Professor Emeritus Daniel O’Connell’s article titled “Bloom and Babbitt: A Gramscian View” was recently published as part of a volume titled Rethinking Gramsci by Routledge Press.
The article illustrates the views of Antonio Gramsci which are illustrated through the work of two writers, James Joyce and Sinclair Lewis, and their respective characters, Leopold Bloom and George Babbitt. It addresses some of the issues around social class and the differences between European and American issues of class.
O’Connell hopes that the reader will gain “a clearer understanding of the differences between how European and American writers address these issues of social class and how the issues play themselves out in different ways in these two cultural contexts.”
His inspiration for the article came from teaching a seminar on James Joyce for twenty years while at the Colleges. In his course, he focused on the social and historical dimension of Joyce’s work. From a comparative literature perspective, Gramsci’s views provided a useful theoretical foundation for analysis.
The volume provides a comprehensive assessment of Gramsci’s significant contributions to the field of political and cultural theory. Gramsci, an Italian writer, politician and political theorists who lived around the turn of the 20th century, was a founding member and leader of the Communist Party of Italy who was imprisoned by Mussolini’s Fascist regime. The volume contains articles from important political and cultural theorists who explain the origins, development and context for Gramsci’s thoughts and analyze his continued relevance and influence on contemporary debates.
O’Connell received his M.A. and Ph. D. from Columbia University and his B.A. from Hunter College. He taught at HWS from 1971 until he retired two years ago. He was a member of the English department and routinely taught courses on Modern European literature and culture, British novels and Irish literature. He authored the book The Opposition Critics on literary theory and has been published in journals such as Novel, James Joyce Quarterly, and Rethinking Marxism.