Ulysses in Toontown: 'Vision animated to bursting point' in Joyce's 'Circe'

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Not only did James Joyce become professionally involved with early film in his ill-starred venture to set up Ireland’s first regular cinema in 1909–10, but his own formative movie-going took place when the industry was still all but shunned as vulgar catchpenny entertainment of scant aesthetic worth, by most ‘serious’ writers and cultural pundits.1 In this sense, Joyce was prescient, as well as democratic, in embracing this popular medium for the groundbreaking possibilities it helped fertilise in his work. Indeed, what seems most remarkable about the manifold parallels with early movies in Joyce’s texts is the sheer catholicity of his taste. The paradox is that Joyce was just as interested in the medium, for its ‘lowbrow’ appeal, as for its avant-garde potentials, and his work was all the more innovative, formally and philosophically, for that.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLiterature and Visual Technologies
Subtitle of host publicationWriting After Cinema
EditorsJulian Murphet , Lydia Rainford
Place of PublicationBasingstoke
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages26
ISBN (Electronic)9780230389991
ISBN (Print)9781349511709
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2003


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