The historical event survives in the modernist literary text not as fact or fixity but as a trace, a textual memory that may be refracted through the multiple private perspectives of character, through literary language, and through innovative technologies of narrative form. One such trace in Ulysses relates to the Boer War, an historical event whose significance, arguably, becomes more complex the more closely we focus on the processes of its refraction through the three central private consciousnesses of Joyce's book. This war that ended the nineteenth-century and opened the twentieth, finds a suitable home in a novel that itself marked the arrival of the twentieth century in terms of its innovative fictional technology as well as in terms of its recognition of the changing circumstances of public and private life, and the psychology that questions whilst it underpins them. 1
Brown, Richard, The Absent-Minded War: The Boer War in James Joyce's Ulysses, Kunapipi, 21(3), 1999.