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Palgrave Macmillan

Swift, Joyce, and the Flight from Home

Quests of Transcendence and the Sin of Separation

ISBN 9781137399816
Publication Date December 2013
Formats Hardcover Ebook (EPUB) Ebook (PDF) 
Publisher Palgrave Pivot

Consisting of six essayistic chapters, this book centers on two seminal yet not often associated Irish texts: Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift (1726) and A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce (1916). Practicing a comparative way of reading indebted to T.S. Eliot, Atkins traces the patterns of response the protagonists of these works show in leaving home and separating themselves from family and friends. Both Lemuel Gulliver and Stephen Dedalus flee from the messy burdens of ordinary life, seeking a transcendent existence, which Gulliver finds in the Flying or Floating Island, Laputa, whereas Stephen in art. Atkins also shows how Swift and Joyce both stand opposed to their characters, joined in the understanding that an ordinary life and an extra-ordinary one are often inseparable. Thus, Gulliver's Travels and A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man can appear as essential critiques of modern misunderstandings.

G. Douglas Atkins is Professor Emeritus of English at the University of Kansas, USA, where he taught for 44 years. The winner of several awards for outstanding teaching, he is the author of eighteen books and co-editor of three others, including Swift's Satires on Modernism: Battlegrounds of Reading and Writing and six on T.S. Eliot. He is now at work on three other books.

1. Satire, Reading, and Forms of Separation and Union
2. The Gift Half Understood
3. The Flight of Man, the Fall of Icarus and Phaeton
4. The Flying or Floating Island: Lemuel Gulliver and Ideas Disembodied
5. Aesthetics as Asceticism: Stephen Dedalus's Quest of Transcendence
6. It's All About Caring and Not-Caring at the Same Time: Or, Home Is Where You Start From


"In an engaging, accessible manner, G. Douglas Atkins re-examines Gulliver's Travels and A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man in light of Atkins's understanding of the Christian concept of the Incarnation, an understanding deeply influenced by his study of T.S. Eliot. Atkins' well-written study will likely appeal to a wide audience including Swift, Joyce, and Eliot scholars, as well as academic readers more generally." - Bruce Bashford, Associate Professor of English Emeritus, Stony Brook University, USA
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