Seven Types of Temporality in “After the Race”

in Reading Joycean Temporalities
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This essay centres the third story of Joyce’s Dubliners, “After the Race,” to argue that, from the very outset of his literary career, Joyce was a sophisticated craftsman. Read under seven aspects of time, the story releases its unperceived but latent imaginative energy. Those categories are biographical (what precise forces bore down upon Joyce as he wrote the story in August-September 1904?); chronological (how is the story organized to account for the passage of a single twenty-four-hour period?); historical (how is the story an historical allegory of a century of Anglo-Irish relations ?); classical (how does the temporal design of the story reflect the classical tropes of chiasmus and synonymia?); technical (how does the narrative dilate, collapse, and conceal the passage of time, and misdirect the reader from the implications?); mythological (what the imaginative implications of the story’s simultaneous redactions of an Irish folktale and Ovid’s tale of the fall of Phaethon?); and finally, sacramental: what are the contrary implications of story’s citations of Saint Paul’s metaphor (2 Timothy), which views the Christian life retrospectively as a finished race? The chapter draws on specific evidence expatiated in the author’s book, Before Daybreak, but reorganizes it in several surprising ways.

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