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Irish CosmopolitanismLocation and Dislocation in James Joyce, Elizabeth Bowen, and Samuel Beckett$
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Nels Pearson

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780813060521

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813060521.001.0001

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Ulysses, the Sea, and the Paradox of Irish Internationalism

Ulysses, the Sea, and the Paradox of Irish Internationalism

(p.19) Chapter 1 Ulysses, the Sea, and the Paradox of Irish Internationalism
Irish Cosmopolitanism

Nels Pearson

University Press of Florida

Postcolonial readings of Ulysses often focused on national identity, but the novel is equally concerned with Ireland’s challenged internationalism. In many ways, Ulysses exposes the economic and political mechanisms which have conspired to postpone Ireland’s reciprocal engagement in the European interstate system. In Joyce’s Dublin, what Frantz Fanon called “international consciousness” is always preempted by a “national consciousness” which, although presumed to be its prerequisite, cannot be separately achieved. The chapter supports these claims through analysis of Joyce’s thematic incorporation of ports, waterways, and maritime trade, then moves on to speculate that Joyce’s modernism is itself a product of Ireland’s deferred sovereignty. It situates these observations in the context of arguments by Pheng Cheah and Tim Brennan regarding the ways in which the opposing discourses of nationalism and cosmopolitanism obscure the pragmatic challenges of sustainable internationalism and egalitarian statehood in the developing world.

Keywords:   Ulysses, James Joyce, internationalism, sovereignty, water, maritime history, cosmopolitanism, Franz Fanon

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