What does Joyce clearly state? What does Joyce clearly state?
What does Joyce clearly state?
(Fritz Senn, ‘Dynamic Adjustment in Dubliners’)
When James Joyce said that ‘in realism you get down to facts on which the world is based; that sudden reality that smashes romanticism into a pulp’, he affirmed something that doubled into a question: what constitute the “real” for Joyce? Recent criticism offers an extensive analysis on what constitute “reality” in both Dubliners and A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, and proposes a reading of Joyce’s realism in terms of representation of a harsh reality in Dubliners, and of interplay between harsh reality and subjectivity in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. The aim of this essay is to investigate Joyce’s realism in Dubliners and in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man on two levels. Firstly, in the analysis of realism in Dubliners critics have too often underestimated the role played by subjectivity, and I will argue that A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man is not the first depositary of James Joyce’s relativistic attitude towards reality, as critics such as Riquelme seem to suggest.(1)Secondly, I will suggest looking at Joyce’s early fiction in terms of an evolutionary realism, a mode of representation of life and experience that aimed to arouse, or to make others see, a development.
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