Joyce’s Exiles: A Reception History
Exiles — James Joyce’s lone extant play — has been the subject of scholarly neglect for the past century, with scholars dooming it as an Ibsenian knockoff and “a wholly bad play” (Kenner, 9). I suggest that we look at Exiles in a wholly different context, instead reading it as a theatrical entity worthy of the stage and not reading it as a work of fiction with accompanying stage directions. Far from suggesting that Exiles is Joyce’s magnum opus, I attempt to elevate the status of the place by suggesting that the 1970 revivalist staging of the play helped to catapult the theatrical career of Nobel laureate Harold Pinter. I further gesticulate toward possibilities and opportunities for the gestation of a more complete critical edition.
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