James Joyce and the Matter of Paris

by Catherine Flynn

In James Joyce and the Matter of Paris, Catherine Flynn recovers the paradigmatic city of European urban modernity as the foundational context of Joyce's imaginative consciousness. Beginning with Joyce's underexamined first exile in 1902–03, she shows the significance for his writing of the time he spent in Paris and of a range of French authors whose works inflected his experience of that city. In response to the pressures of Parisian consumer capitalism, Joyce drew on French literature to conceive a somatic aesthetic, in which the philosophically disparaged senses of taste, touch, and smell as well as the porous, digestive body resist capitalism's efforts to manage and instrumentalize desire. This book resituates the most canonical of Irish modernists in a European avant-garde context while revealing important links between Anglophone modernism and critical theory.

  • Cambridge University Press; September 2019
  • ISBN: 9781108621526
  • Read online, or download in secure PDF or secure ePub format
  • Title: James Joyce and the Matter of Paris
  • Author: Catherine Flynn
  • Imprint: Cambridge University Press

In The Press

'This strikingly original book advances several interrelated arguments about the importance of Paris for understanding Joyce's work. Flynn shows that for Joyce, Paris embodied the spectacle, and the challenges, of the modern city and its burgeoning consumer capitalism.  She argues that Joyce responded to Paris by imagining new ways of thinking through the senses, the body, and materiality generally. This 'sentient thinking', as Flynn articulates it, is both an innovative model of subjectivity and the formulation of an embodied aesthetic. James Joyce and the Matter of Paris departs from the dominant scholarly trends of the last two decades and promises to reshape scholarship on Joyce, modernism, and aesthetics decisively.' Marjorie Howes, Boston College