Dr James Fraser

Research interests

I am a scholar of literary modernism and critical theory with a particular focus on the work of James Joyce. My work to date has involved studying the much misunderstood and critically undertheorized influence and use of betrayal in Joyce’s writings, unpicking issues related to Irish nationalism, the politics of egotism, and the tensions implicit in “autobiografiction” or life-writing. My research pays particular attention to the ways that Joyce responds to certain claims made on the self by an other that is regularly configured as hostile. Out of this complex web of interrelated issues I construct a new picture of Joyce’s narrative practice, one that allows for a political engagement with a form of Irishness that is constructed racially even as it rejects and parodies that construction. More recently, I have extended my interest in Joyce's interest in the fraught issue of exposure to the hostile other into a wider analysis of forms of hospitality in modernist literature. My next project will be a wide-scale appraisal of the cultural history of the bicycle, with special attention given to its role in the literature and culture of the 1880s to the 1930s.

Research collaborations

I am currently co-editing a collection on Joyce's non-fiction writings with Dr Katherine Ebury of the University of Sheffield: _Outside his Jurisfiction: Joyce's Non-Fiction Writings_. This brings together, for the first time, new and targeted work on the complex issue of Joyce's non-fictional practice. How do we approach Joyce's non-fiction, given that he seemed to do so only occasionally and without any sustained attention? How do we reconcile the aspiring writer who once conceded that "while he may not be another Jesus, he at least had a talent for journalism" with the author who ceased to publish non-fictional works as soon as he achieved success as a fiction writer?