Joyce's Iritis and the Irritated Text: The Dis-lexic Ulysses

Roy Gottfried

Foreword by Bernard Benstock
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SAMLA Book Award Winner, 1995

"A critical tour de force that combines deft close readings and subtle theoretical speculation in an illuminating and original examination of one of modernism's central texts. . . . [Establishes] with convincing force the far-reaching implications of Joyce's physical problems in seeing for the composition and interpretation of Ulysses."--Ronald Bogue, University of Georgia, and chair, SAMLA Book Award Committee

"Delightful reading, involving the reader in the conspiracy of savoring minute details as part of a constantly developing overall pattern. No one has as yet provided so fine a mesh for containing the essentials of Joyce's Ulysses."--Bernard Benstock, University of Miami

"Gottfried has settled upon a highly evocative metaphor that delineates the complex intellectual operations of the composition and the interpretation of a sophisticated work of art. . . . From that specificity he is able to draw a fully generalized and illuminating view of the novel."--Michael Patrick Gillespie, Marquette University

Ulysses was written and proofread when James Joyce's vision was seriously blurred and impaired by iritis. The illness required him to use a magnifying glass to enlarge words, separating them out of context and distorting the simple letters in them. This book is the first study to consider the undermining effects of Joyce's iritis on the text of Ulysses.
Gottfried examines Ulysses much as Joyce must have tried to see it, in close readings of many small portions of the text, and with a quizzical eye. He locates the particular density and opacity of Ulysses in two sites: within the iritis in Joyce's eyes and within the body of the text with its irritated confusion of letters.
"No reader's eye can be trusted in seeing Ulysses," Gottfried claims. Instead, the reader is disoriented and infected with a particular kind of "Joycean dis-lexia," so that "a variety of instabilities arise from the reader's unclear view and reading of the novel."

The Florida James Joyce Series, edited by Zack Bowen.

Roy Gottfried is associate professor of English at Vanderbilt University. He is the author of The Art of Joyce's Syntax in "Ulysses" and of articles and reviews in the James Joyce Quarterly, Joyce Literary Supplement, and Joyce Broadsheet.

No Sample Chapter Available a relentlessly brilliant performanceby someone who knows Ulysses both backwards and forwards...
--James Joyce Literary Supplement

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