James Joyce: Commentary (5)

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General Index

File 5
Herbert Gorman Hugh Kenner Harry Levin Arland Ussher William York Tindall

Herbert Gorman, James Joyce: His First Forty Years (NY: Geoffrey Bles [n.d.] 1926): ‘[...] If Mr. Yeats was blowing the fine breath of life into his symbols and being instructed in the “Seven Sacred Trances” by Madame Blavatsky a certain type of young intelligence would not walk that way. There were men who would not be disciples and in a physically circumscribed literary movement which was bounded by the extent of a single city not to be a disciple meant to be either an abrupt and [4] emphatic [about one's one] individuality or nothing. It may be imagined that nothing but intellectual pride, a Satanic concentration on mental aloofness, an intense self-confidence in one’s philosophical and aesthetic leadership made such an attitude tenable. So when we find Mr. James Joyce remarking to Yeats, “We have met too late; you are too old to be influenced by me,” [see note] we can understand that the supremely impertinent attitude postulated more than a fiendish bon mot. It was most assuredly a serious assertion by one who knew whereof he was speaking. Joyce was that high type of literary artist who is thoroughly selfish and inwardly gazing at all times. The world as such meant less to him than the world’s reactions upon his mind and spirit. All things that touched him, that met his gaze instantly assumed a personal significance. We can hardly picture him dying for a lost cause unless the lost cause happened to be himself and them we may be sure that he would mount the fagot with considerable agility.’ (pp.4-5.)

[Gorman’s Note: ‘This statement and several of the following facts are taken from Padraic Colum’s excellent article, “With James Joyce in Ireland”, in the New York Times [sic] of June 11, 1922. The conclusions drawn from them are my own.’ (Idem.)]

For Joyce’s transcription of the Aristotelian sentences, see infra. See also under Quotations, supra, and Notes, infra.

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Herbert Gorman (James Joyce: His First Forty Years, 1926) - cont.: ‘The Irish Literary Theatre had no allegiance from him because [6] he was a movement in himself, or, at least, imagined he was. [note;: he was the only student to deny his signature to the letter of protest against Yeats’s play, “Countess Cathleen”, refusing from the very first to run with the herd.] A.E., according to Padraic Colum, once remarked to Joyce, “I’m afraid you have not enough chaos in you to make a world.” We can imagine the extremely self-confident young man that would occasion such a remark. Joyce had no faith in enthusiasm as such and refused to permit himself to be stampeded into undertakings of any sort. he was reserved, autocratic, thoroughly cognizant that he did not agree with others and inwardly boiling with his own reactions to things. / Here was a young man who had been flung head-foremost into the writings of Aristotle and St. Thomas Aquinas in a Jesuit school and therefore naturally a dialectician. The hair-splitting strangeness of scholastic philosophy (long dormant in modern letters) had been bred in him. His scheme of things was based upon these men and together with it went his self-disillusionment in the Roman-Catholic Church. he possessed the virue of a proud courage in his convictions, laughing at and slighting the Greek epics, for instance, [7] because they were anterior to European civilisation and therefore outside of that tradition of culture which made its greatest gesture in Dante’s “Divine Comedy” should have absorbed him so. [...] From the beginning he [Joyce] was a cerebralist but a cerebralist entangled in the blazing web of an adjusted emotionalism. Though the man himself may have been cold and deftly malicious in his mental quirks his work has never been cold. It has been malicious, perhaps; most Irishmen will say so. But it has also been potent with an alarming sense of reality, a biting truthfulness tha seems to be the result of narrowed [8] observation and an unimpassioned orientiation of facts by the brain.’ (pp.6-9.) [Cont.]

Herbert Gorman (James Joyce: His First Forty Years, 1926) - cont.: ‘[T]his romanticization of the Irishman has, so far as the rest of the world is concerned, worked the nation an unintended wrong. It has obscured a distinguished cerebralization which manifests itself in more than a sharp wit. It is possibly because the Irishman has been so colored by romance, that we have grown to accept him as a creature of emotions, that James Joyce, at a first cursory glance, appears to be so un-Irish in his approach toward his work. Yet a little consideration will show him to be essentially Irish, the possible product of no other country. While the Irish were a dominated people it was, perhaps, but natural to regard them from a romantic sentimental point of view. But now the pendulum is swinging the other way. Passing from the romantico-sentimental stages the Irish mind will assert itself as a cerebral force, a force strengthened by the innate mysticism that is the heritage of its spiritual development. Joyce is Ireland’s first great cerebral writer.’ (p.62.) [Cont.]

Herbert Gorman (James Joyce: His First Forty Years, 1926) - cont.: ‘The dates appended to A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man are “Dublin, 1904-Trieste, 1914” and there is no reason not to believe that Joyce had reached this new movement through his own deduction and cerebration before any other Irishman or Englishman had consciously formulated it. He himself declares: “I began this novel in notes before I left Ireland and finished it in Trieste in 1914. Before I left I offered an introductory chapter to Mr. Magee [John Eglinton] and Mr. Ryan, editor of Dana. It was rejected.” The original publication of [70] the novel was in the pages of The Egoist, London, where it was serialized from February, 1914, to September, 1915, an appearance wholly due to the kindly offices of Ezra Pound.’ (pp.70-71.) [Cont.]

Herbert Gorman (James Joyce: His First Forty Years, 1926) - cont.: ‘Joyce was well to the fore in breaking away from the established style. Because this first novel is so unmistakably a departure from an existing tradition that had given evidence of superb achievement and was therefore not particularly frayed, we must regard A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man as more important from a pioneer point of view than even Ulysses. It established a position from which progress to Ulysses was a consistent enough development. Possibly few people imagined that Joyce would carry the theory which he had unmistakably enunciated in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man to such a perilous length. Possibly he could have gone on writing subjective novels which departed no more than this first effort from the tentative application of a wholly new technique in fiction but this was hardly to be expected. He was too arrogant an individualist to repeat his successes. He possessed too unresting an intellect not to carry his own theories to their ultimate goal. [71] And because this was so it is a dubious matter to bracket him with contemporary writers. As he defiantly stood outside of his own Irish Renascence so did he stand outside of the broad stream of European culture. We can hardly imagine him seriously weighing the opinions of others. Indeed, it is quite possible that he regards himself as a literary Ubermensch. He deliberately passes beyond good and evil.’ (pp.70-72.) [Cont.]

Herbert Gorman (James Joyce: His First Forty Years, 1926) - cont.: ‘Roman Catholicism is in his [Joyce’s] bones, in the beat of his blood, in the folds of his brain and he cannot rest until it is either removed or clarified ... . it is there, twisted out of all resemblance to itself.’ (p.75; quoted in Marvin Magalaner & Richard M. Kain, James Joyce: The Man, The Works, The Reputation [1956], London; John Calder 1957, p.37.) [Cont.]

Herbert Gorman (James Joyce: His First Forty Years, 1926) - cont.: ‘He begins to doubt the very thing which has sharpened and made acute in him the power to doubt. In other words his religious training has super-refined his capacities of spiritual observation and religious analysis so that he may behold how far apart the theory and the actuality stand. “It is a curious thing, do you know,” remarks Cranly in that last conversation in the book, “how your mind is supersaturated with the religion in which you say you disbelieve.” Now the entire progress of A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man is a consistent exposition of Cranley’s [sic for Cranly] statement. As a boy at school Stephen did believe, believe madly in his religion, but it was an emotional faith engendered by direct appeals to the senses. With his immersion in scholastic philosophy and the clarifying of his brain-powers for meticulous reasoning he practically destroys [79] the Stephen that once existed by a cold albeit somewhat forced logic. It is Stephen’s tragedy to destroy that image of himself which all his senses cry out to be. In its place rises the bitter figure which cries, “I will not serve that in which I no longer believe,whether it call itself my home, my fatherland or my church; and I will try to express myself in some mode of life or art as freely as I can and as wholly as I can, using for my defence the only arms I allow myself to use, silence, exile and cunning.” But before that moment is reached we witness this youth bearing the ambitious name of the old Greek artificer (surely a symbolic touch) pass through that dark valley in which the juvenile scaffoldings of one’s life crash down before the cold wind of reason.’ (pp.79-80.) [For longer extracts, see RICORSO Library, infra.)

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Herbert Gorman, James Joyce (NY: Farrar & Rhinehart 1939 [358pp.], pp.95-96 - on copy of Joyce’s [so-called] Paris Notebook: ‘[The] sentences that he copied down in his notebook from the various works of the Stagirite show us what arrested his mind and in what direction he was travelling’. These are transcribed as follows: “The soul is the first entelechy of a naturally organic body.’ ‘That which acts is superior to that which suffers.’ ‘Only when it is separate from all things is the intellect really itself and this intellect separate from all things is immortal and divine.’ [95] ‘The principle which hates is not different from the principle which loves.’ ‘The intellectual soul is the form of forms.’ ‘Speculation is above practice.’ ‘Necessity is that in virtue of which it is impossible that a thing should be otherwise.’ ‘God is the eternal perfect animal.’ ‘Nature, it seems, is not a collection of  unconnected episodes, like a bad dream (or drama?).’ Gorman remarks: ‘These utterances, perhaps not in the exact words of Aristotle, from the Psychology and the Metaphysics give us some idea of the attempt that Joyce was making to establish for himself a a reasonable metaphysic for life and aesthetic for art. He was finding his way, not too slowly. By a tough reasoning process and the steps of his progression are indicated by the short original notes he set down at this time and was to continue a year or so later in Pola and Trieste. Indeed, these notes were the loose bricks from which he was to build up the aesthetic definitions so beautifully exposited to Lynch in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. Lynch was quite correct in remarking that they possessed the true scholastic stink but nevertheless they played a vast part in liberating Joyce from the musty aesthetic urges of his youthful environment.’ In what follows, Gorman cites several longer passages with notebook entry dates attached, viz., ‘Desire is the feeling ...’ (James A. Joyce, 13 Feb. 1903, Paris); ‘There are three conditions of art ...’ (6 March 1903); ‘Rhythm seems to be ...’ (25 March 1903); ‘e tekhne mimeitai ten physin’ (27 March 1903); ‘Art is the human disposition ....’ (18 March 1903). (p.98.)

Herbert Gorman, Introduction to A Portrait (NY: Random House 1928), v-xii: ‘The unusual aspects of this book, this impressive prelude to the then unsuspected Ulysses, were implicit less in the situations than in the method of handling and the suggestive innuendoes rising from apparently trivial notations. In other words the author was exploting a new form in the novel, a form not then fully ascertained but to be carried to its logical determination in the behemoth of books that was to follow it. To understand this form it was necessary to understand the limitations of fiction. It was necessary to comprehend that the novel has (within the boundaries more or less arbitrarily set for it) fully flowered and blossomed, that in Gustave Flaubert, and, after him, Henry James, the ultimate possibilities of characterisation and mental and spiritual exploration and revelation had been exhausetd. there was nothing to be done but to push the apparently set boundaries of the novel back still farther, to make possible [v] the elaboration of that new factor in life - the subconscious. So much had come into this problem of living, so many misty awarenesses of inexplicable inhibitions, so many half-formed impulses, atavistic urges, semi-conscious cerebrations, mysterious enchantments of the heart, and involved mental gestures, that a steadily widening gap was splitting literature and life apart. It was therefore the purpose of Mr. Joyce to fill this gap, to make possible a profounder exploration of reality in the novel-form. A Portrait of the Artists as a Young Man, then, was (and is) important as a pioneer effort in this direction.’ [Cont.]

Herbert Gorman (Introduction to A Portrait, 1928) - cont.: ‘To this effort Mr. Joyce brought an astonishing and awe-inspiring array of talents. He brought independence and arrogance, psychological acumen and dialectical skill, vividness of conception and treatment, moral freedom and human passion, sensitivity and intuition, and, above all, literary courage, that was undisputed. It was no secret that it was himself, his own youth, he was recreating. He realised, rightly enough, that in no better way could he develop this new form of fictional treatment, a treatment akin to pathology and infused with an uncompromising psychology, than in applying it to himself or in himself he possessed a rare subject for such an endeavour. The Stephen Dedalus of A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, delicately constituted, innately intellectual, afforded Mr. Joyce an opportunity for psychological revelation that was boundless in depth. [... &c.]’ (pp.v-vi.)

Herbert Gorman (Introduction to A Portrait, 1928) - cont.: ‘[P]erhaps no method has been more discussed in the last decade than this so-called stream of consciousness technique. There are enough practitioners of it now to fashion it into a well-recognised mode of fictional treatment [here cites Virginia Woolf, Dorothy Richardson, Sherwood Anderson, Conrad Aiken & Waldo Frank, et al.; ...] As a matter of fact, the stream of consciousness method is an evolution, the answer to a crying need of the novel which was discovering itself to be stifled within arbitrary limitations and which found a new outlet through the psychological discoveries and experimentations of the day. Mr. Joyce was certainly one of the first, if not the first, to handle this method on a large scale and with supreme and convincing ability. When he reached the immense panorama of Ulysses, he had the mastership of his method well in hand. It was his willing slave and it performed miracles for him. But it had already manifested itself in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, particularly in the intense scenes at the close of the book, and because of this that volume assumes rightly enough an extreme importance in the development of the novel-form today. It was the gateway leading directly to Ulysses [. ... &c.]’ (pp.vii-viii.)

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Herbert Gorman, James Joyce (NY: Farrar & Rhinehart, 1939) - on Joyce in Paris in 1903-04 [quotes notebook material which not included in The Critical Writings, as Jacques Aubert remarks - ref. Gorman, James Joyce, 1939, pp. 95-96) - but subsequently recovered in the Notebook purchased for the National Library of Ireland in 2004]: ‘Bibliotheque Ste Genevieve [...] His readings, or rather, re-readings in Aristotle were but a continuance of the road he had naturally found and followed under Jesuitical direction [...] It is unnecessary to enlarge on Joyce’s continual interest in Aristotle. As his mind matured, and we must remember the influence under which it matured, his exploration of the reasoning of the master of Aquinas achieved a profundity that would have done credit to an experienced specialist in the subject. Aristotle still represented to him Dogma, a rock set against the turbid tide of inchoate metaphysics. He was System, co-ordination, rationalization. He was the reverse of Plato and Plato’s beautiful and ineffectual mysticism. Joyce, with the gigantic fetish for exactitude ever before him and an intense concern for the unities, with his worship of Ibsen and his scorn of the empty twilight of the Irish Theatre, naturally found in Aristotle a firmer base form which to spring than the quicksand of Romanticism left by the back wash of the ‘90s. The sentences which he copied down in his notebook from the various works of the Stagirite show us what arrested his mind and in what direction it travelled, for instance:

Joyce’s Paris Notebook - as copied in Gorman
The soul is the first entelechy of any naturally organic body.
That which acts is superior to that which suffers.
Only when it is separate from all things is the intellect really itself and this intellect separate from all things is immortal
    and divine. [Gorman, p.95]
The principle that hates is not different from the principle that loves.
The intellectual soul is the form of forms.
Speculation is above practice.
Necessity is that by virtue of which it is impossible that a thing should be otherwise.
God is the eternal perfect animal.
Nature, it seems, is not a collection of unconnected episodes like a bad drama.
—See extended version of Joyce's Aristotelian quotations under Joyce > Notes > Artistotle - infra.

Herbert Gorman, James Joyce (1939) - cont.: These utterances, perhaps not in the exact words of Aristotle, from the Psychology and the Metaphysics [recte the same: De Anima] give us some idea of the attempt that Joyce was making to establish for himself as a reasonable metaphysic for life and aesthetic for art. He was finding his way, not too slowly, by a tough reasoning process and the steps of his progression are indicated by the short original notes he set down at this time and was to continue a year or so later in Pola and Trieste. Indeed, these notes were the loose bricks from which he was to build up the aesthetic definitions so beautifully exposited to Lynch in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. Lynch was quite correct in remarking that they possessed the true scholastic stink but nevertheless they played a vast part in liberating Joyce from the musty aesthetic urges of his youthful environment.’ (p.96.) In what ensues, Gorman cites several passages with notebook entry dates attached: ‘Desire is the feeling [...].’ (James A. Joyce, 13 Feb. 1903, Paris); ‘There are three conditions of art [...]’ (6 March 1903); ‘Rhythm seems to be [...]’ (25 March 1903); ‘e tekhne mimeitai ten physin (27 March 1903); Art is the human disposition [...].’ (18 March 1903). (p.98).

Note that these sentences were incorporated into the Critical Writings, ed. Ellsworth Mason & Richard Ellmann (1959) on the basis of Gorman’s book [as here], and augmented on the basis of his manuscript notes - containing examples that he did not publish, in Richard E. Peterson, ‘More Artistolean Grist for the Joycean Mill’, in James Joyce Quarterly , 17 (1980), pp.213-17. Finally, the holograph original of the notebook source - incorporating what were thought to be two separate notebooks (i.e., the Paris Notebook of 1903 and the Pola Notebook of 1904) was included among the papers purchased by the National Library of Ireland from the Alexis Léon, the son of Paul Léon, in 2001.

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Herbert Gorman (James Joyce, 1939): ‘He had yet to realise the reason for his existence, yet to comprehend that it was the unconsciously self-dramatising imagination of the lonely artist who enlarges himself at the expense of the apparent world that carried him from the nadir of despair to the zenith of a paradisal overlordship of the disastrous flaws of time.’ (p.48; quoted in Sheldon Brivic, Joyce the Creator, Wisconsin UP 1985, p.31.)

Note: Shelly Brivic relates this to ‘[t]he delight with which Joyce was filled when he appropriated the powers of God’, noting that the sentence and the biography were ‘Joyce-approved’; idem.)

Further (Gorman), ‘[Joyce] holds only the opinions of a man immersed in a vast literary endeavour to the practical exclusion of all else (James Joyce, 1939, p.234; quoted in John Whittier-Ferguson, ‘Embattled Indifference: Politics on the Galleys of Herbert Gorman’s James Joyce’, in Vincent J. Cheng, et. al., eds., Joycean Cultures/Culturing Joyces, Delaware UP 1998, p.141).

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Herbert Gorman (James Joyce, 1939): ‘Questions settled by force were never settled for him. They were merely brutally silenced for the moment. Tomorrow the same questions would be asked again.’ (Ibid., 241; quoted in Whittier-Ferguson, op. cit., 1998, p.143.) ‘Joyce did not meddle in politics in any way. He was above the conflict as were all the wise unimpassioned minds of the time and his entire devotion and travail were concentrated on the development and perfection of his own art.’ (Ibid., p.257; Whittier-Ferguson, p.145.)

See also unpublished passage [deleted by Joyce in the galleys]: ‘Joyce, although he sympathised with the promoters of the rebellion from the theoretical Irish point of view, was convinced from the beginning that the move was ill-advised and doomed to failure. He continued to follow affairs in Ireland (as well as he could from his distance) and betrayed a keen sympathy with the struggle and was delighted when determined in Ireland prevented the English from enforcing conscription there.’ Joyce substituted a replacement on the verso with the comment: ‘it is almost impossible in the present political state of the world of [sic] what was his political attitude if it can be dignified by such a term at the time’; quoted in Whittier-Ferguson, op. cit., 1998, pp.137-38; citing Gorman papers, 4/6/81, box 4, folder 6, galley 81.) Note, Gorman printed much of Joyce’s neutrality-manifesto “Dooleysprudence”; Frank Budgen also quotes it in James Joyce, 1934], rep. edn., 1960, p.201.)

Herbert Gorman (James Joyce: The Definitive Biography, 1941 [2nd Edn.]): ‘[Stephen Hero] was to be ... an autobiographical book, a personal history, as it were, of the growth of a mind, his own mind [...]. He endeavoured to see himself objectively, to assume a godlike poise of watchfulness and observance over the small boy and youth he called Stephen and who was really himself.’ (q.p.; quoted in Jonathan McCreedy, PhD Diss., Viva [proposal], UUC 2009.)

Note: Gorman’s James Joyce (1939) printed Joyce’s letters to Grant Richards (e.g., ‘My intention was to write a chapter of the moral history of my country’ and also copies of “The Holy Office” and “Gas From a Burner”, and a version of the old Irish ballad of “Finnegan’s Wake”. See Horace Reynolds, ‘The Man Who Wrote Ulysses’, review of Gorman, James Joyce, in The New York Times (18 Feb. 1940), Books - available online; accessed 07.05.2105.)

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Harry Levin, James Joyce: A Critical Introduction ([NY: 1941; 2nd edn. London Faber 1944] rep. (London: Faber & Faber 1960, 1968): ‘An epiphany is a spiritual manifestation, more especially the original manifestation of Christ to the Magi. There are such moments in store for all of us, Joyce believed, if we but discern them. Sometimes, amid the most encumbered circumstances, it suddenly happens that the veil is lifted, the burthen of the mystery laid bare, and the ultimate secret of things made manifest. Such a sudden intimation was experienced by Marcel Proust, when he had dipped a bit of madeleine into a cap of linden tea. Such a momentary vision, perhaps too intimate to be included in the final version of the Portrait of the Artist, had once come to Stephen Dedalus, passing through Eccles Street, before “one of those brown brick houses which seem the very incarnation of Irish paralysis”. It now seemed in him that the task of the man of letters was to record these delicate and evanescent states of mind, to become a collector of epiphanies. Walking along the beach, in Ulysses, he muses upon his own and his youthful resolve to leave copies to all the libraries of the world, including Alexandria.’ [...; 37.] Further: ‘What seem trivial details to others may be portentous symbols to him. In this light, Joyce’s later works are artificial reconstructions of a transcendental view of experience. His dizzying shifts between mystification and exhibitionism, between linguistic experiment and pornographic confession, between myth and autobiography, between symbolism and naturalism, attempts to create a literary substitute for the revelations of religion.’ [38] (Cont.)

Harry Levin (James Joyce [1941; rev. 1944; rep. 1960, 1968) - cont.: ‘Joyce’s intention, he told his publisher, “was to write a chapter of the moral history of my country and I chose Dublin for the scene because that city seemed to me the centre of paralysis”. In every one of these fifteen case histories, we seem to be reading in the annals of frustration - a boy is disappointed, a priest suffers disgrace, the elopement of “Eveline” fails to materialize. Things almost happen. The characters are arrested in mid-air; the author deliberately avoids anything like an event. In “The Boarding House” - when there is some hope of a wedding - the aggressive landlady, the compromised daughter, and the abashed young man [38] are presented in turn, and an actual interview becomes unnecessary. Joyce’s slow-motion narrative is time to his paralysed subject. Both are synchronized with his strangely apocalyptic doctrine, which assigns to both author and characters a passive. part. The author merely watches, the character are merely revealed, and the emphasis is on the technique of exposure. / Realism had already established the artist as an observer; naturalism, made him an outsider. [...]’ (Cont.)

Harry Levin (James Joyce [1941; rev. 1944; rep. 1960, 1968) - cont.: ‘He [the modern writer] is not concerned with romantic adventure or dramatic incident. He is concerned with the routines of everyday life, the mechanisms of human behaviour, and he is anxious to discover the most economical way of exposing the most considerable amount of that material. / This is simply an attempt to define what is so often referred to as the nuance. The epiphany, in effect, is the same device. Though grounded in theology, it has now become a matter of literary technique. It has become Joyce’s contribution to that series of developments which convert narrative into short-story, supplant plot with style, and turn the raconteur into a candid-camera expert. [...] It is hard to appreciate the originality of Joyce’s technique, twenty-five years after the appearance of Dubliners, because it has been standardized into an industry. This industry is particularly well equipped to deal with [39] the incongruities and derelictions of metropolitan life. [...]’ (pp.38-39.)

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Harry Levin, James Joyce: A Critical Introduction [1944] (London: Faber & Faber [2nd edn.] 1960, rep. 1968), Pref. to Revised Edition: ‘[...] Retrospect brings some degree of detachment; and though I cannot evaluate my effort, I think I can place it. It had the advantage of coming at the moment when the controversy around the living Joyce had just ended. His friends had played their important part as defenders, comforters, and intermediaries. He still had his detractors, but their opinions counted for less and less; too many fellow writers and able critics had rallied to his cause. Judicial enlightenment had removed the ban that had long attempted to keep Ulysses from the Anglo-American reading public. Has there ever before been so short a transition between ostracism and canonization? Suddenly, by ceasing to be a contemporary, Joyce had become a classic. Then it was easy enough to recognize his historic role, to trace his literary affiliations, and even to reconcile his iconoclasm with the forces it had revolted against. Those changes in status and interpretation - I suspect - followed a larger sequence of esthetic shifts as the twentieth century was moving from its first to its second generation, and from Bohemia to Academe. [14; ...] Today it would be hard to find a college where Joyce is not on some syllabus or other. This is ironic but not improper, given a writer as deeply concerned as he was with the process of education and with the transmission of culture. [... &c.]’ (pp.14-15.) Note: Acknowledgements incl. those to John V. Kelleher ‘for his Irish lore’, John A. Lester, Jr., ‘for his valued assistance’, F. O. Matthiessen, John J. Slocum, together with Herbert Gorman, Stuart Gilbert, Miles L. Hanley, et al.; pp.10-11.) [Cont.]

Harry Levin (James Joyce: A Critical Introduction [1944] 1960) - cont.: ‘To have great poets, according to Whitman, you must have great audiences. Whether you blame the authors or the spectators, it must be admitted that the Irish audience showed little patience with Yeats and Synge. As for Joyce, his books could not and cannot be published or sold in his native country. They are of Irishmen and by an Irishman, but not for Irishmen; and their exclusion was Joyce’s loss as well as Ireland’s. / A literary movement has been defined, by one of the epigones of the Celtic renascence, as ‘five or six people who live in the same town and hate each other cordially’ [viz., Geo. Moore]. When the people are Irishmen and the town is Dublin, the possibilities are fairly electric. Joyce, an authentic Dubliner and a competent hater, might have qualified as a member in good standing of the Irish literary movement, but he chose to remain on the periphery. In birth and background he differed from the Anglo-Irish intellectuals; for him their amateurish zeal took the bloom off the culture they were attempting to revive. They were older, and less curious about the widening horizons of European letters. They had lived in England, and conceived the Irish character as an interesting exhibit for the Abbey Theatre. They had never responded to the Catholic catechism, and were vulnerable to private metaphysics and theosophic visions. They were poets who looked to politics for a renascence in which Pre-Raphaelitism would go hand in hand with Home Rule. For Joyce, Ireland was too much of a reality to be viewed through the haze of the Celtic twilight. His development started from the point they were striving to attain, and went in the direction from which they had come. Irish politics charged the atmosphere he breathed in childhood. [...]’ (p.21.) [Cont.]

Harry Levin (James Joyce: A Critical Introduction [1944] 1960) - cont.: ‘Joyce’s relations with the circle of Irish writers that had emerged during his school days are most concisely put in the words with which he is said to have acknowledged an introduction to Yeats: “You are too old for me to help you.” His own maturity did nothing to modify this brash condescension. In the opening scene of Ulysses, Irish art is dismissed as “the cracked lookingglass of a servant”, and the old milkwoman representing Ireland mistakes Gaelic for French. it is hardly surprising that one of these personalities, W. J. Magee, the thoughtful Irish critic who writes under the name of John Eglinton, greeted Ulysses as “a violent interruption of what is known as the Irish literary renascence.” A broader view of the situation, and a closer comprehension of Joyce’s undeviating aims, prompted a continental critic, Valery Larbaud, to annouce that Ireland had at last made “a sensational re-entry into high European literature.”’ (p.22.) ‘Necessarily we approach his work the wrong way. [...] What he also takes for granted, and what we totally lack [23] is a thorough grounding in Irish life, in the streets and landmarks, the sounds and smells, the pubs and stews of his native city. “Dear Dirty Dublin”, if it means anything to us, is the name of a book by Lady Morgan.’ (Ibid., 23-24; p.15 in the 1944 edition.) [Cont.]

Harry Levin (James Joyce: A Critical Introduction [1944] 1960), cont. - on the epiphanies: ‘the term itself has become a catchword of criticism [...] Twenty-two of these perceptive notations, surviving on white ruled paper rather than green oval leaves [cf. “Proteus” in Ulysses], have been put into print; and at least one other has come to light since at Cornell [Univ. Library]. They can be profitably examined as examples of a unique and delicate genre, as concrete manifestations of the scholastic quidditas or whatness of things, or as realisation of the theory borrowed from Yeats’s “Adoration of the Magi” that a mystical insight may be imparted to wise men in other cities than Bethlehem. Yet it is even more interesting to read them with Joyce’s whole development in mind, and to see how they reappear at crucial moments as the modes of his mature fiction. To cite an unnoticed instance, number VI emerges on the second page of the Portrait of the Artist [viz., “Apologise ...”]. Already he is a poet, an artists in miniature; and he is anticipating his vocation, his apologia pro vita sua. Fifteen of these epiphanies are just bits of dialogue overheard in his Dublin youth. The “spiritual manifestation” is perceived through “the vulgarity of speech or gesture”. But, according to Joyce’s definition, it may also be manifested in “a memorable phase of the mind itself”. The other seven are lyrical rather than dramatic, prose poems inspired by his lonely first years on the continent.’ (p.188; for longer extracts, see RICORSO Library, “Criticism / Major Authors”, infra.)

Harry Levin [on “The Dead”]: ‘The final paragraph, in slow, spectral sentences, cadenced with alliteration and repetition, takes a receding view of the book itself. It sets up, like most departures, a disturbing tension between the warm and familiar and the cold and remote. In one direction lies the Class of Elements at Clongowes Wood, in the other the Universe.’ (Levin, James Joyce: A Critical Introduction, 1960 edn., p.81; quoted in Magda Velloso Fernandes de Tolentino, “Dubliners: The Journey Westward” [MA Thes.; Fed. University of Minas Gerais [UFMG, Brazil, 1989.)

Note: Margot Norris, ed., A Companion to James Joyce’s Ulysses (NY: Bedford Books 1998), “A Critical History”, remarks on Harry Levin: ‘Levin used Thomas Mann’s “dialectical pattern of Künstler versus Bürger” to argue that “Joyce’s work commemorates the long-standing quarrel between the bourgeois and the bohemian”.’ (Levin, Critical Introduction, 1941 edn., p.66, [here] 133; Norris, p.29.) Further: ‘Informed by the ideological debates of his colleagues in the 1930s, Levin read Ulysses’ protest against a Philistine culture as a doomed gesture of liberalism.’ (Norris, idem.)

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Hugh Kenner, Dublin’s Joyce (London; Chatto & Windus 1955), Chap. 1. “Double Writing”: ‘The speakers [in “Grace”] are manipulating clichés, but they are speaking deliberately, with a sense of discovering new provinces of thought. Their minds are at the stretch. Yet they can speak only in quotations, and despite the consciousness of effort, their thought runs in grooves. Any two Dubliners are Bouvard and Pécuchet. / The circumambient language doesn’t serve the citizen’s thought but directs it. He inherits locutions that were once alive, and shapes his mental processes accordingly.’ (p.8.)

Hugh Kenner (Dublin’s Joyce, 1955), Chap. 1 - cont.: [Quotes “Little Chandler”: ‘His temperament might be said to be [...; N]ot just the last phrases, but every phrase that passes through Chandler’s mind, from “temperament on the point of maturity” to “the Celtic note”, is reviewer’s jargon; quotation is as close to reality as he gets. Yet it was jargon that had a meaning before the reviewers got hold of it. It contains shreds of meaning still. And Chandler is no contemptible gull; he has rally felt some wordless emotion stirring within him, and his melancholy is genuine, and he is seriously meditating his career. / Such was Joyce’s material: the language of Dublin. Every Dublin phrase has a double focus: the past meaning it locks away, the present vagueness it shapes. It is in language that the dead city is preserved; it is language that maintains the citizens in deadness. What the Dubliners do is of no special interest; they drink, and walk, and couple. But when they talk to their women the idealised donnas of Europe haunt their locutions, for they have no other locutions for love (“the sun shines on you he said” [Molly]); when they talk in the streets they conjure up the traditions of peripatetic wisdom; when they talk at bars the swagger of a vanished age lights up among the words.’ [Quotes the citizen: “Their syphilisation, you mean ...”.] (pp.8-9.)

Hugh Kenner (Dublin’s Joyce, 1955), Chap. 1 - cont.: ‘[...] He [the Citizen] speaks the language that is given him, and entertains the corresponding ideas. No Dubliner acts from his nature, no Dubliner knows what his nature is; he acts on the promptings of idées reçues and talks in words that have for too long been spoken. Yet the words and actions can partake of a passion it would be difficult to call factitious; human spirits are imprisoned in these husks. Cadence and image crackle with continual racy unexpectedness, though phrase and action are drearily conventional.’ (pp.9-10.) [Cont.]

Hugh Kenner (Dublin’s Joyce, 1955), Chap. 1 - cont.: ‘Joyce’s Dublin was in fact an eighteenth-century parody. The technique he developed, the technique which underlies everything from the first pages of Dubliners to the end of Finnegans Wake, came out of the subject: parody: double writing. The music-halls parodied the heroic dramas; Joyce parodied the music-halls. Journalism parodied heroic elegance; Joyce parodied journalism. He focussed, that is to say, on what was actually there, and strove so to set it down that it would reveal itself as what it was, in its double nature: a distortion, but the distortion of something real. All his characters are walking clichés, because the Dubliners were; a Leopold Bloom is simultaneously a “case” and a person. All his dialogue is an assemblage of locutions reçues into unexpected patterns: unexpected because he was dealing with human beings, whose natural spontaneity the past could not batten down [...]’ (p.11.) [Cont.]

Hugh Kenner (Dublin’s Joyce, 1955), Chap. 1 - cont.: ‘Dublin lower-middle-class conversation is strikingly aware, as it picks its words, of a cultural heritage. That is why the clichés he listened to didn’t drive Joyce to despair as those of Rouen and Paris drove [11] Flaubert. In Dublin words, even dead words, are consciously used. Parasites and travelling salesmen drop polysyllables into place with an air. [...] So Joyce embalms in cadences what Dublin embalms in music, and entraps in the amber of learned multiple puns the futile vigour which the Dubliner, gazing into his peat-coloured Guinness, must generate in language because its counter-part has slipped out of life. / That is why Joyce has many voices but no “style”, as T. S. Eliot discerned long ago. The “scrupulous meanness” of Dubliners came out of the subject, not the author. In Ulysses he has a voice for every episode, in Finnegans Wake a voice for every phrase, and they are all Dublin voices.’ (pp.11-12.)

Note: Kenner goes on to illustrate his argument by alluding to the ‘studied awkwardness’ of Joyce’s choice of phrase in making Uncle Charles ‘repair’ to the outhouse (Portrait; here p.13; and see also the Uncle Charles Principle under Kenner, infra.)

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Hugh Kenner (Dublin’s Joyce, 1955) - Chap. 8. “A Portrait in Perspective”: ‘About one-third of the first draft (the Stephen Hero fragment) survives to show us what was going on during the gestation of this book, the only one which it cost Joyce far more trouble to focus than to execute. (p.109.) [Quotes Stephen on Isabel’s funeral and remarks:] ‘clumsy sentence, its tone slithering between detachment, irony, and anger, is typical of the bad writing which recurs in the Stephen Hero fragment to signal Joyce’s periodic uncertainty of Stephen’s convincingness.’ (p.111.)

On Joyce’s development: ‘The book [Stephen Hero] ran down unfinished in 1906, stalled partly by its own inner contradictions, partly by the far maturer achievement of Dubliners. It had never, Joyce saw, had a theme; it was neither a novel, nor an autobiography, nor a spiritual or social meditation. It contained three sorts of materials that would not fuse: documentation from the past, transcribed from the Dublin notebooks; Joyce’s memories of his earlier self, transmuted by a mythopoeic process only partly controlled; and his present complex attitude to what he thought that self to have been. Fortunately, the catalytic theme was not long in coming. In the late fall of 1906, he wrote from Rome to his brother about a new story for Dubliners, “Ulysses”. On February 6, 1907, he admitted that it “never got any forrader than the title.” [Letters, Vol. 2, p.209.] It coalesced, instead, with the autobiographical theme, and both subjects were returned to the smithy. A novel, Ulysses, as Joyce told a Zurich student ten years later, began to be planned as sequel to a rewritten Portrait. In 1908 Stephen Hero was discarded for good, and the job of lining up the two works began. And once the final balance of motifs for the Portrait [111] had been at last struck and the writing of the definitive text completed, the last exorcism, Exiles, took only three spring months. Ulysses and Finnegans Wake took seven and seventeen years, but their recalcitrance was technical merely. The Portrait includes their scenario: first “the earth that had borne him” and “the vast indifferent dome” (Penelope, Ithaca), then sleep and a plunge into “some new world, fantastic, dim, uncertain as under sea, traversed by cloudy shapes and beings”, P200/196. These are lyric anticipations of the dense epic and dramatic works to come; the actual writing of those works went forward during the next quarter-century with scarcely a false step.’ (Dublin’s Joyce, 1955, pp.111-12.) [Cont.]

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Hugh Kenner (Dublin’s Joyce, 1955), Chap. 8 - cont.: ‘The “instant of emotion” of which this 300-page lyric is the “simplest verbal gesture”, is the exalted instant, emerging at the end of the book, of freedom, of vocation, of Stephen’s destiny, winging his way above the waters at the side of the hawklike man: the instant of promise on which the crushing ironies of Ulysses are to fall.’ (p.119.) ‘The prose surrounding Stephen’s flight is empurpled with transfers and paper flowers too. It is not immature prose, as we might suppose by comparison with Ulysses.’ (p.119.) ‘The prose of “The Dead” is mature prose, and “The Dead” was written in 1908. Rather, it is a meticulous pastiche of immaturity. Joyce has his eye constantly on the epic sequel.’ (119.) ‘That Dedalus the artificer did violence to nature is the point of the epigraph from Ovid, Et ignotas animum dimittit in artes; the Icarian fall is inevitable.’ (p.120.) ‘Stephen does not, as the careless reader may suppose, become an artist by rejecting church and country. Stephen does not become an artist at all. Country, church, and mission are an inextricable unity, and in rejecting the two that seem to hamper him, he rejects also the one on which he has set his heart.’ (p.121).

Hugh Kenner (Dublin’s Joyce, 1955), Chap. 8 - cont. [on Stephen’s Aesthetic]: ‘It is a neo-platonic aesthetic; the crucial principle of epiphanization has been withdrawn.’ (p.121.) ‘Unfortunately, the last chapter makes the book a peculiarly difficult one for the reader to focus, because Joyce had to close it on a suspended chord. As a lyric, it is finished in its own terms; but the themes of the last forty pages, though they give the illusion of focussing, don’t really focus until we have read well into Ulysses. The final chapter, which in respect to the juggernaut of Ulysses must be a vulnerable flank, in respect to what has gone before must be a conclusion. / This problem Joyce didn’t wholly solve; there remains a moral ambiguity (how seriously are we to take Stephen?) which makes the last forty pages painful reading.’ (p.121.)

Hugh Kenner (Dublin’s Joyce, 1955), Chap. 8 - cont.: Kenner speaks of pandy-bat morality of Fr. Arnall’s sermon: childishly grotesque beneath its sweeping eloquence [...] cast in a brainlessly analytic mode [sic] that effectively prevents any corresponding Heaven from possessing any reality at all.’ (p.128.) [Cont.]

Hugh Kenner (Dublin’s Joyce, 1955), Chap. 8 - cont.: ‘As this precise analogical structure suggests, the action of each of the five chapters is really the same action. Each chapter, closes with a synthesis of triumph which the next destroys. The triumph of the appeal to Father Conmee from lower authority, of the appeal to the harlots from Dublin, of the appeal to the Church from sin, of the appeal to art from the priesthood (the bird-girl instead of the Virgin) is always the same triumph raised to a more comprehensive level. It is an attempt to find new parents; new fathers in the odd chapters, new objects of love in the even. The last version of Father Conmee is the “priest of the eternal imagination”; the last version of Mercedes is the “lure of the fallen seraphim”. But the last version of the mother who said, “O, Stephen will apologise” is the mother who prays on the last page “that I may learn in my own life and away from home and friends what the heart is and what it feels”. The mother remains.’ (p.129).

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Hugh Kenner (Dublin’s Joyce, 1955), Chap. 8 - cont.: ‘That Kathleen ni Houlihan can flirt with priests is the unforgivable sin underlying Stephen’s rejection of Ireland. But he makes a clear distinction between the stupid clericalism which makes intellectual and communal life impossible, and his long-nourished vision of an artist’s Church Triumphant upon earth. He rejects the actual for daring to fall short of his vision.’ (p.131.) [Cont.]

On Joyce’s style: ‘Joyce’s techniques - it is one of his principal lessons - are without exception derived from his subject, often excerpted from his subject. They are not means of representing the subject, and imperfectly; they are the subject’s very members laid on the page, in eloquent or ludicrous collage.’ (The Stoic Comedians: Flaubert, Joyce and Beckett [1962] , London: W. H. Allen 1964; rep. Dalkey Archive 2005, p.50; see previous paragraphs under Hugh Kenner, attached.)

Further: ‘[.. N]either Stephen nor any extrapolation of Stephen could have written [Ulysses]’ (p.137; see longer extract under RICORSO Library > Criticism > Major Authors > Joyce > Kenner > Dublin's Joyce - as attached.)

Hugh Kenner (Dublin’s Joyce, 1955), Chap. 8 - cont.: ‘And it is quite plain from the final chapter of the Portrait that we are not to accept the mode of Stephen’s “freedom” as the “message” of the book. The “priest of the eternal imagination” turns out to be indigestibly Byronic. Nothing is more obvious than his total lack of humour. The dark intensity of the first four chapters is moving enough, but our impulse on being confronted with the final edition of Stephen Dedalus is to laugh; and laugh at this moment we dare not; he is after all a victim being prepared for a sacrifice. His shape, as Joyce said, can no longer change.’ (p.132.) [For longer extracts see under RICORSO, Library, “Criticism / Major Authors”, Kenner, infra.]

Epistemology in A Portrait: ‘It is radically impossible to understand what Joyce is talking about from the standpoint of the post-Kantian conviction that the mind imposes intelligibility upon things. That is the root of the very romantic egoism from which he was liberating himself.’ (Dublin’s Joyce, 1955, p.138.)

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Hugh Kenner (Dublin’s Joyce, 1955), Chap. 9. “The School of Old Aquinas”: ‘The peculiarity of Joyce’s undertaking is that the phenomena he grasps before seeking appropriate words are themselves so largely linguistic. A city full of haunted talk, littered with hulks of public rhetoric, required the setting in motion by the artist of words more than of persons. Though in Chamber Music the aesthetic operations had been performed on love-songs rather than on lovers, Joyce didn’t develop the implications of this in the first cycle as clearly as in the second. The progressive effacement of the writer, from lyric through epic into drama, from Chamber Music to Exiles, leaves behind a [150] drama of actors, and what is epiphanized in Exiles is an aloneness in which they speak words while making no contact with one another. The comparable progression from the Portrait to Finnegans Wake leaves behind a drama of daftly autonomous words, language, not persons, in action, convoluting in a void of non-communication, but, by virtue of its tentacular contacts with things and traditions, richly epiphanic of the fragmented mind of Europe. / The tentacular complexity of language is as offensive to the rationalist as is the irreducible existence of things; it should not surprise us that the principles of an orderly synthetic language were first outlined in 1629 by Descartes himself. Unlike the inventors of Volapuk and Esperanto, Joyce wasn’t offended by the makeshifts of daily intercourse. He was too interested in the real. [...]’ (pp.150-51.) [Cont.]

Hugh Kenner (Dublin’s Joyce, 1955, Chap. 9) - cont.: ‘That everything dovetails in Ulysses doesn’t constitute its consonantia, nor confer its integritas; that everything dovetails is an ingredient of its irony. Ulysses is an epiphany of the self-contained, explicable world of mechanism; and it is a prison and an inferno. / Thus Stephen’s speculations on causality are relevant to Joyce’s elaborate use of efficient causes to weave an iron net around the protagonists.’ (p.155.) [Cont.]

Hugh Kenner (Dublin’s Joyce, 1955, Chap. 9) - cont.: ‘Every detail of Joyce’s aesthetic speculation is oriented towards the epiphany - toward the criterion of intelligibility. The artifact is a supremely intelligible object. The plot, when employed, has ontological consistency, not merely the rationalistic consistency which it may or may not exhibit but which the fortuitous always exhibits. The real plot of Finnegans Wake is the emergence of light, imaged by the daybreak at the end of the chapel windows; the gradual subsumption of particulars into an intelligible order; so is the plot of a story of Dubliners.’ (p.156.) [For longer extracts see under RICORSO, Library, “Criticism / Major Authors”, Kenner, infra.]

Hugh Kenner (Dublin’s Joyce, [1955]; Indiana UP edn. 1956) - Chap. 10: “Baker St. to Eccles St.”: ‘Joyce is mocking the super-brain with a monstrous parody of its workings. If you were to project an auctorial personality behind Ulysses, you would find it mechanical and craftsmanlike and unreflective, gifted at transcription with minimal distortion, gifted at tesselation, gifted with anything but the sense to rush with a cry out of this nightmare of correspondence and recurrence, this superimposition of a thousand detective stories (“Potato I have ...”, U56/50). What about potato? We are told nearly four hundred pages later, U428). You would find, in fact, if you insisted on feeling for a personality, just the personality sketched by Wyndham Lewis in his brilliant misreading of the book: “not so much an inventive intelligence as an executant” [Time and Western Man, p.106], a thinking-machine, in short, the incarnation of quasi-industrial “know-how”. Joyce has been at great pains to build up this persona behind his book. The Eniac-daemon is not the author; it is behind that, rather than behind the obvious façade of the work, that the author stands indifferent, paring his fingernails. Most critics, of course, Watsonian Holmes-worshippers to a man, have reached into the Portrait for a clue and found this persona “god-like”. Certainly, the god of industrial man. It is essential to the total effect of Ulysses that it should seem to be the artifact of a mind essentially like Bloom’s, only less easily deflected; a mind that loses nothing, penetrates nothing, and has a category for everything; the mind that at length epiphanizes itself in the catechism of “Ithaca” (it seems never to have been asked whether it is Joyce in propria persona who is asking and answering these droning questions, and if not, what are the implications for the rest of the book). Lewis notes that Bloom seems a disguise of the author rather than a character: Bloom is in fact a low-powered variant on the mode of consciousness that imparts substantial form to the book. It is by the insane mechanical meticulousness of that mode of consciousness, the mode of consciousness proper to industrial man, that in Ulysses industrial man is judged. That is, in a way, the “meaning” of the book, the form in which it remains as a whole in the memory. One of Joyce’s greatest creations is the character of this sardonic [167] impersonal recorder, that constantly glints its photoelectric eyes from behind the chronicle of Bloomsday.’ (pp.167-68; quoted in small part [‘mechanical meticulousness’ to ‘memory’] in R. B. Kershner, ‘The Culture of Ulysses’, Joycean Cultures/Culturing Joyces, ed. Vincent J. Cheng, et al., Delaware UP 1998, p.154.)

[For longer extracts from Chap. 9: “The School of Old Aquinas”, see RICORSO Library, “Criticism / Major Authors”, Kenner, infra; and see also responses to the above from John Banville and Brandon Kershner, under “AZ Authors” / Hugh Kenner, supra.]

Hugh Kenner, Samuel Beckett: A Critical Study (Calder 1961), ‘[...] the point of the [...] exhaustiveness of Ulysses, that next great Irish book, is to characterise Mr. Leopold Bloom as a lost mind immersed to the eyes in quantifiable matter. The number of things to the square inch of Joyce’s text defies computation [69]. (See also Hugh Kenner, A Colder Eye, 1983; extract in Ricorso Library, “Criticism”, supra.)

Hugh Kenner, ‘Homer’s Sticks and Stones’, in James Joyce Quarterly, 6 (Summer 1969): ‘[Samuel] Butler’s was simply the first creative mind - Joyce was the second - to take the archaeologist’s [i.e., Heinrich Schliemann’s] Homer seriously: to consider what it might mean to believe that the Odyssey was composed by a real person in touch with the living details of real cities, real harbors, real bowls and cups and pins and spoons, real kings, real warriors, real houses’ (pp.285-98, p.293; quoted in Margot Norris, ed., A Companion to James Joyce’s Ulysses, NY: Bedford Books 1998, [“A Critical History”], p.23.)

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Arland Ussher, Three Great Irishmen (London: Gollancz 1952) - “James Joyce: Doubting Thomist and Joking Jesuit” [being Chap. III]: ‘For Joyce as for Yeats, the artist is the magician, controlling the spawning images - he is the demiurge breaking the flood; even though the Tower has become the students’ Martello Tower, and Kathleen ni Houlihan as shrunk to the Milkwoman. /  It seems to me probably that Joyce was influenced, more perhaps than he knew, by the hermeticism of Yeats; in Stephen Hero he records the impression made on him, in student days, by the hypnotic and powerful Rosa [125] Alchemica [...]’ (p.127; cont.)

Arland Ussher, Three Great Irishmen (1952) - cont.:  ‘It may be that no nation and no literature can skip any of the “dialectical” phases of its development. The oddity of James Joyce seems to me party that of a prodigious birth out of time - an oddity favoured certainly, but not engendered, by the artistic climate of the 20th Century. Ireland, owing to her isolation from European developement (and also in part no doubt to foreign domination) had produced no important body of literature during the Middle Age - an age which in her case has continued almost to the present day. Joyce is Ireland’s first great native writer - her Dante or her Chaucer; though expressing his age, as every writer should, it was also necessary for him to express, in his manner, those buried ages - to achieve a great collective Yeatsian “dreaming back”. He took with immense seriousness his destiny of “forging the uncreated conscience of his race” - so that he had to be, by turns, a St. Austine crying aloud about his sins, a Scholastic glossing on Aquinas, the producer himself of a “Summa” or great synthesis, and finally a Duns Scotus spitting hairs and mangling words. And all the time he was essentially a humorous sceptical Dublin observer - an Everyman among artists, with a schoolboy love of puns, puzzles and [127] indelicacies - sometimes distorted out of nature by these processes, at other times assisted to an immortal symbolisation. (pp.127-28.)

Arland Ussher, Three Great Irishmen (1952) - cont.: ‘The ambition to write a “Prophetic Book” has ruined more than one artist. Joyce regretted that Yeats did not use the theories of A Vision for a work of art on the grand scale; but Yeats’s “Instructors” - or his aesthetic instinct - wisely forbade such an attempt. He had the unfortunate example of his first teacher, Blake, for a deterrent. [147] Joyce, unlike Yeats and Blake, was neither poet nor philosopher - though he was a genuinely philosophical novelist and an intensely poetic short-story writer. There was, however, a restless Irish ambitieux in him, forever pressing for new conquests - a daemon such as inhabited no other writer I can think of but Rousseau. The youthful Stephen Dedalus had declared that he felt himself to be the slave of two masters - the imperial British state and the holy Roman catholic and apostolic church. From the first he received - with an inner resistance - his language, from the second his philosophy, and though he was to show in Ulysses that he could prose it with Malory or Macauley, and in the Portrait that he could discuss aesthetics with Aquinas, this was all in the nature of a very Irish bravura-performance. It is true that in the process he had created an unforgettable gallery of character-studies - characters which indeed attain the status of symbols or archetypes - and had written one of the great comic books of the world, worthy to rank with Gargantua, Gulliver or Tristram Shandy; but with these achievements he was by no means content. He had still to fulfil that rather bombastic programme of his youth - to forge in the smithy of his soul the uncreated conscience of his race. But how was he, self-outcast and - with all his miscellaneous erudition - oddly ignorant of his time, to do any such thing? True, he carried Ireland everywhere with him like a pilgrim’s pack, but his ireland was the Dublin of the Pigott Forgeries, “Erin go Brath”, and the joke giant Finn McCool. Of the Irish language, and the forces that were shaping the Ireland of today, he knew nothing - had never, in his impatient youth, wished to know anything. Tant pis! He would bring together these miserable [148] shreds of Hiberniana and the little he knew of post-Scholastic European thought - he would do it by a daring exploitation of those new theories of the “Collective Subconscious” which, it so happened, were stirring in Zürich during the time of his residence there. He would imagine a great drama in which the Vico Road in Dalkey merged with Giambattista Vico’s cycles, in which the notable bookshoop of Messrs. Browne [sic] and Nolan was one with Giordano Bruno of Nola, in which the Phoenix Park (a traditional mis-spelling, incidentally, of the Gaelic name) became the locus of Adam’s Fall (that “felix culpa”) and the Phoenix’s fiery rebirth. He would invent a new language to fit this material, as the exiled Dante created, in effect, a new language (not, it is true, a nonsense-language) to write the Divine Comedy. The experiment was arresting, and - up to a point - amusing; but it was not very like a dream. He took seventeen years over it, and the result was the weirdest “folly” in the history of verbal architecture.” As one of Joyce’s earnest apologists [L. A. G. Strong] has phrased it, “It remains a brilliant and formidable feat of literary pioneering, to which all future artists in words must be in our debt, if only because it shows some things to be impossible.” (Italics mine.) I think one really cannot say fairer than that! / Nevertheless Finnegans Wake is in a sense an important book; and one feels with a certain exasperation that - only for Joyce’s stage-Irishry, his pedantry, and his megalomania - it might have been a great book. it is the one true nature-myth of modern writing which springs straight from the urban scene, without the interposition of literature or folklore.’ (pp.148-49; (For longer extracts, see RICORSO Library, “Criticism > Major Authors > James Joyce”, via index, or attached.)

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William York Tindall, James Joyce: His Way of Interpreting the Modern World (NY UP 1956) [prev. (NY/London: Charles Scribner’s Sons 1950]: Bloom is ‘[a figure who] emerges heroically in the end as one of the greatest representatives of human dignity’; on Joyce’s vision: ‘far less satiric than contemplative, less destructive or edifying than creative. Less concerned with what is wrong with man than with the nature of man and the power of creation ...’ (pp.125-26, 35, 7; both quoted in S. L. Goldberg, The Classical Temper: A Study of James Joyce’s Ulysses, Chatto & Windus 1961; Goldberg, p.28.)

Note - Goldberg remarks: ‘Mr Tindall’s trust in abstract and mechanical “symbolism” and his surely excessive trust in cocoa’, quoting further to the effect that the cup of cocoa shared by Bloom and Stephen is ‘the symbolic celebration of Stephen’s communion with man [...] the cocoa is mass-produced for trade; as the product of a symbolic Mass, it is the sacrament; and it suggests the masses for whom it is produced ... Cocoa must have been a personal symbol for coming to terms with man and external reality. It was perhaps while living on cocoa in Paris that Joyce came to understand the world around him.’ (Tindall, p.29; Goldberg, idem.). Finally, Goldberg quotes Tindall’s assertion that ‘having discovered what [28] charity really is, Stephen leaves Bloom and “goes away to write Ulysses”.’ (Tindall, p.27; quoted in Goldberg, ibid., pp.28-29.)

Further (Goldberg): ‘The confrontation of Bloom and Stephen is, as a whole, indeed a climax, but a climax the meaning of which only we and the author - but not the characters themselves - can understand. Part of the point, I believe, is that although Bloom and Stephen are in some senses aspects of Joyce himself, neither of them can have more than an inkling of their mutual signficance.’ (p.29.)

Note that Tindall offers the additional suggestion in Reader’s Guide to James Joyce, 1959, that cocoa is taken by Joyce as meaning “co-co” or with-with, and can be met with in ‘cocoincidences’, ‘Cocoa codinhand’, as well as ‘coaccoackey’, in Finnegans Wake [467, 597, 516]) Note also that C. H. Peake cites this interpretation with apparent approbation: ‘W. Y. Tindall’s interesting interpretation of this word is that ‘“Massproduct,” the key word, means three things: the cocoa is mass-produced for the trade; as the product of a symbolic Mass, it is the sacrament; and it suggests the masses for whom it is produced.’ (Tindall, James Joyce: His Way of Interpreting the Modern World, NY: Scribner 1950, p.29; Peake, James Joyce: The Citizen and the Artist, London: Edward Arnold 1977, p.169, n.)

For longer extracts from Goldberg and Peake, see RICORSO Library, “Criticism > Major Authors > James Joyce” via index, or direct [Goldberg [attached] & Peake [attached].

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William York Tindall, A Reader’s Guide to James Joyce [1959] (London: Thames & Hudson 1960, 1963) [on Joyce]: ‘Like all great literature - like the world itself- his great creation is inexhaustible; and that is part of the fun - for us as for the bums of Samuel Beckett, who find delight and peace in puzzling endlessly. The many-leveled complexities of dancing bees, for example, move Moran of Molloy to say: ”I was more than ever stupefied my the complexity of this innumerable dance, involving [...] determinants of which I had not the slightest idea. And I said, wth rapture, Here is something I can study ll my life, and never understand.” This goes for the intricacies of Joyce as wel. We try in vain for last words here.’ (Syracuse UP Edn. 1995, Preface, p.[2]; available at Google Books - online.)

William York Tindall (A Reader’s Guide to James Joyce [1959]; 1963) cont. [on Ulysses]: ‘I think of this story first when thinking of Dubliners not because it is the best story in the book but because it is the most nerealy straightforward expression of paralysis and one of the most moving. Though many like to place value in the high region of complexity and obscurity, “Eveline” offers proof that value, not permanently established there, can visit the lowlands too. / The plot is simple. This girl, fretting at a dull job and leading a life of quiet desperation with a brutal father, is offered escape by a sailor. Marriage and flight across the sea promise life and “perhaps love too.” But Irish paralysis frustrates her bold design. The end is not a coming to awareness but an animal experience of inability. / In this horror story, which proceeds with great economy of means, every part is functional, even items that at first reading seem casually introduced, the Italian organ grinders, for example, and the visit to the opera. Those organ griners seem at once messengers form abroad, offering hints of a happier land, and Roman invaders, suggesting Ireland's Church. “Damned Italians! coming over here! says Eveline’s father. As for Balfe’s Bohemian [22] Girl, this Irish opera seems there, as in “Clay”, to suggest a dream of riches and marble halls, all that is opposite to brown, dusty Dublin.’ (pp.21-22.) [See also Tindall’s allusion to the words ‘Derevaun Seraun!’ in connection with Patrick Henchy of the National Library, Dublin - under Henchy > Notes - supra.]

William York Tindall (A Reader’s Guide to James Joyce [1959]; 1963) [on Ulysses]: ‘[Stephen’s] first attempt at exile is unsuccessful. The first chapter of Ulysses shows him back in Ireland, still silent, with cunning unimpaired. At the end of Ulysses he tries again, more successfully maybe, though we never know. if for the moment we may confuse Stephen’s undisclosed but implied future with Joyce’s past, Stephen is to remain obsessed with what he has rejected. He only thinks he has given up being a lover of the place he is a lover of. Physically abroad, he never leaves home; for exile fails to diminish his concern with Ireland and her traditions. Indeed, [58] coming to terms with Ireland (at a distance) seems to be Stephen-Joyce’s success. Though this success is implicit in Ulysses, it is altogether absent in A Portrait, which ends with the artist’s beginning. However improper the confusion of Stephen with his creator, the future of this future artist, however hypothetical, cannot be avoided. The suggestions are inescapable. / The making of an exile determines structure, an important part of form or harmony of parts. In each of the five chapters [of A Portrait], faithful to Stephen’s nature, reveals a stage of its development.’ (pp.58-59.) [Cont.]

William York Tindall (A Reader’s Guide to James Joyce [1959], 1963 Edn.) - cont.: ‘Ulysses is the story of three Dubliners and their city during June 16, 1904. Nobody knows why Joyce chose this day, though there have been many speculations. Maybe it was the day of Joyce’s own renewal by Nora or the date on a newspaper that lined the exile’s trunk. However arrived at, June 16[th] is celebrated now as Bloomsday. [...] Likely at first to single Stephen out, we discover Bloom next, and finally, after many readings, Mrs. Bloom. Understanding her is the sign of understanding and its achievement. These three are individuals; yet, more than individuals, they represent man and two of his aspects. Stephen is intellect, Mrs. Bloom, flesh, and central Mr. Bloom, uniting the extremes, taken together, compose mankind, which Ulysses celebrates. Celebrating it on Bloomsday or any other day, we celebrate art and man.’ (p.124.)

William York Tindall (A Reader’s Guide to James Joyce [1959, 1963 Edn.) - cont.: ‘[N]ot entirely aware of what he [Stephen] needs and wants, he finds both by meeting Mr. Bloom and, with his aid, apprehending Mrs. Bloom. Meeting human Mr. Bloom and suddenly understanding humanity, Stephen becomes a kind of Bloom, leaving pride for charity, and inhumanity for acceptance of mankind. It becomes increasingly apparent that in meeting Bloom and seeing Molly [sic], Stephen meets himself for the first time. Becoming mature, he becomes himself. Discovering the father, he becomes capable of fatherhood. That Stephen is Bloom, and Bloom Stephen at last is all we need to know; but how they establish this strange equation is our problem, as establishing it is Stephen’s and the object of his quest.’ (Ibid., p.125.) [Cont.]

William York Tindall (A Reader’s Guide to James Joyce [1959, 1963 Edn.) - cont.: ‘[Bloom’s] quest is for home. When he gets there he finds an empty pot of Plumtree’s Potted Meat in the kitchen and a few flakes of the stuff in Molly’s bed. [...] Stephen’s unconscious quest is for charity, humanity, maturity, and self. Discovering Bloom (“Everyman and Noman”) Stephen discovers mankind. Joining Bloom, he becomes himself. “Blephen” sits down with “Stoom” - not that the two elements of Blephen Stoom, the new compound, are identical. Still opposites, they are united for the moment by Bloom’s love and Stephen’s apprehension. Their “coincidence” reveals hitherto “concealed identities”. Given understanding of humanity by Bloom’s humanity, no longer separaed by pride and childish ego from every other man, Stephen sees himself as everyman, himself as grown up. [Ftn. adverts to the statue of Narcissus brought home by Bloom which Molly ‘definitely’ associates with Stephen.] [...] Communing with everyman is art’s preliminary and its condition. / So prepared and conditioned, Stephen goes off to encounter [222] reality for the millionth time and first time and to reforge that experience in the smithy of his soul. Off he goes to the sound of a “jew’s harp” / [...] The hunt for the father is over; For Blephen has the father found. That this is all as “jocoserious” as Bloom’s sacrament is not surprising in a book where things divine are all too human and all to human things divine.’ (pp.222-23.) [Cont.]

William York Tindall (A Reader’s Guide to James Joyce, 1963 Edn.) - cont. Tindall asks three questions -

1]: ‘Why, becoming Bloom, does Stephen leave him? Why not? If “centrifugal departer” were to stay with “centripetal remainer” (U688) that the frustrated departer would remain a simple bourgeois, not the creative coincidence of bourgeois and vagrant that Bloom has made him. Bloom has done his job, and Stephen necessarily goes off to do his. [...]’;

2:] ‘Why do Bloom and Stephen appear to change places at the end? Stephen the child, goes off to be a man; whereas Bloom, the man, getting into bed with a kind of mother, becomes “the childman, weary, the manchild in the womb.” (U755) [Ftn. remarks that Bloom’s position in bed is foetal.] [...] Bloom will be man again tomorrow. Man now, Stephen will be childish enough, God knows. Childman is manchild, as every woman knows.’

3:] ‘Finding self and departing may constitute success for Stephen, but what wort of success is Bloom’s foetal retreat? What sort of success is getting home to that home? As everyman, Bloom pursues a round, going away from home in the [223] morning, coming back at night. Tomorrow for Bloom like today, will be another day. But getting back, a daily success, is a success, however unfinal. [...] Bloom returns to house and bed. Circumspectly, prudently and reverently, he enters the bed of conception, birth, consummation, adultery, sleep and death. Thinking of death, Stephen issues forth from Bloom’s gate, reborn. Life and death are the reality each encounters and we are also faced with it.’ (U715-16).’

[conts.:] ‘Understanding Bloom and seeing himself in Bloom or Bloom in him are only part of what departing Stephen takes along. his final enlightenment is the sight of Molly’s window, a “visible luminous sign”, a light shining in the darkness. [Ftn. [...] Having put out Circe’s lamp, Stephen accepts Molly’s.] [...] It is a credit no less to Stephen’s imagination and sensibility than to Bloom’s suggestive eloquence that Stephen is able to share Bloom’s vision. Undersanding Bloom as prepared the way for the fundamental and more charitable understanding Molly demands. What Stephen apprehends is [224] revealed in the next chapter. Knowing Bloom and Molly, as every writer must, Stephen knows humanity entirely. Let him go away now and write about it.’ (pp.223-25.)

[Referring to the two men’s urination:] ‘Is the celebration either suitable or seemly? This is a “jocoserious” book, remember, unlimited by middle-class decencies or habits of mind. Consider biscuit tin, bathtub, snot, and cocoa. The indecorous, the vulgar, the commonplace, reveal the higher things.’ (p.225.) ]

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William York Tindall (A Reader’s Guide to James Joyce, 1963 Edn.) - cont.: ‘Finnegans Wake is about Finnegans Wake. That is this: not only about everything, the book is about putting everything down in records and interpreting them. Such records, their writing, and their reading compose the book or, at least, a great part of it. To say, then, that Finnegans Wake is about our ideas about itself is to say, then, that Finnegans Wake is about itself is to say that, including our reality, Finnegans Wake is about our ideas about it and they are Finnegans Wake. Turning in upon itself yet including all our troubles, it is a great thing entirely. / A trouble is that something in which everything involves everything else demands notice of everything at once. This demand, to which Joyce was equal, is plainly beyond his readers. Yet, however formidable, Finnegans Wake is less formidable that it seems on first looking into. However unfamiliar it seems, there is much that should be familiar to readers of Ulysses [...] Anyone who enjoys Ulysses will find Finnegans Wake readable enough. Anyone who enjoys Ulysses will have lots of fun at Finnegan’s wake.’ (p.236.) [For longer extracts, see RICORSO Library, “Criticism > Major Authors > James Joyce”, via index, or attached.]

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William York Tindall, A Reader’s Guide to “Finnegans Wake” (London: Thames & Hudson 1969): WYT points out, when Joyce sees birds at the National Library he thinks of Thoth, the Egyptian inventer of magic who is identified with Hermes in Greek tradition, and then quotes Yeats verses on Oona and Aleel in The Countess Cathleen and thinks about Swedenborg ‘on the correspondence of birds to things of the intellect [..]’ ‘“As above, so below,” said Hermes-Thoth. Calling on this god, Stephen becomes one with all the Hermetists, both magical and literary - with Agrippa, Swedenborg, and Yeats. There seems to be little doubt that Joyce intended this scene as a clue to his method of correspondence, analogy, or symbol. Thoth, “god of writers“, was Joyce’s god of images.’

vide A Portrait ...

[He gazing upwards from the steps of the porch, hearing their shrill twofold cry [...] augury of good or evil [...] A phrase of Cornelius Agrippa flew through his mind and then there flew hither and thither shapeless thoughts from Swedenborg on the correspondence of birds to things of the intellect [...] Thoth, the god of writers, writing with a reed upon a tablet and bearing on his narrow ibis head the cusped moon.

Bend down your faces, Oona and Aleel.
I gaze upon them as the swallow gazes
Upon the nest under the eave before
He wander the loud waters.
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man [Corr. Edn.], 229-30.

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William York Tindall, The Joyce Country (Pennsylvania State UP 1960), Preface: ‘When Stephen Dedalus finds Ireland important because it belongs to him (Ulysses, p. 629), Mr. Bloom is puzzled. We should not be puzzled had Joyce found Dublin important because it belongs to him. Dublin is important now, for us, because, belonging to Joyce, it is what he made of it. [...] Devoted to externals, Joyce walked the streets of Dublin, noting shop, pub, church, and brothel, and every plasterer’s bucket. “So This Is Dyoublong?” (FW, p.13.) He prided himself in exile on his ability to list the shops of Talbot Street in order, down one side to Mabbot and back along the other. His devotion to such details, whether ugly or beautiful, seems all but naturalistic. So Zola must have walked the streets of Paris, notebook in hand, noting stinks and solider objects. References to Coupeau of L’Assommoir and to Au Bonheur des Dames (Critical Writings, pp.43, 139) prove Joyce familiar with this earlier explorer of the modern city and master of its externals. The camera’s eye might seem adequate to such vision.’

William York Tindall (The Joyce Country, 1960, Preface) - cont.: ‘[...] However fascinating in themselves, externals of the street serve Joyce’s people as occasion or stimulus for subjective vagary. In his walk down Grafton Street, pausing before Brown Thomas’ shop, Bloom finds more than what is there according to the camera. What is there is there, as the picture assures us, but what he thinks and feels changes the shop entirely. For Joyce the commonplace invited greater transformation. Transfigured by a priest of the imagination, the common bread and wine of experience become radiant body. Grafton Street, though remaining Grafton Street, becomes something else and something more. What D. H. Lawrence called “the spirit of place,” what G. M. Hopkins called “inscape,” and what Stephen Dedalus calls “radiance” are what Joyce found, extracted, and re-embodied. As particulars of Mexico or of the English Midlands to Lawrence or as particular bird, sloe, or wreck to Hopkins, so the particulars of Dublin to Joyce. From each thing almost everything. From Dublin’s landscape its inscape and the inscape or radiance of everywhere. [...]’ / ‘But Baudelaire, a city man, is closer to Joyce than Stevens - closer than Zola. In “Tableaux Parisiens” Baudelaire contemplated ragpickers and rags, sewers, houses, and all the cigar butts that were to fascinate T. S. Eliot. “Elles sont grosses de suggestions,” says Baudelaire. (“Was Parish worth thette mess?” asks Joyce in Finnegans Wake, p.199.) Lauding the creative imagination, the great Parisian wrote essays that could be taken as commentaries on Joyce’s practice - and mine. A photograph, says Baudelaire, is art’s opposite; for art is never “the exact reproduction of nature.” Nature - even the “paysage” of Paris - is a hieroglyph that the artist must decipher. Translated by his supernatural state of mind, ordinary things become “symbols.” Bloom’s Milly may assist the photographic trade at Mullingar; but Joyce’s Milly is a symbol of reproduction, as her Mullingar, swarming with cows, of all fertility.’ (Cont.)

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William York Tindall (The Joyce Country, 1960, Preface) - cont.: Stephen of Stephen Hero is another helpful commentator; for that boy could find epiphany in a grain of sand. Equivalent to his radiance, his epiphany is a showing forth and a seeing into - as when visiting Magi, seeing a baby, saw something more with this baby’s co-operation. The clock of the Ballast Office, Stephen tells Cranly, is “capable of epiphany” though only “an item in the catalogue of Dublin’s street furniture.” “What?” says Cranly, looking at that dial. He finds it “inscrutable.” (Stephen Hero, p.211.) Looking at these pictures of Dublin’s “street furniture” without Joyce’s help, we too might find them inscrutable - and tiresome, too. What are they, after all, but pictures of streets, houses, expanses of mud, and things exactly as they are? / Such things, as capable of epiphany as Cranly’s clock, acquire radiance from Joyce. The Pigeon House, pictured here, rises from its condition as ordinary power plant to significant object by the aid of name and context: two frustrated quests, Father Butler’s absence, and Mulligan’s “pigeon,” or the Holy Ghost. My picture of the bridge to the Bull shows an ordinary wooden structure that Cranly would not look at twice; yet this same bridge in A Portrait of the Artist becomes central revelation. A commonplace, squat tower, one of many along the coast and nothing much in a photograph, becomes in Ulysses an embodiment of everything maternal and paternal and all the heavy past. The Vico Road leaves suburb for all history; and a pub in Chapelizod becomes world or world in little, the very microcosm. / So Dublin itself, the sum and ghost of these pictures, is microcosm of a grander sort. [...]’ (For longer extracts, see RICORSO Library, “Criticism > Major Authors > James Joyce”, via index, or attached.)

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