James Joyce and Heraldry

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SUNY Press, Jan 1, 1986 - Literary Criticism - 196 pages
James Joyce and Heraldry demonstrates that heraldry is an essential key to the symbols of Joyce's major works. It is a clear, witty introduction to heraldry and the use of heraldic imagery by Western writers, including Dante, Chaucer, Shakespeare, Jonson, and Sterne.

Michael O'Shea shifts the focus from the aural imagery of Joyce to reveal the visual impact deriving from Joyce's use of the symbols and language of heraldry. He cites biographical and textual evidence of Joyce's deep interest in coats of arms, crests, and other heraldic emblems; and demonstrates that Joyce used these visual symbols as well as "the curious jargons of heraldry" in his writings. O'Shea succeeds in compiling an indispensable reference work that sheds new light on Joyce's major texts, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, Ulysses, and Finnegans Wake. His commentary is thoroughly illustrated and includes a glossary of heraldic terms keyed to Joyce's usage of them.

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On the Map of GALWAY 1651,there are two Coats of Arms for Joyce. The first is amongst the four "Ancient Lords of Galway City", and depicts a single eagle; the second, amongst the" fourteen tribes of Galway"depicts a double headed eagle. The motto"Mors aut honorabalis vita" appears on both. The older,the single eagle, is that of the senior branch of the Joyces, and are those of Mac Thomas, Joyce of Joyce Country,Chief of his name. The double headed eagle Coat of Arms is that of the branch of Joyces who are of the tribes of Galway City. The biography of James Joyce's Father maintains that that family descends from Joyce Country Joyces, the senior branch. Perhaps this may be of some help. 


Heraldry in Literature
These be my genteelican arms
W Joyces Heraldic Collideorscape

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About the author (1986)

Michael J. O'Shea is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Humanities and Communications at Drexel University. He is a member of the Heraldry Society in England and a founding member of the Heraldry Society of Ireland.

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