Catherine Flynn

Research Expertise and Interest

modernism, Irish, British, comparative literature, critical theory, Avant-Gardes, James Joyce, Flann O'Brien

Research Description

Catherine Flynn works on British and Irish modernist literature. Her book, James Joyce and the Matter of Paris (Cambridge University Press, 2019) (honorable mention, ACIS Robert Rhodes Prize for Books on Literature), 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.

For the hundred-year anniversary of Ulysses, she produced The Cambridge Centenary Ulysses: The 1922 Text with Essays and Notes, a facsimile edition of the historic 1922 Shakespeare and Company text, featuring Joyce’s own errata as well as references to later amendments, along with maps, photographs, and footnotes, and an essay by a leading Joyce scholar on each of the eighteen episodes (Cambridge University Press, 2022).

She co-hosts the related podcast U22 The Centenary Ulysses (available on iTunes and Spotify) with former students Rafael Aguilar, Max Ambrose, Emily Moell, and Louie Poore.

Her edited volume, The New Joyce Studies, has recently appeared with Cambridge University Press (September 2022).

She is currently working on a monograph on Flann O'Brien/Myles na gCopaleen/Brian O'Nolan and the young Irish State.

She has published articles on Joyce, Flann O'Brien, Walter 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."

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