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James Joyce



Born and raised in Catholic Ireland, James Joyce (1882—1941) set all his fiction in his native city of Dublin, although from 1904 he abandoned country and religion and lived abroad. His first, autobiographical novel, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, published, largely clue to the enthusiasm of Ezra Pound, in 1916, throws light on his early life and his discover}' of his vocation. It adopts a stream-of-consciousness narrative reflecting the hero's development and foreshadows the astonishingly original use of language that characterises his greatest work, Ulysses (1922; not published in Britain until 1936 due to alleged obscenities). Ostensibly it covers a single day in the life of three characters in Dublin (Leopold and Molly Bloom and Stephen Daedalus, the hero of Portrait of the Artist). Its 18 episodes roughly reflect equivalents in the Odyssey, and this mythic structure contributes to the creation of an epic from superficially mundane material. Past and present interact, trivial events acquire sometimes profound significance, and extreme erudition mingles with coarse humour. Joyce's highly allusive style, including parodies of various literary forms, does not make for easy reading, and his last book Finnegans Wake (1939) is inaccessible to the ordinary reader without a comprehensive gloss. Newcomers to Joyce, possibly the most influential novelist of the century, wisely start with his early short stories, Dubliners (1914), which are relatively conventional in technique.

James Joyce

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


James Augustine Aloysius Joyce (2 February 1882 – 13 January 1941) was an Irish expatriate writer, widely considered to be one of the most influential writers of the 20th century. He is best known for his landmark novel Ulysses (1922) and its highly controversial successor Finnegans Wake (1939), as well as the short story collection Dubliners (1914) and the semi-autobiographical novel A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (1916).

Although he spent most of his adult life outside Ireland, Joyce's psychological and fictional universe is firmly rooted in his native Dublin, the city which provides the settings and much of the subject matter for all his fiction. In particular, his tempestuous early relationship with the Irish Roman Catholic Church is reflected through a similar inner conflict in his recurrent alter ego Stephen Dedalus. As the result of his minute attentiveness to a personal locale and his self-imposed exile and influence throughout Europe, notably in Paris, Joyce became paradoxically one of the most cosmopolitan yet one of the most regionally-focused of all the English language writers of his time.

Dublin, 1882–1904

In 1882, James Augustine Joyce was born into a Roman Catholic family in the Dublin suburb of Rathgar. He was the oldest of 10 surviving children; two of his siblings died of typhoid. His father's family, originally from Fermoy in Cork, had once owned a small salt and lime works. Joyce's father and paternal grandfather both married into wealthy families. In 1887, his father, John Stanislaus Joyce, was appointed rate (i.e., a local property tax) collector by Dublin Corporation; the family subsequently moved to the fashionable adjacent small town of Bray 12 miles (19 km) from Dublin. Around this time Joyce was attacked by a dog; this resulted in a lifelong canine phobia. He also suffered from a fear of thunderstorms, which his deeply religious aunt had described to him as being a sign of God's wrath.
In 1891, Joyce wrote a poem, "Et Tu Healy," on the death of Charles Stewart Parnell. His father was angry at the treatment of Parnell by the Catholic church and at the resulting failure to secure Home Rule for Ireland. The elder Joyce had the poem printed and even sent a copy to the Vatican Library. In November of that same year, John Joyce was entered in Stubbs Gazette (an official register of bankruptcies) and suspended from work. In 1893 John Joyce was dismissed with a pension. This was the beginning of a slide into poverty for the family, mainly due to John's drinking and general financial mismanagement. James Joyce was initially educated by the Jesuit order at Clongowes Wood College, a boarding school near Sallins in County Kildare, which he entered in 1888 but had to leave in 1892 when his father could no longer pay the fees. Joyce then studied at home and briefly at the Christian Brothers school on North Richmond Street, Dublin, before he was offered a place in the Jesuits' Dublin school, Belvedere College, in 1893. The offer was made at least partly in the hope that he would prove to have a vocation and join the Order. Joyce, however, was to reject Catholicism by the age of 16, although the philosophy of Thomas Aquinas would remain a strong influence on him throughout his life.He enrolled at the recently established University College Dublin in 1898. He studied modern languages, specifically English, French and Italian. He also became active in theatrical and literary circles in the city. His review of Ibsen's New Drama, his first published work, was published in 1900 and resulted in a letter of thanks from the Norwegian dramatist himself. Joyce wrote a number of other articles and at least two plays (since lost) during this period. Many of the friends he made at University College Dublin would appear as characters in Joyce's written works. He was an active member of the Literary and Historical Society, University College Dublin, and presented his paper "Drama and Life" to the L&H in 1900. After graduating from UCD in 1903, Joyce left for Paris to "study medicine", but in reality he squandered money his family could ill afford. He returned to Ireland after a few months, when his mother was diagnosed with cancer. Fearing for her son's "impiety", his mother tried unsuccessfully to get Joyce to make his confession and to take communion. She finally passed into a coma and died on August 13, Joyce having refused to kneel with other members of the family praying at her bedside. After her death he continued to drink heavily, and conditions at home grew quite appalling. He scraped a living reviewing books, teaching and singing — he was an accomplished tenor, and won the bronze medal in the 1904 Feis Ceoil.On 7 January 1904, he attempted to publish A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, an essay-story dealing with aesthetics, only to have it rejected by the free-thinking magazine Dana. He decided, on his twenty-second birthday, to revise the story and turn it into a novel he planned to call Stephen Hero. However, he never published this novel in this original name. This was the same year he met Nora Barnacle, a young woman from Galway city who was working as a chambermaid at Finn's Hotel in Dublin. On 16 June 1904, they went on their first date, an event which would be commemorated by providing the date for the action of Ulysses. Joyce remained in Dublin for some time longer, drinking heavily. After one of his alcoholic binges, he got into a fight over a misunderstanding with a man in St. Stephen's Green; he was picked up and dusted off by a minor acquaintance of his father, Alfred H. Hunter, who brought him into his home to tend to his injuries. Hunter was rumored to be Jewish and to have an unfaithful wife, and would serve as one of the models for Leopold Bloom, the main protagonist of Ulysses. He took up with medical student Oliver St John Gogarty, who formed the basis for the character Buck Mulligan in Ulysses. After staying in Gogarty's Martello Tower for 6 nights he left in the middle of the night following an altercation which involved Gogarty shooting a pistol at some pans hanging directly over Joyce's bed. He walked all the way back to Dublin to stay with relatives for the night, and sent a friend to the tower the next day to pack his possessions into his trunk. Shortly thereafter he eloped to the continent with Nora.

1904–1920: Trieste and Zurich

Joyce and Nora went into self-imposed exile, moving first to Zürich, where he had supposedly acquired a post teaching English at the Berlitz Language School through an agent in England. It turned out that the English agent had been swindled, but the director of the school sent him on to Trieste, which was part of Austria-Hungary until World War I (today part of Italy). Once again, he found there was no position for him, but with the help of Almidano Artifoni, director of the Trieste Berlitz school, he finally secured a teaching position in Pula, then also part of Austria-Hungary (today part of Croatia). He stayed there, teaching English mainly to Austro-Hungarian naval officers stationed at the Pula base, from October 1904 until March 1905, when the Austrians — having discovered an espionage ring in the city — expelled all aliens. With Artifoni's help, he moved back to the city of Trieste and began teaching English there. He would remain in Trieste for most of the next 10 years.
Later that year Nora gave birth to their first child, Giorgio. Joyce then managed to talk his brother, Stanislaus, into joining him in Trieste, and secured him a position teaching at the school. Ostensibly his reasons were for his company and offering his brother a much more interesting life than the simple clerking job he had back in Dublin, but in truth, he hoped to augment his family's meagre income with his brother's earnings. Stanislaus and James had strained relations the entire time they lived together in Trieste, with most arguments centering on James' frivolity with money and drinking habits.With chronic wanderlust much of his early life, Joyce became frustrated with life in Trieste and moved to Rome in late 1906, having secured a position working in a bank in the city. He intensely disliked Rome, however, and ended up moving back to Trieste in early 1907. His daughter Lucia was born in the summer of the same year. Joyce returned to Dublin in the summer of 1909 with Giorgio, in order to visit his father and work on getting Dubliners published. He visited Nora's family in Galway, meeting them for the first time (a successful visit, to his relief). When preparing to return to Trieste he decided to bring one of his sisters, Eva, back to Trieste with him in order to help Nora look after the home. He would spend only a month back in Trieste before again heading back to Dublin, this time as a representative of some cinema owners in order to set up a regular cinema in Dublin. The venture was successful (but would quickly fall apart in his absence), and he returned to Trieste in January 1910 with another sister in tow, Eileen. While Eva became very homesick for Dublin and returned a few years later, Eileen spent the rest of her life on the continent, eventually marrying Czech bank cashier František Schaurek. Joyce returned to Dublin briefly in the summer of 1912 during his years-long fight with his Dublin publisher, George Roberts, over the publication of Dubliners. His trip was once again fruitless, and on his return he wrote the poem "Gas from a Burner" as a thinly veiled invective against Roberts. It was his last trip to Ireland, and he never again came closer to Dublin than London, despite the many pleas of his father and invitations from fellow Irish writer William Butler Yeats. Joyce came up with many money-making schemes during this period of his life, such as his attempt to become a cinema magnate back in Dublin, as well as a frequently discussed but ultimately abandoned plan to import Irish tweeds into Trieste. His expert borrowing skills saved him from indigence. His income was made up partially from his position at the Berlitz school and from taking on private students. Many of his acquaintances through meeting these private students proved invaluable allies when he faced problems getting out of Austria-Hungary and into Switzerland in 1915. One of his students in Trieste was Ettore Schmitz, better known by the pseudonym Italo Svevo; they met in 1907 and became lasting friends and mutual critics. Schmitz was a Catholic of Jewish origin, and became the primary model for Leopold Bloom; most of the details about the Jewish faith included in Ulysses came from Schmitz in response to Joyce's queries. Joyce would spend most of the rest of his life on the Continent. It was in Trieste that he first began to be plagued by major eye problems, which would result in over a dozen surgeries before his death. In 1915, when Joyce moved to Zürich in order to avoid the complexities (as a British subject) of living in Austria-Hungary during World War I, he met one of his most enduring and important friends, Frank Budgen, whose opinion Joyce constantly sought through the writing of Ulysses and Finnegans Wake. It was also here where Ezra Pound brought him to the attention of English feminist and publisher Harriet Shaw Weaver, who would become Joyce's patron, providing him thousands of pounds over the next 25 years and relieving him of the burden of teaching in order to focus on his writing. After the war he returned to Trieste briefly, but found the city had changed, and his relations with his brother (who had been interned in an Austrian prison camp for most of the war due to his pro-Italian politics) were more strained than ever. Joyce headed to Paris in 1920 at an invitation from Ezra Pound, supposedly for a week, but he ended up living there for the next twenty years.

1920–1941: Paris and Zurich

During this era, Joyce traveled frequently to Switzerland for eye surgeries and treatments for Lucia, who, according to the Joyce estate, suffered from schizophrenia. Lucia was even analyzed by Carl Jung at the time, who was of the opinion that her father had schizophrenia after reading Ulysses. Jung noted that she and her father were two people heading to the bottom of a river, except that he was diving and she was falling. In-depth knowledge of Joyce's relationship with his schizophrenic daughter is scant, because the current heir of the Joyce estate, Stephen Joyce, burned thousands of letters between Lucia and her father that he received upon Lucia's death in 1982. Stephen Joyce stated in a letter to the editor of the New York Times that "Regarding the destroyed correspondence, these were all personal letters from Lucia to us. They were written many years after both Nonno and Nonna [i.e. Joyce and Nora Barnacle..] died and did not refer to them. Also destroyed were some postcards and one telegram from Samuel Beckett to Lucia. This was done at Sam's written request."
In Paris, Maria and Eugene Jolas nursed Joyce during his long years of writing Finnegans Wake. Were it not for their unwavering support (along with Harriet Shaw Weaver's constant financial support), there is a good possibility that his books might never have been finished or published. In their now legendary literary magazine "transition," the Jolases published serially various sections of Joyce's novel under the title Work in Progress. He returned to Zurich in late 1940, fleeing the Nazi occupation of France. On 11 January 1941, he underwent surgery for a perforated ulcer. While at first improved, he relapsed the following day, and despite several transfusions, fell into a coma. He awoke at 2 a.m. on 13 January 1941, and asked for a nurse to call his wife and son before losing consciousness again. They were still en route when he died 15 minutes later. He is buried in the Fluntern Cemetery within earshot of the lions in the Zurich zoo. Although two senior Irish diplomats were in Switzerland at the time, neither attended Joyce's funeral, and the Irish government subsequently declined Nora's offer to permit the repatriation of Joyce's remains. Nora, whom Joyce had finally married in London in 1931, survived him by 10 years. She is buried now by his side, as is their son Giorgio, who died in 1976. Ellmann reports that when the arrangements for Joyce's burial were being made, a Catholic priest tried to convince Nora that there should be a funeral Mass. Ever loyal, she replied, 'I couldn't do that to him'. Swiss tenor Max Meili sang Addio terra, addio cielo from Monteverdi's L'Orfeo at the funeral service.

Marilyn on Long Island (New York)
Reading James Joyce's Ulysses
by Eve Arnold (1955)



James Joyce

Ulysses is one of the most extraordinary works of literature in English. At the literal level, it explores the adventures of two characters, Stephen Dedalus and Leopold Bloom, over the course of a single day in Dublin. But this is merely a peg onto which to hang all manner of streams-of-consciousness on topics ranging from such generalities as life, death, and sex through to the contemporary state of Ireland and Irish nationalism. Threaded through this work is a continuing set of allusions to the Odyssey—the original Homeric account of Ulysses' wanderings. Occasionally illuminating, at other times these allusions seem designed ironically to offset the often petty and sordid concerns which take up much of Stephen's and Bloom's time, and continually distract them from their ambitions and aims.
The book conjures up a densely realized Dublin, full of details, many of which are—presumably deliberately—either wrong or at least questionable. But all this merely forms a backdrop to an exploration of the inner workings of the mind, which refuses to acquiesce in the neatness and certainties of classical philosophy. Rather, Joyce seeks to replicate the ways in which thought is often seemingly random and there is no possibility of a clear and straight way through life.
Ulysses opened up a whole new way of writing fiction that recognized that the moral rules by which we might try to govern our lives are constantly at the mercy of accident, chance encounter, and by-roads of the mind. Whether this is a statement of a specifically Irish condition or of some more universal predicament is throughout held in a delicate balance, not least because Bloom is Jewish, and is thus an outsider even—or perhaps especially—in the city and country he regards as home.




Type of work: Novel
Author: James Joyce (1882-1941)
Type of plot: Psychological realism
Time of plot: June 16, 1904
Locale: Dublin
First published: 1922


A continuation of the story of Stephen Dedalus told in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, this major psychological novel is structured around Homeric parallels, so that the incidents, characters, and scenes of a single day in Dublin in 1904 correspond to those of the Odyssean myth.


Principal Characters

Stephen Dedalus, a proud, sensitive young Irishman, a writer and teacher called Kinch (from "kinchin," child) by one of his friends. In his search for the nature and meaning of life, Stephen examines all phases of his existence. History, he says, is a nightmare from which he is trying to awake. As he looks back to his childhood, he can remember only his family's poverty and his father as a patron of taverns. His devotion to Ireland is not the answer to his search; she is an old sow, he believes, that eats her own young. His religion is not enough to make life purposeful. Stephen cannot dismiss his mother's deathbed prayer that he avow his belief, and his inability to comply frets him with remorse. Symbolically, Stephen is Telemachus, the son in search of a father. In effect, he finds a symbolic father in Leopold Bloom, an older man who takes care of Stephen after the young man has been in a street fight with British soldiers. Declining Bloom's invitation to live with him and his wife, Stephen goes out into the darkened street to return to the Tower where he is staying and to his dissolute life among the young men and students he knows.
Leopold Bloom, a Jewish advertising salesman who is, symbolically, Ulysses, the father of Telemachus. Bloom's yearning for a son stems from the long-past death of Rudy, his eleven-day-old son. A patient husband, he is cuckolded by his wife's business manager, but he is carrying on a furtive flirtation of his own. Bloom is Any Man, plodding through the daily routine of living—visiting bars, restaurants, newspaper offices, hospitals, and brothels of Dublin—because he hopes for something out of the ordinary but must be satisfied with the tawdry.
Malachi Mulligan, called Buck, a medical student and the friend of Stephen Dedalus. He points up Stephen's attitudes and philosophies, the two young men being opposites, the scientific and the philosophical. Buck, calloused to suffering and death by his medical training, says that death is a beastly thing and nothing else; it simply does not matter. According to Buck, Stephen's religious strain is all mockery; if it were not, Buck says, Stephen could have prayed with his mother. Buck is doubtful that Stephen will ever produce any great writing. The model for Buck Mulligan was the Irish physician and poet, Oliver St. John Gogarty.
Marion Tweedy Bloom, called Molly, whose background differs greatly from her husband's. Brought up in the atmosphere of a military post in Gibraltar, Molly, a lush creature and second-rate concert singer, finds life with her husband and life in Dublin dull. Her escape from the reality of the humdrum comes through love affairs with other men. Her latest lover is Blazes Boylan, a virile younger man. Bloom's suggestion that Stephen Dedalus come to live with them gives Molly a momentary tingle as she contemplates the pleasure of having a still younger man in the house. Molly's thoughts and reverie make up the final section of the book, as she considers the present but finally lapses into reminiscences of a sexual experience of her girlhood. She is Penelope to Bloom's Ulysses.
Blazes Boylan, Molly's lover and the manager of a concert tour she is planning. The business aspect of their meetings does not delude Bloom.
Haines, a young Englishman who lives in the Tower with Stephen Dedalus, Buck Mulligan, and other students and artists. His indulgence in drinking orgies alienates more ascetic Stephen. Because Haines has considerably more money than the other young men, he is frequently the butt of their sarcasm. Haines is an anti-Semite who fears that England may be taken over by German Jews.
Paddy Dignam, Bloom's friend, who dies of a stroke.
Father Coffey, who performs the funeral rites over the body of Paddy Dignam.
Mrs. Breen, a neighbor, to whom Bloom gives the account of the funeral.
Mrs. Purefoy, another neighbor, who, Mrs. Breen reports, is in a maternity hospital. Bloom's visit to the hospital to inquire about her leads to his meeting with Stephen Dedalus, who is drinking with a group of medical students.
Davy Byrnes, a tavern owner whose establishment attracts all types of people who discuss many subjects.
Barney Kiernan, the owner of a bar where Leopold Bloom gets into an argument with a patriotic Irishman and is ejected.
Mr. Deasy, the headmaster of the school where Stephen teaches. Deasy probably assesses Stephen's aptitudes rather exactly when he tells the younger man that he is more a learner than a teacher. In lamenting the influx of Jews in England, Deasy points out to Stephen that Ireland is the only country where Jews have not been persecuted—because she never let them in.
Talbot, Cochrane, Armstrong, Comyn, Edith, Ethel, and Lily, some of Stephen's pupils. Their indifference and ineptness are discouraging to their young teacher, giving rise to Deasy's prognosis of Stephen's career.
Milly, the Bloom's daughter. Her existence does not mitigate Bloom's longing for a son, nor does it lessen Molly's desire for romance and release from tedium.
Gertie MacDowell, a young girl who exhibits herself to Leopold Bloom on Sandymount shore.
Myles Crawford, a newspaper editor.


The Story

Buck Mulligan mounted the stairs of the old tower and prepared to shave on the morning of June 16, 1904. A moment later, Stephen Dedalus came to the stairhead and stood looking out over Dublin Bay. When Mulligan spoke of the sea glinting in the morning sunlight, Stephen had a sudden vision of his own mother; he had been called back from Paris to her deathbed a year before. He remembered how she had begged him to pray for her soul and how he, rebelling against the churchly discipline of his boyhood, had refused.
After breakfast, Stephen and Mulligan went off with Haines, a young Englishman who also lived in the old tower. Despite the Englishman's attempts to be friendly, Stephen disliked Haines, who was given to nightlong drunken sprees. Stephen felt that his own life was growing purposeless and dissolute through his association with Mulligan and other medical students.
Stephen was a teacher. Because it was a half-day holiday at school, the boys were restless. One of his pupils was unable to do his simple arithmetic problems, and in the boy Stephen saw for a moment an image of his own awkward youth. He was relieved when he could dismiss the class.
Later, he walked alone on the beach. He thought of literature and his student days, of his unhappiness in Dublin, his lack of money, his family sinking into poverty while his shabby genteel father made his daily round of the Dublin pubs. He saw the carcass of a dead dog rolling in the surf. Stephen remembered how a dog had frightened him in his childhood; he was, he thought wryly, not one of the Irish heroes.
Meanwhile, Leopold Bloom had crawled out to bed to prepare his wife's breakfast. He was a Jewish advertising salesman, and, for sixteen years, the patient, uncomplaining husband of Marion Tweedy Bloom, a professional singer of mediocre talent. He was vaguely unhappy to know that she was carrying on an affair with Blazes Boylan, a sporting Irishman who was managing the concert tour that she was planning.
Bloom munched his own breakfast and read a letter from his daughter Milly, who was working in a photographer's shop in Mullingar. Her letter reminded Bloom of his son Rudy, who had died when he was eleven days old. Bloom read Milly's letter again, wondering about a young student his daughter mentioned. For a moment, he was afraid that Milly might grow up like her mother.
Bloom set out on his morning walk. At the post office, he stopped to pick up a letter addressed to Henry Flower, Esq., a letter from a woman who signed herself Martha. Bloom was unhappy at home and was carrying on a flirtation by mail under another name. He idly wandered into a church and listened to part of the mass. Later he joined a party of mourners on their way to the funeral of an old friend, Paddy Dignam, who had died suddenly of a stroke. During the service, Bloom watched Father Cof-fey. He thought again of little Rudy and of his own father, a suicide victim.
The day's business for Bloom was a call at a newspaper office to arrange for the printing of an advertisement. While he was there, Stephen Dedalus also came to the office. The two men saw each other, but they did not speak.
Bloom left the newspaper building and walked across the O'Connell bridge. He met Mrs. Breen and gave her an account of Dignam's funeral. She told him that Mrs. Purefoy was in the maternity hospital in Holies Street. Bloom walked on, taking in the sights of Dublin on a summer day. At last he entered Davy Byrne's pub and ordered a cheese sandwich. Later he went to the National Library to look at some newspaper files. There Stephen, flushed with the drinks he had taken at lunch, was expounding to Buck Mulligan and some literary friends his own ingenious theory of Shakespeare's plays and the second-best bed of Shakespeare's will. Again, Bloom and Stephen saw each other but did not speak.
Bloom went to the Ormond Hotel for a late lunch. Blazes Boylan came into the bar before he left to keep an appointment with Molly.
Late that afternoon, Bloom got into a brawl in a pub where the talk was all about the money that Blazes Boylan had won in a boxing match. Bloom escaped from the jeering crowd and walked along the Sandymount shore.
In the dimming twilight, he watched young Gertie MacDowell. The moon rose. Bloom decided to stop by the hospital to ask about Mrs. Purefoy. As he walked slowly along the strand, a cuckoo clock struck nine in a priest's house that he was passing. Bloom suddenly realized that he had been cuckolded again, while he sat dreaming his amorous fantasies on the Dublin beach.
At the hospital, he learned that Mrs. Purefoy's baby had not yet been born. There he saw Stephen Dedalus again, drinking with Buck Mulligan and a group of medical students. Bloom was disturbed to find the son of his old friend, Simon Dedalus, in ribald, dissolute company.
Bloom went with the medical students to a nearby pub, where Stephen and Buck Mulligan began a drunken argument over the possession of the key to the old tower. When the group broke up, Stephen and one of the students went on to a brothel in the Dublin slums; Bloom followed them slowly. All were drunk by that time. Bloom had a distorted, lurid vision of his wife and Blazes Boy-Ian together. Stephen was befuddled and thought that his dead mother suddenly appeared from the grave to ask him again to pray for her soul. Running headlong into the street, he was knocked down in a scuffle with two British soldiers. Bloom took Stephen home with him.
Exhausted by his wild night, Stephen remained silent and glum while Bloom talked about art and science. Bloom had begged him to spend the night, to leave Mulligan and his wild friends and come to live with the Blooms, but Stephen refused. The bells of St. George's Church were ringing as he walked off down the silent street.
Bloom went slowly to bed. As he drifted off to sleep, he told Molly firmly that she was to get up and prepare his breakfast in the morning.
Molly Bloom lay awake thinking of Blazes Boylan. She thought of the mysteries of the human body, of people she had known, of her girlhood at a military post on Gibraltar. She considered the possibility that Stephen Dedalus might come to live with her and her husband. Stephen was a writer—young, refined, not coarse like Boylan. She heard a far, shrill train whistle. She recalled all of her past lovers, Bloom's courtship, their years together, the rose she wore in her hair the day Bloom had asked her to marry him as they stood close under a Moorish arch. These wakeful, earthy Penelopean thoughts flowed on, while her tawdry Ulysses, Bloom, the far wanderer of a Dublin day, snored in the darkness by her side.


Critical Evaluation

Ulysses is an attempt at completely recapturing, so far as it is possible in fiction, the life of a particular time and place. The place is Dublin—its streets, homes, shops, newspaper offices, pubs, hospitals, brothels, and schools. The time is a single day in 1904. A continuation of the story of Stephen Dedalus as told in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, the novel is also a series of remarkable Homeric parallels, with characters and scenes of a Dublin day corresponding to those of the Odyssean myth. Leopold Bloom is easily recognizable as Ulysses; Molly Bloom, his wife, as Penelope; and Dedalus himself as Telemachus, son of Ulysses—in James Joyce's novel, Bloom's spiritual son. The book is written in a variety of styles and techniques; the most important is the stream-of-consciousness method by which Joyce attempts to reproduce not only the sights, sounds, and smells of Dublin but also the memories, emotions, and desires of his people trapped in the drab modern world.
Approaching Ulysses for the first time, the reader should proceed aggressively. If comprehension lapses—even for pages at a time—it is better to push on. For one thing, it is a novel that must be reread. Many elements that appear early in the story make sense only after having read much further along. Bloom's potato talisman, for example, is mentioned in the fourth episode but remains unexplained until the fifteenth, often leaving readers feeling lost in a random flux. The persistent reader, however, will find that the novel is intricately structured.
Joyce himself provided the key to the structure of the novel in two very similar "schemas" which he provided to would-be expositors of Ulysses. These charts indicate for each of the eighteen episodes a title corresponding to an episode in the Odyssey; the time of day; a dominant color; a "technic" (the style of the episode: for example, "narrative, young," "catechism, personal," "monologue, male"); a dominant "art" (history, literature, philology); an organ of the body (adding up to a more or less complete person); a dominant symbol (in the first episode: "Hamlet, Ireland, Stephen"); and correspondences between Homeric and Joycean characters. These schemes can be found in their most complete form in Richard Ellmann's Ulysses on the Liffey.
The schemas have been a mixed blessing to Joycean criticism, for they are sometimes ambiguous or cryptic. Nevertheless, it is difficult to think of another major author whose critics have been so influenced, indeed dominated, by a single piece of external evidence. The schemas are at least suggestive with regard to three of the more salient (and problematic) aspects of the book. These three are the Homeric parallels, Stephen's theory about Shakespeare and art, and the episodic structure and use of style.
Shortly after the publication of Ulysses, the Homeric parallel was lauded by T. S. Eliot as having "the importance of a scientific discovery." The schemas and Joyce's notes make clear that he took the parallels very seriously, although the elaborate Homeric analogy is surely not, as Eliot thought, merely a backdrop to heighten "the immense panorama of futility that is the modern world."
Ulysses had been Joyce's favorite hero from his childhood. The quality he was to isolate as unique to the Greek hero was completeness. He observed that Ulysses had been a father, a son, a husband, a lover, a soldier who was at first a draft-dodger, and then a "hawk." Although this is a rather curious ideal, it suggests what may have been Joyce's purpose. The story of Ulysses constitutes such a full representation of a complexity of attitudes and values that Joyce was able to use it as a paradigm for the structure of a modern story. The Odyssey itself no doubt had been determined by the structure of Homer's intuitions about the nature of life. These intuitions correspond, in the abstract, to Joyce's own. Joyce's at times rather wide digressions from Homer's story suggest this kind of substratum "beneath" the Homeric substratum, which determines both in a manner similar to the com-binatory processes of mathematical probability.
This ideal "complete" hero "beyond" even Ulysses would be the abstract person, possessor of the "organs of the body" of the schema. The schema supports this general contention in that the distribution of correspondences to Homer is not consistent. Bloom and Stephen are, in fact, only "in general" Ulysses and Telemachus. Correspondences listed on the schema indicate that in the first episode, for example, Stephen is Telemachus, but also Hamlet. In the ninth episode, Ulysses is "Jesus, Socrates, Shakespeare"; they are each important there. Furthermore, as has been remarked, Stephen is more like a youthful aspect of Ulysses than like Telemachus, who is almost a minor character in Homer. There is, then, no one-to-one impersonation of Homeric characters. Rather, there is a play of functions pointing to an essential human, the abstract "Ulysses" who belongs not exclusively to Homer but to the entire tradition of the Ulysses theme.
The ninth episode, "Scylla and Charybdis," contains Stephen's aesthetic theory. The action is presented as a parable of artistic creation based on Shakespeare's biography. The way the "Ulysses" of the schema functions is rather complex. The schema says that Scylla is "The Rock—Aristotle, Dogma" and Charybdis "The Whirlpool—Plato, Mysticism." "Ulysses," who must sail between these perils, is given as "Socrates, Jesus, Shakespeare." This aspect of "Ulysses" is manifested in Stephen's discourse; Bloom is not even immediately present. The course is the one the artist must take. It includes going between extremes of the inner and outer worlds of his personal experience. There is a struggle between the flux of everyday life and a permanent, repeated structure in the artist's self. This structure is compared to the mole that remains on Stephen's breast although all the molecules of his body have changed, and, in the parable, to a supposed psychological trauma in Shakespeare's youth that determined the structure of his plays and their themes of usurpation, humiliation, and, later, reconciliation. At the level of the individual artistic psyche, the theory recapitulates the determinism treated by the novel as historical and sociological.
As to the individual episodes, the schema names a variety of elements of style that make each unique. Joyce told friends that he intended each to be able to stand on its own. Various episodes are sometimes anthologized and read like short stories. "Circe," episode fifteen, has been produced as a play many times. There is narrational point of view in each episode, but it is clearly never the same. There is abundant exegetical literature for each episode, treating in detail the unity derived of its tone, style, and themes. For this overview, however, it is more important to note that the various episodic styles are part of a second structural principle in the novel.
Total autonomy and interdependence combine in the episodic structure; Stephen and Bloom, component elements of the "Ulysses" composite, partake of this combination and therefore avoid becoming mere allegorical types. They are, in fact, complete individuals. This pattern suggests the paradoxical doctrine of the Trinity, where three complete and equal Persons have one Essence. Of the Trinity, Joyce once said that when contemplating one Person, the others slip from view. So it is with Stephen and Bloom; for that matter, any individual episode in Ulysses seems capable of absorbing the reader's whole attention. It is, therefore, the overview that leads the reader best through the myriad captivations of Joyce's odyssey.



Finnegans Wake

James Joyce

Joyce's last book is perhaps the most daunting work of fiction ever written. Yet it is also one of the funniest, bringing pleasure to generations of readers willing to suspend the usual assumptions that govern the novel. Instead of a single plot, Finnegans Wake has a number of kernel stories, some of them occurring in hundreds of versions from a word or two long to several pages. The most ubiguitous is a story of a fall that turns out not to be entirely negative, including the Fall of Man; an indiscretion in Phoenix Park, Dublin, involving an older man and two girls; and Tim Finnegan's tumble from a ladder. In place of characters, the novel has figures who go by many different names, each figure consisting of a cluster of recognizable features. In place of settings, the novel merges place names from around the globe. Joyce achieves this remarkable condensation through the "portmanteau": the fusing together of two or more words in the same or different languages. Thus "kissmiss" is both the festive season and something that might happen during it, with a further suggestion of the fatality of the event; the Holy Father becomes a "hoary frother"; and an old photo is a "fadograph." Reading Finnegans Wake-best done aloud and if possible in a group—means allowing these multiple suggestions to resonate, while accepting that many will remain obscure. The work's seventeen sections have their own styles and subjects, tracing a slow movement through nightfall and dawn,to the end that is not an end of...



A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

James Joyce

First published in serial form between 1914 and 1915, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man is the novel that established Joyce as one of the most innovative literary talents of the twentieth century.
Portrait traces the development of Stephen Dedalus from childhood, through adolescence, to the first flushes of man hood. Over time, he gradually begins to rebel against his devout Catholic upbringing—questioning the values of his family, church, history, and homeland. At the same time, Stephen's interest in art and literature intensifies as he struggles to come to terms with his adult self. This, however, is no ordinary coming-of-age story. The language used at each stage of the narrative is skilfully manipulated in order to reflect Stephens age and intellectual maturity. Portrait begins with "moocows" and ends with Stephen expressing his desire to "forge in the smithy of my soul the uncreated conscience of my race."
Portrait remains a work of startsling inventic-and imaginative richness, in which Joyce begar to hone his revolutionary "stream of consciousnes technique. It is the work in which the hallmarks of Joyce's writing are truly established: the broad sexual humor, the blasphemous fantasies, the erudite wordplay, the simultaneous eradication and exposure of authorial personality, the infinitely complex push/pull relationship with Ireland and Irishness. In Portrait, Joyce redefines both himself and the parameters of modern writing.



Type of work: Novel
Author: James Joyce (1882-1941)
Type of plot: Psychological realism
Time of plot: 1882-1903
Locale: Ireland
First published: 1916


This autobiographical novel follows the emotional and intellectual growth from childhood to young manhood of Stephen Dedalus, who is also the protagonist of the later, more complex Ulysses. The development of artistic self-awareness necessitates young Stephen's rejection of the values of his upbringing, including blind patriotism and rigid Catholicism. The narration is in the stream-of-consciousness style which Joyce was instrumental in developing.


Principal Characters

Stephen Dedalus (de'a-lss, deda-las), a young man who is, like his creator, sensitive, proud, and highly intelligent, but often confused in his attempts to understand the Irish national temperament. He is bewildered and buffeted about in a world of political unrest, theological discord, and economic decline. In this environment he attempts to resolve for himself the problems of faith, morality, and art. At the end, feeling himself cut off from nation, religion, and family, he decides to leave Ireland in order to seek his own fulfillment as an artist, the artificer that his name suggests.
Simon Dedalus, an easy-going, talkative, patriotic Irishman who reveres the memory of Parnell. During his lifetime he has engaged in many activities, as a medical student, an actor, an investor, and a tax collector, among others; but he has failed in everything he has tried. Stephen Dedalus' realization that his father is self-deluded and shiftless contributes greatly to the boy's growing disillusionment and unrest. Simon is almost the stereotyped, eloquent Irishman who drinks much more than is good for him.
Mrs. Dedalus, a worn, quiet woman who remains a shadowy background figure in the novel. A woman of deep faith, her son's repudiation of religious belief becomes a source of anxiety and grief adding to her other cares.
Mrs. Dante Riordan, Stephen Dedalus's aunt. An energetic defender of anything Catholic, she despises anyone whose views are opposed to her own. Her special targets are certain Irish patriots, particularly Parnell, and all enemies of priests. Her violent arguments with Simon Dedalus on politics and religion make a profound impression on young Stephen.
Eileen Vance, Stephen Dedalus' childhood love. He is not allowed to play with the little girl because she is a Protestant.
E— Ñ—, called Emma Clery in the "Stephen Hero" manuscript but in this novel more the embodied image of Stephen Dedalus' romantic fancies and fantasies than a real person. She is the girl to whom he addresses his love poems.
Davin, a student at University College and the friend of Stephen Dedalus. He is athletic, emotionally moved by ancient Irish myth, and obedient to the church. To Stephen he personifies country, religion, and the dead romantic past, the forces in the national life that Stephen is trying to escape.
Lynch, an intelligent but irreverent student at University College. During a walk in the rain Stephen Dedalus tries to explain to Lynch his own views on art. Stephen's explanation of lyrical, epical, and dramatic literary forms helps to illuminate Joyce's own career as a writer.
Cranley, a student at University College. A casuist, he serves as an intellectual foil to Stephen Dedalus. To him Stephen confides his decision not to find his vocation in the church and the reasons for his inability to accept its rituals or even to believe its teachings.
Father Arnall, a Jesuit teacher at Clongowes Wood School. While Stephen Dedalus is attending Belvedere College, during a religious retreat, Father Arnall preaches an eloquent sermon on the sin of Lucifer and his fall. The sermon moves Stephen so deeply that he experiences a religious crisis, renounces all pleasures of the flesh, and for a time contemplates becoming a priest.
Father Dolan, the prefect of studies at Clongowes Wood School. A strict disciplinarian, he punishes Stephen Dedalus unjustly after the boy has broken his glasses and is unable to study. The beating he administers causes Stephen's first feeling of rebellion against priests.
Uncle Charles, Stephen Dedalus' great-uncle, a gentle, hearty old man employed to carry messages. When Stephen is a small boy, he accompanies Uncle Charles on his errands.
Nasty Roche, a student at Clongowes Wood School. His mocking reference to Stephen Dedalus' name gives Stephen his first impression of being different or alienated.


The Story

When Stephen Dedalus went to school for the first time, his last name soon got him into trouble. It sounded too Latin, and the boys teased him about it. The other boys saw that he was sensitive and shy, and they began to bully him. School was filled with unfortunate incidents for Stephen. He was happy when he became sick and was put in the infirmary away from the other boys. Once, when he was there just before the Christmas holidays, he worried about dying and death. As he lay on the bed thinking, he heard the news of Parnell's death. The death of the great Irish leader was the first date he remembered—October 6, 1891.
At home during the vacation, he learned more of Par-nell. His father, Simon Dedalus, worshipped the dead man's memory and defended him on every count. Stephen's aunt, Dante Riordan, despised Parnell as a heretic and a rabble-rouser. The fierce arguments that they got into every day burned themselves into Stephen's memory. He worshipped his father, and his father said that Parnell had tried to free Ireland, to rid it of the priests who were ruining the country. Dante insisted that the opposite was true. A violent defender of the priests, she leveled every kind of abuse against Simon and his ideas. The disagreement between them became a problem which, in due time, Stephen would have to solve for himself.
Returning to school after the holidays, Stephen got in trouble with Father Dolan, one of the administrators of the church school he attended. Because he had broken his glasses, Stephen could not study until a new pair arrived. Father Dolan saw that Stephen was not working, and thinking that his excuse about the glasses was false, he gave the boy a beating. For once, the rest of the boys were on Stephen's side, and they urged him to complain to the head of the school. With fear and trembling, Stephen went to the head and presented his case. The head understood and promised to speak to Father Dolan about the matter. When Stephen told the boys about his conversation, they hoisted him in their arms like a victorious fighter and called him a hero.
Afterward, life was much easier for Stephen. Only one unfortunate incident marked the term. In the spirit of fun, one of his professors announced in class that Stephen had expressed heresy in one of his essays. Stephen quickly changed the offending phrase and hoped that the mistake would be forgotten. After class, however, several of the boys accused him not only of being a heretic but also of liking Byron, whom they considered an immoral man and therefore no good as a poet. In replying to their charges, Stephen had his first real encounter with the problems of art and morality. They were to follow him throughout his life.
On a trip to Cork with his father, Stephen was forced to listen to the often-told tales of his father's youth. They visited the places his father had loved as a boy. Each night, Stephen was forced to cover up his father's drunkenness and sentimental outbursts. The trip was an education in everything Stephen disliked.
At the end of the school year, Stephen won several prizes. He bought presents for everyone, started to redo his room, and began an ill-fated loan service. As long as the money lasted, life was wonderful. Then one night when his money was almost gone, he was enticed into a house by a woman wearing a long pink gown. He learned what love was at age sixteen.
Not until the school held a retreat in honor of Saint Francis Xavier did Stephen realize how deeply conscious he was of the sins he had committed with women. The sermons of the priests about heaven and hell, especially about hell, ate into his mind. At night, his dreams were of nothing but the eternal torture that he felt he must endure after death. He could not bear to make confession in school. At last, he went into the city to a church were he was unknown. There he opened his unhappy mind and heart to an understanding and wise old priest, who advised him and comforted his soul. After the confession, Stephen promised to sin no more, and he felt sure that he would keep his promise.
For a time, Stephen's life followed a model course. He studied Aquinas and Aristotle and won acclaim from his teachers. One day, the director of the school called Stephen into his office; after a long conversation, he asked him if he had ever thought of joining the order of the Jesuits. Stephen was deeply flattered. Priesthood became his life's goal.
When Stephen entered the university, however, a change came over his thinking. He began to doubt, and the longer he studied, the more confused and doubtful he became.
His problems drew him closer to two of his fellow students, Davin and Lynch, and farther away from Emma, a girl for whom he had felt affection since childhood. He discussed his idea about beauty and the working of the mind with Davin and Lynch. Because he would not sign a petition for world peace, Stephen won the enmity of many of the fellows. They called him antisocial and egotistic . Finally, not the peace movement, the Irish Revival, or the church itself could claim his support.
Davin was the first to question Stephen about his ideas. When he suggested to Stephen that Ireland should come first in everything, Stephen answered that to him Ireland was an old sow that ate her offspring.
One day, Stephen met Emma at a carnival, and she asked him why he had stopped coming to see her. He answered that he had been born to be a monk. When Emma said that she thought him a heretic instead of a monk, his last link with Ireland seemed to be broken. At least he was not afraid to be alone. If he wanted to find and to understand beauty, he had to leave Ireland, where there was nothing in which he believed. His friend's prayers, asking that he return to the faith, went unanswered. Stephen got together his belongings, packed, and left Ireland, intending never to return. He did intend to write a book someday that would make clear his views on Ireland and the Irish.


Critical Evaluation

A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce is possibly the greatest example in the English language of the bildungsroman, a novel tracing the physical, mental, and spiritual growth and education of a young man. Other examples of this genre range from Goethe's The Sorrows of Young Werther and Flaubert's A Sentimental Education to D. H. Lawrence's Sons and Lovers. Published in 1916, the work stands stylistically between the fusion of highly condensed naturalism and symbolism found in Dubliners (1914) and the elaborate mythological structure, interior monologues, and stream of consciousness of Ulysses (1922). There is a consistent concern with entrapment, isolation, and rebellion against home, church, and nation in all three of these works.
The novel is basically autobiographical; but in the final analysis, the variants from, rather than the parallels with, Joyce's own life are of utmost artistic significance. The events of Stephen Dedalus' life are taken from the lives of Joyce, his brother Stanislaus, and his friend Byrne, covering the period between 1885 and 1902. The book begins with the earliest memories of his childhood, recounted in childlike language, and ends when Stephen is twenty-two years old with his decision to leave his native Dublin in search of artistic development to forge the conscience of his race. In the intervening years, like Joyce, Stephen attends the Jesuit Clongowes Wood School (which he must leave because of family financial difficulties), attends a day school in Dublin, has his first sexual experience, his first religious crisis, and finally attends University College, where he decides on his vocation as a writer. The dedication to pure art involves for Stephen, and Joyce, a rejection of the claims on him of duty to family, to the Catholic church, and to Irish nationalism, either of the political type or of the literary type espoused by the writers of the Irish Renaissance. In his characterization of Stephen, however, Joyce eliminates much of himself: his sense of humor; his graduation from the university before leaving Dublin; his desire to attend medical school in France; his deep concern for his mother's health; his affection for his father; and the lifelong liaison he established with Nora Barnacle, who left Ireland with Joyce in 1904. The effect of these omissions is to make a narrower, more isolated character of Stephen than Joyce himself.
On one level, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man is an initiation story in which an innocent, idealistic youth with a sense of trust in his elders slowly comes to realize that this is a flawed, imperfect world, characterized by injustice and disharmony. Stephen finds this fact at home, at school, at church, in relationships with women and friends, and in the past and present history of his nation. His pride, however, prevents him from seeing any shortcomings in himself. In the second portion of the novel, he becomes involved in the excesses of carnal lust; in the third portion, in the excesses of penitent piety, which also eventually disgust him. In the fourth section, in which he assumes the motto Non serviam, excessive intellectual pride. In the final portion of the novel, Stephen develops his aesthetic theory of the epiphany—a sudden revelation of truth and beauty—through the artistic goals of "wholeness, harmony, and radiance." His final flight from his actual home—family, church, nation— is still part of an almost adolescent rejection of the imperfections of this world and an attempt to replace it with the perfection of form, justice, and harmony of artistic creation.
Stephen Dedalus' very name is chosen to underline his character. His first name links him to Saint Stephen, the first martyr to Christianity; Stephen Dedalus sees himself as a martyr, willing to give up all to the services of art. His last name, Dedalus, is famous from classical antiquity. It was Daedalus, the Athenian exile, who designed the famous labyrinth in which the monstrous Minotaur was kept captive. Later, longing to return to his native land but imprisoned in his own labyrinth, Daedalus invented wings to enable himself and his son, Icarus, to escape. Stephen, the artist, sees Dublin as the labyrinth from which he must fly in order to become the great artificer Daedalus was. It is important to remember, however, that Daedalus' son, Icarus, ignored his father's instructions on how to use the wings; because of pride and the desire to exceed, he flew too close to the sun, and his wings melted. He plunged into the ocean and drowned. It is only later, in Ulysses, that Stephen recognizes himself as "lap-winged Icarus" rather than as Daedalus.
Joyce's technical skill is obvious in the series of interwoven recurrent symbols of the novel. The rose, for example, which is associated with women, chivalric love, and creativity, appears throughout the novel. In addition, water is found in almost every chapter of the novel: it can be the water that drowns and brings death; it can also be the water that gives life, symbolic of renewal as in baptism and the final choice of escape by sea.
The central themes of A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man—alienation, isolation, rejection, betrayal, the Fall, the search for the father—are developed with amazing virtuosity. This development is the second, following Dubliners, of the four major parts in Joyce's cyclical treatment of the life of man that moves, like the great medieval cyclical plays, from Fall to Redemption, from isolation and alienation to acceptance. Joyce's analysis of the human condition and of the relationship of art to life was further developed in Ulysses and Finnegans Wake. Joyce emphasized the importance of the word "young" in the title of this work, and his conclusion—in the form of Stephen's diary, which illustrates Stephen's own perceptions, words, and style—forces the reader to become more objective and detached in his judgment of Stephen. The reader recognizes in these final pages Stephen's triumph in escaping from the nets of Ireland; the reader also, however, realizes that Stephen's triumph is complicated by important losses and sacrifices.



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