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After LivesA Guide to Heaven, Hell, and Purgatory$
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John Casey

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195092950

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195092950.001.0001

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Prologue: Stephen Dedalus's Hell

Prologue: Stephen Dedalus's Hell

Chapter:
(p.1) Prologue: Stephen Dedalus's Hell
Source:
After Lives
Author(s):

John Casey (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195092950.003.0001

This chapter explores the evaporation, in effect, of real assent to beliefs in the afterlife, especially in hell. Starting from the author's personal experiences of Catholicism before Vatican II, it goes on to consider whether in the modern world such beliefs are inevitably entertained with ironic overtones. The hell sermons in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce are of exceptional interest here, for Joyce is able to deploy irony toward a boy's belief in hell, and the Catholic traditions that stand behind it, while holding back from satire.

Keywords:   James Joyce, Stephen Dedalus, hell sermons, Vatican II, Catholicism, irony

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