Catherine Flynn

Assistant Professor Fellow
2013-2014
Catherine Flynn

In her book project, "James Joyce, Walter Benjamin and the Matter of Modernity," Catherine Flynn (English) takes a comparative approach to understand how Joyce’s formal innovations engage with the problems of the modern capitalist city. Whereas criticism of Joyce has been dominated by the Irish historical context, Flynn’s project understands Ulysses as seeing 1904 Dublin through the lens of 1922 Paris, where Joyce wrote and rewrote much of the novel. Flynn reads Ulysses alongside Walter Benjamin’s Arcades Project, which he began in Paris just after Joyce finished Ulysses there. She views Benjamin’s collection of fragmentary citations, descriptions, and commentaries, assembled to represent modern material culture, as the formal and theoretical counterpart to Joyce’s novel. Consequently, Joyce’s novel belongs to this new mode that emerges to represent modern city life: fictions no longer dominated by narrative but preoccupied instead with the description and enumeration of things, for which they improvise new forms.