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Joyce and the ‘Cultic Twalette’: Jocoserious jousts in the nationalist arena in the Cyclops episode of Ulysses
conference contributionposted on 2011-01-01, 00:00 authored by Frances Devlin-Glass
Set in a richly detailed Dublin of 1904, there has never been serious debate about the Irishness of Ulysses, but early critics and commentators, abetted by Joyce, made more of its European intertexts especially Homer, Dante, and closer to Ireland, Shakespeare. Its deep and suppressed debt to the Irish tradition was not fully explored until Maria Tymoczko’s The Irish Ulysses (1994). This paper examines how ancient Irish poetic material is used and strategically coopted for political use in the so-called Cyclops chapter of Ulysses, and demonstrates how Joyce reworked ancient Irish poetry to express a rather more inclusive and celebratory relationship with his cultural heritage than is sometimes recognised by commentators who more commonly insist that his use of ancient Irish material is parodic and satiric.