James Joyce and the Revolt of Love

My first book, James Joyce and the Revolt of Love: Marriage, Adultery, Desire, was published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2010.  Here are some nice things people have said about it:

James Joyce and the Revolt of Love…is a commendable critical debut.” — James Joyce Quarterly

“Readers will find in Utell’s close readings a compelling account of how Joyce eludes familiar labels and asks his audience to resist them.” — Journal of Modern Literature

“In this engaging monograph, Janine Utell takes a bold position in the current academic climate: she analyzes literary representations of love without cynicism, and reads marriage as having positive transformational potential . . . Utell shows how Joyce ‘seeks to puncture and twist’ the ‘ethically suspect’ cultural scripts circumscribing marriage in early twentieth-century Ireland that he saw as constraining individual autonomy, and which blamed for his own mother’s premature death.”–New Hibernia Review

 

“Utell provides a fascinating and well-argued analysis of Joyce’s evolving attitudes toward love in the contexts of marriage and adultery…[She] does a thorough and admirable job of substantiating her argument with specifics from Joyce’s text and ultimately provides a very convincing argument that Bloom’s quest is a quest for a genuinely ethical love through her careful analysis of selected episodes.” — College Literature

“Utell’s project offers a fresh perspective on how Joyce imagines an ethical love within the space of infidelity–thus-re-envisioning illicit desire as a positive site for transformation instead of a negative space established by more orthodox systems.  Utell’s study also offers insightful close readings of Joyce’s texts, especially the long chapter on Ulysses that is valuable in itself.” —  English Literature in Transition

“Utell views Joyce as actively rebelling against the social norms of his time–vis-a-vis marraige and sex–in quest of an ethical love that promotes the selfhood of the beloved.  Joyce, she contends, pursues this quest consistently in his letters, drama, poetry, and, most acutely, in his final novels.”–Choice

“Surveying the entire corpus of Joyce’s works, Utell proves with unprecedented clarity and eloquence thatUlysses has become the modern version of Spinoza’s Ethics. Instead of revamping older novels of adultery and cuckoldry, Joyce has crafted a powerful parable on love and its differences, offering a most encompassing and empowering fiction on how it is possible to love ethically.”—Jean-Michel Rabaté, Vartan Gregorian Professor in the Humanities, University of Pennsylvania

James Joyce and the Revolt of Love is one of those rare books that you may have been wishing someone would write.  In this thoughtful, provocative, and illuminating work, Utell explores the positive ethical implications of choices that in more conventional systems are understood as sin, moral lapse, or moral harm. Framed by Levinasian ethics, James Joyce and the Revolt of Love is widely inclusive of the positions and perspectives laid out by scholars in allied fields. Utell’s specific insights into Joyce’s texts and contexts are nuanced and supple, yet forceful, supporting the surprising argument that infidelity in Joyce’s works provides an occasion for responsibility to another through a realization of the radical alterity of partners within an erotic couple.”—Marian Eide, Associate Professor, Department of English, Texas A&M University and author of Ethical Joyce

James Joyce and the Revolt of Love provides a subtle and far-reaching description of ‘ethical’ human love as described in such major works of James Joyce as Giacomo JoyceUlysses, and Finnegans Wake.  Utell’s analysis opens the way to connections with theories of love as exemplified in the works of such writers as D.H. Lawrence, who saw marriage as a revolving of twin stars in never-coinciding orbits, and Henrik Ibsen in such previously enigmatic plays as The Lady from the Sea, in which true freedom in marriage consists in allowing total freedom to the partner in love. Utell’s book will open up a new field in the interpretation of the works of James Joyce, and in connections with the major works of other great modern writers.”— Edmund L. Epstein, Professor of English, Queens College and the Graduate Center, City University of New York

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s