A Rhetoric of Renewal : Ideology and Joyce's Art
Rodwan, John G., Jr.
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The large and continually growing body of critical writings engendered by Joyce's novels has produced a number of standard procedures (some of which are followed here) and established certain beliefs regarding Joyce's art (most of which are disputed here). The present study, then, attempts a reading of Joyce's novels which also necessarily addresses the problems of past readings, a reading which tries to avoid repeating the Dedalean paradox. As I have suggested, this requires devising a critical strategy which works with Joyce's texts rather than trying to force the texts to work within an imposed framework. In addressing the question of authorial distance in A Portrait, the use and significance of classical myth in Ulysses, the unorthodox language of Finnegans Wake, and issues related to these topics, I neither chart the apparent similarities between a particular character and the author, nor do I resort to explications of Joyce's statements about his works. Instead, utilizing the theories of the novel offered by Kenneth Burke and Mikhail Bakhtin, I present a reading of Joyce's works of art which stresses their rhetorical and ideological aims rather than their questionable status as mere chapters in the biography of the author.