Stephen Dedalus and nationalism without nationalism

Aleksandar STEVIĆ*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review


While recent critics have often downplayed the significance of Joyce's attack on the Gaelic Revival in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, the novel actually enacts nothing less than a systematic repudiation of nationalist tropes from the position of liberal cosmopolitanism. As a detailed comparison of Joyce's text with the turn-of-thecentury revivalist discourse shows, A Portrait undermines each of the key revivalist preoccupations (including both linguistic nationalism and ethnic essentialism), finally deconstructing the project of nation building in toto. This radical critique of nationalism suggests that, after twenty years in which Joyce studies have been dominated by attempts to displace the once-prevalent vision of Joyce as an apolitical and internationalist aesthete with a version of Joyce as, above all, a colonial Irish intellectual, it is time to once again take his commitment to aestheticism and cosmopolitanism seriously.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)40-57
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Modern Literature
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
  • Aestheticism
  • Cosmopolitanism
  • Gaelic Revival
  • James Joyce
  • Nationalism


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