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Joyce and Dante

Joyce and Dante: The Shaping Imagination

Mary T. Reynolds
Copyright Date: 1981
Pages: 396
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  • Book Info
    Joyce and Dante
    Book Description:

    Mary Reynolds studies the rhetorical and linguistic maneuvers by which Joyce related his work to Dante's and shows how Joyce created in his own fiction a Dantean allegory of art. Dr. Reynolds argues that Joyce read Dante as a poet rather than as a Catholic; that Joyce was interested in Dante's criticism of society and, above all, in his great powers of innovation.

    Originally published in 1987.

    ThePrinceton Legacy Libraryuses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-5660-2
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Illustrations
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Preface
    (pp. xi-xii)
  5. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xiii-xvi)
  6. Editions and Abbreviations
    (pp. xvii-2)
  7. Introduction
    (pp. 3-11)

    Some writers labor to disconnect themselves from their predecessors, others seek out a tradition to which they can comfortably conform. Joyce did neither. His estimate of his own genius would not have allowed subservience to a defined tradition, yet few writers have written with such an educated critical awareness. At an early stage he marked out a small number of his predecessors for lifetime engagement, attaching their work to his.

    But this was a peculiarly loose attachment, which encroached while maintaining its distance. ForUlysses, Joyce announced that Homer was his model and Shakespeare his illustration, the one by his...

  8. Chapter One The Presence of Dante in Joyce’s Fiction
    (pp. 12-32)

    The patterns of Joyce’s interest in Dante form a larger design, which developed over a long span of years. A dominant element from the beginning was his desire, shared with other writers in the English language, to absorb the great poem into a later age, a different language, an alien culture. Joyce might have translated Dante (as Chaucer translated Petrarch, and as Byron translated Dante’s Francesca episode). But he chose instead to assimilate Dante’s poetic effects in his own fictions.

    As we read his books we see the questions Joyce asked of Dante’s text. These range from minute questions of...

  9. Chapter Two Paternal Figures and Paternity Themes
    (pp. 33-78)

    At the center of Joyce’s and Dante’s work, narrative and style come together and are mutually reinforced by conceptions embodied in the construction of dominant images. In the three chapters that follow, three such configurations will be presented in which clear reference to theDivine Comedyis found in Joyce’s fictions.

    Joyce’s recovery of Dante resembled Dante’s recovery of Virgil in being a combination of devoted attachment and radical difference. Out of all the antique world Dante chose Virgil for comprehensive reincarnation in his fictional journey. He thus entered fully into the genius of ancient art. So also with Joyce,...

  10. Chapter Three The Theme of Love: Dante’s Francesca and Joyce’s “Sirens”
    (pp. 79-118)

    “Shall I wear a white rose,” says Molly Bloom at the close ofUlysses, and a few lines farther on, “or shall I wear a red yes.” Thus Joyce makes a last connection of his book with Dante’s poem, an echo of the “candida rosa” (“pure white rose”), in the first line ofParadiso31. He added the white rose to the typescript of the Penelope episode in July 1921, only a few months before the book’s publication, and the red rose even later, at an advanced stage of reading galley proofs. But these were not casual addenda, nor merely...

  11. Chapter Four Poetic Imagination and Lustration Patterns
    (pp. 119-148)

    Dante begins and ends thePurgatoriowith images of lustration. At the opening of Canto 1, he conveys to the reader his own delight in the mysterious gift of his expressive talent as he invites us to follow the “little skiff” of his poetic genius, “la navicella del mio ingegno.”

    In the first lines of thePurgatorio, Dante makes the reader aware of what it feels like to be a poet, in tropes that bring together all the associations of a spring morning at the edge of the sea:

    L’alba vinceva l’ora mattutina che fuggia innanzi, sì che di lontano...

  12. Chapter Five Toward an Allegory of Art
    (pp. 149-174)

    We now return, by a somewhat different different approach, to the agenda of the opening chapter. Joyce’s eclectic treatment of Dante’s images has been described in the three central chapters of this book as a poetic configuration of intermingled theme, style and form. It is now appropriate once more to resume a chronological sequence and to inspect Joyce’s writing as a series of individual works intimately related and connected with each other, in order to make a final examination of his allusions to Dante in this perspective. The immediate purpose of the inquiry is to fix more precisely the character...

  13. Chapter Six Between Time and Eternity
    (pp. 175-222)

    Every great imaginative writer moves back and forth between the real world and the creations of his fantasy, and nothing is more interesting than to watch him deploying his metaphorical skills and devices. Dante’s characters became part of Joyce’s fictional world along with “real” people, and in much the same way. From both, he selected recognizable characteristics. Individuals Joyce had known as a student in Dublin often recognized themselves in a novel, sometimes with dismay. More often, however, the sitter could not recognize himself, although another reader might well do so, because the “real” individual’s distinctive features had been blurred...

  14. Appendix: Joyce’s Allusions to Dante
    (pp. 223-330)
  15. Notes
    (pp. 331-360)
  16. Index
    (pp. 361-375)
  17. Back Matter
    (pp. 376-376)