The University of Wisconsin Press

Literature and Criticism

Joyce's Catholic Comedy of Language
Beryl Schlossman

Neither simple apostate nor obedient Christian, James Joyce developed a uniquely ambivalent attitude toward his Irish Catholic roots—one that became inscribed in his imagination and served as a constant aesthetic focus and symbolic source in his fiction. In this study, Beryl Schlossman traces the theological and liturgical echoes that resonate in Joyce’s work, particularly in Ulysses and Finnegans Wake, and argues that the writer’s special brand of Catholicism necessitates a double reading of the fiction. Confronting the Catholic Word with Celtic wit, she suggests, Joyce’s world is an interrelated blend of the sacred and the comic, the deeply religious and the obscene, the defiant, the blasphemous. Students, scholars, and readers of Joyce, modern or comparative literature, contemporary criticism, and theology will find this a comprehensive and convincing study that illuminates the themes, poetic language, and central paradox of Joyce’s art.

Beryl Schlossman
, at the time this book was published, was an instructor of French at The Johns Hopkins University. A Fulbright scholar, she has published articles on Joyce, French literature, and the literary text in a number of scholarly journals.

Media & bookseller inquiries regarding review copies, events, and interviews can be directed to the publicity department at or (608) 263-0734. (If you want to examine a book for possible course use, please see our Course Books page. If you want to examine a book for possible rights licensing, please see Rights & Permissions.)

February 1985
LC: 84-040503 PR
272 pp.   5 1/4 x 8 1/2

This title ISBN 978-0-299-10160-2 is currently out of print.



Home | Books | Journals | Events | Textbooks | Authors | Related | Search | Order | Contact

If you have trouble accessing any page in this web site, contact our Web manager.

Updated January 31, 2013

© 2013 The Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System