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Nature, Nation, Consumption


Yi-peng Lai

This study focuses on the relationship between environment, history, politics, and rhetorical discourses in James Joyce’s Ulysses. Delving into different aspects of Joyce’s use of nature and linguistic discourses in orchestrating a specific dynamic of eco-politics, it adopts an interdisciplinary approach that includes cultural politics, historiographical poetics, and genetic criticism with close reading of the text. The first of the two sessions of the book addresses the environmental questions of land and consumption through discussions on co-operative politics, garden city movement, and the eco-politics of waste. The second section moves to examine the diverse ways in which nature and nation are (re)imagined exemplarily in Joyce’s composition of the forest and the marketplace.

By examining several thematic environmental issues addressed in Ulysses with the evidence of historical and archival resources, this study has demonstrated that Joyce is after all a writer with the environment in mind, and that the imagination of nature in Ulysses is inseparable from that of the emergent nation of fin-de-siècle Ireland.

Eco-political reading of Ulysses – Nature – Nation – Consumption – Garden – Waste – Ecosystem – Trees – Pastoral