Paul Stasi, Associate Professor of English at the University at Albany, SUNY, will give a talk for the English graduate program on James Joyce’s Ulysses on Wednesday, March 20, in DeTamble Auditorium. This talk is free and open to the public. Stasi is the author of Modernism, Imperialism and the Historical Sense (Cambridge 2012) and the co-editor, with Josephine Park, of Ezra Pound in the Present: Essays on Pound’s Contemporaneity (Bloomsbury 2018) and, with Jennifer Greiman, of The Last Western: Deadwood and the End of American Empire (Bloomsbury 2013). His essays have appeared in James Joyce Quarterly, Twentieth-Century Literature, Modern Fiction Studies, Historical Materialism, The Journal of Transnational American Studies, Comparative Literature and La Habana Elegante.
“She will drown me with her”: Sympathy without labor in Joyce’s Ulysses
This talk reads James Joyce’s Ulysses alongside the English industrial novel, in particular Elizabeth Gaskell’s Mary Barton. Deeply invested in social determination, Gaskell’s novels, nevertheless, offer sympathy as the way out of class struggle. Joyce’s text, on the other hand, is famously without the working class that occupies Gaskell’s attention, reflecting, as many scholars have argued, a basic fact of colonial life. And yet, sympathy remains fundamental to Joyce’s novel. What happens to sympathy, itself one of the key ways capitalism tries to limit its own socially destructive forces, in a colonial space where unemployment, rather than labor, is the defining social fact? Sympathy is seen here to be a form of social coercion, even as its absence is part of what prevents the Irish from uniting against their common enemies.