Join The Rosenbach for an examination of how James Joyce’s famous novel Ulysses speaks to contemporary conversations about the long-term legacies of colonialism and imperialism.
James Joyce’s novel Ulysses is considered a classic of British literature, and an iconic Irish story. Yet Joyce wrote the book outside the boundaries of British imperial rule, far away from Ireland. His writings advocated for the equality of Irish people, and against corrosive imperialism and ethnic nationalism. Using the plight of the Irish as an exemplar, Joyce noted and critiqued inequality among other oppressed peoples, which was a common feature of imperialist societies. Leopold Bloom, the main character of Ulysses, is a Jew, who himself occupied a marginalized, or “othered,” status in the Ireland of the novel. As a Jew, and thus a perennial outsider, Bloom asks readers to experience the real world as if they, too, are one of many global others.
Objects on display include pages from the Ulysses manuscript, an important early edition of Ulysses, and selections from our British illustration and literary manuscripts, American history, and Judaica collections, as well as plays by William Shakespeare and Christopher Marlowe.
The Rosenbach thanks Professor Vincent Cheng, author of the book Joyce, Race, and Empire (Cambridge University Press, 1995) for his advisement in the curation of this installation.