‘Trust Not Appearances’
James Joyce’s Ulysses (1922)
in The Judas kiss
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Some critics (such as Tony Tanner) have speculated that adultery, with its assault upon the patriarchal institution of marriage and its potential for drama, is the principal theme of the bourgeois novel that evolves in Europe during the nineteenth century. Joyce’s famous work was heir to the great nineteenth-century novel of adultery – a tradition which includes the likes of Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina (1873-77), Flaubert’s Madame Bovary (1857) and Zola’s Thérèse Raquin (1867). An act of marital betrayal lies at the heart of the story, an act which Joyce explores in all its emotional and moral complexity. At the same time, other critics (such as David Lloyd) have argued that his condition as an Irish writer obliged Joyce to develop an ‘adulterated’ form of writing – one which refused the precepts of patriarchal authorship, and in so doing contributed significantly to the emergence of the cultural sensibility known as Modernism. This chapter addresses the relationship between these thematic and formal aspects of Ulysses: the theme of adultery and the adulterated technique.

The Judas kiss

Treason and betrayal in six modern Irish novels


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