A rich examination of the influence of Aristotle and Thomas Aquinas on James JoyceIn this book, Fran O’Rourke examines the influence of Aristotle and Thomas Aquinas on James Joyce, arguing that both thinkers fundamentally shaped the philosophical outlook which pervades the author’s oeuvre. O’Rourke demonstrates that Joyce was a philosophical writer who engaged creatively with questions of diversity and unity, identity, permanence and change, and the reliability of knowledge.
Beginning with an introduction to each thinker, the book traces Joyce’s discovery of their works and his concrete engagement with their thought. Aristotle and Aquinas equipped Joyce with fundamental principles regarding reality, knowledge, and the soul, which allowed him to shape his literary characters. Joyce appropriated Thomistic concepts to elaborate an original and personal aesthetic theory.
O’Rourke provides an annotated commentary on quotations from Aristotle which Joyce entered into his famous Early Commonplace Book and outlines their crucial significance for his writings. He also provides an authoritative evaluation of Joyce’s application of Aquinas’s aesthetic principles.
The first book to comprehensively illuminate the profound impact of both the ancient and medieval thinker on the modernist writer, Joyce, Aristotle, and Aquinas offers readers a rich understanding of the intellectual background and philosophical underpinnings of Joyce’s work.