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New Historicism Araby by James Joyce

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by

Marlen Kozomara

on 11 November 2016

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Transcript of New Historicism Araby by James Joyce

Strengths and Weaknesses
of a New Historicist Analysis
Literary Criticism
Some may argue that a theme of derision by vanity is too intense for a main character in his young adolescence. Do you think the only possible motivation for this was his experiences?
Questions
Author and Historical background
Literary Criticism
Applying the New Historicist
Critical Analysis theory to Araby
A New Historicist Critical Analysis
Araby by James Joyce
Background
Born on February 2, 1882
Was eldest of ten children in Rathgar near Dublin to parents John and Mary Joyce
Born to a strong Roman Catholic family
His father became a tax collector in 1887 but had lost the position in 1893, because of his father's will lost in alcoholism. They became poor after.
Studied at Clonegowes in 1888 to 1892
In their poor financial state, he had to leave school. Spent a short time at Christian Brothers’ school and enrolled in Belvedere College in 1893
About James Joyce
Enrolled in the University college in Dublin in 1903 – finished "Dubliners" but unpublished (after meeting with literary critics of the Irish literary renaissance his faith in the Church waned)
He moved to Paris after, planning to apply to a field in medicine
He returned to Ireland when his mother was diagnosed with cancer; he was unmoved in becoming a believer in the Church even after his mother’s death
In 1904, James Joyce had an affair with Nora Barnacle (an Irish hotel chambermaid); they moved to Pula,Croatia together in 1904 to 1905; they eventually had two children
He worked as a teacher while he was writing books
In 1914 "Dubliners" was published which included Araby (he began writing his novel Ulysses)
He lived in Zurich then Paris in the following years
In 1941, Joyce fled from the Nazi invasion to Zurich, Switzerland. He died from having a perforated ulcer. He was fifty-eight.
The Irish literary renaissance (late 19th century, early 20th century)
The Irish literary renaissance occurred during the late 19th century and early 20th century. It was a time when nationalism and the revival of Gaelic literary heritage spurred. According to one source, the Irish literary critics that Joyce met would lessen his faith in the Church, to which his mother desperately wanted him to reconcile.
Historical Background
World War I (1914-1918)
In the same year James Joyce’s "Dubliners" was published, World War I started. Most of James Joyce’s students were enlisted in the Austro-Hungarian army. Some of his more influential students petitioned for him to leave Austro-Hungary, which allowed James Joyce to transfer to Zurich.

Irish Home Rule (late 19th century, early 20th century)
The Irish Home Rule was a movement that supported Irish self-governance from Britain. Parnell, an Irish politician, was one of the people that was responsible for passing several Home Rule Bills. He lost the bills after an adultery scandal he had committed. The Joyce family supported Parnell and the Irish Home Rule bill.

World War II (1940-1944)
James Joyce fled to Zurich again after the Nazi invasion in most of Europe
Strengths
Reveals possible underlying reasons for the plot and subjects of the story
history serves as a concrete extension to the text
The text reveals some history of the writer and the era
Weaknesses
dismisses other “layers” of the story such as the layers of symbolism and careful construct of plot
history cannot explain all parts of the story
history can be false or controversial and so history may not be such a concrete source to base argument
Joyce’s alleged lack of faith in the Church is reflected in the story as the ominous sign of a dead priest. Magnan’s sister may also reflect his relationship with the Church. She is arguably representative of “a love that never was;” she is compared in the story to many holy things in ironically unholy places, stressing the idea of unbelongingness. Both aspects in the story insinuate Joyce’s real-life gravitation away from the Church.
Joyce attended a Christian Brothers’ School, which is incidentally the name of the main character’s school in the story of Araby. Joyce may have projected his experiences into the story of the main character.
Note: Araby in the "Dubliners" collection was written in 1903 and published only in 1914, thus only from his years in 1903 and before is relevant.
James Joyce’s father’s disinterest in his family may have translated into the improvident uncle in the story. The uncle came home late, delayed the main character from attending the bazaar, and did not give enough money for the main character to buy anything for Magnan’s sister. If the uncle does represent the father, the text gives insight into how Joyce might have felt about his father - a seemingly impedimentary character- or insight into what things might have happened when Joyce was young
Joyce might have written Araby to add to the Irish literary renaissance. Although not written in Gaelic or about Gaelic folklore, he at least chose a setting from his experiences if, that is, the Christian Brother’s School is a reference to the one from his life. His own story would add to that of many Irish tales.
History confirms that certain tidbit details are likely to have been in the story. For example, the sixpence was a likely part of the story as currency because Britain ruled over Ireland at the time. Another example is the popularity of the bazaar and the uncle’s knowledge of the Arabs Farewell to his Steed. Both Eastern- inspired motifs of the story are possible because literature about the East become popular since the early 19th century. A third example is the aunt thinking that the bazaar is a Freemason affair, which is only understandable knowing that secret societies were popular in rural Ireland in the 19th century
Araby in the "Dubliners" collection was written in 1903 and published only in 1914, thus only from his years in 1903 and before is relevant. How might have the story been different if the story was started in 1914, the start of World War I? Would a theme of ‘new love’ (between him and Magnan’s sister) overrule ‘lost love’ or the other way around?
Joyce spent less than a year in Christian Brother’s School, yet Joyce may have dedicated the story of Araby to that stage of his life. Discuss why Joyce may have done this.
The End
Made by :Jan Cantago,
Kevin de Alba &
Marlen Kozomara
New Historicist critical analysis examines a literary text in light of the history of the author and the era in it written in
New Historicist
"The former tenant of our house, a priest, had died in the back drawing-room. Air, musty from having been long enclosed, hung in all the rooms, and the waste room behind the kitchen was littered with old useless papers. Among these I found a few paper-covered books, the pages of which were curled and damp: The Abbot, by Walter Scott, The Devout Communicant, and The Memoirs of Vidocq. I liked the last best because its leaves were yellow."
Quotes
The Abbot
is book about Mary Queen of Scots. The presence of this romantic/religious/sexual complex is central to Joyce's story, as the boy confuses and conflates Romantic Love, Religious Love and Materialist Love. As the story proceeds, we find that he deceives himself about the sexual, spiritual, and the financial.
The Devout Communicant
by the English Franciscan Friar Pacificus Baker (1695-1774) is noted for its lush, pious language and could have influenced the boy's couching his sexual feelings for the girl in pious images. William York Tindall, one of the pioneers of Joyce studies in the United States, held that the work Joyce had in mind was one by Abednego Sellar, as the author's name reinforces the materialistic themes of "Araby." More important than specifically identifying which work Joyce had in mind here is the fact of the influence of the devoutly pious language of any of these works on the young boy's vocabulary and outlook.
The Memoirs of Vidocq
written by Francois-Jules Vidocq and published in 1829, was a popular 19th century novel about a Parisian Police Commissioner who was also a thief, and was thus able to hide his crimes (at one point in the novel, he escapes capture by dressing as a nun). Joyce's use of the book here supports the theme of deception and dishonesty in the story. But just as the reader is simultaneously aware of the meaning of the mention of these novels, and that the boy does not understand these meanings, so the theme of deception merely strengthens the sense that the boy is deceived about himself.
As the opening paragraph has prepared us both for a story of particulars as well as for an allegory, the priest carries several messages. Joyce, who hated Roman Catholicism, implies that the Church (represented by the priest) is dead, the Church as the former tenant of the House that is Ireland.
"I liked the last best because its leaves were yellow"
In this paragraph we get the first glimpses of the boy's romantic, and naive view of life. Joyce plays on our attention to allegorical and symbolic details, for after the first paragraph we quickly realize that the narrator is a young boy who isn't using figurative language self-consciously. And yet the figurative meaning is where we find Joyce's telling of the story.
The Berlitz School at Trieste where James Joyce taught for almost a decade
Full transcript