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Chapter 14 - “Cityful Passing Away”

Resituating Dublin

from Part II - Spotlight Literary Cities

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  13 July 2023

Ato Quayson
Affiliation:
Stanford University, California
Jini Kim Watson
Affiliation:
New York University
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Summary

From its earliest Viking origins, Dublin was part of a networked Atlantic geography of exchange. Throughout its history, Dublin’s place in world literature has been influenced by the shifting shapes of those networks over time.Eighteenth-century, literary Dublin, for instance, was determined by the gravitational field of London, while by the middle of the nineteenth century, Dublin would have become the point of origin for a transnational diaspora– an origin akin to a wound from which the blood is being drained: insular, entrophic, and suffering (in James Joyce’s phrase fromDubliners) from paralysis. Joyce is the pivotal figure here, insofar as he was to see how the city’s insular, embedded sense of place could co-exist with a generative sense of incompleteness, an awareness of the phantom limb of the global network of which the city was a part, capable of being sutured by imagination.That suturing effect would also, paradoxically, reposition what had become a peripheral city to the centre of modernist writing, notably in Joyce’s Ulysses. Finally, with Dublin today one of the most globalised cities in the world, literary form is being once more reconfigured as networks shift and are again radically decentred.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2023

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