James Joyce and Heraldry

By Michael J. O'Shea

Subjects: Literary History
Paperback : 9780887062704, 196 pages, June 1986
Hardcover : 9780887062698, 196 pages, June 1986

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Table of contents

A Note on the Text
List of Illustrations

I. "His crest of huroldry"
II. Heraldry in Literature
III. "These be my genteelican arms . . . "
IV. ". . . all Irish, all kings' sons": Joycean Heraldry Through Ulysses
V. "Armigerend everfasting horde: The Heraldry of Finnegans Wake
VI. Joyce's Heraldic "Collideorscape"

Bibliography and Works Cited


James Joyce and Heraldry demonstrates that heraldry is an essential key to the symbols of Joyce's major works. It is a clear, witty introduction to heraldry and the use of heraldic imagery by Western writers, including Dante, Chaucer, Shakespeare, Jonson, and Sterne.

Michael O'Shea shifts the focus from the aural imagery of Joyce to reveal the visual impact deriving from Joyce's use of the symbols and language of heraldry. He cites biographical and textual evidence of Joyce's deep interest in coats of arms, crests, and other heraldic emblems; and demonstrates that Joyce used these visual symbols as well as "the curious jargons of heraldry" in his writings. O'Shea succeeds in compiling an indispensable reference work that sheds new light on Joyce's major texts, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, Ulysses, and Finnegans Wake. His commentary is thoroughly illustrated and includes a glossary of heraldic terms keyed to Joyce's usage of them.

Michael J. O'Shea is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Humanities and Communications at Drexel University. He is a member of the Heraldry Society in England and a founding member of the Heraldry Society of Ireland.