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In August 1919, a production of James Joyce’s Exiles was mounted at the Munich Schauspielhaus and quickly fell due to harsh criticism. The reception marked the beginning of a dynamic association between Joyce, German-language writers, and literary critics. It is this relationship that Robert Weninger analyzes in The German Joyce.
Opening a new dimension of Joycean scholarship, this book provides the premier study of Joyce’s impact on German-language literature and literary criticism in the twentieth century. The opening section follows Joyce’s linear intrusion from the 1910s to the 1990s by focusing on such prime moments as the first German translation of Ulysses, Joyce’s influence on the Marxist Expressionism debate, and the Nazi blacklisting of Joyce’s work. Utilizing this historical reception as a narrative backdrop, Weninger then presents Joyce’s horizontal diffusion into German culture.
Weninger succeeds in illustrating both German readers’ great attraction to Joyce’s work as well as Joyce’s affinity with some of the great German masters, from Goethe to Rilke, Brecht, and Thomas Mann. He argues that just as Shakespeare was a model of linguistic exuberance for Germans in the eighteenth century, Joyce became the epitome of poetic inspiration in the twentieth.
A volume in The Florida James Joyce Series, edited by Sebastian D. G. Knowles