An introduction to the Irish language. by William Neilson

By William Neilson

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What has changed then since  cannot be attributed to a gradual and always fragile acceptance by American academics of “French” or “continental” approaches to literary theory. The spate of books written on Joyce from the perspective of post-colonial theory, like Enda Duffy’s The Subaltern Ulysses (), Vincent Cheng’s already quoted Joyce, Race and Empire () or Declan Kiberd’s very influential Inventing Ireland (), seems to show that there is by now a consensus. The political readings of Joyce have won the day, but they now tend to address a slightly different critical predicament.

Moreover, Finnegans Wake, although in some sense much closer (mimetically at least) to issues of civil war, colonial conquest, clan betrayal, land spoliation, religious intolerance, and race miscegenation, in short the whole tangled and confusing colonial and post-colonial history of a still divided Ireland, works by confusing identities and stereotyping them. As Eagleton points out, there is the risk of another type of anarchy: Something of the same ambiguity haunts Finnegans Wake, a work that, as its radical apologists have pointed out, confounds and commingles all distinct identities in a manner scandalous to the rigorous hierarchies of orthodox bourgeois culture.

Here is what Roark answers: No. It’s not sharing. When I listen to a symphony I love, I don’t get from it what the composer got. His “Yes” was different from mine. He could have no concern for mine and no exact conception of it. That answer is too personal to each man. But in giving himself what he wanted, he gave me a great experience. I’m alone when I design a house, Gail, and you can never know the way in which I own it. But if you said your own “Amen” to it – it’s also yours. And I’m glad it’s yours.

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