James Joyce: Developing Irish Identity follows the increasing focus on Irish identity in Joyce's major works of prose. This study traces the development of the idea of Ireland, the concept of "Irishness," the formation of a national identity and the need to deconstruct a nationalistic self-conception of nation in Joyce's work. Through close reading of Dubliners, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, Stephen Hero and Ulysses, Joyce articulates the problems that colonialism poses to a nation-state that cannot create its identity autonomously. Furthermore, this reading uncovers Joyce's conception of national identity as increasingly sophisticated and complicated after Irish independence was won. From here, Halloran argues that Joyce presents his readers with ideas and suggestions for the future of Ireland.
As Irish studies become increasingly imbricated with postcolonial discourse, the need for re-examination of classic texts becomes necessary. James Joyce: Developing Irish Identity provides a new approach for understanding the dramatic development of Joyce's oeurve by providing a textual analysis guided by postcolonial theory.