Catherine Flynn works on British and Irish modernist literature. Her book, James Joyce and the Matter of Paris (Cambridge University Press, 2019), recovers the paradigmatic city of European urban modernity as the foundational context of Joyce's imaginative consciousness. Beginning with Joyce's underexamined first exile in 1902-03, she shows the significance for his writing of the time he spent in Paris and of a range of French authors whose works inflected his experience of that city. In response to the pressures of Parisian consumer capitalism, Joyce drew on French literature to conceive a somatic aesthetic, in which the philosophically disparaged senses of taste, touch, and smell as well as the porous, digestive body resist capitalism's efforts to manage and instrumentalize desire. This book resituates the most canonical of Irish modernists in a European avant-garde context while revealing important links between Anglophone modernism and critical theory.
She has published articles on Joyce, Flann O'Brien, Benjamin, Brecht, Kafka, and Surrealism and on theories of the avant-garde and of modernism. She co-edited with Richard Brown a special issue of James Joyce Quarterly titled "Joycean Avant-Gardes." She is editing a volume for Cambridge University Press titled The New Joyce Studies: Twenty-First Century Critical Revisions.