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By Steve Pinkerton

'Blasphemous Modernism' argues that blasphemy is a sign mode of modernist literary expression. studying a various diversity of poets (Mina Loy, Langston Hughes) and novelists (James Joyce, Djuna Barnes, Salman Rushdie), Pinkerton indicates how those writers solid the literature of modernism from the idiom of blasphemy.

summary: 'Blasphemous Modernism' argues that blasphemy is a sign mode of modernist literary expression. examining a various variety of poets (Mina Loy, Langston Hughes) and novelists (James Joyce, Djuna Barnes, Salman Rushdie), Pinkerton exhibits how those writers cast the literature of modernism from the idiom of blasphemy

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6 This rhetoric of religious transgression foretells the substance of Joyce’s novels, in which he not only features blasphemy prominently as both discourse and theme—​as a matter of both form and content—​but also draws upon the resources of blasphemy to construct his most trenchant satires of subjects both sacred and secular: faith and patriotism, sectarianism and nationalism, church and empire, spirituality and sexuality. “The Holy Office” likewise articulates another of Joyce’s novelistic projects, that of using the language of blasphemy to elevate the lowly, to foreground those taboo subjects that had traditionally been passed over in silence by literature as well as by Grandmother Church.

1808). 16 Just as Joyce’s mock-​heroic transformation of Leopold Bloom into Odysseus (and Abraham, and Moses, and Elijah, and Christ) can serve, often simultaneously, both to mock and to exalt his protagonist, so too does Ulysses extol and elevate—​not merely mock and subvert—​the Bible, a text that plays at least as important a role in this novel as does Hamlet or the Odyssey. Joyce’s jocoserious prose tacitly reinforces Christianity’s privileged status as an object of veneration and, thus, of profanation, even as he blasphemes that religion in his by-​turns playful and solemn manner, whether rendering Bloom’s ascension at the end of “Cyclops” or taking swipes at the Church’s grip on Ireland.

21). That it does so in the voice of Buck Mulligan, as he intones the opening phrase of the Latin Mass, says something about the novel’s imaginative investments and also about the character who does the invoking. Rather than the author beseeching the Muse’s inspiration, we have a character, the bawdy Buck, conjuring a female Redeemer in his trademark mock-​solemn fashion. 32). 14–​15). But does Joyce look on so coldly? Are we to interpret Mulligan as the “usurper” that Stephen and, later, Bloom perceive him to be, or might Joyce have a more significant role for him to play?

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