Speed, the sensation one gets when driving fast, was described by Aldous Huxley as the single new pleasure invented by modernity. The Speed Handbook is a virtuoso exploration of Huxley’s claim. Enda Duffy shows how the experience of speed has always been political and how it has affected nearly all aspects of modern culture. Primarily a result of the mass-produced automobile, the experience of speed became the quintessential way for individuals to experience modernity, to feel modernity in their bones.
Duffy plunges full-throttle into speed’s “adrenaline aesthetics,” offering deft readings of works ranging from F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, through J. G. Ballard’s Crash, to the cautionary consumerism of Ralph Nader. He describes how speed changed understandings of space, distance, chance, and violence; how the experience of speed was commodified in the dawning era of mass consumption; and how society was incited to abhor slowness and desire speed. He examines how people were trained by new media such as the cinema to see, hear, and sense speed, and how speed, demanded of the efficient assembly-line worker, was given back to that worker as the chief thrill of leisure. Assessing speed’s political implications, Duffy considers how speed pleasure was offered to citizens based on criteria including their ability to pay and their gender, and how speed quickly became something to be patrolled by governments. Drawing on novels, news reports, photography, advertising, and much more, Duffy provides a breakneck tour through the cultural dynamics of speed.
The Subaltern Ulysses
Enda Duffy University of Minnesota Press, 1994 Library of Congress PR6019.O9U6383 1994 | Dewey Decimal 823.912
The Subaltern Ulysses was first published in 1994. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions.
How might an IRA bomb and James Joyce's Ulysses have anything in common? Could this masterpiece of modernism, written at the violent moment of Ireland's national emergence, actually be the first postcolonial novel? Exploring the relation of Ulysses to the colony in which it is set, and to the nation being born as the book was written, Enda Duffy uncovers a postcolonial modernism and in so doing traces another unsuspected strain within the one-time critical monolith. In the years between 1914 and 1921, as Joyce was composing his text, Ireland became the first colony of the British Empire to gain its independence in this century after a violent anticolonial war. Duffy juxtaposes Ulysses with documents and photographs from the archives of both empire and insurgency, as well as with recent postcolonial literary texts, to analyze the political unconscious of subversive strategies, twists on class and gender, that render patriarchal colonialist culture unfamiliar.
Ulysses, Duffy argues, is actually a guerrilla text, and here he shows how Joyce's novel pinpoints colonial regimes of surveillance, mocks imperial stereotypes of the "native," exposes nationalism and other chauvinistic ideologies of "imagined community" as throwbacks to the colonial ethos, and proposes versions of a postcolonial subject. A significant intervention in the massive "Joyce industry" founded on the rhetoric and aesthetics of high modernism, Duffy's insights show us not only Ulysses, but also the origins of postcolonial textuality, in a startling new way.
Enda Duffy is assistant professor of English at the University of California at Santa Barbara.