David Pascoe

On the Trail of Large Bottoms

James Joyce: The Years of Growth 1882–1915

By

Kyle Cathie 384pp £18.99 order from our bookshop

In one of Joyce’s earliest stories, a character is described as having ‘an odd autobiographical habit which led him to compose in his mind from time to time a short sentence about himself containing a subject in the third person and a predicate in the past tense’. In his objectifying routine, James Duffy of ‘A Painful Case’ resembles Joyce; but whereas Duffy wrote concisely, Joyce doles out life sentences. His autobiographical habit imprisons his devotees, his work inviting literary biography, not on the grand scale, but, since he was obsessed with the trivia of existence, only minutely.

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • In 'Silenced Voices' reports the ongoing story of the human rights lawyer, Nasrin Sotoudeh, who has been… ,
    • The mystery of Jack the Ripper's identity has long been agonised over. But what do we know about his victims?… ,
    • A piece of Literary Review history from way back in 1983: John Haffenden talks to the great Iris Murdoch. ,
    • Britain’s only travelling lit fest, the Garden Museum Literary Festival is heading to Houghton Hall, Norfolk, for a… ,
    • 'The 19th-century German sage is not my idea of a pleasant travel companion' goes hiking with Friedr… ,
    • If you want ideas about what to read next, sign up to our free email newsletter, and get book reviews, archive mate… ,
    • 'The heroic male nude could not, I think, be used today to signify civic pride and glory', as Michelangelo’s 'David… ,