III. Joyce’s Representations of the Intellectuals:
Since the nineteenth century, journalism has been a major
intellectual institution in Ireland. Intellectuals such as the
Young Irelanders engaged in journalism, which served as an
important channel for voicing their political ideals. The Irish
press, as a matter of fact, had acted as “the major formulator of
national consciousness” ever since O’Connell’s emancipation
movement; this link with nationalism gave journalists a high
status (Platt, 1998: 739-740). As a powerful vehicle, the press
could serve either the nation or the Empire (and the Church).
With the split in the nationalist party and the death of Parnell,
the press ceased to serve as a representative of national spirit;
rather than resist oppression, it perpetuated oppression. Joyce
was aware of the ambivalent power of journalism, seeing both
liberatory and repressive potential in the press (Collier, 2006:
8, 111). The increasing commercialization of journalism
tainted further its revolutionary potential. Patriots might have
praised the press as an agent of liberty, but journalism was a
business, relying on sales to ensure its survival. With the
massive expansion of the industry in the second half of the
commercialization became inevitable as
newspapers competed for a larger readership. Aiming at profits
rather than an ideal, journalism in turn-of-the-century Ireland
was considered an institution of changeability.
remark well summarizes the degeneration of Irish journalism
over the decades: “The newspaper may have brought a soul to
Ireland in the 1840s, but by the end of the nineteenth century
it was widely perceived to have corrupted the national spirit”
For a historical context of newspapers as being published in Dublin, see
Kershner (2010: 96-106).
For the political inconsistency of certain newspapers, e.g., the
, see Herr (1986: 69-70) and Kershner (2010: 99-101).