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James Joyce (BL2-R8)

Class 8 in British Literature 2 - Readings
by

Irena Księżopolska

on 18 January 2014

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Transcript of James Joyce (BL2-R8)

James Joyce
Eveline
glass cage, smell of dust
Two Gallants
"The grey warm evening of August had descended upon the city and a mild warm air, a memory of summer, circulated in the streets. The streets, shuttered for the repose of Sunday, swarmed with a gaily coloured crowd. Like illumined pearls the lamps shone from the summits of their tall poles upon the living texture below which, changing shape and hue unceasingly, sent up into the warm grey evening air an unchanging unceasing murmur."
A Painful Case
Dubliners
James Joyce
Works
1882 - 1941
1882-1904 - childhood and youth in Ireland
Jesuit boarding school
University College Dublin
Writing reviews, plays, articles, beginning work on "Portrait..."
1904-1920 - first "exile": Zurich and Trieste
teaching English
working of various crack-pot business schemes
becoming a full-time artist
1920-1941 - second "exile": Paris and Zurich
writing Finnegans Wake
finishing Ulysses
publishing "Dubliners" and "Portrait.."
Dubliners
Exiles
Poetry
Ulysses
Finnegans Wake
- published 1914, after 9 years of failed attempts
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
- serialised in the magazine The Egoist from 1914 to 1915
- Joyce's only published play (1918)
- published a number of poems during his life, including Chamber Music
- serialized in The Little Review from 1918-1920 (not in full; finally published in full 1922
- written from 1923 till 1939
Dubliners
seeming simplicity of style
realistic setting
close attention to minor detail
an attempt to reveal the hidden nature, or a soul of an object or a situation
each story contains an epiphany of a kind, as its core
third person narrator in most of the stories with the use of focalization
Style
use of mythical method
ironic references to myth structure the narrative
language is consciousness
reflection of the inner flow of images in a stream of consciousness, either through interior monologue or free indirect speech
telegraphic style
unlike Woolf, Joyce does not unify the language of consciousness but uses it more "realistically" reflecting the actual expressions or even cliches the characters would use
physiology as part of consciousness
Joyce's texts were often considered obscene because he includes the functions of human body as an inseparable part of their inner worlds
one of the possible versions of himself
a story of growing up destined to become an artist
Künstlerroman
static stories with startling conclusions
life of children, teens, young and mature people in a stifling atmosphere, rendered with extreme naturalism
a mock heroic epic with everything brought down in scale
representation of the speed of mind - telegraphic phrases
growing complexity with each chapter
circular structure without beginning or end
the last modernist and the first post-modernist novel
creating artistic effects out of sound and meaning:
"I was young and easily befreuded"
"Nobirdy aviar soar anywing to eagle it"
immersion into Eveline's memories
memories are "rather happy", but there is a clear intimation of the difficulty of the present life (mother dead, father abusive, siblings and friends moved away)
first impressions
monotony, paralysis: observation and longing without actual desire for change
An ‘artist-novel’: a novel in which the central character is an artist of any kind (composer, writer, poet, painter, actor, etc.). The artist may be a historical figure, or a fictional hero. This category of fiction often overlaps with the Bildungsroman in showing the protagonist's development from childhood or adolescence, but the main focus is on his/er artistic development into a Creator.
epiphany
epiphany
An anti-climax ending
"She sat at the window watching the evening invade the avenue. Her head was leaned against the window curtains and in her nostrils was the odour of dusty cretonne. She was tired."
"...One time there used to be a field there in which they used to play every evening with other people’s children."
a religious term for a moment of revelation, enlightening - a manifestation of God's presence in the world
used by Joyce to describe an intense moment of secular revelation in the everyday world
"a sudden spiritual manifestation’ in which the ‘whatness’ of a common object or gesture appears radiant to the observer"
kernels of experience around which everything else is structured
a revelation experienced by an observer, recreated for the sake of the reader in the text
a deeply personal moment turned into a creative act
"a sudden spiritual manifestation, whether in the vulgarity of speech or of gesture or in a memorable phrase of the mind itself"
does not symbolize anything, remains open and creates a potential space for interpretation; records and recreates the moment
relates to a brief moment of realization that crown one's experience
occurs instantaneously, move beyond time, merging the emotional and intellectual, the spiritual and the material into a unity of being
turn time into space
indications of violence, poverty and boredom, and yet...
"It was hard work—a hard life—but now that she was about to leave it she did not find it a wholly undesirable life."
Eveline thinking of the future:
... She was to go away with him by the night-boat to be his wife and to live with him in Buenos Ayres where he had a home waiting for her...
... But in her new home, in a distant unknown country, it would not be like that. Then she would be married—she, Eveline. People would treat her with respect then. She would not be treated as her mother had been...
"As she mused the pitiful vision of her mother's life laid its spell on the very quick of her being—that life of commonplace sacrifices closing in final craziness. She trembled as she heard again her mother's voice saying constantly with foolish insistence:
"Derevaun Seraun! Derevaun Seraun!"
She stood up in a sudden impulse of terror. Escape! She must escape! Frank would save her. He would give her life, perhaps love, too. But she wanted to live. Why should she be unhappy? She had a right to happiness. Frank would take her in his arms, fold her in his arms. He would save her."
A bell clanged upon her heart. She felt him seize her hand:
"Come!"
All the seas of the world tumbled about her heart. He was drawing her into them: he would drown her. She gripped with both hands at the iron railing.
"Come!"
No! No! No! It was impossible. Her hands clutched the iron in frenzy. Amid the seas she sent a cry of anguish!
"Eveline! Evvy!"
He rushed beyond the barrier and called to her to follow. He was shouted at to go on but he still called to her. She set her white face to him, passive, like a helpless animal. Her eyes gave him no sign of love or farewell or recognition.
Eveline seems unable to imagine any other life than her miserable existence at home... every time she tries to think of the future, she drops back into the past
Introduction
artificiality?
greyness
oppression?
dust?
closed up
The real introduction
"Two young men came down the hill of Rutland Square."
spatial precision
Lenehan:
"His breeches, his white rubber shoes and his jauntily slung waterproof expressed youth. But his figure fell into rotundity at the waist, his hair was scant and grey and his face, when the waves of expression had passed over it, had a ravaged look."
incongruity, fraudulence
Corley:
"...rudeness..."
"Corley was the son of an inspector of police and he had inherited his father's frame and gait... He was often to be seen walking with policemen in plain clothes, talking earnestly. He knew the inner side of all affairs and was fond of delivering final judgments. He spoke without listening to the speech of his companions. His conversation was mainly about himself..."
a stool-pigeon?
"She..."
"I was going along Dame Street and I spotted a fine tart under Waterhouse's clock and said good-night, you know. So we went for a walk round by the canal and she told me she was a slavey in a house in Baggot Street. I put my arm round her and squeezed her a bit that night. Then next Sunday, man, I met her by appointment. We went out to Donnybrook and I brought her into a field there. She told me she used to go with a dairyman.... It was fine, man. Cigarettes every night she'd bring me and paying the tram out and back. And one night she brought me two bloody fine cigars—O, the real cheese, you know, that the old fellow used to smoke.... I was afraid, man, she'd get in the family way. But she's up to the dodge."
"knowing"
gives her boyfriend the things from the house (stolen?)
a maid
"She had her Sunday finery on. Her blue serge skirt was held at the waist by a belt of black leather. The great silver buckle of her belt seemed to depress the centre of her body, catching the light stuff of her white blouse like a clip. She wore a short black jacket with mother-of-pearl buttons and a ragged black boa. The ends of her tulle collarette had been carefully disordered and a big bunch of red flowers was pinned in her bosom, stems upwards. Lenehan's eyes noted approvingly her stout short muscular body. Frank rude health glowed in her face, on her fat red cheeks and in her unabashed blue eyes. Her features were blunt. She had broad nostrils, a straggling mouth which lay open in a contented leer, and two projecting front teeth."
the girl is described mostly through her clothes, as if what she wears defines her
her manner and appearance make her appear rather vulgar, quite a match for Corley
"Suddenly he saw them coming towards him. He started with delight and, keeping close to his lamp-post, tried to read the result in their walk. They were walking quickly, the young woman taking quick short steps, while Corley kept beside her with his long stride. They did not seem to be speaking. An intimation of the result pricked him like the point of a sharp instrument. He knew Corley would fail; he knew it was no go."
"Corley halted at the first lamp and stared grimly before him. Then with a grave gesture he extended a hand towards the light and, smiling, opened it slowly to the gaze of his disciple. A small gold coin shone in the palm."
What does it mean?
What was the "gallants'" plan?
Irish themes
The harp: Irish national instrument
"Not far from the porch of the club a harpist stood in the roadway, playing to a little ring of listeners. He plucked at the wires heedlessly, glancing quickly from time to time at the face of each new-comer and from time to time, wearily also, at the sky. His harp, too, heedless that her coverings had fallen about her knees, seemed weary alike of the eyes of strangers and of her master's hands. One hand played in the bass the melody of Silent, O Moyle, while the other hand careered in the treble after each group of notes. The notes of the air sounded deep and full."
Leneham becomes the harpist:
"His gaiety seemed to forsake him and, as he came by the railings of the Duke's Lawn, he allowed his hand to run along them. The air which the harpist had played began to control his movements. His softly padded feet played the melody while his fingers swept a scale of variations idly along the railings after each group of notes."
A joke about Irish national identity?
Leneham's meal
seedy Dublin, seedy heroes
squalid circumstances, squalid crimes
false epiphany
alienation and degradation
fear of feeling
The Hero
The Heroine
epiphany... of misunderstanding
Glimpse of the truth?
Return to the status quo of the old paralysis
"The lofty walls of his uncarpeted room were free from pictures. He had himself bought every article of furniture in the room: a black iron bedstead, an iron washstand, four cane chairs, a clothes-rack, a coal-scuttle, a fender and irons and a square table on which lay a double desk. A bookcase had been made in an alcove by means of shelves of white wood. The bed was clothed with white bedclothes and a black and scarlet rug covered the foot. A little hand-mirror hung above the washstand and during the day a white-shaded lamp stood as the sole ornament of the mantelpiece. The books on the white wooden shelves were arranged from below upwards according to bulk. A complete Wordsworth stood at one end of the lowest shelf and a copy of the Maynooth Catechism, sewn into the cloth cover of a notebook, stood at one end of the top shelf. Writing materials were always on the desk. In the desk lay a manuscript translation of Hauptmann's Michael Kramer, the stage directions of which were written in purple ink, and a little sheaf of papers held together by a brass pin. In these sheets a sentence was inscribed from time to time and, in an ironical moment, the headline of an advertisement for Bile Beans had been pasted on to the first sheet. On lifting the lid of the desk a faint fragrance escaped—the fragrance of new cedarwood pencils or of a bottle of gum or of an overripe apple which might have been left there and forgotten."
The narrator pays close attention to the furniture in Mr. Duffy's room - it seems that this is as close to observing the furniture of his soul as we will ever get...
"He looked down the slope and, at the base, in the shadow of the wall of the Park, he saw some human figures lying. Those venal and furtive loves filled him with despair. He gnawed the rectitude of his life; he felt that he had been outcast from life’s feast."
Colors - mostly black and white, walls - lofty but bare, everything has it's preordained place - life is perfectly lifeless, with the exception of a furtive smell that seems forgotten here...
"Mr. Duffy abhorred anything which betokened physical or mental disorder... His face, which carried the entire tale of his years, was of the brown tint of Dublin streets. On his long and rather large head grew dry black hair and a tawny moustache did not quite cover an unamiable mouth. His cheekbones also gave his face a harsh character; but there was no harshness in the eyes which, looking at the world from under their tawny eyebrows, gave the impression of a man ever alert to greet a redeeming instinct in others but often disappointed. He lived at a little distance from his body, regarding his own acts with doubtful side-glances. He had an odd autobiographical habit which led him to compose in his mind from time to time a short sentence about himself containing a subject in the third person and a predicate in the past tense. He never gave alms to beggars and walked firmly, carrying a stout hazel."
"Her face, which must have been handsome, had remained intelligent. It was an oval face with strongly marked features. The eyes were very dark blue and steady. Their gaze began with a defiant note but was confused by what seemed a deliberate swoon of the pupil into the iris, revealing for an instant a temperament of great sensibility. The pupil reasserted itself quickly, this half-disclosed nature fell again under the reign of prudence, and her astrakhan jacket, moulding a bosom of a certain fullness, struck the note of defiance more definitely."
"Little by little he entangled his thoughts with hers. He lent her books, provided her with ideas, shared his intellectual life with her. She listened to all."
Hero modeling the heroine
"With almost maternal solicitude she urged him to let his nature open to the full: she became his confessor."
"Her companionship was like a warm soil about an exotic. Many times she allowed the dark to fall upon them, refraining from lighting the lamp. The dark discreet room, their isolation, the music that still vibrated in their ears united them. This union exalted him, wore away the rough edges of his character, emotionalised his mental life. Sometimes he caught himself listening to the sound of his own voice. He thought that in her eyes he would ascend to an angelical stature; and, as he attached the fervent nature of his companion more and more closely to him, he heard the strange impersonal voice which he recognised as his own, insisting on the soul's incurable loneliness."
"We cannot give ourselves, it said: we are our own. The end of these discourses was that one night during which she had shown every sign of unusual excitement, Mrs. Sinico caught up his hand passionately and pressed it to her cheek."
"Love between man and man is impossible because there must not be sexual intercourse and friendship between man and woman is impossible because there must be sexual intercourse."
Devising comforting paradoxes
"When he reached his house he went up at once to his bedroom and, taking the paper from his pocket, read the paragraph again by the failing light of the window. He read it not aloud, but moving his lips as a priest does when he reads the prayers Secreto."
The shock
"As the light failed and his memory began to wander he thought her hand touched his. The shock which had first attacked his stomach was now attacking his nerves. He put on his overcoat and hat quickly and went out. The cold air met him on the threshold; it crept into the sleeves of his coat."
Stage 1: loss of feeling
"He replaced the morsel of food on his plate and read the paragraph attentively. Then he drank a glass of water, pushed his plate to one side, doubled the paper down before him between his elbows and read the paragraph over and over again. The cabbage began to deposit a cold white grease on his plate. The girl came over to him to ask was his dinner not properly cooked. He said it was very good and ate a few mouthfuls of it with difficulty. Then he paid his bill and went out."
Stage 2: revulsion
"The whole narrative of her death revolted him and it revolted him to think that he had ever spoken to her of what he held sacred. "
Stage 3: horror
Stage 5: guilt
"As he sat there, living over his life with her and evoking alternately the two images in which he now conceived her, he realised that she was dead, that she had ceased to exist, that she had become a memory..."
"Why had he withheld life from her? Why had he sentenced her to death? He felt his moral nature falling to pieces."
"Beyond the river he saw a goods train winding out of Kingsbridge Station, like a worm with a fiery head winding through the darkness, obstinately and laboriously."
"He turned back the way he had come, the rhythm of the engine pounding in his ears. He began to doubt the reality of what memory told him. He halted under a tree and allowed the rhythm to die away. He could not feel her near him in the darkness nor her voice touch his ear. He waited for some minutes listening. He could hear nothing: the night was perfectly silent. He listened again: perfectly silent. He felt that he was alone."
Full transcript