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Special issue of JJQ: Encyclopedic Joyce

Ulysses and Finnegans Wake are encyclopedic novels—whatever that means. Joyce thought of Ulysses as "a kind of encyclopaedia" (SL 271), and he drew heavily on the eleventh edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica in writing it and the Wake. Both novels have the heft and polymathic breadth of a compact reference encyclopedia. One or the other of them is at the heart of every substantial treatment of encyclopedic literature that extends to modernism, from Northrop Frye's to Edward Mendelson's to Paul Saint-Amour's. Whatever the encyclopedic novel is, surely they're it. Yet just about everyone who writes about Joyce’s encyclopedism has something different in mind, and a spate of new work on the encyclopedia by historians and literary scholars working in earlier periods has suggested numerous other, unexplored avenues for thinking through his relationship to the encyclopedic tradition.

When we talk about the encyclopedia, we refer to some or all of the many meanings, connotations, histories, forms, practices, epistemologies, and bodies of knowledge that have attached to the term since antiquity. JJQ welcomes submissions that draw on the critical resources the term consolidates for a special issue, "Encyclopedia Joyce." We are open to any approach to the theme but are especially eager to read essays that make use of recent scholarship on the encyclopedia; that consider how gender and race might determine what counts as an encyclopedic text and who gets to write one; that read Joyce alongside authors not usually discussed in studies of encyclopedic literature (e.g. Dorothy Richardson, Gertrude Stein, Jean Toomer); that think about Joyce's encyclopedism in relation to the book's transition from bound pages to networked screens; that have something new to show about Joyce's use of reference works; that reflect on the usefulness or limitations of the encyclopedia in comparison with related critical categories (e.g. modern epic, the long modernist novel, the maximalist novel); or that examine Joyce's role as model or subject for contemporary encyclopedic projects.

Submissions are due January 31, 2017. They should not be longer than twenty pages, including notes. Send them electronically to James Phelan ( and Kiron Ward (

Conference Location: N/A, N/A
Conference Starts: September 23, 2016
Conference Ends: January 31, 2017

CFP Submission Deadline: January 31, 2017

For more information, contact: James Phelan

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