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Reading Joyce

1 rating: 5.0
A book by David Pierce

Reading Joyceis absolutely the best kind of introductory book: not a dumbed-down crib, but an informed and passionate guide that both beginners and experts will learn from. (Mark Thwaite) --The Book Depository, February 2008    Pierce … see full wiki

Tags: Books, Biographies, Joyce
Author: David Pierce
Publisher: Longman
1 review about Reading Joyce

A professor shares his insights, and those of his students

  • Jun 18, 2010
Rating:
+5
Another book on James Joyce, but a necessary one. For David Pierce combines thirty years of teaching Joyce with forty years of reading him. He integrates essay passages from his students at the University of York, his experiences teaching adults in Spain, and reflections from his junior seminary stint in the pre-Vatican II Church. He shares what he has learned from his own mixed Irish Catholic and English Jewish heritage. He enriches his lessons with contextual visits to his relatives near the Cliffs of Moher in Co. Clare during the 1950s. And, as with his Irish literary history, Light, Freedom and Song: A Cultural History of Modern Irish Writing, and his magisterial anthology Irish Writing in the Twentieth Century (both reviewed by me), he encourages beginners (not only students themselves) who wonder what to read next, and how.

One situates Joyce in the city, in the photographs, in the maps, in the questions raised by Pierce and his students and fellow scholars. The patient elucidation of so many inquiries asked over and over the years, one senses, illuminates many cruxes in Joyce. Pierce accompanies the reader in guiding him or her into the metropolitan labyrinth.

Pierce's personal encounters model those of any reader coming to Joyce. "We might legitimately feel that whatever insights we possess deserve to be more than merely those that supplement or confirm the author's original intention or achievement." (8) While none can match Joyce's obsessive comprehensiveness, we can, Pierce offers, follow Joyce's intricate difficulties, not to find completion, but at least to rouse contention within texts that reward our patient inquiry.

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