James Joyce: The Artist in the Labyrinth: A Critical Revaluation , ed. Augustine Martin (Ryan Publishing, 1990) [Papers from 1st James Joyce Summer School at Newman House].

Intro: redress a little the trend to remove Joyce from the ordinary reader ..

1. Augustine Martin: Labyrinth
exegetical desperation .. Those of us who respect and love these Dubliners almost as real people are tempted to exclaim [with Joyce in an early letter], ‘Ah, my poor fledglings! Poor Ignatius Gallagher!’ [15]

In the first version of The Sisters, there isn’t a mythology in sight ... only when J, four years later .. when Joyce has decided what kind of unity he can cobble for this handful of experimental and uneven fictions. [17]

Donald Torchiana .. unearth[s] and force[s] into relevance material no reader of the story, Irish or foreign, could possibly feel the need of. [15]

The impression is surely of an artist seeking to mark out an imaginary milieu rather than someone with an elaborate system of mythic correspondence or mystical orientation in his head. [18]

Joyce’s obsession with self, or, more precisely, the artistic consciousness of which his own was the immediate example, antedates the city as an artistic object. [18]

Stanislaus called the Dantean tripartite structure of “Grace”, ‘the first instance of a pattern in my brother’s work.’ [21]

2. TP Dolan
makes the point that Stephen on tundish and the language of the foreigner discriminates between Norman-English and Plantation English rather than English and Gaelic.

3. Benedict Kiely
Kiely measures Joyce’s reactions to Ireland then ‘on the road to revolution’ He tries to repossess him in some fashion as a writer of the Irish nation.

Joyce was divided bitterly within himself because he was too great a man and an artist to carry skepticism to a chilly negation of everything that had made him what he was. [48]

.. could see the justice of that revolution [49]

Kiely gives a personal statement, aligning his own development with Daniel Corkery.

[Corkery had] no evident internal division, no heartscalding contradiction, as there was in the writings of James Joyce. Corkery had seen his people and accepted them, their lives and their beliefs and, on occasion, even their petty meannesses: and the mountains and the city that make up the background of their lives .. the people who move through his stories and of the revolutaion that for a few years gave a new tempo to thier lives implied also a definite denial of much of the past and present of the life of Ireland. [50]

Quotes Frank Budgen: ‘his form of patriotism was that of a citizen to a free town of the Middle Ages. [53]

emphases the ‘something sinister’ in Joyce [54] and the ‘breath of the Manichee [55]

*widely generalistic and bitty criticism takes the form of a personal record, much in the vein of the 1950 Envoy Special number.

But Joyce is one of those writers who must be followed all the way .. somewhere in Milton .. even difficult to attempt to guide others across chaos &c [59]

It may be that Joyce was the erudite author who, as Milton and Goethe did not, lost control of his erudtion and hid forever the lonely road his mind followed in a forest of reference and cross reference. [60]

4. John MacGahern
Moore is all self-expression. He constantly substitutes candour for truth.

Chooses correspondence between Flaubert and George Sand from Steegmaller’s [sic] 2 vol collection.

The method of Dubliners is that people, events, and places invariably find their true expression. This is so self-evident that comment becomes superfluous. [69].

The whole of the Roman Church in the figure of the silenced priest is completely redeemed into the company of the little Dubliners engaged with themselves and the ward election in ‘Ivy Day ..’ [ 69]

I do not see D as a book of separate stories. The whole work has more the unity and completeness of a novel - only in the great passages of U was Joyce able to surpass the art of D. In many of these, like the Hades episode, his imagination returns to his first characters, his original material. [71]

5. John Banville
Gives an intuitively modernist novelist’s report on the numinous quality of Ulysses and Finnegans Wake.

What is it in U, in FW (I leave aside the problematic Portrait) that compels our awed attention? Is it, in the former, the sense of ‘real life’ ... I believe it is the quality of closure. [75, 79]

an order of understanding] which allows the thing its thereness, its outsideness, its absolute otherness. Such an understanding is wholly individualistic, yet profoundly democratic. Everything has its own place, its own space, which it inhabits utterly. [ Para ] This process of incorporation, I hold, is a process of style. [78]. Does Joyce have a style? [79] It is, I believe, the absence of, or the concealment of, a unified, recognisable style, that gives Joyce’s work its peculiar, impregnable, frightening authority. [80]

Quotes extensively Neitzsche, Flaubert, Rilke.

6. Deirdre Bair: A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
*Thin, tawdry stylist. She dares to paraphrase Joyce’s attitude in the rupture between Stephen Hero and A Portrait: Take it or leave it. This is what I am. And what I am is non serviam.’ Never mind that non-serviam is in Ulysses, not AP [89]. Sophomoric list of bildungsroman. [92]

We no longer see ourselves as capable of living heroically, so perhaps what makes Joyce’s novel so popular today is that we can legitimately view Stephen Dedalus as the outsider, the anti-hero who fulfils our deepest fears and wishes, and thus stands for our chosen image of ourselves. [92]

7. Colbert Kearney : Stephen’s Green: The Image of Ireland in Joyce
*Elaborate intellectual circulation around the symbolism of the Dollymount Strand episode, good appraisal of theme of batlike soul, but always the air of a critic in the first flush of a commanding intuition which makes the work suddenly relevant and readable. Theme: women and psychic liberation in Ireland.

Drags in Gile na Gile [105f] ‘I seem to be attaching excessive importance to a slick of seaweed but nobody can doubt that Joyce placed it there because he attached great importance to it. Whether young Joyce ever actually saw such a girl .. is neither here nor there; the meaning of the seaweed sign will emerge in the context of Joyce’s writings rather than in his history. [109] Davin’s cult of the sorrowful legend of Eire - as sanctioned by the Catholic Church - placed a powerful taboo on the sexuality offered by the woman of the Ballyhoura Hills. [111]

The bats .. represent the subconscious thoughts and desires which are repressed in the Irish psyche and which will only be brought to light when the true national psyche or the consciousness of the people is reavealed by a great national poet, who will thus have created the uncreated conscience of his race. [115]

one minor point which as been .. overlooked: the seaweed on the girl’s skin. [103]

Joyce .. this least approved of Irish writers .. absolute faith in the nationalist victory has been shattered beyond restoration .. the gentler spirit of Joyce’s humour .. a goal .. [to] be aimed at. 119-20] This is a summary of the revisionist approach.

8. Eamon Grennan
What kept Joyce, in biographical, circumstantial, and aesthetic terms, so conservative as a poet? [122]

In his need to express his loving and lustful fervour for Nora he stumbles on a style that will animate in language the brimmingly various (and rootedly sexual) consciousness of Leopold and Molly Bloom. The rediscovery and validation of the poems lead to a new creative fluency [based on] the remarkable transitions observable in the letters fro lyricism .. to pornography .. to the mundane .. . [123]

Joyce found a way to accomodate in language the whole self, an imaginative accomodation that would lead to the expansive wholeness and narmonies of U and FW [ 123]

Chamber Music [was] the young Joyce’s act of self-dedication [126] an elaborate act of homage and self-dedication on the part of the young poet [132] this inner emigre who has gone stylistically into exile before ever he left with Nora from the North Wall in 1904. [133] In the poems, the realties of self, sex, and spirit receive an abstract, distilled expression. He wants a much closer approximation to the actual, and this the poems alone cannot deliver. [137]

‘multiple theft’ [130]

[On first poem in CM sequence] Here all is frozen gesture; language and syntax encase and make conventional the moment, giving it the generality of song. In his contemporary work in prose, however, the elements that verse distils out are left in, accentuated. And it is in his prose poems, in fact, in the epiphanies, that Joyce discovers a management of language that will allow him to pursue his own narrative urge. .. Here facts are enacted, rather than souls evoked. [140]

9. Vincent Dowling
On stage production of Exiles.

10. Clive Hart
Two-part and three-part structures. A dated form of layman’s structuralism which was layed out in his own Structure and Motif in FW, and in Ellmann’s Joyce on the Liffey. Full of tawdry generalisations:

Self-reference is one of the most interesting and moving forms of intertextuality and reflexiveness [181] The effect is to sharphen our sense of the reality of fiction and the fiction of reality.

11. Maud Ellman [sic]: the Richard Ellmann Memorial Address

Text: What is a ghost? One who has faded into impalpability through death, through absence, through change of manners.’

Totem and Taboo; Mythologies (Levi Strauss); includes interpretation of Oedipus and Freud’s Oedipus; ‘IN effect, Oerdipus is haunted by himself, because his words are constantly implying the opposite of what he means. [205]; Odysseus and his nursemadi Euryklaeia; ‘the terror that escapes from Oedipus’ wound is nothin less than the terror of intersubjectivity. ends with a personal dream: Was that not My Father.

Peter Skrabanek offers a farcical version of the same code of eclectic ingenuities: ‘the reader fo FW are of two types: those who pretend to read itand those to read it to pretend. the tea = le the = Lethe: not in FW. Ends with a favorite trope of his: Fin(d) NEG. ANSWA KE(e). I don’t buy it.

12. Maureen Murphy: Joyce and the Folk Imagination.
folkloric reading of the Cyclop chapter; comparison with ‘The irish Ogre Blinded, a versionof which is found in The Royal Hibernian Tales, a chapbook (1825); backside; more generally, ‘the narrative method of the irish folktale offers another way of considering what Joyce was doing with the narrative voices that critics have found in the episode.’ [UGH]

.. representing the worst aspects of Irish cultural institutions like th Gaelic League and the GAA; nationalism is inflated to chauvinism, to racism, distorting Cusack’s character grotesquely .. while he was difficult and abrasive, he was not a bigot. Indeed .. Protestants and Unionists were welcome.

13. A N Jeffares:
Tristram Shandy .. primary, secondary and tertiary epics; Fielding’s Molly Stradle in Jonathan Wild; the stream of consciousness in Smollett; Hail and Farewell, and The lake (stream of consciousness in the melodic line): ‘ Moore achieved flow by adding and, Joyce by removing it. [284]

Denis O’Donoghue Pound’s Joyce; Eliot’s Joyce.

.. defers from the Modernism reading of Joyce; ‘I no longer find the notion of Modernism at all useful’ [293]

My theme .. is not the work of Joyce, but the use to which Pound put it.

Joyce was one of Eliot’s examples to illustrate the merit of being born and growing up in a living tradition, the orthodoxy which continues to exert its saving influence even against the wilfulness of an erring soul.’ [299]

What Eliot admired in Ulysses, and what he incorporated in The Waste Land in the figure of Tiresias was the operation of a further discrimination of events than the events themselves could provide. .. the first adumbration of the method, he credited to Yeats [Maud Gonne as Helen]

The Joyce I am trying to describeis .. in accordance with Eliot’s rather than Pound’s; the Eliot who spoke or words resorted to with a sense of their reaching down to deepest unconscious origins and bringing up to the surface experiences beyond any known intention. [309

14. Brendan Kennelly, Joyce’s Humanism
All his days are essentially an experiment in living. Yeats’s dichotomy ‘life or work’ would not have presented any difficulty for Joyce [313] cosmic solitude .. happy arrogance .. natural anarchy .. the human river that is Joyce [314]; Joyce the drinker ‘developing myself’ [conversation with Alessandro Bruni];

Joycean indifference .. sense of complexity of his own life ..

He presents from that cosmic distance and with that felt immediacy the reality of human emotions that is, not only what people feel, but what they feel they feel. [316]

in contact with his own humanity [318] Joyce’s nihilism considered; .. this quality of non-belief, of unsupported spirit-life .. [319]

contempt for money and power [320] Joyce is talking about the human-ness of various works .. the candid heart ..

gives credit to Patrick O’Laoi’s Nora Barnacle Joyce, but disclaims having read Brenda Maddox.

Bloom as the candid mind. [329] candour in Joyce comes from getting rid of a certainkind of inherited supportive morality. A vacuum is created, deppened by rejection not only believ but of the very notion of belief [330] .. a customary radiance which comes directly from his character

Ends with a Borges poem to Joyce: ‘.. erected your pathless labyrinths ..’

15: Ulick O’Connor: Joyce and Gogarty
when Joyce died he had Gogarty’s Life of St. Patrick on his bedside table. Not haters in the end.

Joyce delighted in his friend Gogarty’s outrageous behaviour and his parodying of all that the respectable classes in the city held sacred. [338]

Joyce’s letters to Gogarty at Oxford burne in Renvyle fire. [338]

He forgets Joyce’s condemnation of Gogarty’s anti-semitic ‘lying drivel’.

the breach [342] Joyce had a pathological obsession with betrayal, almost a voluptuous desire to be betrayed [343]; comparison with the traitor McNally in connection with Sinn Fein. [343]; Stannie’s statement that Gogarty said he wanted to break Joyce’s spirit with drink [343]; throughout his life G an admirer not a denigrator of talent [343]; Joyce Gogarty met for the last time in 1909

compares method of Ulysses and that of Tumbling in the Hay [348]

detailed comparison of their poetry

 

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