James Joyce: Commentary (8)

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General Index

Jame H. Maddox (1978) to Philip Gaskell (1988)
James H. Maddox
David Lodge
Don Gifford
Colin McCabe
Seamus Heaney
Dominic Manganiello
Frederic Jameson
Terence Brown
Charles Rossman
Bernard Benstock
Vivian Mercier
Phillip Herring
Ann Saddlemyer
Jeremy Hawthorn
Attridge & Ferrer
James Simmons
Gaskell & Hart, Ulysses: A Review of Three Texts (Colin Smythe 1988)

Marshall McLuhan [letter to Felix Giovanelli, 1946]: ‘Looking at Joyce recently. A bit startled to note that last page of Finnegan is a rendering of the last part of the Mass. Remembered that the opening of Ulysses is from first words of the Mass. The whole thing is an intellectual Black Mass. The portion which Joyce read for recording ends with an imitation of the damnation of Faust. As he reads it ... it is humble. Casual, eerie. Speaking of Existenz and the hatred of language - what about Finnegan?’ (Letters of Marshall McLuhan, OUP 1987, p.183).

Colin MacCabe, ed., James Joyce: New Perspectives (1982).
Colin MacCabe Jean-Michel Rabaté Maud Ellmann

James H. Maddox, Jr., Joyce’s “Ulysses” and the Assault upon Character (Rutgers UP; Hassocks: Harvester Press 1978), pp.203-04: ‘In this study I have been less concerned with ethics per se that with the structures of personality which make ethics possible and operative in the world. And perhaps the most important discovery we make when we attempt to define such structures is that they are founded upon an unfathomable mystery. We can chart the sine curve of feeling which Bloom undergoes dozens of times throughout the day, but the generative core, the soul out of which that pattern of response grows, is numerous, beyond the powers of analysis – Joyce’s or our own. The closest we come to a final formation of character in Ulysses is the character’s “rhythm” which is itself only a phenomenon of deeper-lying impulse. In Bloom, this rhythm consists of the alternate powers of self dispersal and re-assimilation’. [Extract supplied by Jonathan McCreedy, UU PhD candidate 2009.]

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David Lodge, ‘The Language of Modernist Fiction: Metaphor and Metonymy’, in Modernism, ed. Malcolm Bradbury & James McFarlane (Harmondsworth: Penguin 1976), seeks to ‘see what generalisations we might make about the language of modern fiction’ (p.481.) ‘[...] A useful text to examine is Ulysses (1922), where, indeed, the two “streams-of-consciousness” that constitute the linguistic staple [484] - and Stephen’s and Bloom’s - may be said to tend toward the metaphoric and metonymic poles respectively. This is Stephen, catching sight of Mrs McCabe, a midwife, in the “Proteus” episode [quotes ‘One of her sisterhood lugged me squealing into life [...] Belly without blemish, bulging big, a buckler of taut vellum, no, whiteheaped corn, orient and immortal, standing from everlasting to everlasting.’] The significant thing is not merely the presence of specific metaphors (“cable of a flesh”, “buckler”, &c.) but the fact that the interior monologue proceeds by perceived similarities and substitutions. The perception of an analogy between a telephone cable and the umbilical cord leads Stephen’s thoughts comically from midwife to Genesis, from his own birth to that of the race. And drawn in are other similarities and contrasts: the cords round the habits of monks, which are symbols of chastity and, when linked, of community in the mystical body of Christ; the navels contemplated by oriental mystics; the images from the Iliad, Song of Songs, Thomas Traherne. This, now, is Bloom, looking at his neighbour’s servant girl served before him in the pork butcher’s [quotes ‘A kidney oozed bloodgouts on to the willowpatterned dish [...] Sound meat there like a stallfed heifer.’] Bloom’s perception of the girl is strikingly synecdochic: he sees her in terms of ‘chapped hands, vigorous hips, strong arms, and skirt: parts standing for the whole. His thought proceeds by associating items that [485] are contiguous rather than, as Stephen, similar: the girl is linked with her master, the master with the mistress, the age of the mistress with the youth of the girl, and so on. In the second paragraph, with ferreteyed, sausagepink, &c., we appear to have reverted to metaphor; but these are weak metaphors, and are so precisely because they depend on contiguity and context. Thus the physical juxtaposition of the butcher’s fingers and the sausages he handles provides the ready-made metaphor sausagepink; the butcher is compared with animals; and it is because the two terms of the comparison, the tenor and vehicle, am not widely separated that the metaphors are weak. / The structure of Ulysses is metaphorical, being based on similarity and substitution (the parallel between modern Dublin and the Odyssey and the many other parallels subsequently superimposed). But it is clear that this is compatible with extensive and deliberate exploitation of metonymy; and that the basically metonymic writing through which Bloom’s consciousness is rendered is no less “modern” than the metaphoric rendering of Stephen’s consciousness. The interesting conclusion follows that modern fiction may be characterised by an extreme or mannered drive toward the metonymic pole of language to which the novel naturally inclines, as well as by a drive toward the metaphoric pole from which it is naturally remote. [End Sect.] another clear example of this double tendency is Gertrude Stein [...].’ (pp.485-86.)

Don Gifford, Joyce Annotated: Notes for Dubliners and A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (California UP 1982) - Pref. to 2nd Edition: ‘[...] while “the significance of trivial things” is at the core of the literary technique of Dubliners and A Portrait, things-significant are not as clearly framed or marked as they are in Ulysses, and, as a consequence, it is more difficult to strike a balance between overinterpretation and underinterpretation. The temptation to invent significances for one’s own self-aggrandizement is very strong, as is the countertemptation to return the stories to a minimally literal base. For example, echoes of the romance of Tristan and Iseult are present in “A Painful Case.” Mr. Duffy lives in Chapelizod (Iseult’s Chapel), where at least one Irish version of the legend says Tristan and Iseult consummated their love, and Phoenix Park (the site of the legendary Forest of Tristan, into which Tristan retreated in despair) is also the site of the final confrontation between and separation of Mrs. Sinico and Mr. Duffy and the site of Duffy’s devastating self-realization at the story’s end. It is therefore tempting to hear echoes of Tristan and Iseult in all the story’s details, but the presence of that bit of Arthurian legend is not to “A Painful Case” as The Odyssey is to Ulysses. The aura of the Tristan legend is evoked as grace note rather than exploited throughout as, by contrast, the towering presence of Parnell is exploited in “Ivy Day in the Committee Room,” conjured up to preside over the hopelessly cramped confines of the Committee Room in Wicklow Street. Another example of an allusion in passing: Stanislaus Joyce remarks that “Grace” has “an obvious touch of parody of The Divine Comedy.” [Recollections of James Joyce by His Brother (NY 1950), p.20.] The “touch” may be there in Mr. Kernan’s fall down the lavatory stairs in the first part of the story (Inferno), in Kernan’s convalescence in the second part (Purgatorio), and in his achievement of the beatific vision in the third part, “the distant speck of red light which was suspended before the high altar” (Paradiso). But the parody, while demonstrable, seems to stop there and to remain an in-joke between brothers rather than a pervasively informative presence in the story.’ (p.viii-ix.Note that the Preface contains close remarks on the glancing allusions to paresis, being a concomitant of syphilis, in “The Sisters” (ibid., pp.vii-viii.). [See longer extract on “Stephen Dedalus’s Education”, in RICORSO Library, “Major Authors > Joyce”, via index or attached.]

Don Gifford, Joyce Annotated: Notes for Dubliners and A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (California UP 1982) - Introduction: ‘[...] Indeed, the “Irish Race” is still frequently represented as enjoying a mythical purity which the rich mix of prehistoric peoples and Celtic invaders belies - not to mention the continuing admixtures that resulted from social and cultural interchange with Anglo-Saxons, Picts, and Scots (sixth century ff.), with the Viking invaders (ninth century ff.), with the Anglo-Norman invaders (1169ff.), and with waves of English colonists under the Tudors and since. To this day the sharp distinctions some Irish make between a Celtic us and an Anglo-Irish them (and vice versa) can strike a visitor as something of an abstraction. (p.16; concluding remarks on Prehistory sect. in “Outline of Irish History” Further, on the Irish political landscape post-1848: ‘The trouble for one who would like to understand political attitudes in Ireland since the famine is that “left” and “right” are all but meaningless terms and that the two conflicts outlined above did not divide people into two camps but into four and multiples of four.’ (p.21.)

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Colin MacCabe, James Joyce and the Revolution of the Word (London: Macmillan 1978): ‘Rather than engaging in the direct espousal of political positions, Joyce’s work poses new questions about the relation between reader and text in ways that I have attempted to explicate. What remains to be discussed is the politics of this relation and the consequences of a practice of writing which subverts traditional political discourse. I have suggested that the crucial difference for the reader of Joyce lies in the position allocated him or her by the text. Instead of a traditional organisation of discourses which confer an imaginary unity on the reader, there is a disruption of any such position of unity. The reader is transformed into a set of contradictory discourses, engaged in the investigation of his or her own symbolic construction. What is subverted in the writing is the full Cartesian subject and this subversion is a political event of [152] central importance. For with the loss of the punctual subject, it is no longer possible to indicate discrete areas in which the punctual subject is represented. Instead one is confronted with the problem of understanding the individual as a set of overlapping and contradictory practices which produce a plurality of contradictory subjects. To understand the subject as plural and contradictory is to abandon a conception of politics as a determinate area with its specific discourses and organisation. When Lenin called for a “new kind of party”, he was challenging the assumption that those who wished to transform social relations could organise in a discrete area called “politics”. Lenin’s emphasis on “style of work” and on “self-criticism” can be understood as an attempt to find an organisational structure which would allow for the articulation of other practices within the area of representational politics and vice versa. The fact that the history of Leninist organisations is all too often the history of the total subordination of other practices to the political (and the political understood in the narrowest of bourgeois senses) should not obscure the revolutionary nature of Lenin’s call. And it is in terms of the desire for “a new kind of party” that one can understand Joyce’s texts as revolutionary in their commitment to the overthrow of the possibility of contemporary (both his and still ours) political discourse. Though it is also important to explain the relation between their subversive force and their profound political ineffectiveness.’ (pp.152-53.) Note: Margaret Mills Harper remarks on ‘Colin MacCabe’s study of Joyce’s “concern with the material effects of language and [...] the possibility of transformation” [... &c.]’ (MacCabe, ibid., p.2; Harper, ‘“Taken in Drapery”: Dressing the Narrative in the Odyssey and “Penelope”’, in Molly Blooms: A Polylogue on “Penelope” and Cultural Studies, Wisconsin UP 1994, p.243.) [See further extracts in RICORSO Library, Major Authors - James Joyce, infra.]

Colin MacCabe, ‘An Introduction to Finnegans Wake’, in James Joyce: New Perspectives, ed. MacCabe (Brighton: Harvester Wheatsheaf 1982): ‘[...] The very plan of Finnegans Wake, with its three long books and a short concluding one, bears witness to Vico’s importance. It is not only Vico’s historical theories which figure in the Wake, there is also much play with his account of the birth of language and civilisation. According to Vico, primitive man, surprised in the sexual act by a clap of thunder, is stricken with fear and guilt at what he imagines is the angered voice of God. He retires into a cave to conceal his activities and it is this act which inaugurates civilisation. Language arises when man attempts to reproduce the sound of thunder with his own vocal organs. Once again, however, it would be wrong to understand Joyce’s use of Vico as the artistic illustration of philosophical theses. What Vico’s theory offers is both an initial articulation of language, sexuality and society and, more importantly, a theory to oppose to dominant historicist accounts of history. Historicism understands the historical process to be subordinate to a dominant principle, which can only be understood in terms of the “end” to which it is progressing. When Stephen Dedalus and Mr Deasy discuss history in the second chapter of Ulysses, Mr Deasy claims that “All history moves towards one great goal, the manifestation of God.” (U, 40). This historicism imposes on the individual a meaning in which he is already defined. Stephen refuses such a meaning and identity when he claims that God is simply a noise in the street, the undifferentiated sound from which we fabricate meaning. It is by plunging into this sound that we can unmake the meanings imposied on us and awake from the nightmare of history into the dream of language. By insisting on the infinite repeatability of any moment, by refusing a progression to history, one can refuse the ready-made identities offered to us in order to investigate the reality of the processes that construct us. By denying an end to history, we can 311 participate in the infinite varieties of the present. Bruno and Vico are used in Finnegans Wake to aid the deconstruction of identity into difference and to replace progress with repetition. But if Joyce used these thinkers it was largely to displace the dominant conceptions of the everyday novel of identity and temporality and not because they hold some intrinsic truth.’ (pp.31-35; for longer extract, see RICORSO Library, “Major Authors”, James Joyce - as attached.)

Note the following strictures on MacCabe’s general theory of realism in John Peck, ‘Studying Fiction and Prose: Genres’, Introducing Literary Studies, ed. Richard Bradford, London: Pearson 1996): ‘[...] traditional criticism favoured the realistic novel, but, starting in the 1960s, critical taste began, albeit temporarily, to turn against the realistic novel. For example, Colin MacCabe, in a book on James Joyce, mocked the “classic realist text”, specifically Middlemarch, as a kind of deception, a work which affects to offer us a comprehensive picture of experience, but one in which the narrator is, in fact, very much in control: controlling the plot, controlling the characters, and controlling the meanings available to the reader (MacCabe, 1978, n.p.). This phase of dismissing George Eliot has now passed. The emphasis of a great deal of recent criticism is that Middlemarch is not the coherent and unified package that traditional critics seemed to want. It only appears like this if we impose concepts of theme, plot, character and the narrator’s voice in too rigid a way. When we loosen that kind of critical control we can see that it is a work that is disturbingly open on questions of sexuality, gender, class, power, empire, marriage, society, the self - indeed, every vital aspect of Victorian life. In a similar way, when we start to relax our critical commitment to unity and coherence, we begin to acquire a critical vocabulary for appreciating the disturbing effects of, say, Dickens, and gothic novelists, and sensation novelists.’ (Peck, op. cit., q.p.)

See also Bradford’s redaction of Colin MacCabe’s interpretation of Middlemarch in Stylistics (Routledge 1997), ‘Colin MacCabe (James Joyce and the Revolution of the Word, 1978, p.36) argues that the Victorian novelist, specifically George Eliot, is “devoted to repressing the operations of the signifier by positing a metalanguage which exists outside of materiality and production The multitude of objects that appear in her texts do not bear witness to the activity of signification.” “Metalanguage” is effectively the narrative. [...] In MacCabe’s model, the metalinguistic code [of Jakobson] is the narrative structure of the novel [141] which, he argues is not merely a different method of mediating the dynamics of real life or “the activity of signification”, but in effect a means of distorting, censoring and “repressing” them. / MacCabe’s point is the Eliot and other Victorian novelists, used the stylisitic sophistication of the novel as an ideological tool. In the eighteenth century the metalanguage of the text, “the text outside the area of inverted commas”, had functioned as a flexible, responsive structure which engaged with codes, genres and discourses drawn from the world outside the text. In the nineteenth century, however, the metalanguage of the narrative organizes “a specific hierarchy of discourses and places the reader in a position of dominance with regard to the stories and characters” (ibid., p.18). The reader, via the narrative, is offered a coherent model of reality which corresponds with a generally middle-class ideal of social, ethical and moral codes.’ (pp.141-42; see also Bradford on Finnegans Wake - as infra.)

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Jean-Michel Rabaté, ‘Silence in Dubliners’, in Colin MacCabe, ed., James Joyce: New Perspectives (Brighton: Harvester Wheatsheaf 1982), pp.45-72: ‘The question of the silence of interpretation is built within the text, prepared and unforeseen in the deceptive game it plays with the reader [.; p.45] The problematics of silence can offer an approach which would go beyond the facile antagonism between the surface realism of the stories and the suggestions, allusions and quasi-symbolist tactics of inferring by cross-references. The only way to gain a broader perspective is to introduce the silent process of reading into the text. Thus one can keep in mind the insistent ethical function of the stories Joyce knew he was writing a “chapter of the moral history of my country” (Letters, II, 134)) and their political relevance, see these as confronted with the construction of a real Irish capital through literature (“Is it not possible for a few persons of character and culture to make Dublin a capital such as Christiania has become?” (Letters, II, 105), a construction which opposes any capitalistic exploitation. The mirror held up to the Irish may well be nicely polished, it is not dependent on a theory of pure mimesis, nor of purely symbolist implications. Dubliners is not, on the other hand, a direct consequence of Joyce’s current theories of aesthetics, such as Stephen expounds them; it is rather the theory itself, in its wider sense, which is mirrored in the text, where it is coupled with the utmost degree of precision and particularity, in the pragmatics of writing which deconstructs the voices of the characters, narrators, commentators, and paves the way toward the constitution of another rhetoric of silences, the silences of the writing being caught up by the silent reading-writing which transforms a collection of short stories into a text. [...;’ cont.]

Jean-Michel Rabaté (‘Silence in Dubliners’, in MacCabe, ed., James Joyce, 1982) - cont: discusses “The Sisters” and “A Painful Case”]: ‘The discrepancy between theory and the interpretation of symptoms acquires tragic overtones in this story, while in “The Sisters” it essentially describes the particular infinity of the process. Such an infinity is mentioned by the child when he adds that he used to enjoy Old Cotter’s endless stories before, probably before he had met the priest: the faints and worms can be adequately replaced by the responses of the Mass. But what he finally hears during his long silence in the last scene after the visit to the corpse, is either the empty gossip of his aunt, or Nannie and Eliza, the ill-fated “sisters” of destiny, or the silence of the empty chalice: ‘she stopped suddenly as if to listen. I too listened; but there was no sound in the house” ( D, 17). This will be taken up by the final silence which surrounds Mr Duffy after Mrs Siriico’s death (“He could hear nothing: the night was perfectly silent. He listened again: perfectly silent. He felt that he was alone.” D, 131.) The endlessness of the other narratives relies on such a victorious silence, and this is the real link between the stories in Dubliners and those of Finnegans Wake . When Joyce reordered his notes for the Work of Progress, he mentioned the “story of the [51] invalid pensioner” in a context of “desperate story-telling”: “Arabian nights, serial stories, tales within tales, to be continued, desperate story-telling, one caps another to reproduce a rambling mock-heroic tale.”’ ( Scribbledehobble, 1961, p.25).

Maud Ellmann, ‘Polytropic Man: Paternity, Identity, and Naming in The Odyssey and A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man’, in James Joyce: New Perspectives, ed. Colin MacCabe (Brighton: Harvester Wheatsheaf 1982), pp.73-104. Ellmann discusses Stephen’s encounter with the word ‘Foetus’ during the trip to Cork with his father.] ‘Although the father’s rehearsal of his past, and his excavation of his name, seem to repossess his lost identity, the real motive of the journey belies this sentiment. For he returns to his origins only to sell them away. He is to auction his belongings, and to dispossess himself and his resentful son. (A Portrait, ed. Robert Scholes, London: Jonathan Cape, 1968, p.90.) / What is more, another scar intrudes itself into the narrative, and seems to usurp or obliterature the cutting leters of his name. Remembering reverts to disremembering. [Quotes “They passed into the anatomy theatre . hid his flushed face.” Portrait, 92-93.) [...] No explanation ever comes to gloss this episode, no trope induces it to circulate. For when, in “sudden legends” like this word or “Lotts”, the economy of literature breaks forth, its letters like a “littoral”: a shoreline or horizon that circumscribes the “vital sea” or flow and influence, and severs words and flesh from their circulation. As “literature”, or speech in storage, “Foetus” introdcues a lacuna in the tissue of the text - and the word itself remains imprisoned, strangely, in its very unequivocality. Neither Stephen, nor the reader, nor the text itself, can broach the littoral, or quite digest the literality of “Foetus” which erupts so inexplicably. [...] In three ways [...] this mutilating word encroaches on the father’s empire. Firstly, it breaks out where the father’s name should be. Then it lets forth that vision of the dead which Simon Dedalus’s words - according to his son - had been “powerless to evoke”. Finally, its repetitions resist the fiction of a singular begetting. How can we trace a first creation in a word “cut several times” by untold hands? Repeated, the scarletter refuses the “Creation from nothing”, “from only begetter to only begotten”, to which paternity at last refers itself and justifies itself (U, 43; 207). But the initials which “Foetus” has pre-empted or effaced must also stand for Stephen Dedalus.’

Maud Ellmann, ‘Polytropic Man: Paternity, Identity, and Naming [... &c.]’, in James Joyce, ed. Colin MacCabe (1982) - cont.: Ellmann goes on to discussion Epiphany 12 - “Mrs. Joyce: ‘Do you know anything about the body? ... What ought I do? ... There’s some matter coming away from the hole in Georgie’s stomach ... Did you ever hear of that happening? ..’”, &c.] “The hole we all have”: the hole through which identity, like Georgie, ebbs away into the amniotic flood of its first world. “The cords of all link back,” thinks Stephen of the navelcord in “Proteus” (U, 43). This cord links all the dying generations back to Edenville and yet beyond, to disappear into a prior nameless unbegotten world. It links the “Foetus” to the mother”s ancient anonymity. The scarletters of “Foetus” therefore unsex Stephen and unname him just as “noman” must unman Odysseus. As a navel, “Foetus” flaunts the father’s name and patrilineage.’

Maud Ellmann, ‘Polytropic Man: Paternity, Identity, and Naming [... &c.]’, in James Joyce, ed. Colin MacCabe (1982) - cont. [new para.]: ‘In “Proteus”, and in “The Oxen of the Sun”, Stephen twice repudiates the notion of a “belly without blemish”: of flesh unblotted by its nameless scar (U, 43; 389). just so, in Michelangelo’s “Creation” in the Sistine Chapel, Adam’s navel, in mute blasphemy, foreswears the fatherhood of God. The umbilicus, which Stephen calls the “strandentwining cable of all flesh”, belies the firstness of the father, and the originality of his creation. For rather than an origin, this blemish is the footnote of the flesh. / In A Portrait, “Foetus” opens up the “hole we all have”, the “void” on which the world, the Church, the father so precariously rest. It plunges both the subject and the text toward “agnomenity” and semotic anarchy.’ (pp.95-97; for longer extracts, see RICORSO Library, “Major Authors”, James Joyce, infra.)

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Seamus Heaney, ‘A Tale of Two Islands: Reflections on The Irish Literary Revival’, in P. J. Drury, ed., Irish Studies, I (Cambridge UP 1980), pp.1-20: ‘The great and true liberator was, of course, Joyce who, like Tiresias, foresuffered all. In one well-known and central diary entry at the end of A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, the whole problem of the Irish artist and his inheritance is vividly exposed. [Quotes entry for 14 April on Stephen Dedalus’s rejection of Mulrennan’s “horny eyed peasant”]: The old man is as much a victim as the writer. His illiterate fidelities are the object of Stephen’s scepticism, the substance of what Stephen rejects; and yet they are a part of Stephen himself. Stephen is angry that all his culture can offer him for veneration is this peasant oracle, yet understanding the ruination that he and the old man share, he is not prepared to struggle to the death.’ [17] / Yeats’s stance, and Lady Gregory’ and Synge’s towards the old man are very different. He is for them a portal, a gleam of half-extinguished thought. [...] Joyce did not seek to use myths to establish a racial separateness or a national literature. He was not immediately interested in a coherent Irish tradition but was necessarily content to inherit the shattered one which history bequeathed him. Stephen tells Davin, the young Gaelic League enthusiast, that he is not prepared to pay in his life and person for the mistakes which his people have made. Instead, he will forge a personal truth. He will use myth not to construct exemplary alternative worlds but to structure the facts of his own bourgeois Catholic experience. We will have the Hades chapter of Ulysses instead of the Aran keen, we will have the Aeolus chapter to redeem the orange-peel. / And it is surely the Joycean example that was at the back of Thomas Kinsella’s mind when he doubted whether a coherent national literary tradition was necessarily an advantage, and went on to declare that every modern writer inherits a gapped and polyglot tradition anyhow.’ (pp.17-18; quoted in part [on ‘the old man’] in Stan Smith, ‘Seamus Heaney: The Distance Between’, The Chosen Ground: Essays on the Contemporary Poetry of Northern Ireland, Neil Corcoran, Brigend, Mid Glamorgan: Seren Books; Dufour 1992, p.47.)

Seamus Heaney (on Stephen’s “tundish”): ‘What had seemed disabling and provincial is suddenly found to be corroborating and fundamental and potentially universal. To belong to Ireland, to speak its dialect, is not necessarily to be cut off from the world’s banquet because that banquet is eaten at the table of one’s own life, savoured by the tongue one speaks. Stephen now trusts what he calls ‘our own language’ and in that trust he will go to encounter what he calls ‘the reality of experience’. But it will be his own specific Dublin experience, with all its religious and historical freight, so different from the English experience to which he had heretofore stood in a subservient relationship. (‘Among Schoolchildren’, Belfast: John Malone Memorial Comm., 1983), pp.10-11; quoted in Stan Smith (op. cit., 1992, p.57) with this comment: ‘In his encounter with the ghost of Joyce at the end of “Station Island”, the poet returns to this episode, referring to it jokily as “The Feast of the Holy Tundish”, canonizing it among his stars as Stephen had turned it into a governing myth in his diary’. [Cf. ‘disabling’ in Seamus Deane on Joyce - infra.]

Cf. Station Island (1984) —

                              ‘[...] Your obligation
is not discharged by any common rite.
What you must do must be done on your own

so get back into harness. The main thing is to
for the joy of it. Cultivate a work-lust
that imagines its haven like your hands at night

dreaming the sun in the sunspot of a breast.
You are fasted now, light-headed, dangerous.
Take off from here. And don’t be so earnest,

let others wear the sackcloth and the ashes.
Let go, let fly, forget.
You’ve listened long enough. Now strike your

It was as if I had stepped free into space
alone with nothing that I had not known
already. Raindrops blew in my face

as I came to. ‘Old father, mother’s son,
there is a moment in Stephen’s diary
for April the thirteenth, a revelation

set among my stars - that one entry

has been a sort of password in my ears,
the collect of a new epiphany,

the Feast of the Holy Tundish.’ ‘Who cares,’
he jeered, ‘any more? The English language
belongs to us. You are raking at dead fires,

a waste of time for somebody your age.
That subject people stuff is a cod’s game,
infantile, like your peasant pilgrimage.

You lose more of yourself than you redeem
doing the decent thing. Keep at a tangent.
When they make the circle wide, it’s time
  to swim [93]

out on your own and fill the element
with signatures on your own frequency,
echo soundings, searches, probes, allurements,

elver-gleams in the dark of the whole sea.’
The shower broke in the cloudburst, the tarmac
fumed and sizzled. As he moved off quickly

the downpour loosed its screens round
  his straight walk.


Vide: Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man [1916] , Chap. V, ‘April 13. The tundish has been on my mind for a long time. I looked it up and find it English and good old blunt English too. [...].’ Note: Heaney’s poem is basis on a dream he when teaching had in California.


See earlier version previously printed in W. J. McCormack & Alistair Stead, eds., James Joyce and Modern Literature (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul 1982), which includes lines deleted or altered in the 1984 volume [here italicised]: ‘[...] suddenly he hit a litter basket // with his stick, saying, “What I did on my own / was done for others but not done with them - and this / you have failed to learn. Your obligation // is not discharged by pious exercise. / When I refused to take the sacrament / I made my life an instrument of grace // so all of you had more abundant / life. I was at nobody’s service / the way you are at theirs-” and the ashplant // went kerking backwards towards the landing place / where the last pilgrims were still hanging about. / “This was a backsliding enterprise. // Get back in harness. The main thing is to write / for your own joy in it. Cultivate a work-lust / that imagines its haven like your hands at night / dreaming the sun in the sunspot of a breast. / You are fasted now, light-headed, dangerous. / Take off from here. And don’t be so earnest. / Let others wear the sackcloth and ashes. / Let go, let fly, forget. / You’ve listened long enough. Now strike your note.” / [75] It was as if I had stepped free into space / alone with nothing that I had not known / already. Raindrops blew in my face // as I came to: “Old father, mother’s son / there is an entry in Stephen’s diary / for April thirteenth, a revelation / set among the stars. That day’s my birthday / and those words are vagitus in my ears / the collect of a new epiphany, / the Feast of the Holy Tundish!’ “Who cares”, / he said, “any more? The English language / belongs to us. You are raking at dead fires, / a waste of time for somebody of your age. / That subject people stuff is a cod’s game, / infantile - like your peasant pilgrimage. / You lose more of yourself than you redeem / doing the decent thing. The way to cement / community is the dolphin’s way: swim / out on your own and fill the element / with signatures on your own frequency, / echo-soundings, searches, probes, allurements, / elver-gleams in the dark of the whole sea. / The shower broke in a cloud burst, the tarmac / fumed and sizzled. As he moved off quickly // the downpour loosed its screens round his straight walk.’ (pp.75-76.)


Note also that Heaney employs Stephen Dedalus’s sentences ‘The language in which we are speaking is his before it is mine [...] I cannot speak or write these words without unrest of spirit’, as a preface to the poem “The Wool Trade” (Wintering Out, 1972.)

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Dominic Manganiello, Joyce’s Politics (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul 1980): ‘For Joyce, then, the emancipation made possible through [38] literature transcended those notions of freedom embraced by nationalists and socialists. Literature operated as an instrument by altering men’s minds. The transformation of institutions does not depend on force, lobbying for peace, or pleading for social Justice, but can only follow upon this unsuspected process of changing basic attitudes and prejudices. (pp.38-39.) Further, ‘In setting himself against Church, fatherland, family and friends Joyce was not being apolitical. Exile did not mean escape but a widening of political consciousness; it did not mean indifference but preserving intimacy with his country by intensifying his quarrel with her.’ (p.41.) [Cont.]

Dominic Manganiello, (Joyce’s Politics, 1980): ‘Joyce could not have written his work in Ireland, and exile was therefore a weapon, as Stephen says, with which to continually assess his country. Through the eyes of Europe he would judge with greater insight than would have been possible if he had returned. [.../] As Joyce challenged the social and political order of his country he trod on the verge of revolutionary ideas. The Celtic revivalists for their part had displayed a latent hostility towards him because, as Stanislaus Joyce remarked, he separated himself from the purely national movement by calling himself a “socialist” [...] Surprisingly, the fascination for politics came first. By 1904, however, Joyce modified this overriding concern somewhat by linking his radical ideas to his sense of being a “modern” artist: [...] so Joyce did have a perspective, despite his “silence” or veiled intentions. [... &c.’] (p.42; Manganiello quotes Stanislaus Joyce’s remarks on his brother’s being a socialist and a modern in his own estimation.)

Frederic Jameson, ‘Ulysses in History’, in James Joyce and Modern Literature, ed. W. J. McCormack & Alistair Stead ((London: Routledge & Kegan Paul 1982): ‘A long experience of the classical modernisms has finally taught us the bankruptcy of the symbolic in literature; we demand something more from artists than this facile affirmation that the existent also means. that things are also symbols. But this is very precisely why I am anxious to rescue Joyce from the exceedingly doubtful merit of being called a symbolic writer.’ (p.129.) ‘Like the classical unities, it offers a useful but wholly extrinsic set of limits against which the writer works, and which serve as a purely mechanical cheek on what risks otherwise becoming an infinite proliferation of detail [...] alongside the type of reading encouraged by the mythic parallels - which I have called a matching up - there is a rather different form of reading which resists that one in all kinds of ways, and ends up subverting it.’ (p.131.) [Cont.]

Frederic Jameson (‘Ulysses in History’, 1982): ‘[...] Joyce’s is the epic of the metropolis under imperialism, in which the development of bourgeoisie and proletariat alike is stunted to the benefit of a national petty-bourgeoisie: indeed, precisely these rigid constraints imposed by imperialism on the development of human energies account for the symbolic displacement and flowering of the latter in eloquence, rhetoric and oratorical language of all kinds; symbolic practices not particularly essential either to businessmen or to working classes, but highly prized in precapitalist societies and preserved, as in a time capsule, in Ulysses itself. And this is the moment to rectify our previous account of the city and to observe that if Ulysses is also for us the classical, the supreme representation of something like [134] the Platonic idea of city life, this is also partly due to the fact that Dublin is not exactly the full-blown capitalist metropolis, but like the Paris of Flaubert, still regressive, still distantly akin to the village, still un- or under-developed enough to be representable, thanks to the domination of its foreign masters.’ (p.133-34.) Jameson calls Dublin ‘not exactly the full-blown capitalist metropolis, but like the Paris of Flaubert, still regressive, still distantly akin to the village, sitll un- and underdeveloped enough to be representable.’ (p.135; quoted in Margot Norris, ed., A Companion to James Joyce’s Ulysses, NY: Bedford Books 1998, [“Biographical and Historical Contexts”], p.5.)

Terence Brown, ‘Dublin of Dubliners’, in James Joyce: An International Perspective, ed. Suheil Bushrui & Bernard Benstock (Gerrards Cross: Colin Smythe 1982): ‘[...] The fact that Joyce’s Dublin was a city with military traditions is suggested throughout the book indeed in the frequency in which military metaphors are employed to heighten, one supposes, the [15] sense of futile confict that is one of the books themes. (p.16.) [.; quotes description of the dinner-table in “The Dead” - ‘A fat brown goose ... green sashes’:] It is worth noting I think that this protracted military parody is included in a tale which by no means lacks military allusion. Military metaphors like those noticed in earlier stories recur in “The Dead”: “An irregular musketry of applause escorted” Aunt Julia to the piano while Mr. Browne “advancing from the door, gallantly escorted her”; Gabriel feels “valorous” about his wife and he longs “to defend her against something”. Later he feels some “impalpable and vindicative being was coming against him, gathering forces against him in its vague world”, and at the end the snow lies “on the spears of the little gate”. There are also allusions to military tradition. The song discussed is “Let me like a Soldier fall”; Michael Furey’s song was “The Lass of Aughrim”; and one of the dances danced is “The Lancers”. We are also reminded of the Wellington and King William monuments with all their military associations, and told of grandfather Morkan going to a military review in the park. / I take it that all this together [...] serves as an ironic counterpoint to the real emotional conflicts that confront Gabriel at the heart of the story, where traditions of military aspiration, like those of hospitality he so sentimentally invokes and all the rest of Dublin’s paralysed traditions that the book has laid bare, can serve him nothing at all.’ (p.17; bibl. refs. John V. Kelleher, ‘Irish History and Mythology in James Joyce’s “The Dead”’ [America Committee for Irish Studies reprints] (Chicago Nov. 1971).

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Charles Rossman, ‘The Reader’s Role in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man’, in James Joyce: An International Perspective, ed. Suheil Bushrui & Bernard Benstock (Gerrards Cross: Colin Smythe 1982): ‘Joyce’s much discussed idea of the “epiphany” is basically a theory of perception. Stephen Dedalus makes this clear when, near the end of Stephen Hero, he expounds the theory, in words too familiar to quote at length. A few excerpted phrases will make my point: “By an epiphany he meant a sudden spiritual manifestation. ... He told Cranly that the Ballast Office clock was capable of an epiphany. ... All at once I see it and I know what it is: epiphany. ... Imagine my glimpses at that clock as the gropings of a spiritual eye which seeks to adjust its vision to an exact focus. The moment the focus is reached the object is epiphanised” (SH, 211). Stephen states the matter explicitly. The thing (the Ballast Office clock) is out there; the perceiver needs to adjust his focus carefully; under ideal conditions, an epiphany occurs: object and observer coincide to produce a pellucid “reality”. / In an earlier, less familiar passage, Stephen corroborates this notion of perception as a delicate attunement of perceiver to object. He speaks of the artist’s special faculty of perception as the ability to “disentangle the subtle soul of the image from its mesh of defining circumstances” (SH, 78). In A Portrait, Stephen Dedalus advances a similar notion of perception. He explains to Lynch how, confronted by a basket, the ‘mind first of all separates the basket from the rest of the visible universe which is not a basket’, in order to “apprehend it as one thing”. This phase of perception Stephen calls the discovery of the object’s integritas. Two successive phases, the discovery of consonantia and of claritas, yield a radiant manifestation of “the whatness of a thing”. That is, the mind discovers “that thing which [the basket] is and no other thing” (AP, p.213). [Cont.]

Charles Rossman, ‘The Reader’s Role in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man’ (1982) - cont.: ‘Joyce and Stephen agree, at least, on their theories of perception. Joyce’s own youthful essays, notebooks, and letters frequently echo Stephen’s belief that the mind can apprehend the objective world, that the observer can enter into and interpret phenomena. In “James Clarence Mangan”, for instance, Joyce scolds those of “impatient temper” who disregard “any method which bends upon these present things and so works upon them and fashions them that the quick intelligence may go beyond them to their meaning, which is still unuttered.” Although Joyce here has in mind the way that an artist transmutes experience into art, his remark is also an early formulation of both Stephen’s description of the “artist’s selective faculty” of “disentangling the subtle soul of the image” and Stephen’s more elaborately theoretical notions of the epiphany and of integritas, consonantia, and claritas. / What is most pertinent to this discussion is that Joyce’s words in “James Clarence Mangan” also describe the reader’s experience of Dubliners, A Portrait, and much of Ulysses. Joyce has arranged the facts in these books so that the reader is led toward complex, epiphanic, narrative moments which reveal a situation, a circumstance, or a character but leave their “meaning ... still unuttered”. (For longer extracts, see RICORSO Library, James Joyce, infra.)

Bernard Benstock, ‘On the Nature of Evidence in Ulysses’, in James Joyce: An Joyce International Perspective, ed. Suheil Bushrui & Benstock (Gerrards Cross: Colin Smythe 1982), p.46ff.: ‘[...] There has long been a certain amount of wailing and sighing over the Bloom marriage. Those who describe Bloom as impotent (the single most common word in Ulysses commentary to classify him) apparently sidestep the physiological evidence of his ejaculations in masturbating and interrupted coitus. Those who allow him his biological virility concentrate on his psychological warps, and Bloom certainly has his peculiarities. But psychological manifestations suggest psychological causes, yet even the most committed [50] members of the psychoanalytical school fail to relate the causes to Bloom, preferring to examine James Joyce instead. Whatever the author might have revealed on the couch that he so adamantly refused to occupy need not detract from the evidence he provided for Bloom’s situation. Rudy born unhealthy (a fact for which Ulysses supplies an abundance of clues) managed to alter the sexual appetites of both parents, as both readily admit about themselves. Bloom was obviously the more seriously affected since he harboured the fallacy that the father was biologically responsible for a malformed male child: “If it’s healthy it’s from the mother. If not the man” (U96). And despite his yearning for a male heir, he practised the only kinds of sex with Molly that would preclude another pregnancy. / Wary of venereal disease Bloom usually avoids prostitutes; wary of social stigmas he generally avoids relations with other women. And aware of Molly’s progressively depressed state he has stoically arranged her affair with Blazes Boylan, from the initial introduction to the assurance of a safe house on June 16th. He reveals his anxieties over the arrangements and his regrets, but basically he remains satisfied with the day’s events. In many ways it was the best and safest compromise he could make under the circumstances, and as Raleigh implies, the Blooms have one of the best marriages in Dublin - at least as far as Ulysses is concerned. Which married couple could the Blooms envy - Charlie and Fanny M’Coy? Richie and Sara Goulding? Bob and Polly Doran? Mr. and Mrs. Tom Kernan? The MacDowells? Or before widowhood the Dedaluses, the Dignams? Or perhaps the Purefoys with their nine children? - certainly the sentimental favourite.’ (pp.50-51.) Note that Benstock, who is usually intent on demonstrating the incertitude of evidence in Ulysses, here postulates a define motive and design on the part of Leopold in relation to the adultery between Molly and Blazes Boylan in the novel. (For longer extracts, dealing with such matters as the events in Nighttown, see RICORSO, Library, “Major Authors” - James Joyce, infra.)

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Vivian Mercier, ‘John Eglinton as Socrates: A Study of “Scylla and Charybdis”’, in James Joyce: An International Perspective, ed. Suheil Bushrui & Bernard Benstock, Gerrards Cross: Colin Smythe 1982): ‘[...] Though they may appear rambling enough at first, the thirty-five pages of ‘Scylla and Charybdis’ prove on closer examination to be among the most tightly packed with meaning in the whole of prose literature. They present several of the most persistent themes in [66] Ulysses almost simultaneously, so closely woven together that the reader is not allowed to lose sight of any for more than a few moments at a time. The most important theme -so important that it might be called the key to Ulysses - is the relationship between art and life, more specifically between Shakespeare’s art and Shakespeare’s life. Stephen Dedalus argues that these were very intimately related indeed. What gives his exposition an intensity rarely to be found in academic discourse is his creator’s secret purpose: Joyce is giving himself away. This man who was so reserved that he wished all his men friends to address him as “Joyce” rather than “Jim” or “James”, and who so rarely showed his feelings in private life except in those extraordinary love letters to Nora Barnacle, is pressing upon the readers of Ulysses clues to his own mystery. Those who accuse Richard Ellmann of the “biographical fallacy” because he interprets Joyce’s works in terms of his life deliberately ignore the obvious fact that Joyce makes Stephen joyfully embrace the alleged fallacy in his account of Shakespeare. It is true that when John Eglinton asks, “Do you believe your own theory?” Stephen ‘promptly’ (too promptly, perhaps?) answers “No” (U, 213-14). But in my case Eglinton is referring specifically to what he calls “a French triangle” (U213), the theory that Shakespeare was cuckolded by one of his brothers. Nobody who takes part in the discussion, not even A.E. (“But this prying into the family life of a great man, Russell began impatiently” [1891), seriously questions the existence of a relationship between a writer’s life and his work. The novelty of Stephen’s analysis of Hamlet lies in his identification of Shakespeare not with Prince Hamlet but with Hamlet’s father, the ghost.’ (For whole text, see RICORSO, Library, “Major Authors” - James Joyce, infra.)

Vivian Mercier, review of Scribbledehobble, ed. Thomas Connolly [prob. in New Yorker] (1961), points out multitudinous miscopyings due to the editor’s ignorance of Irish sources and place-names, &c., and condemns his general laxity of the work in the light of the current state of manuscript editing, adding: ‘Obviously no conscientious scholar would dare make use of this book without first obtaining a microfilm of the manuscript[; it] contains only a short introduction and no elucidatory notes whatever [&c.]’

John Paul Riquelme, ‘Twists of the Teller’s Tale: Finnegans Wake’, in James Joyce: An Joyce International Perspective, ed. Suheil Bushrui & Benstock (Gerrards Cross: Colin Smythe 1982), pp.82-114: John Paul Riquelme, ‘Twists of the Teller’s Tale: Finnegans Wake’, in James Joyce: An Joyce International Perspective, ed. Suheil Bushrui & Benstock (Gerrards Cross: Colin Smythe 1982), pp.82-114 ‘Through the virtuoso and protean power of imaginative enactment and making associated with acting, writing, and printing, in Finnegans Wake, homo ludens as homo faber mimes, in comic Promethean fashion, the status traditionally associated with the godhead. Since human creations are full of the misprints, hints, and concealments (such as Shem’s concealment behind his squirtscreen), for which paper is one medium, the words of “the book of Doublends Jined” (20.15-16) will be bound, as are all words in books, to require multiple readings. These readings include the repeated perusals of the printer’s. proofs needed for making corrections and revisions. And they are the multiple meanings that proliferate until the person who opened the book “closeth thereof the” (20.17-18). The closing of the Wake, its final word, is, of course, “the”. The distinction made between “finally” and “endlike” (20.11-12) in the passage about Gutenmorg indicates that “the” is not likely to be entirely final. Eventually, that is, finally but not absolutely finally, reader and author reach a state of repletion that is more a filling up (“fillstup” [20.13]) than a full stop. The book’s last “the” lacks the punctuation of the full stop, since the end is the “int”. Reader and author reach a provisionally final state when they “meet with the acquaintance of Mister Typus, Mistress Tope and all the little typtopies” (20.12-13) in such a way that the words can be bound over for closure though not for ending in any categorical sense. When such closure takes place, the general, the myth, type, or archetype becomes incarnated in a specific place and at a specific occasion (in two senses of topos). Type as model then proliferates as “typtopies”, both further incarnations of the myth and multiple copies in the typeface of printed books. In the making of the book, the typed copies of MSS are set in printing type to make passages (topoi again). In their complementary experiences with the text, [100] reader and author meet with the acquaintance and make the acquaintance of type and topos as they become familiars of the text. The author meets with the printer, the person acquainted with types who is indispensable for publishing. And the author as teller meets with the reader, who must already be acquainted with printing type in order to experience the text. At the same time, the author makes the reader into a new acquaintance by creating the reader’s persona. If the author chooses, as Joyce did, he can develop strategies for letting the reader perceive the continuity and overlap of reading, writing, and printing in the bookmaking process. Through the allusions to printing in the Wake, the reader can realize the experience of meeting author and printer, the acquaintances of type and typos. The writer, his text as epistle, and his printer concerned with letters, all together “once for omniboss step rubrickredd out of the wordpress”, when the rubrics are read.’ (pp.100-101.) [Cont.]

John Paul Riquelme (‘Twists of the Teller’s Tale: Finnegans Wake’, 1982): ‘The book is self-moving, self-perpetuating, and selfconsuming, ‘autokinatonetically preprovided with a clappercoupling smeltingworks exprogressive process’ (614.30-31) that produces both fusion and purification by smelting. The “smeltingworks exprogressive process” is the end of the making of Work in Progress (the original, provisional title of the Wake) through a reversal identical with the first step in the production of new books. The “decomposition” mentioned in the paragraph includes the taking apart of composed type. This ‘endnessnessessity’ (613.27) anticipates the process of composing and decomposing again. In order for “heroticisms” to “be there for you”, there must be available “the dialytically separated elements of precedent decomposition for the verypetpurpose of subsequent recombination” (614.33-35). The recombination occurs “anastomosically” (615.5) by the fitting together of pre-existing parts, both of type and of “the ancient legacy of the” past recycled in each new work. Through anastomoses, the new text emerges “type by tope, letter from litter”, out of the leavings of the literary tradition to express “the sameold gamebold adomic structure of our Finnius the old One” (615.6-7). At this finish of the text, the reader “finally (though not yet endlike)” makes the acquaintance of “Mister Typus, Mistress Tope and all the little typtopies” (20.12-13) announced in the first chapter. That acquaintance accompanies our perception of the book’s “adomic structure”. In that structure, the atom is an Adam within a “Finnius”, a beginning within an end. (p.107.)

Phillip Herring, ‘Joyce and Rimbaud: An Introductory Essay’, in James Joyce: An Joyce International Perspective, ed. Suheil Bushrui & Benstock (Gerrards Cross: Colin Smythe 1982): Quotes Oliver St. John Gogary [as supra] and compares the lives of Joyce and Rimbaud, drawing particular attention to Joyce’s imitation of the sonnet “Voyelles”, and the Proteus passages on epiphanies (‘Book you were to write with letters for titles. Have you read his F? Oh yes but I prefer Q [...’; U40; cf. alphabet books you were going to write, U48]. ‘[...] the biographical parallels with Rimbaud are striking. They [both] reject country, family, religion for a revolutionary aestheticism and see exile as their inevitable destiny’ (p.184.) ‘[T]he character of Shem [...] is a caricature of the artistic temperament (so offensive to Gogarty) which Joyce associated with Rimbaud and himself in his letter of Sept. 1905 [“I am an artist by temperament. Newman and Renan, for example, are excellent writers but they seem to have very little of the temperament I mean. Whereas Rimbaud, who is hardly a writer at all, has it.” Letters, 1966, Vol. II, p.110; vide also ibid., p.173 on Joyce’s reading of the Symbolistes.] Herring quotes C. P. Curran on Joyce’s youthful interest in Rimbaud, and concludes: ‘For once Gogarty was right. The influence is there, from Stephen Hero to A Portrait to Ulysses [..lles” was a stage - perhaps even a blockage - through which Stephen had to pass to attain mastery; Ulysses reflects this process in plot and form. Finnegans Wake proclaims on every page the virtuosity to which Stephen aspires, one surpassing anything of which Rimbaud could have dreamed. Hence he is little celebrated in Joyce’s final work. [...]’. See also n.26, citing Joyce’s play W. Y. Tindall’s reference to Joyce’s play upon Rimbaud’s coinage “ithyphalliques in “La Coeur Volé”) as “mithyphallic [481.04] which Herring calls ‘ornamental’. Joyce also finds ‘Rainbow’ in ‘Rimbaud’ (Ha.] being most apparent in reveries where aesthetics is the subject. When Stephen tries to push on toward truly original theories of experimentation, his thoughts weave synaesthetic patterns in colours and vowels [...] Rimbaud represented for Stephen a classical case of anxiety of influence [...] to be vanquished or assimilated [...] By Finnegans Wake, Rimbaud had about served Joyce’s purpose; although his [Joyce’s] interest doubtless remained, his use of the French poet, as with so many other writers, had become more ornamental than essential. The experimentalism of Rimbaud and “Voyeyman and Glasheen; here n.26, p.180.)

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Ann Saddlemyer, ‘James Joyce and the Irish Dramatic Movement’, in James Joyce: A Joyce International Perspective, ed. Suheil Bushrui & Benstock (Gerrards Cross: Colin Smythe 1982) [extensive remarks on Joyce and Synge] - on Exiles: ‘Described in his notes as “three cat and mouse acts”, Exiles deals with estrangement and liberation, perversion and conversion, on the ethical, moral, aesthetic, and sexual planes - and hence, by implication, on the national plane also. The origins of plot are readily recognizable from Joyce’s biography, as is his determination to create a drama of Ibsenite clarity: “either the perception of a great truth, or the opening up of a great question, or a great conflict which is almost independent of the conflicting actors”. The conflict (and great question) is how to reconcile, while exploring, the opposite values of the soul and conscience, the fruitful and the sterile. The perception of truth, which Richard Rowan struggles toward and for which he must sacrifice all certainties, lies in what Joyce calls the “virginity of the soul”, “a state of readiness” which one must consciously strive for while acknowledging the hopelessness of recapturing it, once its initial energy is spent. There is no final end to such a conflict or perception, and so the play ends not in death, but spiritual, emotional, and physical stasis, a mood of lassitude tenuously balanced between physical longing and the wounding doubt of the soul. / Such an intricately patterned thematic structure required a matching rigidity of checks and counterchecks, comparisons and contrasts, in both plot and characterization. With Jonsonian precision Joyce presents the theme of putative cuckoldry through his “humorous” characters: Richard Rowan, spiritual but not genetic heir to the Anglo-lrish patriot, “an automystic”, artist/author, warring within him the conflict of a previous generation in his generous, artistic father and an unforgiving, puritanical mother; Robert Hand, artisan/journalist, “an automobile”, sadist in his sensuality [205] where Richard is masochistic in his self-denial, unwillingly-led betrayer to Richard’s will towards betrayal; Richard’s mistress-in-exile, Bertha, mother to his child, herself denied a patronym while Richard strives to free her soul and body from bondage to their love; Beatrice Justice, cousin and childhood sweetheart of Robert, spiritual mistress to Richard, while sickly in her own virginity; the inevitable folk mother Brigid; and Richard and Bertha’s son Archie, herald of the future, combining the flexibility of his godfather Robert Hand with the lunar qualities of his mother and the openness to experience of his father.’ (pp.205-06; [Saddlemyer treats fully of Joyce’s relations with Edward Martyn, W. B. Yeats, Lady Gregory and - particularly - J. M. Synge. for full text, see RICORSO > Library > “Criticism > Major Authors” > James Joyce - in this frame or in a new window.]

Ann Saddlemyer notes the following: Martyn never referred publicly to Joyce, but a heavy-handed satire of Yeats, Lady Gregory, Moore and himself, which expresses charges similar to Joyce’s, was published in 1907 - Romulus and Remus, or The Makers of Delights. In one of his later plays, The Dream Physician, Joyce himself appears, thinly disguised, in the sympathetic role of Otho Gerrard, a flamboyant idealistic poet longing for the unattainable Moon while comparing everyone else’s foibles to his own ‘magnificent’ intellect; significantly, Martyn has written himself into the play also - as Otho Gerrard’s father.

Note 20: An Enchanted Sea was published with The Tale of a Town in 1902. Romulus and Remus, or The Makers of Delights was published in the Christmas Supplement to Irish People (21 December 1907); Denis d’Oran, master hairdresser (Martyn) has two assistants; these are Romulus Malone (Moore) and Remus Delany (Yeats). Daisy Houlihan (Lady Gregory) is the shopwoman, while Mrs Cornucopia Moynihan (Miss Horniman) is a customer in search of a husband. The Dream Physician was published in 1914; Patricia McFate’s Introduction to Seumas MacManus, The Townland of Tamney and Edward Martyn, The Dream Physician (Chicago: De Paul University 1972), pp.15-26, convincingly identifies the various characters.

Jeremy Hawthorn, ‘Ulysses, Modernism and the Marxist Criticism’, in W. J. McCormack & Alistair Stead, eds., James Joyce and Modernism (Routledge 1984): ‘[... Molly’s stream of consciousness is often seen as the most extreme form of technical innovation on Joyce’s part in Ulysses, but it is worth noting that as nearly all of her thoughts concern her relationships with other eople rather than merely physical sensation, their expression in words present fewer problems than do some of Bloom’s more ephemeral thoughts and sensations. In spite of her physicality and concern with sexuality, Molly consistently conceptualises; she does not just remember events, she comment upon them and tires to put them into some sort of order. We may remember Molly as an “experiencer” rather than a “thinker”, but when we go back to her monolgue we discover that she never stops interpreting and commenting upon her experiences. This is why we never feel any strain has been caused by representing her thoughts in words; they are generally at that level of conceptualisation which requires words anyway. In addition, of course, many of the events she is thinking about have had a significant verbal element in the first place.’ (p.119.)

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Derek Attridge & Daniel Ferrer, eds., Post-structuralist Joyce: Essay from the French (Cambridge UP 1984): ‘The literary work which refuses this satisfaction [i.e., that of “discovering” truths in the text which correspond to those the critic brought to it] which does not yield to the prevailing critical strategies, whose proliferations go uncontrollably beyond established reading habits and threatens to obliterate the safe distance between text and reader, is put to one side, to await the critic who will be able to show that it is, after all, not so ferocious, but has merely been misunderstood. But the critical text which refuses the same satisfaction [...] is permanently discarded.’ (p.3.) Further: ‘[... the] incessant shifting and opening-out of meaning in the act of reading and re-reading. The dream of final and total explication seems to be turning into a prospect of interminable accumulation - or a Rabelaisian vision of infinite and comic fecundity. There is no doubt which view Joyce would have taken.’ (p.8.) [Cont.]

Derek Attridge & Daniel Ferrer (Post-structuralist Joyce: Essay from the French, 1984) - cont.: ‘The realisation that texts are unmasterable, and will return new answers as long as there are new questions, new questioners, or new contexts in which to ask questions, and that Joyce’s texts display this characteristic more openly than most, is a thread that is barely visible in the vast library of scholarly and critical material that overwhelms Joyce’s two thousand published pages.’ (Idem.) ‘[A]ny reader cannot but feel that the text constantly overreaches the landmarks established by the best critical constructions. It is impossible to exert mastery over it, its shifts are such that you can never pin it down in any definite place - it always turns up again, laughing, behind your back. In fact, the aim is not to produce a reading of this intractable text, to make it more familiar and exorcise its strangeness, but on the contrary to confront its unreadability; not to produce an indefinite accumulation of its meanings (or search for the one authentic meaning) but to look at mechanicism of its infinite productivity; not to explore the psychological depths of the authors or characters, but to record the perpetual flight of the Subject and its ultimate disappearance’ not to reconstruct the world presented by the text, but to follow up within it the strategies that attempt a deconstruction of representation. [...]’ (p.10.) [Cont.]

Derek Attridge & Daniel Ferrer (Post-structuralist Joyce: Essay from the French, 1984) - cont.: ‘The endeavour is not to assimilate Finnegans Wake and the last chapters of Ulysses to the traditional element in the early works but to look at this apparently traditional writing in the light of the most radical aspects of the later texts. But this does not mean that the tradition is disregarded. [...] The full strength of Joyce’s text cannot be appreciated if one does not differentiate [10] it from a psychotic shout or a poetical incantation. It acts from with[in] the Great Tradition of narrative fiction, violently dragging that tradition out of itself. It is the culmination of Western culture that leads that culture irretrievably astray, far towards the limits of madness [...]’ (pp.10-11.) Note that Attridge and Ferrer excluded Lacan from their collection on the grounds of difficulty, as noted by Christine van Boheemen-Saaf, ‘Joyce in Theory/Theory in Joyce’, in James Joyce, ed. Sean Latham, Dublin: IAP 2010 - in which she quotes from the Introduction, as above - viz., ‘It is impossible to exert mastery over it [...] confront its unreadability.’ (Attridge & Ferrer, p.10; Boheemen-Saaf, op. cit., p.159.)

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James Simmons, ‘“The Recipe for all Misfortunes, Courage”: A study of three works by Protestant authors [Forrest Reid, Joyce Cary, Sam Hanna Bell]’, in Across the Roaring Hill: The Protestant Imagination in Modern Ireland - Essays in Honour of John Hewitt, ed. Gerald Dawe & Edna Longley (Belfast: Blackstaff 1985): ‘[...] It is hard to discuss Irish literature outside an historical context. What leads me in to some preliminary comments on James Joyce is that the Irish learnt a peculiar loyalty to the priests who stood by them in the eighteenth century, and by the time of the Famine there was very little the mass of Irish people could call their own but their religion. When the Americans were confidently separating Church and State the Irish were contracting an unnatural loyalty to the most conservative and power-hungry of Churches, an imperial power, as Joyce recognised. But while the weight of all his books is a challenge to Church domination (Bloom’s friendly, practical meditations undermine the Church continually. ... “Said he was going to paradise or is in paradise. Says that over everybody. Tiresome kind of a job. But he has to say something”), the technical intricacy of the book as a whole can seem like a desire to compete with or impress that Church. [ftn. ref. to Simmons’ poem “The Catholic Church’s Revenge on James Joyce”.] What are we to think of his negative attitude to politics? If we can understand his early lack of faith in the ability of the Irish to free themselves from British rule,, why is he so indifferent when they actually bring it off? Joyce’s comedy is so warm and liberating and original that we often choose to ignore the proud, pretentious side of him, what you might call “the tossing antlers syndrome”, that made him a prey to Modernism, a movement with pride and despair in its heart, a last fling of aristocracy, though, as a young American poet writes, “at least the quatrains ran on time”. [Bill Knott, Becos, 1983]. To invent Bloom was a profound assertion of the rights of man: a foreigner who masturbates, is cuckolded and lacks any obvious talent, claims his rights as a man, an Irishman, a husband and a citizen with disarming simplicity, courage and directness. Not all the selfconscious literary experiment that the author indulges in can hide [80] his primary inspiration. If we look to literature for some sort of guidance in this life, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man and Ulysses are not to be ignored, for warmth, boldness and intelligence. There is in some respects a steadier warmth and boldness in the authors I am contracted to discuss; but none of them is so radical and original.’ (p.80-81.) [Cont.]

James Simmons, ‘“The Recipe for all Misfortunes, Courage”: A study of three works by Protestant authors [Forrest Reid, Joyce Cary, Sam Hanna Bell]’, 1985) - cont.: ‘This wide sympathy and questioning approach may be too universal to claim a place in one of history’s processions. When reviewing A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man H.G. Wells could see at once that the book was anti-British, though the Irish reader is much more (perhaps only) conscious of attacks on Nationalism, family and the Catholic Church. Even in the mature Ulysses hostility to the British soldiers and the English royal family is in the air the book breathes. The book is written from inside the Catholic Irish experience, even though Joyce is embarrassing everyone by demanding attention for the Jewish cuckold, Bloom.’ (p.84.). [Cont.]

James Simmons, ‘“The Recipe for all Misfortunes, Courage”: A study of three works by Protestant authors [Forrest Reid, Joyce Cary, Sam Hanna Bell]’, 1985) - cont.: ‘The repetitions of “Yes” at the end of Ulysses have given that novel the reputation of being a great celebration of life; but there is no doubt that, apart from Molly Bloom, not a character in the book gets much satisfaction. It is all talk and drink. Anyone with a bit of power or money is grotesque. The whole aspiration to freedom is reduced to the rantings of the Citizen. Is it not odd that Stephen and Bloom make no approach to the prostitutes in Nighttown? Blazes Boylan, the only man in the book who makes any attempt to please a woman, meets blanket disapproval. Much as I enjoy Molly Bloom’s soliloquy, I cannot help feeling that Joyce’s relationship with Nora Barnacle should have given him material for a more mature tribute to femininity. He is still the adolescent, indignant that he was never told about menstruation, copulation and the little tricks and oddities lovers get up to. Molly’s pilgrim soul is not allowed to exist. Outside Bloom’s courage, kindness and citriosity, the only positives I can discover are Stephen’s tenderness for one of his pupils, Deasy’s concern for Stephen and the good singing of Simon Dedalus and Ben Dollard, more drowned than celebrated by language games. And what about poor Gerty MacDowell? Why was Joyce driven to parody and pastiche, even as early as Dubliners? Is this a limitation in Joyce or an accurate picture of middle-class Catholic society? A comparison with the work of Corkery, O’Connor and O’Faolain suggests it is a limitation in Joyce.’ (pp.90-91.)

Philip Gaskell & Clive Hart, Ulysses: A Review of Three Texts [Princess Grace Irish Library] (Gerrards Cross: Colin Smythe 1988), Introduction: ‘[...] We are troubled by three characteristics of the 1984 clear-reading text [ed. Hans Walter Gabler]: (1) its preference for readings derived from evidence, usually manuscript, of Joyce’s first thoughts, however strong the case for later versions; (2) its normalisation of inconsistencies and errors even when these are indisputably attributable to the author; (3) most important: [ix] the adoption of readings from sources, usually manuscript, that are not in the direct line of descent of the final text.’ (pp.ix-x.) [Cont.]

Philip Gaskell & Clive Hart (Ulysses: A Review of Three Texts, 1988) - cont.: ‘We have deleted from 1984 the famous passage about love in “Scylla and Charybdis” (9-426ff.). Although it appears in R[osenbach] (which is non-linear for this chapter), it is not in the typescript, the omission being, in Gabler’s judgement, the result of an eyeskip in the transcription of the lost final working draft. As the typescript version is in the line of descent and was the basis for the placards and proofs which Joyce saw through to the publication of the first edition, we have, as in all similar cases, omitted the passage. From our point of view, that should perhaps be an end of the matter, but since it prompted so much discussion, we offer our own comment. Whatever the reasons for Joyce’s failure to restore it, we do not agree with Richard Ellmann’s view that ‘it is most uncharacteristic of Joyce, so reticient about love, to allow Stephen to ask his dead mother a [xv] question to which he has already given the answer’. [See Richard Ellmann, ‘A Crux in the New Edition of Ulysses’, in Assessing the 1984 Ulysses, [Princess Grace Irish Library] Colin Smythe 1988, p.33.] Not only is repetition across wide textual gaps an important structural principle of Ulysses, but the comparability of this passage with Bloom’s later highly charged argument in “Cyclops” establishes just the kind of parallelism between the two men which Joyce was at pains to develop. The omission, if authorial, was probably prompted by other motives.’ (pp.xv-xvi.)

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