Read enough of the currently ascendant Structuralists and it isn't hard to come away with an image of literary critics as...

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AFTERJOYCE: Studies in Fiction After Ulysses

Read enough of the currently ascendant Structuralists and it isn't hard to come away with an image of literary critics as watchmakers bent over microscopic parts--literature as one impossible mainspring. But there remain practitioners who not only forgo the jeweler's eye but enjoy a little stroll in the air now and then, too. Professor Martin is one of these. Working from the honorable if none too strenuously argued position that James Joyce is the rock dropped in the modernist pool, Martin proceeds to discuss the major ripples therefrom. Woolf, Beckett, Faulkner--Martin, the least Procrustean of analysts, is willing to admit that these writers haven't really emulated Joyce as much as reacted to the revolutionary gestalt left by the Irishman. Perhaps best here are the pieces on writers we ordinarily hear very little of: Gadda, Doblin, Lezama--and even if Martin doesn't bear down very hard, it's refreshing to see these novelists taken on at all. Though stained differently according to culture, the books by these writers--Cognizione del delete, Alexanderplatz, Berlin, and Paradise--all follow the Joycean exemplar of fiction first: the book's the thing. The almost sketchy easy-goingness of Afterjoyce isn't likely to earn it a fast place in the essential Joyce exegetica, but this is a genial book and it covers a lot of valuable territory.

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 1977

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Oxford Univ. Press

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1977