This chapter provides a guide to landmark episodes in James Joyce criticism and key examples of the different ways in which his work is currently being read. In A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, some critics identified a stylistic advance beyond both Edwardian and naturalistic fiction. Arnold Bennett's review provides praise and condemnation of Ulysses. Stuart Gilbert takes pains to highlight Joyce's classical literary heritage. The years between the end of World War Two and the explosion of critical interest in Joyce's work caused by the emergence of modern literary and cultural ‘theory’ saw the debate over his achievement and legacy steadily intensify. Joyce's work has a long and involved relationship with psychoanalytic criticism. Joyce's ‘general awareness of Irish politics’ expressed itself in a number of lasting commitments. There has been a problem with Joyce's belief in the cultural redemptiveness of the artwork.
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