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He’s in Dublin today, accepting the Ulysses Medal.

Paul Gillespie: You are being presented with a Ulysses medal in University College Dublin and have a long-standing interest in James Joyce’s work. What attracts you to it and what do you think it has to tell us about today’s world?

Jürgen Habermas: You must not expect any special expertise on my part in this area. I am simply one of the countless admirers of one of the most outstanding works of literature of the twentieth century. For me, Joyce, the itinerant European author, combines things in Ulysses that are otherwise seldom encountered together. He combines the artifice of a highly self-reflective, aesthetically uncompromising modern novel whose allusions are almost indecipherable with an unmistakable, though by no means uncritical, attachment to the all-pervasive ethos of his Irish native country. The novel is a declaration of love to the streets and pubs of Dublin and to the rich tradition and spirit of the country. It could be that this mixture is gaining a new resonance in times of “glocalisation”, that is especially in places where the local is entering into strange combinations with the global.

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