Professor Andrew Gibson

Personal profile

For more ample detail on the various aspects of Andrew's career, including a curriculum vitae, go to his own personal website at http://www.professorandrewgibson.com/personal-profile

 

Whilst Professor Andrew Gibson`s intellectual and literary life has pointed him in various different directions, not only academic ones, he has also spent most of his life in universities. He was educated and carried out his research at the University of Oxford, and has taught and given lectures at universities around the world, from San Francisco to Berlin to Dublin to periods in Chicago, Paris, Adelaide and Tokyo to three years in Hong Kong. However, most of his academic career has been spent in the distinguished, traditional, federal University of London, and his major allegiance has been (and still is) to it.

Andrew was for a long time Research Professor of Modern Literature and Theory at one of the colleges of the University, Royal Holloway College (later known simply as Royal Holloway), where he still teaches part-time. In 2008 he was Carole and Gordon Segal Professor of Irish Literature at Northwestern University in Evanston, Chicago where, among others, Richard Ellmann taught from 1951 to 1968, establishing a tradition in the study of Irish literature. Andrew has also had a serious commitment over some years to the Collège International de Philosophie in Paris, The Collège was founded in 1983, by Jacques Derrida among others, and has been much associated with names that include Jean-François Lyotard and Philippe Lacoue-Labarthe. Recent directors have included major philosophers like Giorgio Agamben, Alain Badiou and Barbara Cassin.  Andrew was a member of its Conseil Scientifique from 2010 to 2017, and also served on its Comité de Selection.

In 2017, Andrew was appointed Visiting Professor to the J.M. Coetzee Centre for Creative Practice at the University of Adelaide, where he gave a six-week series of masterclasses on the fiction of J.M. Coetzee in 2019. In the past, he has twice served as Visiting Professor at the Scandinavian Summer School of Literature and Theory. In 2002, he was a Visiting Professor at the University of Tokyo, Japan's premier university. He has served as Visiting Professor at the Nordic Universities Summer School, and as a Research Projects Assessor for the Academy of Finland. From 2003 to 2005, he was a Leverhulme Research Fellow.

Andrew is a permanent advisory editor to the James Joyce Quarterly and a former Trustee of the International James Joyce Foundation. He was recently appointed Associate Member of the Beckett International Foundation at the University of Reading. He has served as a member of the editorial board of the Anglo-French journal in Beckett scholarship set up at the Université de Paris VII to build bridges between French and Anglophone Beckett Studies, Limit(e) Beckett. He has also been a member of the editorial board of Textuel (Université de Paris VII), Symbolism: An International Annual of Critical AestheticsCritical Zone and Miscelánea (University of Zaragoza). He is now a member of the editorial board of New Formations.

Andrew was Founder/Organizer of the London University Seminar for Research into Joyce's Ulysses, and co-Founder/co-Organizer of the London University Finnegans Wake Research Seminar, which he still attends. He is also a member of the Advisory Board for Londonicity, the first annual London Studies conference. 

 

Children's Fiction

Professor Andrew Gibson has also written five novels and a collection of stories for children, published by Faber. 

 

Research interests

Current Projects 

Penguin Centenary Editions of the Works of James Joyce 

Professor Andrew Gibson has been appointed General Editor of the new 2022 editions of James Joyce to be published by Penguin. 2022 is the centenary of the publication of Joyce’s Ulysses. It is also the centenary of the formation of the Irish Free State, and therefore of the beginning of (at least a certain kind of) independence for Ireland. This is not a coincidence. Ulysses is on one level a sustained and extremely subtle meditation on the possibilities, problems and limits of the idea of the concept of an autonomous Ireland. Joyce’s other works can all be related to this project.      

This supplies the rationale for a set of centenary editions produced by a British and Irish team of scholars. Gibson himself will write the introduction to Ulysses and assist Steven Morrison of Nottingham University in annotating it. Clare Hutton, an Irish scholar currently teaching at Loughborough University will provide a scholarly account of the text. Anne Fogarty of University College Dublin will write the introduction to and annotate Dubliners. Joe Brooker of Birkbeck College, London will write the introduction to A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, with Morrison again providing the notes. Hutton will provide the introduction and notes to a new edition of Joyce’s Poems. Gibson will write the introduction and notes to Exiles. He will also edit the new Penguin edition of Finnegans Wake, though this will appear later, in 2024. The end product will be five new, attractively presented, scholarly but easily accessible editionsof Joyce’s major works that should remain the principal editions for the reading public for decades, but will also go in a rather different critical and scholarly direction to previous editions and therefore be of interest to specialists. 

 

 

J.M. Coetzee and Neoliberal Culture

Coetzee is the major English-language novelist of our times. Most of the best work on him thus far has lodged him securely in the context of his native South Africa. Yet Coetzee has been living in Australia since 2002. He has long addressed and indeed cultivated an international readership. He has spent several years in both the UK and the US and has worked and travelled in a wide range of different cultures. By now he looks as much a southern hemisphere writer with global concerns as a South African one. That is how this book approaches him. If we place Coetzee in a global context, however, then it is clear that the major part of his output has coincided with the rise and increasing dominance across the world of neoliberalism, neoliberal economics and culture and the specific concept and forms of a certain democracy that have accompanied them. Drawing widely on the growing body of often impressive critiques of neoliberal culture, the book asks how we might read Coetzee’s writings as a commentary on it, if sometimes an oblique one. It isolates various key features of neoliberal culture: the concept of the subject it constructs and promotes; eudaemonism and the injunction above all to `enjoy’; the belief in plenitude, what philosopher Peter Sloterdijk calls `the fantasy of lasting abundance’; the strategies whereby neoliberal democracy ensures that it can believe in its rectitude, credit itself as `within the good’;  a secular theodicy, insisting, if often rather vaguely, that all is working towards the best ends we can hope for; and closure, a disavowal of the historical break or rupture and, with it, the unheralded, transformative event. It examines the many and various if often subtle ways in which, in each case, Coetzee’s writings takes the neoliberal ethos to task, or points us in very different directions to it.  The book argues that, construed in this way, Coetzee’s fiction constitutes a major critical intervention in neoliberal culture, one that takes drastic issue, not least, with its tone.

J.M. Coetzee and Neoliberal Culture is under contract to Oxford University Press.

 

Research Expertise

Modern Literature and Theory

Andrew Gibson’s field is Modern Literature and Theory, that is, European Literature and Theory 1789-present, with a look back as far as Hume’s Treatise of Human Nature (1739-40). The larger bulk of his research has been on twentieth-century literature, often in philosophical and/or theoretical and/or historical and/or narratological contexts, and twentieth-century philosophy, though he now also writes increasingly on the nineteenth century. His major work has been on James Joyce and Samuel Beckett, but the range of his interests and his writings is much wider than that, including, for instance, Kant, Wordsworth, Schopenhauer, Tennyson, Rimbaud, Mallarmé, Pound, Stevens, Woolf, Lowry, Henry Green, Hemingway, Rhys, Robbe-Grillet, Morrison, Sebald and Coetzee. Students wishing to work with him on modern writers, not least from new theoretical and historical perspectives, are encouraged to get in touch.

James Joyce

Professor Gibson is the author of the widely praised Joyce's Revenge: History, Politics and Aesthetics in 'Ulysses', published by Oxford University Press on 16 June, 2002. This major, book-length account of Joyce's Ulysses took fifteen years to write. It is a complex and evolving treatment of what were — for Joyce — the most crucial issues in Irish history and contemporary Irish politics. The study is original in arguing that, in many of their most important aspects, the aesthetic practices that make up Ulysses are responses to the colonial history and condition of Ireland, the colonial politics of Irish culture and British-Irish cultural politics, particularly in the years 1880-1920. The book pays particular attention to Joyce's treatment of a wide variety of historically specific English and Anglo-Irish discourses in his greatest novel, arguing that Ulysses is fuelled by a Parnellite hostility to the colonizer's culture yet, at the same time, both transforms and transcends the available range of nationalist responses to that culture.

Gibson has also published a short biography of Joyce, Joyce: A Critical Life (Reaktion Books, 2006); and, with Len Platt, Joyce, Ireland and Britain, a collection of essays for the Florida Joyce Series, published by Florida University Press (2006). This collection of essays provides a theoretical account of a specifically Joycean historical materialism (sometimes known as ‘the London method’) in Joyce studies, situating it in relation to postcolonial and other forms of historical work on Joyce. The essays contained in the volume partly exemplify this method. The collection is the first substantially to address Joyce's work in the context of British and Irish history and politics together. Contributors include Richard Brown, Vincent Cheng and Anne Fogarty.

Gibson most recent monograph on Joyce, a study of Joyce’s early writings, The Strong Spirit: History, Politics and Aesthetics in the Writings of James Joyce 1898-1915, was published in February, 2013.  It proceeds according to the same historicizing methodology that he adopted in Joyce’s Revenge, examining Joyce’s writings 1898-1903, Dubliners, Stephen Hero, the 'Triestine Writings’, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man and Exiles in turn, and in the context of successive developments in British-Irish history and politics during the period. The intention, again, is to introduce a fresh mode of historicizing thought into Joyce studies. Gibson is also steadily accumulating materials for historical studies of Finnegans Wake, but these are still some years in the future.

Gibson was co-founder and director of the London University (Charles Peake) Seminar for Research into Joyce's Ulysses, and, with Finn Fordham and Wim van Mierlo, co-founder and co-organizer of the London University Finnegans Wake Research Seminar. These seminars now form part of the seminar programme of the Institute of English Studies in the University of London. In the past, the Ulysses seminar has organized conferences and produced volumes of essays.


Samuel Beckett

Andrew Gibson has also worked for many years and published extensively on Samuel Beckett. In particular, he spent some years thinking about the relationship between Beckett’s work and that of contemporary philosopher Alain Badiou. He was awarded a two-year Leverhulme Research Fellowship specifically to write a book on this relationship. The book was published in 2006, by Oxford University Press, with the title Beckett and Badiou: The Pathos of Intermittency. Badiou has been an admirer of Beckett's work for more than forty years, and has written about him at some length. His thought about Beckett is precisely constructed in opposition to the traditions (of nihilist absurdism and existential humanism) that dominated Beckett criticism until the late 80s. Yet, at the same time, whilst having much in common with them, Badiou moves in a strikingly and significantly different direction to the post-theoretical and postmodern accounts of Beckett that emerged in the 90s.

Gibson's book argues that Badiou's reading does indeed make possible an important new departure in Beckett studies, but only if it is itself modified and to some extent transformed in the light of Beckett's work. For in certain respects, Beckett continues to raise certain questions, not only for Badiou's aesthetics, but for his philosophy as a whole. Gibson's book is an innovative comparative study that not only provides a fresh interpretation of Beckett but is also concerned with a specific set of problems within contemporary philosophy and aesthetics. He also wrote the Afterword - 'Badiou, Beckett and Contemporary Criticism' - to Badiou on Beckett, the English translation of Badiou's complete writings on Beckett (Clinamen, 2003). 

Gibson is now increasingly concerned with merging his philosophical work on Beckett with historical approaches. He wrote the Afterword to the Cambridge University Press volume on Beckett and Ireland edited by Sean Kennedy ― `“The skull the skull the skull the skull in Connemara”: Beckett, Ireland and Elsewhere’ ― and has also written a short biography of Beckett, Samuel Beckett: A Critical Life, published by Reaktion Books. Both appeared in 2010, and both seek to ground certain aspects of the argument in Beckett and Badiou in historical and empirical factuality, Irish, but also French, further placing Gibson’s reading of Beckett’s life and work in relation to the various socio-historical worlds that the author successively inhabited. Gibson now everywhere stresses the need to connect the established tradition of philosophical work on Beckett with the more recent, ground-breaking turn to historical research. By the same token, whilst he is particularly interested in ways of building bridges between the French and Anglophone traditions in Beckett criticism, he has an important stake in maintaining the perhaps supreme importance of the French Beckett, and his Beckett research now and for the foreseeable future will chiefly be on the French Beckett 1940-52. See for example his 'Beckett, de Gaulle and the Fourth Republic 1944-49: L'Innommable and En attendant Godot’, Limit(e) Beckett 1 (2010), pp. 1-26, at www.limitebeckett.paris-sorbonne.fr/one/gibson.html; `Beckett, Vichy, Maurras and the Body: Premier Amour and Nouvelles’, in Irish University Review (vol. 45, no. 2, Autumn/Winter 2015), pp. 281-301; `The French Beckett and French Literary Politics 1945-9’, in S.E. Gontarski (ed), Samuel Beckett: A Companion (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2014), pp. 103-16; and `Franco-Irish Beckett: Mercier et Camier in 1945–6’, in David Addyman and Peter Fifield (eds.), Samuel Beckett: Debts and Legacies (London: Bloomsbury, 2013), pp. 19-38.

 

Contemporary Philosophy (especially French)


Professor Gibson has forty years’ experience of reading and working with continental European philosophy and literary and critical theory, particularly modern French philosophy and theory. In the nineties, much of Professor Gibson's work involved the use of this material. This was particularly the case with his work on postmodernism. As what was once the radical challenge of postmodernism subsided into an often rather vapid, lightweight and conservative orthodoxy, so Gibson's theoretical interests specifically focussed on new (post-Deleuzean) developments in French thought and became philosophically more demanding, less concerned with 'applications’ of theory. Apart from Alain Badiou, he is also extremely well versed in the work of the contemporary French philosophers Jacques Rancière, Françoise Proust, Christian Jambet and Guy Lardreau, and has an interest in the work of Clément Rosset and recent French ventures into nihilism and speculative realism. He also has major expertise in a more familiar tradition spanning a period from Kojève to Derrida. He has recently expanded his philosphical interests considerably, as in his latest two books:

 

Modernity and the Political Fix (Bloomsbury, 2019)

Professor Andrew Gibson’s Modernity and the Political Fix was published in April 2019 by Bloomsbury in its Political Theologies series. It both follows on from his books on Misanthropy and his book Intermittency and brings together the political themes of his work since 1999, including his writings on Joyce and Beckett. The thesis it tests and explores is as follows: whatever its roots in Hume and the Enlightenment, and even in Hobbes, modernity proper and in any fully serious sense begins in 1789 with the French Revolution, the experience (and not merely the conviction) of groundlessness and political and social renewability, and therefore a concept of the worldly incarnation of justice and the good. However, modern politics, understood as a politics of justice and the good, is haunted from the start by historical irony, an irony those working on behalf of modern politics prove unable to countenance, think through  or keep pace with, let alone resolve (hence `the political fix’). Renovation produces reaction which produces renovation. Renovation and reaction anticipate, compromise, reverse, need and bleed into, borrow from each other, seemingly interminably. It is significant that the word `modern’ considerably predates the word `conservative’.  Modern politics continually implodes, threatens to slide or collapse into its opposite, breeds its own opposition as an aspect of modernity itself. With the end of the Cold War, however, the long struggle of modern politics to extricate itself from its problematic entanglements comes to an end. Whether redefined as postmodernism, globalization, neo-liberal democracy or `total capital’, the scene of implosion promotes itself as reinterpreting or indeed replacing politics.

Modern politics, then, is presently chronically in retreat and on the defensive, even on the wane. But this by no means necessarily spells its death. The task now becomes the rescue of key modern political concepts, their preservation and transmission, but according to an altogether different conception of political temporality, political causality, political subjectivity and fidelity. The concepts chiefly at stake in the book (as in its chapter titles) are Historicity, the Event, the Remainder, the People Untransformed and Transmission. Literature and the arts are key in this context. After decades of political explications of literature which in effect always elevated the political above the aesthetic, it is now time to rethink modern politics with modern literature (and art, music and theory) as one’s starting-point, not least because modern literature, theory and art repeatedly understood historical irony, grasped it and pursued its implications to intellectual conclusions, as modern philosophy and political thought did seldom or not at all. The significant figures in the book in this respect include Byron, Goya, early Foucault, Joyce, Woolf, Wagner, Joseph Roth, Gabriele Tergit, Döblin, Canetti and Lacan. The book ends by considering how far, in the light of its argument, certain theologians, and radical poets influenced by theology (R.S. Thomas, Norman Nicholson), can assist in revising our modern models of political thought.

 

Misanthropy: The Critique of Humanity (Bloomsbury, 2017)

This book is the first major study of the theme of misanthropy, its history, arguments both for and against it, and its significance for us today. Misanthropy is not strictly a philosophy. It is an inconsistent thought, and so has often been mocked. But from Timon of Athens to Motorhead it has had a very long life, vast historical purchase and is seemingly indomitable and unignorable. Human beings have always nursed a profound distrust of who and what they are. This book does not seek to rationalize that distrust, but asks how far misanthropy might have a reason on its side, if a confused reason. There are obvious arguments against misanthropy. It is often born of a hatred of physical being. It can be historically explained. It particularly appears in undemocratic cultures. But what of the misanthropy of terminally defeated and disempowered peoples? Or born of progressivisms? Or the misanthropy that quarrels with specious or easy positivities (from Pelagius to Leibniz to the corporate cheer of contemporary 'total capital')? From the Greek Cynics to Roman satire, St Augustine to Jacobean drama, the misanthropy of the French Ancien Regime to Swift, Smollett and Johnson, Hobbes, Schopenhauer and Rousseau, from the Irish and American misanthropic traditions to modern women's misanthropy, the book explores such questions. It ends with a debate about contemporary culture that ranges from the 'dark radicalisms', queer misanthropy, posthumanism and eco-misanthropy to Houellebecq, punk rock and gangsta rap.

"Gibson's new book is astonishing. Misanthropy - as mood, as logic - yields brilliant readings of the cultural and historical circumstances in which a specific attitude or misanthropic moment changes and turns the order of things. The book offers, with a magisterial command of a remarkable range of literary and cultural history, a brilliant engagement with the literary modulations of modernity. It is among the most original books I have read." 

Thomas Docherty, Professor of English and of Comparative Literature, University of Warwick, UK

"Misanthropy is elegant, irresistibly humorous, and genuinely informative, on a subject which has a most fascinating history and, as Gibson shows, is also pressingly relevant for the here and now. Accessibly written and eminently readable Gibson's is a mature critical voice, learned, intelligent and lucid, provoking and enlightening the reader at every turn."

Jonathan Dollimore, Former Professor of English and Related Literature, University of York, UK, now independent scholar and writer.

 

See also: Intermittency: The Concept of Historical Reason in Recent French Philosophy was published by Edinburgh University Press in 2011. It attempts to articulate and explain a post-Hegelian or, more accurately, post-Kojèvian French philosophical concept of the 'reason in history’ as rare, sporadic and irregular. Gibson’s case is that the philosophers in question produce a counter-phenomenology of spirit and a 'melancholic-ecstatic' conception of historical time. As such, however, they call to their necessary complement which, Gibson argues, is, above all, literature. The book includes chapters on Badiou, Rancière, Proust, Jambet and Lardreau, though it also abundantly contextualizes them both with reference to a specific conception of modernity beginning with the French Revolution, Kant’s late writings and Wordsworth’s Prelude, and a range of significant modern thinkers, from Hume to Benjamin, Lacan and Sartre. It also includes extended discussions of major literary figures, notably Wordsworth, Kleist, Flaubert, Rimbaud, Orwell, Carlo Levi and Sebald (and a film-maker, Rossellini). Any students interested in working at PhD level on the appropriate philosophers and philosophical themes, or the aesthetics in contemporary French philosophy, or the relationship between it and English literature, are warmly invited to contact Prof. Gibson.

Contemporary London and Its Literature

With the architectural historian Joe Kerr, in 2003, Andrew Gibson published London from Punk to Blair (Reaktion Books). This substantial collection of new essays and photographs taken over the last quarter of the twentieth century reappeared in a revised second edition in 2012. and is an important work of contemporary social and cultural history. It was partly funded by a British Academy grant awarded to Professor Gibson. Gibson contributed an essay entitled ‘Altering Images', on London literature 1980-2003; and, with his former research student Jennifer Bavidge, an essay entitled 'The Metropolitan Playground: London's Children' (also published in abridged form in the Times Higher Educational Supplement, 4 December, 2003). Together with the Royal College of Art, the Museum of London and Reaktion Books, on behalf of the department, he also organized a major conference on contemporary London at the Museum of London (November 2003), to mark the launch of the book. He is a member of the Advisory Board of Londonicity, London’s first annual London Studies conference series. His own research interest in the field is ongoing and students who share it are encouraged to contact him.

Review Extracts Since 2000 (A Selection)

Joyce’s Revenge

`I had been wondering if history and politics in Ulysses were such well-mined veins that only materials for articles and monographs remained. Happily, Andrew Gibson’s superb study dispelled my doubts.’ James Fairhall, James Joyce Quarterly

`It is hard to pay sufficient tribute to Gibson’s keenly detailed research and grasp of nuance in his discussion of the web of relations conjoining the powerful and the powerless’.  James Fairhall, James Joyce Quarterly

`Joyce’s Revenge’ deserves to become one of the landmarks in criticism devoted to Ulysses. Several chapters alone are worth the price of the book. For example, Gibson’s research on Gibraltar, fascinating in itself, deepens and enriches our understanding of Molly in a way that is unlikely to become outmoded’. James Fairhall, James Joyce Quarterly

`Joyce’s Revenge stands as a pinnacle of Joyce studies, a culmination and climax of the historicist turn that the field had taken in the previous decade’. Ronan McDonald, Textual Practice

'Joyce's Revenge splendidly serves to show us how significant is a scrutiny of the intertwined history of Britain and Ireland for understanding the radical aesthetics of Ulysses. This is a book that will keep Joyce scholars busy, and rightly so, for some time to come.' Irish Studies Review

'Aside from Joyce scholars those working more generally in Irish Studies should also read the book, as it indicates how closely Ulysses is an intervention into the crucial debates around history, culture, and national identity that shaped Ireland from the end of the nineteenth century.' Irish Studies Review

`Almost every page shows evidence of the most scrupulous research into the text, and is almost always persuasive in its arguments. Joyce's Revenge is a genuinely innovative and fascinating account of Ulysses; undoubtedly it will change the contours of Joyce criticism with its profoundly historicised discussion of Joyce's relation to Britain and Ireland.' Irish Studies Review

'Gibson's nuanced historicist semi-colonial reading is particularly effective in the interpretation of the most challenging parts of the novel, especially the last three episodes.' Clare Hutton, Times Literary Supplement

'This thought-provoking study makes a significant and highly original contribution to scholarship on Ulysses ... a particular strength of this book is the way in which it seeks to interpret the aesthetic of Ulysses as a whole, rather than focusing on a few key features or episodes.' Clare Hutton, Times Literary Supplement

'Andrew Gibson mentions that it took him fifteen years to write Joyce's Revenge. It's remarkable that he was able to produce this challenging, original study with its dense and learned historical detail that quickly. The book was worth waiting for.' Jean-Paul Riquelme, James Joyce Broadsheet

'Joyce's Revenge makes a significant and distinctive contribution to Joyce studies, and it deserves a wide readership. The author is impressively well read in English and Irish cultural history, and the book identifies and explores an aspect of this history about which most Joyceans, perhaps, know less than they might. Among the books on Joyce I've studied recently this is perhaps the most absorbing read, cover to cover, of all of them.' Timothy Martin, James Joyce Literary Supplement

`Gibson's detailed reading of Ulysses against the background of its intertextual archive provides highly revealing and often surprising insights into Joyce's deconstructive representation of the ideological forces at work both in England and Ireland. Joyce's Revenge combines a masterly analytical approach with a supreme grasp of theory, intellectual rigour and a convincing power of persuasion. Among the many books on our shelves produced by the Joyce industry, Gibson's will figure among the first things to read on Ulysses.' Wolfgang Wicht, Anglia

'The true distinction of Joyce's Revenge lies in its density. This comes in two forms: intellectual and historical. Every page in this book feels hard-won; every argument is sophisticated enough to include a host of variations, or a sequence of counter-arguments. There is almost a hint of Hegel or Adorno in Gibson's thought, the unremitting intensity with which a position is carried through in all its exemplification, then inverted with equal rigour.' Joseph Brooker, Textual Practice

'Joyce's Revenge deserves more than a review: better a colloquium dedicated to following its myriad trails. For all the headlong pursuit of its argument, its chapters are also diversions in themselves, localized and surprising.' Joseph Brooker, Textual Practice

'Political Joyce' is not new. Its task must now be to age wisely: to root its claims not in theoretical fashion but in deep historical soil. No one has yet undertaken this task with more care and skill than Andrew Gibson.' Joseph Brooker, Textual Practice

'Andrew Gibson combines a wealth of knowledge and research ... with an admirable sensitivity to the Joycean text. The book has much to do with what postcolonial theory calls 'hybridity' and 'mimicry', but is also densely and precisely historicized ... Joyce's Revenge immerses itself in a broad range of specific cultural discourses on subjects from nationalist politics to medical debates to the politics of street names, the politics of Shakespeare and bardolatry, Protestant-Catholic relations, Jewishness, Irish historiography, women's journals, and astronomy. The result is an important new study that will alter the ways we read Ulysses.' Professor Vincent J. Cheng, University of Utah

'Andrew Gibson's is easily one of the most serious of academic books to have appeared on Joyce in recent years. It is densely researched, full of ideas, and well-embedded in current academic questions, and is sure to become a familiar point of reference in future debates as well as a standard to which subsequent researchers will have to aspire.' Richard Brown, Modernism/Modernity

`Andrew Gibson has written a book to be mined for decades to come for its unique historical insight, its extraordinary attention to detail and its powerful theoretical grasp. Joyce's Revenge is the kind of rare book one compulsively recommends to students and friends'. Marian Eide, South Central Review

`Andrew Gibson's book presents a convincing and fruitful method to interpret Ulysses. It also ― unlike many students of Joyce ― takes Joyce seriously as both a thinker and an artist ... The worth of any theory is not in its cleverness but in its explanatory value. On this basis Gibson's book is a success and a most refreshing one.' The Compulsive Reader


Review Extracts: James Joyce: A Critical Life

`The strength of Gibson’s scholarship lies in his confident grasp of the social, intellectual and religious details of Anglo-Irish history, science and material culture out of which Joyce’s work sprung…His books on Joyce prove the mischievous contention of George Bernard Shaw that Ireland is one of the last spots on earth still generating the ideal Englishman of history…It may be that his own rereading of Joyce’s masterpieces is a chapter of the moral history of England and its liberation too.’ Declan Kiberd, Professor of Anglo-Irish Literature, University College Dublin

`[In Joyce’s Revenge], with critical acumen and subtle scholarship, Gibson mapped out a radically new approach to Joyce and Ulysses…here the concentration is on the work in the context of the life…This is an important study that should send us all back to the master’s scriptures with wiped eyes and big questions’. Gerry Dukes, Irish Independent

`The care with which Gibson analyses the play Exiles in his study is essential reading, as is his change in perspective regarding Ulysses itself, where he emphasizes the novel’s profoundly Irish historical and existential freight’.  El Pais

`Gibson’s focus on Joyce’s Irishness produces original and provocative readings not only of Joyce’s works, but also of key moments in his life and even of his work habits….James Joyce makes for engrossing and satisfying reading. Gibson’s knowledge of Irish history, like his prose, is impeccable’.  James Joyce Literary Supplement

`There is an elegance to the whole package, and especially to Gibson’s writing…his skill at conveying quantities of information without losing momentum, and his fingertip familiarity with Irish history’.  English Literature in Transition 1880-1920


Review Extracts: Joyce, Ireland, Britain

`Deeply researched and meticulously written, these essays offer important insights into the historical context of Joyce’s work and adjust, significantly, our sense of Joyce’s relation to relation to Irish politics as well as to England and English culture’. Timothy Martin, Rutgers University

`Joyce, Ireland, Britain is likely to be considered one of the most important essay collections ever produced on Joyce, and will be talked about and used for decades to come’. Sebastian Knowles, Ohio State University

`The essay in this volume employ the “London method”.... The London school appears to have learned the lessons of Michel Foucault, for while it “aims at exactitude”, it is also `attentive to the possibility of historical discontinuities, ruptures, breaks. What we find [in Joyce, Ireland, Britain] is contextual narrative and reflection on historical events and figures, much of it insightful and original, supported by a wide range of published material...these essays, and the editors’ theoretical reflections, advance historical  Joyce criticism in the direction
of greater specificity and nuance. They also raise anew the question of the status of historical analysis in literary studies’. Gregory Castle, James Joyce Quarterly

`The introduction demonstrates the importance of persistent critique and an equal belief in the perfectibility of scholarship’s enterprise. The essays that follow are of uniformly high quality, written by scholars of great talent and conviction; their insights will be of real interest to researchers and teachers of Joyce’s work’. Marian Eide, James Joyce Literary Supplement

`This informative, even distinguished collection of essays promises to immerse its reader into a newly specific, historically accurate context for reading Joyce's work in relation to British and Irish politics and culture. Perhaps its most arresting claim is that unlike the Englishman Haines in Joyce's Ulysses, the English critics represented here refuse to treat history as a scapegoat in an effort to evade personal or national responsibility for historical wrongs against Ireland. Instead, the editors argue that the responsibility of "a new kind of English Joyce scholar" might be "to hold back from too ready a surrender to historical amnesia" and "to gesture toward the immense debtorship" [of a thing done; an echo of Stephen's telegram to Mulligan in Ulysses] "by doing a great deal of extremely hard and painstaking historical work"’. These two goals are something that every contributor succeeds in’. Vicki Mahaffey, Modernism/Modernity)

`Gibson and Platt's Joyce, Ireland, Britain and Shelton's Joyce and the Narrative Structure of Incest... acknowledge a crisis of method; both are impressively grounded in textual commentary and explication, whilst being overtly aware of the theoretical and methodological contracts into which they enter ― aware, that is, of the fact that their respective arguments emerge in response to a clear demand for methodological innovation. It is this awareness that lends the readings they advance a special quality and urgency’. Journal of Modern Literature


Review Extracts: Beckett and Badiou

`Beckett and Badiou is all the better for its inherent difficulties, and even uncertainties, for its ultimate twisting and turning in on itself. What it lacks at times in elegance ― and the book feels in parts, unlike most of Gibson’s other criticism, almost self-denying in its stylistic dryness ― it makes up for with a nuance and rigour that make it a richly satisfying and productive account on Beckett’s oeuvre’. David Cunningham, Radical Philosophy

`Gibson probably takes us further than any other recent reader of Beckett…is direction of grasping the full social and critical form of his art’.  David Cunningham, Radical Philosophy

`Gibson’s book, with its intricate layers of theoretical complexity and its vast ambition, is certainly a formidable feat of scholarship…. The book is a testimony to its author’s intense participation in a set of intellectual debates and exchanges which are ― or at least should be ― of the greatest significance in literary studies’. English

`Gibson is masterful in his grasp of Badiou’s system (even its more knotty mathematical formulae, and he effortlessly weaves his argument from Badiou’s theorems to Beckett’s literary texts....By suggesting that Beckett’s work describes a waiting for something (the event) as well as an aimless, anxious, endlessly postponed process (of intermittency), Gibson provides an absorbing account of the hesitant expectancy of Beckett’s writing’.  Benjamin Keatinge, Irish University Review

'The book is impeccably researched.....Badiou's reading of the author has hitherto been less influential in the Anglo-Saxon (empirical) context than it has in le monde francophone. Gibson's book constitutes the first sustained study of the subject. In its depth of analysis, it will be difficult to surpass.'  Ulrika Maude, Modernism/Modernity

'Scrupulous, immensely well-read'. Leslie Hill, French Studies

`Gibson’s book is much more than a programmatic “Beckett and...” exercise that shoehorns Beckett into some pre-designed philosophical system. It is a far more sophisticated and dynamic critique than that. It is a tremendously alert and penetrating exercise in intellectual synergy, highlighting unexpected connections between the philosopher and artist that helps us consider both in a new light’. Textual Practice

`That Gibson can so comfortably move between historicist and abstract approaches reveals him as one of the most ambidextrous modernist specialists in an area that is still quite often split between scholars and theorists’. Textual Practice


Review Extracts: Samuel Beckett: A Critical Life

'In his recent short biography of the writer, Samuel Beckett, Andrew Gibson makes the essential attempt to restore to the dramatist and his characters the difficult and thankless nobility of the compassionate view . . .  An excellent and necessary volume’. George Hunka, Artistic Director, Theatre Minima, New York

'[The book] undoubtedly sheds light on the historical circumstances that informed [Beckett's] texts, and there are many interesting details that allow us to see his literary achievement more clearly’. Times Literary Supplement

'This new biography . . . considers the writer's work in relation to the historical circumstances of his life and provides an original insight into one of Ireland's greatest writers.' Irish Post


On Intermittency: The Concept of Historical Reason in Recent French Philosophy

`This book is to my knowledge the most subtle and original study of a crucial orientation in French philosophy that took place after the heyday of the best-known, now dead, great masters (Althusser, Derrida, Foucault, Lacan etc.), but which refused to ally itself with the nouvelle philosophie (Lévy, Finkielkraut and their followers). Gibson clarifies what the principal representatives of this orientation have in common, what separates them, and why thought must set out from them today, even if it preserves ― as Gibson does ― a real critical distance from them. The book is without equal or rival anywhere, including France’. Alain Badiou

`Gibson is not merely a skilful interpreter of texts, not merely a passeur, who enables us to discover new vistas in contemporary French philosophy, but also a philosopher in his own right...the book you are going to read is not merely a book, it is a landmark’. Jean-Jacques Lecercle, Preface

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