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Joyce in Court


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An accessible and original book about Joyce, by a hugely respected figure in Ireland. A brilliant recreation of the late 19th- and early 20th-century legal system in Ireland.

About the Author

Justice Adrian Hardiman was a judge of the Irish Supreme Court and generally acknowledged as the most brilliant lawyer of his generation. He died suddenly in 2016. His funeral was a major national event and he was mourned by thousands of people.


Even to those who find Ulysses somewhat impenetrable and to those who never even attempt to read Finnegans Wake, Joyce in Court is a pleasure to read and a real treasury of Joycean history in context * Dublin Sunday Business Post *
He has the gifts of clarity, expertise and a deep knowledge of what he is talking about... This book is a worthy tribute to a person of many talents who fortunately chose to devote a lot of them to a body of work which was ideally suited for him' * Irish Times *
Hardiman has approached the oeuvre with refreshing clarity... he is a highly enlightened and consistently humane reader of Joyce' * Daily Telegraph *
This tremendously well-researched and marvellously insightful book is a delight for lawyers and lovers of literature alike * Irish Independent *
With forensic care, Hardiman takes us through the trials of Emmet and the invincibles. His advantage is that he knows the book as well as he knows the law, and so misses no chance to connect what happened legally with what enters the minds and conversations of the fictional characters... [Hardiman] writes with clarity and with a lawyer's eye as he describes what the authorities did to prevent the book being published' -- Colm Toibin, Guardian
Hardiman's enthusiastic tracing and interpretation [...] does it a great service * The Sunday Times *
Hardiman's detailed survey of [insurance law, libel, the tort of criminal conversation] undoubtedly renews and enriches our reading of Joyce's work as a whole... Its treatment of individual cases is fascinating' * Literary Review *
The book reads like one of [Hardiman's] elaborate court arguments and it is redolent with the knowledge for which he was renowned. It is a seemly memorial of his professional life in the courts as well as his parallel life as historian and literary scholar * Irish Examiner *
A fascinating exploration of Joyce's obsession with the legal system that looks at the many trials referenced in Ulysses and Finnegan's Wake * Irish Times, Best books of 2017. *
[Hardiman] sheds new light on James Joyce's Ulysses by way of the 18 civil cases referred to in its text... Provides an insightful consideration of Joyce's masterpiece from a refreshingly different angle' * Publishers Weekly. *
Consistently informative and entertaining, and very often fascinating. It deserves a place in ever Irish lawyer's library * Law Society Gazette *

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