality of Joyce's prose. An understanding of Joyce's “oscillating” perspectives--his ability to sustain often contrary concepts--is crucial to see not only his purposes in the Chamber Music poems but indeed to understand the meanings of Joyce's entire body of work. This oscillating “poetic perspective” has a determining effect on Joyce's subsequent writing: it appears, for example, in the tensions between idealism and cynicism in such Dubliners stories as “Araby” ; in the dialectic between the artistic and the erotic, the active and the passive in Pomes Penyeach and Portrait; in the crucial issues of parenthood in Pomes Penyeach and Exiles, and ultimately Ulysses); and in the multiple, often contrary expressions of sexuality in Pomes Penyeach and Finnegans Wake. By examining elements from Joyce's entire oeuvre, the essay claims that all of the poetry that Joyce produced during his lifetime can inform our understanding of the creative forces behind all his works.

Keywords: Oscillating; Poetic perspective; Dubliners; Chamber Music; Pomes Penyeach; Ulysses; Exiles; Finnegans Wake; sexuality

Chapter.  7404 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (20th Century onwards)

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