For James Joyce, the artist was a mediator, between the world within and the world without and between the artist's own mind and the minds of his audience. In James Joyce and the Art of Mediation, David Weir uses the concept of mediation as a way of understanding Joyce's narrative poetics, especially his ability to integrate contrary modes of thought and presentation. Beginning with attention to Joyce's early theory about the craft of fiction, Weir shows that the principle of mediation provides a common base for several well-known Joycean devices. The theory of the epiphany, for instance, takes ordinary and insignificant objects and expressions as the medium for feeling and meaning. Similarly, Joyce's later narrative paradigms enabled him to integrate logical, objective structures as psychological, subjective effects. These narrative paradigms include the gnomon, a geometrical figure whose potential is exploited in Dubliners; chiasmus, a rhetorical figure that provides much of the narrative structure of the Portrait; and various organic figurations based mainly on human sexuality that lead to narrative poetics of the body in Ulysses. In addition, Weir discusses the importance of nineteenth-century models, including the works of Walter Pater, Gabriel D'Annunzio, and Baudelaire. Finally, he takes up the hitherto neglected topic of Joyce and homosexuality. In all of these areas, new sources for Joyce's ideas are brought to light. Written in a clear, readable style, James Joyce and the Art of Mediation will appeal to both academic and nonacademic fans of Joyce's writings. It should also interest students and scholars of modernism, comparative literature, genderstudies, and cultural studies.--Patrick McCarthy, University of Miami David Weir is Associate Professor, Faculty of Humanities and Social Science, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art.
Publisher: The University of Michigan Press