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The Speech-Gesture ComplexModernism, Theatre, Cinema$
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Anthony Paraskeva

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780748684892

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: May 2014

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748684892.001.0001

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James Joyce

James Joyce

(p.38) James Joyce
The Speech-Gesture Complex

Anthony Paraskeva

Edinburgh University Press

Gestures in Dubliners, which often resemble stage directions in naturalist drama, testify to Joyce’s reading of playscripts, but also to his prolific theatre-going, during which he developed an infatuation with the Italian actress Eleanora Duse. The chapter investigates strong parallels between the influence of naturalist performance on Joyce, and Henry James’ transformative encounter with Ibsen, his consequent failure as a playwright, and his writing’s thematised split process of reading and spectating. Joyce’s resistance to Yeats and Revivalism overturns the conventional distinctions between a politically progressive modernism and an ideologically conservative naturalism. The chapter situates Exiles within the performance culture of its time, and Joyce’s reading of Freud. The chapter then argues that the cross-pollination, in the ‘Circe’ chapter of Ulysses, of a language of performance with subjective focal points, unavailable in drama for the proscenium stage, is written both as an affront to the theatrical institutions which rejected him, and as a fulfillment of a long-held and keen awareness of cinema.

Keywords:   Dubliners, Exiles‘Circe’ chapter of Ulysses, Ibsen, Henry James, Eleanora Duse, Yeats, naturalism, Freud, cinema

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