James Joyce: Commentary (12)

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General Index

Bruce Stewart, ‘Another Bash in the Tunnel: James Joyce and the Envoy’, in Studies: An Irish Quarterly Review, 93, 370 (Summer 2004) - notice by “Sadbh” [Caroline Walsh, Lit. Ed.] in The Irish Times (q.d.): ‘A fascinating episode in the long story of Ireland’s reaction to James Joyce is analysed in the current issue of Studies. In an essay by Bruce Stewart called Another Bash in the Tunnel: James Joyce and the Envoy, the focus is on a volume called A Bash in the Tunnel: James Joyce by the Irish (1970), edited by man of letters and publican John Ryan, and including articles by Flann O’Brien, Patrick Kavanagh and others which they had contributed to a James Joyce special issue of Envoy, which Ryan had published in 1951. / Stewart says that apart from isolated enthusiasms in that issue of Envoy and its sequel, the pieces represented a moment when the expropriation of Joyce’s Dublin triggered apoplectic irritation on the part of its living literary denizens. They simply carped, he adds, giving a flavour of what was said at the time. “It remains a pity that they did not seek in Joyce’s works an explanation for their own confusions at the same time as they berated transatlantic Joyceans for their inevitable failings,” Stewart concludes.’

Justin Beplate (2005) to Martin Dowling (2008)
Justin Beplate
Eric Bulson
Alan Roughley
Kevin Whelan
Gareth J. Downes
Val. Cunningham
Garry Leonard
Maria Tymoczko
Sam Slote
Hans Walter Gabler
John Gross
Maud Ellmann
Aaron Kelly
David Pierce
Fran O’Rourke
Martin Dowling

Gregory Castle, Modernism and the Celtic Revival (Cambridge UP 2001)

Justin Beplate, review of Geert Lernout & Wim Van Mierlo, The Reception of Joyce in Europe (Continuum/Thoemmes 2005): ‘[...] One of the more intriguing elements of Joyce’s European reception, outside France and Germany, was the affinity felt by certain nationals towards a politically and culturally marginalised Ireland. In Norway, for example, Bjorn Tysdahl suggests that Joyce’s enthusiastic reception was fostered by this sense of shared history - of relative cultural decline after the Middle Ages, of troubled relations with powerful neighbours, and of recent movements for national independence. Joyce’s well-known admiration for Ibsen strengthened such associations, and fortified the view that both writers spoke from a shared colonial experience, In Spain, Joyce assumed particular importance for a group of Galician writers who, on top of the shared Celtic origins of Ireland and Galicia, saw their own preoccupation with cultural marginalization and nationalism powerfully expressed in the Irish Literary Revival. In the 1920s, the Galician journal Nós (a title that echoes the sentiment of Sinn Féin’s “We Ourselves”) devoted a number of issues to the theme of Irish-Calician relations. Perhaps the most memorable contribution was that of the journal’s Editor, Vicente Risco, who imagined Joyce’s protagonist Stephen Dedalus going on a final adventure to Galicia, where, as part of his pact with the devil, he will be the last pilgrim to die on Celtic soil; he thus closes the circle of martyrdom opened by his namesake St Stephen - the first Christian martyr.’ (In Times Literary Supplement, 29 April 2005, pp.4-5.) Further, regarding ‘Joyce’s appropriation by “foreign” interests’: ‘Recent trends in Joyce studies [...] suggest a return to something many early critics took for granted - that Joyce was Irish and that the formative experiences of colonialism and Catholicism lay at the heart of his work. At a time when the prominent Joyce scholar Derek Attridge has acknowledged the “excessively cosy relation between Joyce’s text and the cultural envelope within which it finds its meanings”, and when the Editor of the James Joyce Quarterly has argued that “we must inoculate ourselves against Joyce with a proper hatred of his pre-eminence”, it may be that the best prospect of recovering the roots of Joyce’s radical difficulty lies in those readings which restore him to an Irish context, rather than pursuing the revolution-of-the-word legacy of French theory. Then again, the Irish turn in Joyce studies may simply rehash, albeit with a new critical vocabulary, what has already been written elsewhere and otherwise, as if we needed reminding that our insights to Joyce are caught up in the same Viconian ricorso of the Wake - “happy returns” of the “seim anew”. (Times Literary Supplement, 29 April 2005, p.4.) Note, Beplate’s article elicits a letter from Jonty Driver (East Sussex) in a subsequent issue of TLS attesting that he found a copy of Ulysses in the Jagger Library of Capetown University and read it at one sitting.)

Hans Walter Gabler: ‘The true status [of workshop materials] is not that of separate sub-texts, or side-texts. They are, on the contrary, integral to the literary work itself, seen as a continuous text in its extension in time from conception to completion.’ (q. source.)

Note Hugh Kenner’s attribution to Gabler of the discovery of a ‘chiasmatic’ structure in A Portrait, which consists in the ‘cunning with which the three episodes and the diary of Chapter V reverse the overture and three episodes of Chapter I [which] went unnoticed for sixty years’ [Kenner, Ulysses, Allen & Unwin, p.13 & n., citing Gabler, ‘The Seven Lost Years of A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man’, in Approaches ot James Joyce’s “Portrait”: Ten Essays, ed., Thomas F. Staley & Bernard Benstock, Pittsburgh 1976, pp.35-60.]

See also Gabler’s conjectures about the chronology of A Portrait, retaled by Danis Rose and John O’Hanlon, under Notes > A Portrait - infra.

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Eric Bulson, Cambridge Companion to James Joyce (Cambridge UP 2006), paraphrases Joyce’s 1912 Lectures on Defoe & Blake in which he wrote of Defoe’s “Duncan Campbell” [being] a spiritualistic study of an interesting case of clairvoyance in Scotland which relates what happens when the realist comes into a mystical place where ‘telepathy is in the air’ [JJ]. Bulson quotes Joyce: ‘Seated at the bedside of a boy visionary [i.e., “Duncan Campbell”] gazing at his raised eyelids listing to his breathing, examining the position of his head, noting his fresh complexion, Defoe is the realist in the presence of the unknown, it is the experience of the man who struggles and conquers in the presence of a dream which he fears may fool him; he is, finally, the Anglo-Saxon in the presence of the Celt.” (Occasional Writings, ed. Kevin Barry, OUP 2001, p.171.) Bulson remarks: ‘Unfortunately for us Joyce fails to elaborate and we are left wondering how Defoe’s description of the boy visionary necessarily translates [...] the encounter between the Anglo-Saxon and the Celt. The realist Joyce seems to be [28] suggesting here, that we can never get beyond the material world, much as the English coloniser cannot get into the mind of the colonised Irish race. Joyce was particularly pleased with this lecture and sent it to a prestigious literary journal in Florence call the Marzocco. Corinna de Greco Lobner suspects that the editors refused to publish it because Joyce’s thinly veiled anti-British sentiments would offend British subscribers.’ Bulson points out that Joyce argued that Blake was Irish, reflecting his reading of Yeats’s introduction to the Works of William Blake, edited with Ellis, remarking: ‘James Joyce was not the first to make Blake a Celt. Yeats [on the] ‘shakiest evidence tried to prove Blake’s father James Blake was born James O’Neill.’ (Bulson, pp.28-29.) Bulson quotes Joyce further: ‘In English literature Blake represents the most significant and the truest form of idealism. He was not however an Anglo-Saxon. Instead he possessed all the qualities contrary to this type and most of all his hatred of commerce. He was Irish and he manifested in his art those characteristics most particular to his people.’ (Barry, ed., op. cit., n.p.; here p. 29.)

Joyce’s first contacts with W. B. Yeats as narrated by Eric Bulson, (Introduction to James Joyce, Cambridge 2006)

Joyce graduated from University College, Dublin in 1903 and needed to find a career quickly. By this time, he had become familiar with many of Dublin’s literati and managed to marshal the support of Yeats, George Russell, and Lady Gregory. Russell acknowledged that the young man was ‘as proud as Lucifer’, and Yeats noticed his ‘colossal self-conceit’ (JJ, 100-01). After reading some of Joyce’s epiphanies and poems, Yeats was convinced that he had a ‘delicate talent’ but was no tsure whether it was ‘for prose or verse’ (JJ, 104). [...] Intending to pursue a medical degree and a writing career, Joyce enrolled in the Faculté de Médicine in Paris. After borrowing left, right and centre, he left Dublin on December 1, 1902. In addition to entertaining and feeding Joyce during his lay-over in London, Yeats provided him with valuable contacts and Lady Gregory secured him a position as an occasional book reviewer for the Daily Express, a pro-English newspaper. William Archer recognized the folly of Joyce's decision and was candid enough to tell him: ‘It‘s hard enough by giving lessons all day to keep body and soul together in Paris; and how you can expect to do that, and at the same time qualify as a doctor, passes my comprehension.’ Joyce nevertheless went ahead with his plans, but he soon realised that his first experiment in living was a failure: he was homesick and poor. To make matters worse, he discovered that he could not even afford the matriculation fees for enrollment, and was forced to abandon his less than brilliant career as a doctor.

(Bulson, op. cit., p.5.)
In December 1913 Joyce’s luck began to change. The American poet Ezra Pound, who was then living in London, contacted him at Yeats’s behest to see if he wanted to publish any poems or short stories in British and American journals. The pay was modest but the publications would get Joyce’s name in circulation. Pound agreed to publish “I hear an army” in his collection Des Imagistes. In addition he thought that Portrait was “damn fine stuff” and quickly arranged to have it published serially in The Egoist. He also managed to get a few stories from Dubliners published in The Smart Set and encouraged everyone he knew to read and promote Joyce’s work. [...]
(Bulson, ibid., p.10.

Joyce’s interest in Yeats’s play was evident when he refused to sign the petition against him in 1899 (even if he also called Yeats “a tiresome idot” and claimed that he was out of touch with the Irish people”), but his once-negative opinion of Synge underwent a dramatic change (Ellmann, JJ, 1982, p.239.) Upon reading Riders to the Sea in 1903 when he first met Synge in Paris, he criticised the play for not being Aristotelian enough. However, he appears to have moved beyond his initial criticism and committed parts of the play to memory, translated it into Italian, and had the English Players put on a performance when he was in Zurich, letting Nora play the leading role. He was even generous enough to call Synge a “tragic poet” in the program notes (CW, 250.) Synge was the one Irish writer whom Joyce, still young and precocious, saw as an equal. He even deigned to admit that th two shared more than an Irish upbringing in common. According to Stanislaus:

Jim found something in Synge’s mind akin to his own. The heroics and heroic poetry, that the Irish clique might delight in, had no more significance for Synge than for him. The Playboy, with its talk of cleaning people down to their breeches belt, waas a study in heroics, just as “Grace” was a study in Theology, “Two Gallants” in gallantry, or “Ivy Day in the Committee Room” in politics, but he thought Synge’s art more original than his own. (Stanislaus Joyce, Triestine Book of Days, 5 May 1907; Bulson, p.26.

These Italian translations indicate just how complicated Joyce's identification with Ireland could be. With Vidacovich’s help, he translated two of the most important figures involved in the Irish Literary Revival. If he openly [26] disagreed with their plans to rejuvenate Irish literature by using Irish subjects and the Irish language, he still say himself as belonging to a literary tradition that included Yeats and Synge, but also the likes of Jonathan Swift, Laurence Sterne, Oscar Wilde, and George Moore, all Irishmen who wrote in English.

The kind of Irishman Joyce wanted to be is a different story. [...]

(Bulson, pp.26-27.)

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Alan Roughley, Reading Derrida, Reading Joyce ( Florida UP 1999), Preface: ‘The writings of Joyce and Derrida rupture the taxonomic structures that are founded upon these concepts and principles [presence, facticity, genre, teleology, progression, linearity]. These ruptures are analogous with the gap into the unconscious opened by Freud and the practice of criticism after Joyce and Derrida in some aspects engages in the same project as psychoanalysis followed after Freud [...; &c.] [xv] ‘Since Joyce, and perhaps even more since Derrida, our understanding of the form of a book as an ideal structure has been radically changed. [...] Both have produced books without conventional structures or endings. They both teach us that the concept of the book as an ideological form as well as our ideas about the relationship between speech and writing can, and should be, radically rethought.’ [xvi] ‘For both Joyce and Derrida, marginal parts of a text are capable of a force that produces important effects within the text’s main body/ The operations of this forces can disrupt and overturn the traditional hierarchy of evaluation of the main body of a text as more and powerful than its marginal counterpart. [...] In Ulysses both the jar of Plumtree’s potted meat and the slogan advertising it are relatively unimportant [...] Joyce’s writing, however, gives this marginal textual fragment a power belonging to its status as a minor realistic textual detail in the narrative by making the potted meat and its advertising slogan signifiers of humour, love, betrayal and death as well as the textual slippage that undermines a strictly representational reading of Joyce’s text.’ (Refs. Astradur Eysteinsson, The Concept of Modernism, Cornell UP 1990, p.227; here p.xix.) [Cont.]

Alan Roughley (Reading Derrida, Reading Joyce, 1999) - cont.: Roughley notes that Derrida read Joyce at Harvard [1]; speaks of Levinas’s ‘encounter with the absolutely other’ [18]. Re Derrida at the 9th International James Joyce Symposium [Paris]: ‘Deconstruction could not have been possible without Joyce’ (vide, Jones, 1988, p.77.) Further: ‘Although the word “perhaps” still hangs over Derrida’s assessment of Joyce as “the most Hegelian of novelists”, there is much to support the [91] argument that Derrida finds Hegel’s encyclopaedic and totalising philosophical project parallel (or “completed”) by Joyce’s “most powerful project for programming the totality of research into the onto-logico-encyclopaedic field”. For Derrida readers and scholars who engage with Joyce’s writings find themselves playing “with the entire archive of culture - at least of what is called Western culture, and in it of that which returns to itself according to the Ulyssean circle of ‘the encyclopaedia’”.’ (Quoting Jacques Derrida, ‘Ulysses Gramophone: Deux Mots pour Joyce’, trans. as ‘Ulysses Gramophone: Hear Say Yes in Joyce’, in Derek Attridge, ed., Acts of Literature, London: Routledge, 1992,253-309; here 91.) ‘Derrida uses the Wake’s metaphor of its language as a river to re-mark the continual return involved in such a rereading and to signify how returning to Joyce’s work produces the effect of encountering that work anew each time.’ (Roughley, op. cit., p.91.)

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Gregory Castle, Modernism and the Celtic Revival (Cambridge UP 2001): ‘[...] in view of Terry Eagleton’s thesis that Ireland’s colonial status, together with its strong traditional social organisation, created ideal conditions for the formation of a conservative modernist sensibility, the role of anthropology in the Celtic Revival becomes pivotal, since both sought to conserve the pristine social conditions of primitive societies and both had to contend with the tensions and contradictions that arise when a traditional culture comes into contact with a modern - that is to say, a civilised - observer. This is certainly the case in Synge’s ethnographic account of the Aran Islands and Yeats’s folklore collections and folkloric fictions, for both Yeats an Synge presupposed certain key elements of anthropological theory having to do with primitive cultures and empolyed, however inconsistently or even unwittingly, techniques of participant observation [à la Malinowski]. But other features of modernism, specifically narrative self-reflexivity and plurivocality, are less evident in early Revivalist writing, in part because of the conservative tendency of Anglo-Irish literary production. When we do see these features - for example in Synge’s “exaggerated” realism and in Joyce’s experiments in style and point of view - they signal a commitment less to an enthnographic imagination than to a critique of that mode of imagining. Joyce’s works (and, to a lesser extent, Synge’s) serves as a salutary self-criticism of the Revival’s reliance on a redemptive discourse that purports to offer a pro-nationalist representation of traditional Irish culture, while at the same time it assimiliates that culture into an essentially anthropological frame of reference. The chief difference between the participant observer and the Revivalists like Synge and Joyce with regard to self-reflexivity and narrative plurivocality lies in the fact that the former must repress the desire for subjective response and “counter-narratives” in the production of a primary, authoritative ethnographic text (relegating the expression of such desires, when they arise, to unofficial or private texts), while the latter is free to incorporate such subjective responses or the fragmentation and multiplication of narrative perspectives.’ (p.30.) Castle compares the assumption of a “sovereign” Western observer’s personal experience and point of view with the interplay of multiple and divergent voices and intersubjective approach characteristics of the “new” or “revisionist” anthropology associated with James Clifford, et al. [Cont.]

Gregory Castle, Modernism and the Celtic Revival (Cambridge UP 2001) - cont: [on “The Dead”:] quotes Fanon, “political education means opening [the peoples‘] minds, awakening them, and allowing the birth of their intelligence; as [Aimé] Césaire said, it is “to invent souls.” (Wretched of the Earth, [1967] p.197; here p.173]. Further: ‘But it is in Ulysses that Joyce is able to recognize the productive power of this interaction and to transform a critique of Revivalism into a new revival, an awakening to the revolutionary possibilities of a “political education” in which both the traditional and the modern have a share in the invention of souls. / The first stage in this awakening is Dubliners, a text that is often regarded as a premier example of either realism or naturalism, part of a tradition that features European masters like Gustave Flaubert and Émile Zola. To be sure, this view of Joyce’s first major work would not be out of place in a literary history of realistic fiction. However, as recent critics have begun to notice, Dubliners has complex ideological commitments to cultural nationalism and anti-colonial resistance, and its realist strategies are not strictly consonant with those of nineteenth-century practitioners, though Zola’s interest in unmasking the hidden sources of social oppression is similar to what we find in Joyce. In some cases, as in Nolan’s discussion of “The Dead”, Revivalism is identified as an important context for understanding these commitments. It hardly bears repeating the conclusion drawn by so many critics that Gabriel Conroy experiences a conflict [in “The Dead”] over the values of cultural nationalism as they manifest themselves in Miss Ivors’ enthusiasm for the Aran Islands. My discussion of Synge’s own experience there indicates the extent to which the West of Ireland attained a nearly iconic significance for cultural nationalists and continued to hold that significance well into the opening decades of the twentieth century. Michael Levenson has drawn our attention to the significant fact that the Playboy riots of late January and early February of 1907 took place during the time Joyce was composing “The Dead” He writes that Joyce, “who was living out a few months of his exile in Rome, eagerly followed the controversy, clearly sensing that here was a foretaste of a feast being laid for him. The Playboy affair made clear that in the midst of an ongoing colonial struggle, the boundaries between art and politics were highly permeable, where they existed at all.” (Michael Levenson, ‘Living History in “the Dead”, in Dubliners: Text, Criticism and Notes, ed. Robert Scholes & A Walton Litz, Penguin 1996, pp.421-38.) Joyce, then, picks up where Synge leaves off, exploring in his own anthropological fictions the permeability of boundaries that Synge had tested and exposed.’ (p.179.) [Cont.]

Gregory Castle, (Modernism and the Celtic Revival, 2001) - cont. [in Joyce’s reference to ‘my nicely-polished looking-glass’ in letter to Grant Richards]: ‘We should not fail at this juncture to notice that Joyce, in flourishing his “nicely polished looking-glass,” employs a metaphor that had been used against Synge during the Playboy controversy. A reviewer of The Playboy had lamented Synge’s refusal to represent the Irish realistically, asserting that the Abbey Theatre directors “were expected to fulfill the true purpose of playing - ‘to hold as ‘twere the, mirror up to Nature’, to banish the meretricious stage, and give, for the first time, true pictures of Irish life and fulfillment of that pledge.” (Anon., Freeman’s Journal, 29 Jan. 1907; rep. in James Kilroy, ed., The Playboy Riots, Dolmen Press 1971, p.20.) Perhaps more effectively than Synge, Joyce reveals the complacency of those people whose faith in “true pictures” blinds them to the constructedness and the interestedness of realistic representation, as well as to the deleterious effects of Revivalist programs of cultural redemption that offer meager and ineffective alternatives to colonialist and nationalist idealizations whose reliance on a primitivist discourse was largely unexamined and uncriticized. Joyce’s employment of the mirror-image, however, is both ironic and strategic, for, while it appears that Joyce’s stories are meant to represent the social world realistically, we are constantly pulled, [181] despite the narrators’ scrupulous attention to detail, toward the subjective responses of characters to that world. This ironic deflection of the reader’s gaze from the realistic detail to the subjective experience of characters who all too often simply fail to see , constitutes a strategic reversal of the aims of realistic discourse: to imitate through language the social and material relations of the external world. Joyce simply brings to the fore the ideological assumptions about what aspect of that world is “real” and proper for representation and how those assumptions fail individuals who abide by them.’ (p.180-81.)

Note: Castle goes on to quote Roy Pascal on Flaubert’s form of realism, which he likewise ascribes to Joyce - see Notes, infra.

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Kevin Whelan, ‘The Memories of “The Dead”’, in The Yale Journal of Criticism[Johns Hopkins UP], 15:2 (2002), pp.59-97:
This cultural territory was also the terrain of the Irish Literary Revival: after great violence, emotion recollected in tranquility. Consider how close so many of its practitioners were to the Famine: John Millington Synge’s grandfather Dr. Traill and Standish Hayes O’Grady’s grandfather Rev. Thomas O’Grady were central Famine figures in west Cork; Oscar Wilde’s father William made his reputation with his nosological tables on the Famine in the 1851 Census; Augusta Gregory was the widow of William of the infamous “Gregory Clause” which facilitated the eviction of at least half a million people during the Famine. James Stephens, Joyce’s friend, had been literally starved as a child: “His twisted frame, goitrous throat, rickety limbs were due no doubt to malnutrition in infancy. He never spoke of his childhood though a glimpse may be had in that dark tale “Hunger.” Often he would say in that whimsical way that when he wasa child, he used to chase the ducks in St. Stephen’s Green to steal bits of bread from them.” Or, in the words of that “dark tale” to which he refers,“They could scarcely die of hunger for they were native to it.They were hunger.” Even well into the twentieth century, the connection back to that past persisted. Patrick Kavanagh’s grandfather had been a workhouse master just after the Famine. [n13] It may also be the case that the young Joyce himself knew hunger in the penurious, crowded, downwardly mobile household of his father. (p.61)
 A further issue is the relationship between the Literary Revival andmodernism. Why did modernism become the preferred stylistic mode of the Revival? This broaches a wider question in literary studies concerning the relationship between modernism and peripherality. Why was modernism, especially its British manifestation, a peripheral rather than a metropolitan phenomenon? Why did it have so pronounced anIrish accent - Joyce, Yeats, Moore, Wilde, Shaw, Synge, Beckett, O’Brien? An answer to this question might begin by observing that the decentered subject of modernism resembled the colonial subject.The colonial encounter in Ireland had produced a hollowed-out identity. Linguistically adrift between two languages, many Irish writers possessed the self-conscious awareness of language characteristic o fmodernism. The modernist viewpoint was more readily available to those who were acutely aware of the instability of language - the Yeatsian position that “Irish is my national language but English is my mother tongue.” This linguistic position was already sufficiently estranged and distanced to allow use of the English language while escaping the specific gravities of its traditions, the dense weight of its parochialisms. An aesthetic virtue could then be wrung from historical necessity, turning linguistic disenfranchisement to advantage, enlarging rather than contracting its possibilities. In these conditions, the possibility exists, in Seamus Deane’s phrase, for a dialectic between “dumbness and eloquence.” (Seamus Deane, “Dumbness and Eloquence” in Ireland and Post-Colonialism, ed. Clare Carroll (Cork UP, forthcoming; viz., Ireland and Postcolonial Theory, ed. Carroll & Patrica King, Cork UP/Notre Dame 2003.) The Irish Literary Revival was an extravagant discourse in the English language about dumbness in the Irish language. It restlessly sought access to a world elsewhere - the world of Gaelic civilisation, dismissed, expunged, unknowable, vanished, whose very absence must be articulated or “summoned” to use a Yeatsian word. That articulation required a new language that was not exactly English, even if it was English-based. It found expression in Yeats’s occultism of “A Vision,” Joyce’s ur-English of Finnegans Wake, Gregory’s Kiltartanese, Synge’s sing-song, Beckett’s experiments in writing in French and then translating it back into English. We can also see this as a narrative about eloquence. In both Joyce’s A Portrait and Synge’s Playboy, the central characters finally achieve eloquence and narrative self-sufficiency only at the cost of leaving their communities. In a wider sense, this is culturally diagnostic, a linguistic parable of post-Famine Ireland, which illuminates Benjamin’s aphorism: “no one has ever known mastery in anything who has not first known incompetence.”

[T]his was in the case of the transition from Irish-speaking to English-speaking. Joyce himself in 1907 wrote the essay “Ireland at the Bar” about Myles Joyce executed in 1882 [the year of his own birth] for his part in the Maamtrasna murders. Five of “the ancient tribe of the Joyces” had been charged with the brutal murders of five members of another family in the Joyce country in county Galway. Myles Joyce was a monoglot Irish-speaker tried before an English-speaking court. Joyce uses his interrogation as a metaphor for Irish/English relationships: The magistrate said: “Ask the accused if he saw the woman on the morning in question.” The question was repeated to him in Irish and the old man broke out into intricate explanations, gesticulating, appealing to the other accused, to heaven. Then, exhausted by the effort, he fell silent; the interpreter, turning to the magistrate, said: “He says no, your worship.” “Ask him was he in the vicinity at the time.” The old man began speaking once again, protesting, shouting, almost beside himself with the distress of not understanding or making himself understood, weeping with rage and terror. And the interpreter, once again replied drily: “He says no, your worship.” [Joyce, ‘Ireland at the Bar’, in Occasional, Critical and Political Writing, ed. Kevin Barry OUP 2000, 145.]
 Joyce points the moral: “The figure of this bewildered old man, left over from a culture which is not ours, a deaf-mute before his judge, is a symbol of the Irish nation at the bar of public opinion.” [Joyce, op. cit., 2000, p.146.) In brutal circumstances, Myles Joyce was executed by the English hangman, Marwood, on 15 December 1882, still vehemently protesting his innocence in Irish. His ghost was believed to haunt Galway gaol where he was buried, and his widow’s curse, delivered on her knees in the [n]ormal Gaelic manner, was believed to follow the gaol governor. The principal informer subsequently retracted his evidence, proving Myles Joyce to have been an innocent man. James Joyce’s detailed knowledgeof the case came from the oral tradition (presumably from Nora Barnacle) rather than the well-known contemporary account by the nationalist MP, Tim Harrington [Maamtrasna, 1883]. Joyce was sufficiently interested in his namesake to use his dying words “Tá mé ag imeacht” [I am going] in twenty five different languages in Finnegans Wake. Recorded and translated by a local journalist, they were as follows:

I am going. Why put me to death? I am not guilty. I had neither hand or foot in the killing. I didn’t know anything at all about it. God forgive the people who swore against me. It’s a poor thing to die on the scaffold for what I never did. I never did it and it’s a poor case to die. God help my wife and her five orphans. I hadn’t hand or part in it. But I have my priest with me. I am as innocent as the child in the cradle. (Quoted in John Garvin, James Joyce's Disunited Kingdom and the Irish Dimension m and the Irish Dimension (Dublin: Gill and Macmillan 1976, p.167.)

The condition of Myles Joyce was that of post-Famine Ireland. As late as 1968, Samuel Beckett rehearsed the same sensibility: “I have always sensed that there was within me an assassinated being. Assassinated before my birth. I needed to find this assassinated person again. And try to give him new life.” (C. Juliet, “Meeting Beckett” in Triquarterly 77, 1989-90, p.10; Whelan, p.63.)

One final annotation is necessary here. The conditions of colonised Ireland could not readily be accommodated within the canonical [63] British forms of representation such as the realist novel. [n24]. Because conventional literary forms were deemed insufficiently effective, unratifiable or corrupt, Irish writing was challenged to be both highly experimental in its search for alternatives and subversive of its own procedures. Here, a long line of formal experimentation can be traced, from Sterne’s Tristram Shandy through James Clarence Mangan to Joyce and eventually to Flann O’Brien. Irish literature was always a minor literature, because it is was a colonial literature - disempowered by the canonical forms of the coloniser’s discourse, re-empowered by the experimental quest for alternatives to it. Irish literature sought to rewrite its marginality as a new centrality, as its precociously decentered colonial subject becomes the classic modern subject.
 The linguistic situation in Ireland is clarified by considering Derrida’s recent meditation on monolingualism. He explicitly identifies himself as a pied noir, aware of his triple dislocation from the Arabic and Berber languages of Algeria, the French language of France, and the Hebrew language of his Jewish origins. Derrida - like the Irish writers of the Revival - is eloquent about the silence, about the “terror” of a hyphenated identity, about the chasm created by the transvoicing of memory, and the consequent instability of his voice: “I was the first to be afraid of my own voice, as if it were not mine, to contest it, even to detest it.”
 Derrida has no source language, only a target language, no language of the past, only of the future. A linguistic alien, his mantra becomes: “I have only one language and it is not mine.”This linguistic position is similar to that of a Joyce or a Beckett. Héléne Cixous, with her Spanish/French/Jewish father, and her German/Jewish mother, has similarly stressed her Algériance, with its curious sense of having departed but never having arrived. (pp.63-64.) [Notes incl. Jacques Derrida, Monolingualism of the Other; or,The Prosthesis of Origin, trans. P. Mensah, Stanford: Stanford UP 1998.)
The Irish past, like Michael Furey in “The Dead,” can only return to the present as an absence: the Irish language, love, a national community have all been consigned to the spectral. Stephen then traverses St. Stephen’s Green to Newman House, where in a remarkable passage, he registers his unease at Roman Catholicism as he passes down a corridor:

The corridor was dark and silent but not unwatchful. Why did he feel that it was not unwatchful? Was it because he had heard that in Buck Whaley’s time there was a secret staircase there? Or was the Jesuit house extraterritorial and was he walkingamong aliens? The Ireland of Tone and of Parnell seemed to have receded in space. (A Portrait.)

Here, Catholicism is presented as ‘extraterritorial’ and ‘alien.’ Later, Stephen, recalling his Roman namesake, concludes that ‘his countrymen and not mine had invented what Curley the other night called our religion.’ Stephen is then in a position to reject Catholicism as yet another insidious snare. These reflections precede the celebrated encounter with the English Jesuit, with its equally alienating reverberations:

The language in which we are speaking is his before it is mine. How different are the words home, Christ, ale, master, on his lips and on mine! I cannot speak or write these words without unrest of spirit. His language, so familiar and so foreign, will always be for me an acquired speech. (A Portrait.)

Stephen is continually reminded that his position as an Irishman is inescapably derivative. / This remarkable chapter ushers in the equally celebrated conclusionof the novel, in which Stephen rejects the nets of nationality, languageand religion, choosing to combat them with the weapons of silence, exile and cunning. These famous words have usually been read tritely as representing Joyce’s contemptuous dismissal of Ireland in favour of cosmopolitanism. As always with Joyce, we need to read carefully.The triple collocation ‘silence, exile, cunning’ is derived from Balzac, La Comédie Humaine (Vo. 5.) Lucien and Blondet are conversing: ‘Mon cher, répondit Lucien, j’ai mis en pratique un axiome avec lequel on est sûr de vivre tranquille; ‘Fuge, Late, Tace!’’ [flee, hide, be silent]. / The deliberate literary echo deployed by Joyce reminds us of two principles. One is that Joyce treats memory as itself a constructed form, interspliced with literary representations. Again and again in A Portrait, Stephen’s memory is triggered by literary references, which he then imaginatively absorbs and blends with his own experience. The second principle is the imperative not to reduce Joyce’s cultural politics to a crude and morally-charged choice between ‘national’ and ‘cosmopolitan.’ (p.66.)


On the meeting with Davin: We also need to pay precise attention to thecultural politics of Ireland in the late Nineteenth Century. Dubliners and A Portrait offer a sophisticated critique not of “old Ireland” but of the new Ireland that had emerged since the Famine; Stephen Dedalus rejects what is essentially the Ireland of the Devotional Revolution, of the second-hand language, of a spurious narrow nationalism [n.44]. Escaping the despised post-Famine present, two options were available: a retreat into the Irish past (rejected as unavailable except in a shallow revivalism), or a soaring flight of aesthetic transcendence. This second solution was dangerous and potentially deforming, a free-fall without the parachute cords of community and identity. Read in this way, Joyce’s work, beneath its calm surface, is pervasively disturbed by the presence of the Famine: the post-Famine condition of Ireland is the unnamed horror at the heart of Joyce’s Irish darkness, the conspicuous exclusion that is saturatingly present as a palpable absence deliberately being held at bay,“the terror of soul of a starving Irish village” [n.45]. (p.67.)


44. Joyce would have endorsed Yeat’s stinging dismissal of Irish culture as one “made timid by a modern popularisation of Catholicism sprung from the aspidistra and not from the roots of Jesse” (Yeats, “General Introduction to My Work,” Selected Criticism, p.260). The term “Devotional Revolution” was coined by the American historian Emmet Larkin to describe the extraordinary changes in the devotional and institutional life of Irish Catholicism in the post-Famine period, when the church metamorphosed from its deeper Gaelic vernacular form into a more bourgeois, Roman form. The transition had been massively accelerated by the cultural carnage wrought by the Famine. Thus the form of Catholicism practised in Ireland in the late nineteenth century was not an aspect of tradition but of modernity. E[mmet] Larkin, ‘The Devotional Revolution in Ireland, 1850-1875’, in American Historical Review (June 1972): 625-52. Emer Nolan, in James Joyce and Nationalism (London: Routledge, 1995), offers a revisionist reading of the complexities of Joyce’s attitude.

45. Joyce, A Portrait, p.184. The traditional Dúiche Seoighe, the “Joyce Country,” literally the hereditary lands of the Joyces, was in west Galway, an area devastated by the Famine. Joyce, obsessive about origins, would have considered this Irish-speaking region as his ancestral home.


Irish Aestheticism: As a counterweight to the vacuity of post-Famine Irish culture, Joyce and the other Irish modernists espoused the importance of representation as an auratic process which rescued presence and fullness from depletion. Wilde, O’Casey, Shaw, Yeats, Joyce, and Beckett were from that Dublin which so glaringly presented that pallid vacuum. For all of them, a cult of representation became a means by which the political could be replaced by the aesthetic. The artist restored the aura in the aesthetic realm which had been stripped by the brute contingencies of politics. The aesthetic absorbed and then saturated the political. This process required a cult of the artist - selfcreated as at once intimate and exilic, immersed in reality but detached from “the local stupidity” (Pound). This generated the classic modernist stance, which required the Nietzschean “pathos of distance” to allow for the creation of the autonomous work of art. In Ireland, that pathos of distance was cultural as well as individual, the distance travelled from an intact Irish culture, securely grounded and self-reliant.The Famine represented the most visible landmark on that terrible journey. (p.68)

[...; Whelan here discusses the social and historical location of Ussher’s Island, being historically the wealthy Catholic part of the city on the South bank of the Liffey in the Oxmanstown area from which the Anglo-Irish and Protestant gentry removed to the new Georgian city raised around the House of Parliament and Trinity College in the 18th - an area in which Joyce shows little interest and does not write: ‘Thus Dublin’s classical inheritance held little attraction for him; one finds no sustained treatment in Joyce of the neo-classical city, despite its undoubted importance on a European scale’. (Whelan, op. cit., 2002, p.78.)]
[...] Joyce believed in an unconformable geology, whose layers abruptly impinged on each other. Tremendous stresses and strains wrenched settled geological formations asunder, reassembling them in violent unions and then juxtaposing them in unpredictable combinations. The underlying geology remained unstable: old forces rumbled away deep in the substrate and at any time volcanic stresses in the bedrock could be suddenly released by unstoppable eruptions which pierced the brittle surface. In a country like Ireland with a troubled history, the seemingly quiet surface was a deceptive crust, which offered only a temporary stay against the flows of unfinished history seething beneath it. In such circumstances, there could be no easy partitioning of the past from the present in Ireland. The city itself was a palimpsest, a multilogue of competing versions of history and culture. Its monuments and traces reached down into the layers from which they derived their power and presence, their aura (see Figure 6).
 This analysis of the cultural history embedded in “The Dead” allows us to make some wider claims. Firstly, it insists on the impact of The [sic cap.] Famine on Joyce and on its primacy as a theme in “The Dead” it may well be that a similar reading strategy could decipher it in other texts of the revival period. Secondly, this essay demonstrates that an account of writing in post-Famine Ireland which neglects the linguistic transition in the period is fatally flawed. The language - Irish - in which the experience of the Famine was actually lived by the bulk of its victims was itself one of its casualties. The trauma was to be increasingly remembered in a different language to the one in which it was experientially endured. Despite the absolute centrality of this point, it is scarcely glanced at in recent accounts of the cultural history of the Famine. It is this abrupt linguistic transition which differentiates the Irish Famine, its representation and its memory from comparable historical disasters. Palestinians remember the 1948 expulsions from their homeland as Al-nakbah (The Disaster) and do so in Arabic, the language in which they lived the experience. European Jews writing about the Shoah (Holocaust) have mainly utilised the language thatthey used at the time of their experience of it. Thus the representation of the Irish Famine in the English language presented remarkable difficulties. The Irish Literary Revival itself can be seen as one coping strategy. In a wider sense, general trauma theory needs to be modified in the Irish context to take account of this linguistic lesion.These are not contexts in which it has been usual to locate Joyce. It is the contention of this essay that we need to pay attention to them. Joyce understood the force of William Faulkner’s aphorism: “The past is not dead. It is not even past.” The scale of his achievement is to weave this complex historical understanding and narrative imagination into what seems at first reading a standard naturalist text.’ (p.87; end; itals. mine BS.)

Note: Whelan’s article contains some curious errors and possible typos around personal names such as that of the Murray family members (given as Murry in the diagram, and Mary Jane’s name rendered as Mary Anne in two places. (p.75 - in the phrase ‘Mary Anne and Miss Ivors’ as being members of the ‘new generation’ mentioned in Gabriel’s speech. p.97, n.108.]

— Available online; accessed 23.03.2021; see also under Notes > Textual > “The Dead” - infra.

Gareth Joseph Downes, ‘The Heretical Auctoritas of Giordano Bruno: The Significance of the Brunonian Presence in James Joyce’s The Day of the Rabblement and Stephen Hero’, in Joyce Studies Annual, 14 (Summer 2003), pp.37-73: ‘[...] This article discusses Joyce’s acerbic pamphlet as the first of the belligerent sorties that he wrote in his “open war” against the Roman Catholic Church, and the pervasive and paralysing influence of the bourgeois Catholic morality that it helped to maintain in the contemporary cultural and intellectual life of Dublin. It discusses Joyce’s reading of Bruno’s Italian dialogues and how this encounter steeled him in his own struggle with Catholic orthodoxy, and explores his covert employment of Bruno as an heretical auctoritas in The Day of the Rabblement and Stephen Hero. It argues that an historicist examination of Joyce’s dialogue with Bruno provides an extremely effective means of realizing some of the urgency and offensiveness of his critical engagement with contemporary Catholicism during the 1900s. /  In an interview with James Knowlson in September 1989, Samuel Beckett revealed that the only remark Joyce ever made about “Dante . . . Bruno. Vico.. Joyce,” was that, although he liked the essay (which was written at his own behest and instruction), he thought there “wasn’t enough about Bruno; he found Bruno rather neglected.” His comments are, to a large extent, justified; and even though the essay was first published in 1929, Joyce’s estimation of “Dante . . . Bruno. Vico.. Joyce” remains as a salutary and instructive comment on the treatment of Joyce’s complex relationship with the writings and legacy of the “heresiarch martyr of Nola” in Joycean criticism to date. Beckett’s discussion of Joyce’s encounter with Bruno and his appraisal of the signifcance of the doctrine of the coincidence of contraries in the Wake is relatively telegraphic, when [38] compared to his more expansive accounts of the importance of Dante’s “system of poetics” and the Viconian theory of the “inevitability of cyclical evolution”, and, in fact, is cribbed largely from J. Lewis McIntyre’s 1903 study of the Nolan, Giordano Bruno.’

Downes adds in a footnote: ‘Beckett’s summary of the coincidence of contraries appears to be in fact a concise préces of McIntyre’s text. Compare Beckett’s appraisal of the Brunonian doctrine in “Dante ... Bruno. Vico.. Joyce” [in Our Exagmination ... (&c.)], with McIntyres’s summation of the geometrical illustrations and verifications that Bruno employs to explicate the doctrine of the coincidence of contraries in his 1903 study [citing pp.176-78].’ (p.38-39.) [ See longer extracts in RICORSO Library, “Criticism > Critics > Major Authors > Joyce”, via index, or attached. ]

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Valentine Cunningham, ‘James Joyce’, in Andrew Hass, David Jasper & Elisabeth Jay, eds., The Oxford Handbook of English Literature (OUP 2007): ‘As this neo-Christ, Bloom is the very essence of the heretical fleshly Word. [...] For “Circe” is an anti-Apocalypse, a triumphant carnival of the blasphemous New Bloomusalem, an apocalypse of the bad body and the sinful word, all egged-on by uncouth American evangelist A. J. Dowie, a messianic Elijah come at last. “A. J. Christ Dowie” urges the whole debauched crew, “Florry Christ, Stephen Christ, Zoe Christ, Bloom Christ, Kitty Christ, Lynch Christ”, to “be on the side of the angels” and expect “the second advent” on Coney Island, to the tune of his “glory song” from THE GRAMOPHONE, “The Holy City” of Edward Weatherby and Stephen Adams bastardised: “Whorusalaminyourhighhohhhh ...” Whorusalem. A new Jerusalem of the whole. The Bible’s Scarlet Woman rampant. / We hear THE GRAMOPHONE winding down at that very point. It winds up again, so to say, in Finnegans Wake, that extended glossalalic Day of Pentecost, or pun-full fulfilment of the Scriptures: ut implerentur scripturae. (U424.) A pleromatic of Joyce’s own scriptures, of course, a text replaying the whole preceding Joycean word-game, but also revamping the church’s texts and textuality, a practice of scriptural fulfilment as a kind of annagrammatical gibberish, a pentecostal exiling of clear meaning, an extended jubilee of the fallen letter - a textuality delighted in by deconstructionist critics high on postmodernist models of mystagogic textualism (such as Beryl Schlossman [Joyce’s Catholic Comedy of the Word, Wisconsin UP 1985]), and encouraged of course by certain of Joyce’s closest discipes, especially Eugene Jolas, preacher of the surrealist “Revolution of the Word”, in Our Exagmination (Jolas, 1929, pp.77-92.) A textual revolution which invests in the kind of linguistic and interpretative bottomlessness that more recent deconstructive Joyceans want to celebrate Joyce for bringing out as the real linguistic, epistemic, and hermeneutical truth of the Bible and the Christian tradition discourses with, allegedly, no fixed meanings at all, but existing rather as infinitely rewriteable and reinterpretatable sets of meaning potential, as amply exploited by Joyce.’ [Cont.]

Valentine Cunningham, ‘James Joyce’, in Andrew Hass, David Jasper & Elisabeth Jay, eds., The Oxford Handbook of English Literature (OUP 2007): ‘Which is an argument - potently put by Gian Balsamo [Scriptural Poetics in Joyce’s Finnegans Wake, 2002), and William Franke (‘Literature as Liturgy and the Interpretative Revolution in Literary Criticism’, in Gian Balsamo, op. cit., 2002, [?Foreword] pp.v-xiii) - that certainly has its force. Except that Joyce’s is a neo-logocentrism that does indeed keep touching bottom - and not least with bottom-obsessed Molly Bloom. Not to mention excrement-dotty Leopold Bloom. Dowie-Christ man only return jokily, and the word of his coming may be a mere throwaway covered in gutter-filth. But we never get the olefactory shock of the soiled work-paper of Ulysses and Finnegans Wake out of our nostrils. And Bloom’s dark horse Throwaway did have that funny way of coming in a winner. And of course Molly Bloom’s talk goes on and on, and the flow of Anna Livia Plurabelle is an endless circling. Cunt indeed proves oracular. With these grandiloquently eloquent females, at the long climax of Ulysses and in the unstoppably cyclical flow of the Wake, the voice of the already usurped patriarchal texts is taken over and metamorphosed yet once more into this transformed, unquenchably undone and redone voice of the post-orthodox female: Irish virgin, old pious mother, Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother Church, triumphantly traduced. And, of course, as Ulysses suggests, this voice of the transgresive female if, so to say, the voice and text and textuality of Bloom as gifted with an oracular vagina [519] as in Nighttown, where, as the “new womanly man”, he gives birth miraculously to many sons - including one Chrysostomos - while remaining virgo intacta. So that Bloom is both the new father of the new Joycean fatherland and also Virgin Mary rediviva, all in one. Which couldn’t be more transgressive, and blasphemous and heretical, and shocking - Bloom all at once the startling Father and Mother of the new logos, the new logocentrism, that Joyce’s later texts like to think themselves as comprising.’ (End; pp.519-20.)

Garry Leonard, ‘James Joyce and Popular Culture’, in Jean-Michel Rabaté, James Joyce Studies (London: Palgrave/Macmillan 2004): ‘[...] T. S. Eliot famously wrote in “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”, ‘I have measured out my life in coffee spoons’, but Joyce is far more contextual than this. He asks: where did you buy the coffee? What brand? Who was it advertised and how did that affect the choice? What were you thinking when you bought it? [...;’ p.46]. ‘As my reading of moments of consumption suggests, the momentary is momentous because it remains unexplained and unaccounted for by what the Marxist critic Gramsci called “hegemonic discourse.” Discourse [47] more generally an be understood as the various conceptual frameworks that facilitate some modes of thought and exclude or invalidate others. In this way, various institutions sustain their privileged position. (p.48.) Further: ‘The “escape” afforded by chronicles of disorder [...] is not an escape from history but rather an escape from the historicised, to the not yet historicised, where the colonial subject may have access to actual possibilities ousted by the exclusionary “actualities” imposed by historical narratives.’ (p.49.) ‘For Joyce the momentary is momentous; the “everyday” is not where we make history, but where we live and “low” art chronicles this disorder. If we seek the full splendor of Joyce’s accomplishment, examples of “low” art are what we must read and read doubly, instead of our Roman history.’ (p.50.) See also remarks under Matthew Arnold, supra; and note: coffee-spoons are used for stirring in sugar not measuring coffee and are nowhere mentioned in Ulysses.

Maria Tymoczko, ‘Joyce’s Postpostivist Prose Cultural Translation and Transculturation’, in Irish Studies in Brazil, ed. Munira H. Mutran & Laura P. Z. Izarra (Associação Editorial Humanitas 2005), pp.263-94: ‘[...] Joyce’s antipositivism has an Irish strain. Enthusiasm for positivism had been constrained in Ireland, in part by the strength of Catholicism in the country. By the 1890s, moreover, dominant voices [264] of Irish cultural nationalism had embraced mysticism and spiritualism, including many of the leading intellectuals and artists of the Irish Revival who were steeped in such things as theosophy and “the Celtic Twilight”. At the same time Joyce’s reaction to positivism is part of a larger shift in Western intellectual thought that can be traced in mathematics, the natural sciences [... &c.; also cites Freud and Jung, Heisenberg and Gödel.] / Ulysses is the epitome of an antipositivist novel, and its emphasis on and validation of the subjective are most famously reified in Joyce’s stream-of-consciousness technique that dominates the first ten episodes of the book. The argument that observation can be objective or lead to positive truths is undercut by Joyce who demonstrates that the world looks very different from different perspectives. By having his characters perceive the same phenomena but register them in dissimilar ways, as Joyce deliberately contrives for them to do repeatedly, Joyce makes the point that observation is not objective and does not result in positive facts about the world: distinct points of view result in distinct observations and interpretations of the world. Joyce shows that the act of observation itself is significant in constructing the reality observed, and, therefore, in a literary domain anticipates Heisenberg’s famous uncertainty principle by more than a decade. Ironically, as an antipositivist technique, stream of consciousness is arguably an outgrowth of the nineteenth-century realistic novel, particularly as it had been elaborated in English, where the emphasis is on the [265] subjectivity and psychology development of the principal characters as “positively” by the omniscient. In Joyce’s technique, however, a character’s consciousness supplants the omniscient narrator as the point of reference for observation, thus undercutting the possibility of objectivity, even while validating that character’s authority and viewpoint. [...] Joyce’s approach to style in the second half of Ulysses also challenges positivist approaches to knowledge and to narrative. The styles reflect socially constructed, subjective, and even metaphysical orientations to experience. Joyce’s manipulation of style constitutes a modernist approach to the problematic of positivst narrative, and the second half of Joyce’s work anticipates later twentieth-century explorations of the way that knowledge itself is shaped by language [...] that is, there are no words for thinking and speaking “objective” observations because language itself shapes thought in ways that encode perspectives, cultural presuppositions, and specific values and beliefs.’

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Sam Slote, ‘Epiphanic “Proteus”’, in Genetic Joyce Studies (Spring 2005) [online]: ‘[...] Initially, the most surprising new manuscript is the early “Proteus” draft, which represents that episode in an unexpected configuration. Up until this new draft came to light, the earliest-known “Proteus” draft was Buffalo V.A.3, which represents the text of the entire episode in a form mostly congruous with the final text, with a few notable exceptions. The new NLI draft (II.ii.1) contains the text of only about one third of the final episode divided into sixteen discrete, fragmentary units, out of order from their appearance in the final text. Comparison of the NLI “Proteus” with the Buffalo draft shows that, for the most part, the earlier draft’s units were transferred to the subsequent draft with minimal modifications. However, the Buffalo draft contains a great deal of text not indicated on the earlier NLI draft – such as the famous opening passage on vision and colour – and so the later draft must have been made in conjunction with another, still-missing, draft. Furthermore, there is evidence that for at least some of the units on the NLI draft, an intervening draft was also made. [...]’ (Cont.)

Sam Slote (‘Epiphanic “Proteus”’, in Genetic Joyce Studies, Spring 2005) -cont.: ‘I would propose that Joyce, at this early stage of the development of “Proteus”, conceptualised the episode as a series of discrete units that would be rearranged and linked together through additional material into one more-or-less integral narrative thread. In other words, the fragmentary arrangement was fungible. “Proteus” is more Protean than previously assumed. Each of the draft’s units focuses on a specific scene or thought and could be construed as being analogous to Joyce’s concept of the epiphany. Indeed, the final unit on the draft is a revision of the Paris epiphany (epiphany 33). In a sense, then, this draft attempts a revision or remaking and remodelling of the epiphany, which had been the central component of Joyce’s æsthetic theory in 1904, that is, at the time of Stephen’s Sandymount stroll. By being yoked together, even in an unconnected state, the individual epiphanic units of this draft are not self-sufficient events, but rather blocks for a narrative-in-process. / A revision of the epiphanic praxis is interesting in that the epiphany is, according to Joyce’s definition, itself a form of re-vision. / As you recall, the epiphany is explicitly defined only in Stephen Hero: “By an epiphany [..., &c.]” [...] the epiphany is explicitly defined only in Stephen Hero [...] the epiphany is what defines the artist: the artist is the person who is able to record these spiritual manifestations with appropriate sensitivity. An epiphany is only an epiphany if it is recorded, it is the artistic après-coup of experience, the artist’s revision of experience.’ [Cont.]

Sam Slote (‘Epiphanic “Proteus”’, in Genetic Joyce Studies, Spring 2005) -cont.: ‘Joyce himself revised this definition of the artist’s rôle in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. There, Stephen’s argument elides the key-word “epiphany” and, instead replaces it with the more redoubtably Thomistic term claritas. According to Stephen’s argument, claritas, in a very general way, is the synthesis of sensible and intellectual perception as a transcendent revelation. Claritas is only to the extent that it can be communicated by the appropriately sensitive artistic soul: “The image, it is clear, must be set between the mind or senses of the artist himself and the mind or senses of others” (P213). This then would be a very traditional Hegelian aesthetic in that the work of art stands as an intersubjective object. But, the important point here is that claritas is a function of writing, and thus, inevitably, a function of rewriting and revising, even as the word “epiphany” is revised out of existence in the text of A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. / On the level of style, the major change between the epiphanies and Joyce’s later use of an epiphanic form (or something like an epiphanic form) in Giacomo Joyce and Ulysses involves a dispersal of sense through ambiguous collocation and construction. In short, the manifestation of claritas is ambiguated in its communication, and with the NLI “Proteus” we can now clearly see that this tactic of ambiguation is something that evolved and changed across various drafts.’ [Slote goes on to argue that Joyce challenges the Thomist notion implicit in the the idea of lex eterna that, a ‘soul’ once created cannot be uncreated, holding that the analogous position to be untrue: a text having once been written can be indefinitely revised. He draws attention to the phrase ‘God’s ways are not our ways’ as it occurs in the NLI draft of this episode - a phrase apparently transposed - or, at least, echoed - in the “Nestor” episode, where it is used to confer permanency on the deity rather than the opposite design in this context.] (See full-text version in RICORSO Library, “Criticism > Major Authors > Joyce”, via index, or direct.)

John Gross, review of New Dictionary of National Biography, in Times Literary Supplement (17 Dec. 2004), pp.12-14: ‘[...] In general, contributors have avoided academic jargon, especially its more recent varieties, and few of them have been tempted to put their authors through the mangle of literary theory. A partial exception is Bruce Stewart, in his article on Joyce. Much of the time Stewart offers a straightforward and often spirited account of the writer’s life and work, but he is also at pains to inform us that “ écriture féminine was the very definition of Joyce’s way of writing from “Penelope” [in Ulysses] onwards”, and that “the nature of the colonial world from which he sprang dictated that the only authentic representation of reality in language must follow the contours of a divided world.” In his final summing-up, Stewart is heavily preoccupied with the efforts made by some Irish critics to “repatriate” Joyce or enlist him under the banner of Irish nationalism. Stewart’s own view is that the paradoxes of Joyce’s position - at once very Irish and very cosmopolitan - are best accounted for by “the post-colonial concept of hybridity”.’ (p.13.) By contrast, Gross reads R. F. Foster’s - free from theory - article on W. B. Yeats as a ‘model contribution’ (p.12). [See draft version of Stewart’s NDNB article - “A Short Life of James Joyce”, as attached.]

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Aaron Kelly, Twentieth-Century Literature in Ireland: A Reader’s Guide to Essential Criticism, London: Palgrave Macmillan 2008): ‘Famously, Joyce refused to sign a student petition condemning the play. Indeed, Joyce also looked favourably on the Irish Literary Theatre’s second play, Martyn’s The Heather Field (1899), and he would later produce a version of it in Zurich in 1919. / However, “The Day of the Rabblement” signals a very abrupt change of Joyce’s opinion in regard to the overall direction of the Irish Literary Theatre in 1901. For the year in which Joyce (hastily) wrote his polemic saw the Theatre produce Douglas Hyde’s Casadh an tSúgáin (The Twisting of the Rope, 1901) and Diarmuid and Gráinne (1900) by Yeats and George Moore (1852-1933). To Joyce, the production of these plays indicated that the Irish Literary Theatre had been intimidated by the controversies surrounding its initial work and had capitulated to the demands of what he regarded as a crass, populist nationalism. Such a retreat, for Joyce, betrayed the original intention of the Irish Literary Theatre to produce work not only by Irish dramatists but also by the great European playwrights such as Joyce’s hero Ibsen: “the Irish Literary Theatre must now be considered the property of the rabblement of the most belated race in Europe” [Joyce, Critical Writings, Cornell UP 1989 Edn., p.70]. So, according to Joyce, both the Irish Literary Theatre and populist nationalism hold each other in a mutually destructive embrace. Notably, Joyce recognizes “a time of crisis” for literature and art at the onset of the twentieth century, and therefore a concomitant need to defend and sustain art’s integrity against decay in a convulsively changing modern world - a sentiment he in fact thus shares with the founders of the Irish Literary Theatre. Nonetheless, Joyce evidently feels the frustration of an opportunity missed, that the Irish Literary Theatre backtracked after the bad press surrounding its formative productions and surrendered the opportunity to establish what Joyce would have considered a more European and international theatre and concomitant intellectual crosscurrent of ideas. Hence, provincial, populist acceptance becomes the bargaining chip by which the Irish Literary Theatre relinquishes its artistic integrity and its more cosmopolitan mission statement. Joyce was particularly frustrated by the fact that Ibsen’s Ghosts (1881) and The Power of Darkness (1880) by Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910) were plays that were both banned in England by [23] the British government but could have been performed in Ireland had the Irish Literary Theatre had either the courage or conviction to do so. (Critical Writings, p.71; Kelly, pp.23-24.).

Aaron Kelly, Twentieth-Century Literature in Ireland: A Reader’s Guide to Essential Criticism, London: Palgrave Macmillan 2008) - cont.: ‘[...] Joyce is seeking to redefine Irish identity rather than avoid it completely - a fact that was largely lost on literary criticism until the development of Irish Studies in the last three decades of the twentieth century. While Joyce ponders whether nationality is a “convenient ficiton”, he is also passionately concerned about the state of Irelnad, and his antipathy to mainstream Irish Nationalism should therefore not be misread as apathy.’ (p.26.) ‘[...] Joyce’s critical writing specifically distances his own work form what he adjudges the mythologizing, folkloric nostalgia of Yeats and others [...] What Joyce did share with Yeats and the other Revivalists, however, was an acute conern with how to use the English language in expressing Irish experience, and Joyce, in his own way, reinforces Yeats’s resistance to Irish literature being swallowed up as a mere regional variation of English literature. Joyce has a shrewd grasp of British cultural hegemony [27] and its capacity to appropriate [sic] and rewrite Irish ltierature in its own dominant terms.’ (pp.27-28.) ‘It is worth reiterating though that Joyce, in signalling the depleted state of the Irish language, attends directly to issues of culture and power. It is highly significant that the first English presence in Ulysses is not Privates Carr or Compton - figures of military domination who appear in the “Circe” chapter of the novel - but Haines the cultural imperialist or whom the Irish language becomes another of his accumulated cultural treasures while simultaneously being denied any living currency among Irish people themselves. Joyce is careful, however, to frame the action of the first chapter in the Martello Tower, a former British military garrison built to protect the occupation from French attack or invasion, so that Haines’s Matthew Arnold-type cultural appropriation and [29] pseudo-anthropology are seen as directly connected to military power and vice versa.’ (pp.29-30.)

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David Pierce, Joyce and Company (London: Continuum 2006), pb. 2008. p.181. ‘[... I]n the Library in Ulysses[. t]he assembled group are discussing paradoxes in the context of authorship. “it’s the very essence of Wilde, don’t you know. The light touch.” (U:529-30). Richard Best is recalling Wilde’s story-essay “The Portrait of W.H.” (1889) and the proposition that Shakespeare wrote his sonnets for the boy-actor Willie Hghes. Best’s comment is lifted in part from Wilde himself who has Algernon in The Importance of Being Earnest declare: “The very essence of romance is uncertainty.” In one of those unsettling markers that distinguish the “Scylla and Charbydis” episode, the disgruntled Stephen Dedalus thinks to himself: “His glance touched their faces lightly as he smiled, a blond ephebe. Tame essence of Wilde.” This is clever and puts Best in his place alongside Haines with his “smile of a Saxon” in that other tower (or garrison) episode “Telemachus”, but the put on Wilde’s name, if it’s not directed at Best being Wilde’s tame essence, is a little obvious, and what exactly is essence when Wilde is all performance? Perhaps the intention Joyce’s part is for the comment to rebound on Stephen, for Wilde is not so much tame as external, all brilliance, someone who, as with “the very essence”, empties intensifiers of their meaning but who also challegnes us to distinguish the affective and affectatious. As for Wilde’s “light touch”, in the context of Willie Hughes, this is presumably a double entendred, perhaps unintended on Best’s part and not pursued by Stephen, but one capable of being registered by Joyce’s ideal “wideawake” reader, mor today in the light of [Jamie] O’Neill’s At Swim, Two Boys (2001), a novel which brings out the latent homosexual theme in Ulysses [...] So Wilde’s light touch is both metaphoric and literal, both witty and physical in nature, capable of being appreciated and at the same time rejected by polite society, a midway position that is revealing for those who have eyes to see and blind or deceptive for those who don’t.’ (p.22.) [Goes on to discuss Molly’s “La ci darem la mano

Maud Ellmann, ‘Ulysses: Changing into an Animal’, in Field Day Review, 2 (2006), pp.74-93: ‘Joyce’s interest in the murky division between man and animal reaches back to his Paris notebooks of 1904, where he makes careful notes on Aristotle’s theory of the animals, especially the philosopher’s idea that good minds depend upon thin skin, the human mind growing stronger in proportion to the weakness of the human hide, its nake porosity to influence. [In the MS Early Notes recently acquired from the Paul Leon estate by the National Library of Ireland (NLI, MS 36,639/2/A), Joyce notes: “In the sense of touch man is far above all other animals and hence his is the most intelligent animal. / Men with tough flesh do not have much intelligence. / The flesh is the intermediary for the sense of touch.” In the last phrase Joyce substitutes touch for though[t], which is crossed out.] With this ingenious case for the cognitive benefits of furlessness, Aristotle launched philosophy on a ceaseless quest for the quintessence of humanity, the unique endowment that ensures man’s superiority over animals, be it reason, language, consciousness, free will, or opposed thumb. [...] In challenging the distinction between the human and the anikal, Joyce is revisiting a theme in Homer’s Odyssey, where this distinction has to be reinstated every time Odysseus arrives at a new island and must determine whether the inhabitants are men or beasts - or soemthing monstrous in between. The litmus test is hospitality: strangers who feed their guests are human, whereas those who eat their guests are monsters. What makes them monsters, however, is the fact that they are cannibals, which means they must be human, not animal.’ (p.77.) Speaks of the zoomorphic tendency in “Circe” and goes on to note that Joyce was revolted by beef and underlines Shem’s and Bloom’s similar revulsion; cites Derrida, J. M. Coetzee, Upton Sinclair, et al. - incl. Joseph O’Neill, ‘Dear, Dirty Dublin: A City in Distress, 1899-1916’, Berkeley 1982.)

Fran O’Rourke, ‘James Joyce and the Greeks’: ‘[...] For the curriculum of the Intermediate Examination in English, Joyce was required to study Charles Lamb’s The Adventures of Ulysses; examination questions of the time indicate that a very detailed knowledge was required. Presented with the topic “My Favourite Hero” for an English essay, he chose Ulysses as his subject. On another occasion, when permitted to select his own topic, he wrote on Pope’s translation of the Odyssey. Joyce later recalled: “I was twelve years old when we dealt with the Trojan War at school; only the Odyssey stuck in my memory. I want to be candid: at twelve I liked the mysticism in Ulysses.” [George Borach, “Conversations with James Joyce’ in James Joyce: Portraits of the Artist in Exile, ed. Willard Potts, Dublin: Wolfhound Press, 1979, p.69f.] Joyce was impressed above all by the completeness of the character of Odysseus. Most revealing is a conversation with the sculptor Frank Budgen, who posed the question from the perspective of his own artistic technique. “What do you mean by a complete man? For example, if a sculptor makes a figure of a man then that man is all-round, three-dimensional, but not necessarily complete in the sense of being ideal. All human bodies are imperfect, limited in some way, human beings too.” To which Joyce replied: “[Ulysses] is both. I see him from all sides, and therefore he is all-round in the sense of your sculptor’s figure. But he is a complete man as well - a good man.” [Frank Budgen, James Joyce and the Making of “Ulysses” OUP 1991, pp.17-18.] Joyce asked Budgen if he knew of any complete all-round character in literature, and pointed out lacunae in the personalities suggested, such as Faust or Hamlet. Joyce did not even consider Christ a perfect man: “He was a bachelor, and never lived with a woman. Surely living with a woman is one of the most difficult things a man can do, and he never did it.” [Ibid., p.19.] Ulysses meets all of the requirements: “Ulysses is son to Laertes, but he is father to Telemachus, husband to Penelope, lover of Calypso, companion in arms of the Greek warriors around Troy, and King of Ithaca. He was subjected to many trials, but with wisdom and courage came through them all.” [ibid., p.16.]’ (Available EENS Congress - online in 2010; later renamed in Greek, 2012.)

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Susan Brown, ‘The Mystery of the Fuga per Canonem Solved’, in Genetic Joyce Studies, 7 (Spring 2007) - Remarks on the discovery of Joyce’s schema for fuga per canonem on cover verso of a draft of Sirens in NLI papers (catalogued 2002): ‘[...] On a broader scale, the new “Sirens” manuscripts, the fuga per canonem notes, and Joyce’s source for these are critical keys as we connect the dots about why and how Ulysses underwent a radical change at this moment in its composition. As a comparison of the two newly discovered drafts reveal, the original plan for the episode did not include Bloom; he is missing from the first half of the earlier draft. Ferrer asserts in his article, “What Song the Sirens Sang . . . Is No Longer Beyond Conjecture,” Joyce suddenly embarked on “a new departure in the development of Ulysses ,” the use of “counterpointed voices” with the insertion of Bloom and Bloom’s interior monologue into the narrative (59-60). / It is after Joyce has investigated the fugue and cribbed these notes onto the cover of the II.ii.3 copybook that Joyce suddenly leaves behind the security of the initial style and commits to creating a new type of literature. Ferrer concludes, “The presence of these notes on the threshold of the second draft and the juxtaposition with the earlier version. ... gives us the impression of observing at close range a crucial turning point in the history of Ulysses – one could say in the history of literature” (63). ‘ [Cont.]

Susan Brown (‘The Mystery of the Fuga per Canonem Solved’, 2007) - cont.: ‘The discovery of these exciting new materials, however, is only the beginning of the scholarly odyssey. Yes, the fugal structure was more than a metaphor or bogus claim for Joyce. As Groden points out, “Here is his (Joyce’s) indication to himself of a fugue’s structure, which he apparently planned to superimpose onto an episode that was already partially drafted” (44). However, what Joyce meant by these eight terms and how he applied them is far from immediately clear. One stumbling block is that these eight parts are possible or potential parts of a fugue, not a fuga per canonem. Nor is it possible to simply, as many of us tried, to take these terms as a jumping off place for analyzing the radical new rewriting of “Sirens.”’ The article identifies the source of Joyce’s actual notes on the fugue - as given under Notes, infra - in Ralph Vaughn Williams’ entry in the 1906 edn. of Grove’s Dictionary of Music and Musicians (the standard reference work), and offers an account of Joyce’s notetaking methods, here in Italian where the original is in English, and often conducted according to the procedure she calls the ‘Stephen Dedalus School of Speed Reading’ with reference to the practice sketched in Ulysses: “Two pages apiece of seven books every night, eh? ... Hurray for the Goddamned idiot” (40-41). She crucially notes that Joyce simply missed the distinction between the fugue and fuga per canonem in the relevant article by Williams. She goes on: ‘Unfortunately, the new notes and their source bring us no closer to definitive answers [...]’ (Available online; accessed 21.05.2010.)

Martin Dowling, ‘“Thought-Tormented Music”: Joyce and the Music of the Irish Revival’, in James Joyce Quarterly, 45, 3/4 [Biographical Joyce] (Spring-Summer 2008), pp.437-58: ‘In the wake of the scrupulous meanness of “A Mother”, where poor Madam Glynn sings in “a bodiless gasping voice”, Joyce develops a sympathy and compassion for weak players tackling difficult pieces. In “The Dead” and in “Sirens” Joyce draws subtle connections between weakness and authentic expression, hinting that starvation, age, sickness, and decrepitude are all preconditions [452] for a truly aesthetic performance and for the authentic power of the singer’s voice. The reticence of the professional tenor in “The Dead,” the fragility of his voice as he suffers from a cold, are appropriate to the traditional nature of his song and the setting in which he delivers it. The ghostly Michael Furey, lost in the rain and snow, had a very good voice but delicate health, as if, in Joyce’s imagination, these are complementary qualities. “Sirens” meditates on how starvation and poverty produce sublime vocal beauty. / Joyce points us to another valuable characteristic of authentic traditional singing: its orientation toward the unprogrammable and the ineffable present, its resistance to the textual and canonical fixa- tions of Revivalists and nationalists. In “Sirens,” songs breathe in an intertextual reality, drifting from one to the next and overlapping in Bloom’s thoughts, linked by conversation and daydreaming, just as they do in the contemporary traditional session. Much mediocre material is rehearsed and given a chance to breathe, but true gems like the “Lass of Aughrim” and “The Croppy Boy” are preserved. What we now call Irish traditional music was once merely a variegated musical vernacular of the country, and it was developing and changing much too quickly to be fixed in discourse. David Lloyd identifies exactly this problem in the confrontation between the hybrid and fragmented character of the enormous repertoire of ballads collected in the nineteenth century and cultural nationalists who required that the culture be “monologic in its modes of expression.” (David Lloyd, Anomalous States: Irish Writing and the Post-Colonial Moment, Dublin: Lilliput Press, 1993, p.97.) The adulterated repertoire must be purged, according to Young Irelanders and those who followed in their wake, of its foreign and plebian accretions, its melodeons, music-hall flourishes, and continental dances. The ballads and dance tunes are pliable commodity forms capable of incorporating the burlesque as well as the rarified, classical references and contemporary slang, the language of the military and racecourse. Lloyd notes that the balladeers and practitioners of a mongrelized “traditional” music continually reinvigorated and maintained currency with developments in the public sphere even as they became increasingly useless as an elite touchstone for the pristine past (Lloyd, 95-97). To the vast store of knowledge that Joyce has bequeathed, perhaps we may add this: by his approach to musical performance in his fiction, he has taught us an important lesson about the “inauthentic” authenticity of our musical traditions and how they might be reinvigorated amidst the fixating and sterilizing influences of professional performance and the discourses of ethnic and national essence. And if not that, we might at least learn a few party pieces.’

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