'Sperrits in the Furniture': Wells, Joyce and Animation, Before and After 1910

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    This article places an inter-medial alignment between James Joyce and H.G. Wells into historical context through their shared interest in early cinema, arguing that their anticipations of and parallels with cinema reacted to the symptoms of modernity in related ways. By 1910, Wells's The Invisible Man provided a common reference point for ‘trick-films’, such as those shown at Joyce's Cinematograph Volta which would influence the presentation of absent presences and manipulated objects in the ‘Circe’ episode of Ulysses (1922). In turn, Joyce's presentation of complexes and fantasies in terms which evoked the ‘polymorphous plasticism’ of stop-motion and cartoons would influence Well's visualisation of the ‘war complex’ in The King Who Was a King (1929). Their work was thus in dialogue through animation modes, as their practical engagements with the industry confirm.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)95-110
    Number of pages16
    JournalLiterature and History
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2013


    • James Joyce
    • H.G. Wells
    • early cinema
    • animation


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