How does recent scholarship on ethnicity and race speak to the Jewish dimension of James Joyce’s writing? What light has Joyce himself already cast on the complex question of their relationship? This book poses these questions in terms of models of the other drawn from psychoanalytic and cultural studies and from Jewish cultural studies, arguing that in Joyce the emblematic figure of otherness is “the Jew.”
The work of Emmanuel Levinas, Sander Gilman, Gillian Rose, Homi Bhabha, among others, is brought to bear on the literature, by Jews and non-Jews alike, that has forged the representation of Jews and Judaism in this century. Joyce was familiar with this literature, like that of Theodor Herzl. Joyce sholarship has largely neglected even these sources, however, including Max Nordau, who contributed significantly to the philosophy of Zionism, and the literature on the “psychobiology” of race—so prominent in the fin de siècle—all of which circulates around and through Joyce’s depictions of Jews and Jewishness.
Several Joyce scholars have shown the significance of the concept of the other for Joyce’s work and, more recently, have employed a variety of approaches from within contemporary deliberations of the ideology of race, gender, and nationality to illuminate its impact. The author combines these approaches to demonstrate how any modern characterization of otherness must be informed by historical representations of “the Jew” and, consequently, by the history of anti-Semitism. She does so through a thematics and poetics of Jewishness that together form a discourse and method for Joyce’s novel.
“James Joyce’s Judaic Other constitutes a major contribution to Joyce scholarship.”
“[An] important contribution to Joyce studies . . . .a detailed . . . .account of the Jewish background to Ulysses, one that will challenge readers to pursue on their own the important connections with other contexts that she has left unexplored.”
—Religion and the Arts