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By R. Kershner

Analyzing Ulysses with a watch to the cultural references embedded inside of it, Kershner interrogates modernism's courting to modern pop culture and literature. Examples underscore Kershner's corrective to formal ways to style as he broadens the methodologies which are used to check it to incorporate social and political ways.

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Additional info for The Culture of Joyce’s Ulysses

Sample text

S. Eliot, in his essay “Ulysses, Order and Myth” (1923), the former redeemed the latter, while for Wyndham Lewis the latter outweighed and vitiated the former. Kenner, while retaining the valuation Eliot had put on the formal ordering of Ulysses, recast Joyce’s mechanisms in a parodic light. 4 Eliot’s Joyce might be nostalgic for feudalism, or at any rate for life before the seventeenth-century “dissociation of sensibility,” while Jameson’s Joyce could only hope for a coming radical transformation of society.

Their work offers, by implication, an alternative interpretation of Ulysses’s mythic structure that coincides with the standard modernist interpretation in some ways, and diverges in others. The modern world sketched in Dialectic of Enlightenment is one of mechanism triumphant, in which rationalism has run amok, vitiating the lived experience of individuals, and surrounding them with the dead products of a mindlessly consumer society. Oddly enough, this vision nearly coincides with that of Wyndham Lewis in Time and Western Man, a social critique we would now see as coming from the far right.

The sheer mass of detailed environment Joyce presents has often been seen as deadening; at least within the context of classical modernism, it is usually approached as a distraction from the genuine stuff of organic life and human authenticity. One of the few rejoinders to this assumption was offered by Fredric Jameson. In a frequently cited article, he argues that the verbal technique of “Ithaca,” which apparently reduces all experience to material details, actually works against the naturalizing tendency of classical physical description and the problem of human alienation in the face of modern reality: [Joyce’s response] is to be found in that great movement of dereification I have already invoked, in which the whole dead grid of the object world of greater Dublin is, in the catechism chapter, finally, disalienated and by the most subterranean detours traced back .

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