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The Poetry of James Joyce Reconsidered$
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Marc C. Conner

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780813039763

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813039763.001.0001

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Bleeding from the “Torn Bough”

Bleeding from the “Torn Bough”

Challenging Nature in James Joyce's Pomes Penyeach

(p.187) 9 Bleeding from the “Torn Bough”
The Poetry of James Joyce Reconsidered
Marc C. Conner
University Press of Florida

This essay examines the role of landscape and nature in Joyce's poetry, along with the rise of nature and eco-criticism in Irish Studies in the past decade, arguing that nature reminds Joyce of exile and suffering, while landscape provides the common ground for love and escape in his poems collected as Pomes Penyeach. Joyce's darker views of nature deeply complicate the pastoral or nostalgic as terms for literary interpretation and invite discussions of nature onto the scene in specifically religious and psychoanalytical terms. Joyce's urban pastoral runs counter to the dominant meditations of the Irish Renaissance, and illustrates how the land has always been a sign of exclusion for the Irish, even when they do not recognize this fact. In a sustained discussion of each poem in Joyce's second volume, the essay shows how Joyce engages the complexity of “the urban pastoral” in all its psychological, political, sexual, and religious dimensions. Ultimately, for Joyce the journey towards the confrontation with the site of the maternal and the uncanny is the inevitable direction for his writing.

Keywords:   Landscape, Eco-criticism, Nature, Exile, Pomes Penyeach, Pastoral, Irish Renaissance, uncanny

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