Posts Tagged ‘ulysses’

Rhetoric, Oratory, and a Crux or two

July 28, 2010 6 comments

The seventh episode, “Aeolus,” is where the fun really begins. Up until now we’ve had a fairly naturalistic novel, experimental in narrative technique but hewing close to a few modes: exposition, internal monologue, etc. When episode seven opens, we right away know something’s up: what are these headings doing here? This is the chapter where the true star of the book emerges, what David Hayman dubbed “the Arranger”: a narrative persona beyond simple first or third person, a kind of Artist-God behind the book, playing games with the reader. We’ll see a lot more of him in the second half.

The game in this chapter is rhetoric, and littered throughout the chapter are dozens of rhetorical devices, giving the chapter a linguistic verve surpassing that of the early chapters. You can have fun hunting for them, or, if you’re like me and you wouldn’t recognize a polyptoton if it came up and spit in your face, you can refer to Gilbert and/or Gifford, both of whom provide lists. Also central to the episode are the three speeches cited by various characters, illustrating various styles of oratory. The last of these was actually recorded by Joyce himself, the only known recording of him reading from this book (there’s also an excellent recording, well-worth checking out, of him doing a passage from the Wake):

And then there’s this passage, as J.J. O’Molloy is discussing the second example of oratory: 

–He spoke on the law of evidence, J.J. O’Molloy said, of Roman justice as contrasted with the earlier Mosaic code, the lex talionis. And he cited the Moses of Michelangelo in the vatican.


–A few wellchosen words, Lenehan prefaced. Silence!

Pause. J.J. O’Molloy took out his cigarettecase.

False lull. Something quite ordinary.

Messenger took out his matchbox thoughtfully and lit his cigar.

I have often thought since on looking back over that strange time that it was that small act, trivial in itself, that striking of that match, that determined the whole aftercourse of both our lives. (7.755-65)

What is happening in that last line? Who is speaking? Who are the two who “both” are having the course of their lives determined? For that matter, who is “Messenger”? It seems reasonable to say that it is either J.J. O’Molloy or Lenehan, the two who are speaking here, but why do we suddenly have this drastic change of tone? I’m sure many critics have puzzled over it: I rather thought it might be an example of a rhetorical device, but neither Gifford nor Gilbert seems to mention it. Thoughts?

And while I’m putting questions out there: what do people think of Stephen’s Parable of the Plums? That’s something the critics almost always address, usually chalking it up to political allegory (see, for example, Richard Ellmann’s guide Ulysses on the Liffey, which I don’t think I’ve mentioned yet). But every time I read it I’m still puzzled by it. What do you guys make of it?

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Straw Poll

I started reading next week’s assignment last night and found myself coming back again and again to the question of why we read the super-hard books like Ulysses. I had Gaddis’s JR in mind as well, thanks to some comments on my post of yesterday about composition (and some notes I took for next week’s reading about mechanization, which was a concern of Gaddis’s). Both books proved challenges for me to get into. Gaddis’s book I actually made it through on my first attempt, but it took me about 1/3 of the book’s (long) length to figure out how to orient myself within the text. It’s the kind of book you have to learn to read as you’re reading it. I think Ulysses is the same sort of book, and I find that (so far) I’m having an easier time the further in I get. I’m getting oriented at last. (Which doesn’t mean I necessarily like what I’m reading, though episode ten is probably my favorite so far.) But back to my question.

Why do we read these things? I understand why we read something like Moby-Dick. For all its bad rap, it is not an especially difficult book. It’s ambitious and encyclopedic, sure, but the act of reading it isn’t terribly challenging. It is written in a familiar mode according (mostly) to rules and boundaries that make it simple enough to follow. If Moby-Dick is a hard book, it is hard by virtue of its content rather than of its form. Ulysses and JR are hard by virtue of their form more than their content (though they’re also so full of everything in more concrete ways than the way in which Moby-Dick is full of everything in the sort of philosophical abstract). Reading these books is like trying to pat your tummy and rub your head at the same time (without the sustained giggling).

So why do it? My theory is that writerly types are the most interested in these books. Maybe that’s true of most books, but I suspect it’s true more of these really technically hard books than of others. We read them to crack them open and try to understand why what works in them works (and why what doesn’t doesn’t). That theory is the basis of the straw poll I advertise in this post’s title.

Do you have an abortive novel stuck in a drawer somewhere, some poems on an editor’s desk awaiting a rejection slip? Do you count yourself a writerly type or more a readerly type? Is it a meaningful difference? Do you think that writerly types are likely to be more drawn to these really formally hard books than other readers are?

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The Dead

July 27, 2010 2 comments

I apologize for not posting last week: I’ve been a bit swamped with other obligations (intensive beginner German studies, mostly: “Learn German too” (6.84)) and haven’t had the time to commit like I should. But I couldn’t let the week pass without a brief comment on one of my favorite episodes, “Hades.” (I have things to say about “Lotus-Eaters,” “Calypso,” and “Proteus” as well, but I’ll have to skip those for now: perhaps I will have the opportunity to make some “trenchant” comments on them in “retrospective arrangement” (6.148-9) as we move forward.)

In my last post I pointed out that one way of reading Ulysses is as a ghost story: and probably no chapter is more haunted than “Hades” (well, maybe: feel free to disagree with me about that in four weeks or so).  There are several qualities of spectre populating this chapter, and I’d like to make a brief attempt to catalog them.

First, there are the obvious ghosts of the characters’ lost loved ones: Daryl’s already written on Bloom’s beautiful elegiac thoughts of Rudy, which weave into his memories of his father’s suicide; we can place these alongside Simon Dedalus’s self-pitying but still moving grief for Stephen’s mother.  And of course there’s “poor Paddy Dignam,” our Elpenor.

The Odyssey parallels seem particularly thick in this chapter, as are the Hamlet allusions, offering a second class of spectrality: the episode, like the book, is haunted by the Ghost(s) of Literature Past. More importantly, the chapter is populated by the shades of Joyce’s previous fiction: we open on a carriage filled with Bloom and three familiar faces. Martin Cunningham and Mr. Power both appeared in one of the most significant stories in Dubliners, “Grace”; Simon Dedalus, of course, looms large throughout Portrait (and there’s also a mention of “old Mrs Riordan” (6.378) from the famous Christmas dinner scene). Many more names from Dubliners appear in their conversation, or on the street as they drive by: Ignatius Gallaher (“A Little Cloud”), Paddy Leonard and Peake (“Counterparts”), Crofton (“Ivy Day in the Committee Room”) and others. The one story that you would most expect to see a connection to, “The Dead,” doesn’t seem to be mentioned, but it looms there in the background. (Gretta Conroy came up in episode 4; Gabriel will be mentioned in 7).

Speaking of Mrs Riordan and “Ivy Day,” perhaps the biggest ghost in the chapter, and the one that eludes many contemporary readers, is the ghost of Parnell, who along with other shades of Irish history and politics haunts  the city of Dublin and the conversations of its citizens. That’s far from my area of expertise, however, so I won’t linger over it.

Finally, the ghosts that I find most affecting in this chapter are two still-living characters who flit through it. Stephen is spotted by Bloom, but isn’t recognized by his own father, to whom he is as good as a ghost at this moment. And Molly haunts Bloom’s thoughts throughout the book, causing some quite painful moments in the carriage when she and Boylan come up in conversation, leaving Bloom to “review the nails of his left hand, then those of his right hand” (6.200). So subtle!

Anyway, that’s just a brief comment on one of my favorite chapters. I hope to have more on another of my favorites, “Lestrygonians,” later in the week.

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I’ve written before about composition from the perspective of Stephen. There’s some more of that in this week’s reading as well, as we get his various asides as he pontificates about Hamlet. (I didn’t much enjoy episodes seven or nine, by the way. Nine was especially irritating.) This week I’m going to write a bit about composition from the perspective of Bloom. Though there may be more/other relevant passages than the ones I’ll list here (time constraints kept me from doing the second readthrough this week), I’ll focus on a few that stood out to me.

The first appears on page 152 of my edition. Bloom is considering how poets write and suggests that they do so by using similar sounds. Then he amends his assessment when he thinks of Shakespeare writing in blank verse; it’s not the rhyme, he figures, but the flow of the language that makes poetry (Milton came to a similar conclusion and advertised it in the argument to Paradise Lost, it occurs to me). The trigger for these thoughts seems to be his somewhat serendipitously pairing the words “rats” and “vats” after thinking about rats in a brewery. He then sees some gulls, thinks back to the story about Reuben J (94) his telling of which was rudely interrupted (the thwarted telling of that story/joke a sort of act of verbal composition in the works; thanks to Paul for calling to my attention this detail, which I had sort of glossed over), and comes up with a little couplet about a gull flapping over the sort of water Reuben J would have pitched into. We have witnessed here an act of artistic creation. It’s no great act, as the couplet is really kind of bad, but the gesture is intact. There’s a moment of discovery (rats/vats) followed by a brief stream of associations followed by a sort of synthesis followed by analysis.

A few pages later, casting his thoughts again to Dignam while trying to elicit sympathy from a female acquaintance he meets (one of the major points of poetry, one might argue), he seems to write another little ditty, this time using an old Robert Burns song as source material (Salinger latched onto the same song, with alterations of his own):

Your funeral’s tomorrow
While you’re coming through the rye.
Diddlediddle dumdum
Diddlediddle . . .

He doesn’t speak the ditty aloud, of course. What he has just spoken aloud is “Funeral was this morning.” Metrically, it’s very similar to the first line of his little stanza; “this morning” and “tomorrow” scan identically, and the larger phrases both include “funeral” at the beginning. He has taken an utterance and turned it into a nubbin of a poem. The first line is rhythmically similar to a repeated line from Burns’s poem — “Should a body meet a body” — and the lines share a body association, so he makes the leap. But he’s distracted by conversation and can’t finish the thought, so he substitutes rhythm placeholders to close out the stanza. I imagine him subtly padding his fingers on his pantleg along with the rhythm he fashions in his head.

The next act of composition that stood out to me appears on page 170. Bloom has gone into a restaurant and, grossed out by the masticatory, slobbery, soppy affair of actually eating elbow-to-elbow with other people (compare to his contemplation of dining upon a kidney alone in episode four), sees a man stuffing cabbage down his throat with his knife. He thinks of the old saying about being born with a silver spoon in your mouth and modifies it to say (to himself) that this man was born with a silver knife in his mouth. Bloom thinks it’s a witty modification. But then he realizes that silver would suggest that the man was born rich, and this man clearly wasn’t. When you ditch the silver association and are left with the knife, you lose the allusion, he concludes. Not so witty after all. (Ahem, Kinch.) Bloom here is composing and revising a witticism he might have been thinking of using later in the day. It’s easy enough to imagine him among friends again trying to cut in (a la the Reuben J story) with an anecdote complete with witty wordplay.

On the next page, Bloom turns his mind to cannibalism (again inspired by the gobstuffing going on around him) and starts putting together a limerick. He rolls it around in his head while ordering food. An acquaintance uses the phrase “Who’s getting it up” (about Molly’s concert series), and the sexual connotation of the phrase, along with his prior speculation that the cannibal chief gets to eat the “parts of honor” of any victims, leads Bloom in a more ribald direction with the limerick. Again we’ve seen here how the germ of an idea takes on the associations that the surrounding events and conversation suggest and results in an act of creative expression.

A couple of pages later, Bloom thinks about an idea for a poison mystery story, but I’m not as interested in that as I am in his treatment of a couple of flies he spots. First he thinks the following: “Stuck on the pane two flies buzzed, stuck.” Later, he observes: “Stuck, the flies buzzed.” Sexual imagery aside (the two thoughts are separated by an explicitly sensual passage), these observations strike me as acts of revision. By the time he reaches the end of the first sentence, he has decided he didn’t like his syntax, and he tacks “stuck” back onto the end. Or maybe it’s not a syntactical revision so much as a syntactical emphasis. Or maybe it’s merely a mistake, a detail added that he forgot he had already specified. In any case, it’s a considered sentence. The later version suggests revisitation of the observation. Maybe he’s not landing on a final syntax here, but he’s thinking again about the flies (was it watching two flies stuck together that called to mind the sensual scene from his memory, much as watching a couple of stuck-together dogs got Molly hot and bothered in an earlier episode?) and about the particular terms in which he’s thinking about them. It seemed to me a sort of glimpse at a way in which associations influence composition.

As I noted initially, we also see behind the curtain of Stephen’s mode of composition. I think the men’s modes are different, though I’m not sure I can explain very well why I think this; it’s sort of a vague sense at this point. Stephen is a composer of imagery around abstract ideas, while Bloom is a simpler compositor of associations. Stephen seems to go from memory to poetry, Bloom from observation to poetry to memory (I’m not at all sure yet that I fully believe this; I’m still considering it). Stephen knows a lot of things and uses poetry to showcase what he knows. Bloom asks a lot of questions (seriously, I’ve written “inquisitive” in my margins a bunch of times), and his private compositions arise in a way out of his trying to locate himself within the world around him. Stephen, maybe, is a dry, sterile Modernist (I’ve touched before on my bias against Modernism), Bloom something either older or newer, something to me more personal and likable, if less accomplished and cerebral.

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Et in Arcadia Ego

July 26, 2010 2 comments

We’ve seen a man shaving, two breakfasts, nude swimming, a bath, and a trip to the outhouse; who didn’t see the “Hades” funeral coming? When part of the point is apparently to depict the pure embodiedness of living, death has to hover on the horizon. And notice how almost none of the physical living we’ve seen has been done by Stephen? Bloom gleefully feeds his body on other bodies; the “Odyssey” section, the “Calypso” episode, and in fact Bloom’s whole appearance in the book all begin with an almost Rabelaisian catalog of body parts he loves to devour:

Mr Leopold Bloom ate with relish [fun garden path here—condiment or contentment?] the inner organs of beasts and fowls. He liked thick giblet soup, nutty gizzards, a stuffed roast heart, liverslices fried with crustcrumbs, fried hencods’ roes. Most of all he liked grilled mutton kidneys which gave to his palate a fine tang of faintly scented urine.

Check that out: His favorite flavor comes sauced with piss.

Stephen, on the other hand… He’s mostly just unsettled or disgusted by bodies. He seems to appreciate hands, but otherwise the bodies that come up in his episodes have so far been dead mothers, bloated, drowned corpses, a dead dog. Oh, and he wipes some snot on a rock. There’s none of the earthy appreciation for embodied living that fills Bloom’s episodes with such gusto.

Which is why I’m so pleased that it’s Bloom in the funeral carriage, rather than Stephen. We can probably guess what kind of morose, depressed-person, self-centered piece it would be to read if it were focused through Stephen. But with Bloom instead, it’s lively and funny and touching and humane. (I hope to come to feel warmer toward Stephen over the course of the book.) He has both a sentimentality and a pragmatism in this episode that I just love. His wry outsider’s perspective on the Christian burial ceremony is awfully percipient, and there’s an undeniable frisson to his description of postmortem liquefaction and his meditations on maggots and how even a graveyard rat’s gotta eat.

I’m getting a little scattershot here, but it’s because this post is more appreciative than interpretive. I can go through bit and bit describe for you what moves me in this episode and why, but it amounts to the presentation of Bloom as—to quote the man himself, in his private appraisal of Martin Cunningham—a “sympathetic human man.” In all its mundanity and gruesomeness and sorrow and totting up and shallowness and sympathy and bruised pride and sexual desire, Bloom’s internal experience of the funeral of an acquaintance feels entirely real. What most rouses my great tenderness for him here is his repeated return to thoughts of his dead infant son and his father’s suicide. His observation on the pointlessness of staking a suicide’s heart—“As if it wasn’t broken already”—is so sad and so empathetic. Joyce shows him in this episode as a man who, for all the energetic joy he brings to living, carries enormous sorrows with him but still looks out for the sufferings of others. (That’s why he says a sudden death is best: no suffering.) He’ll spend part of his day looking to see whether statues of goddesses have anuses, but he also thinks about how comforting it must be for the dead to hear jokes or fashions discussed by the corteges that tromp over them.

Eh, I’m rambling. My point is: The “Hades” episode is a beautifully empathetic portrait of a normal, everyday, empathetic man who understands that life you love more than your own can begin with the sight of two dogs mating in an alley, and that that doesn’t diminish it even a little.

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Had we but world enough, and time

Early in this week’s reading, I scribbled in the margins of my edition of Ulysses a brief set of notes and arrows attached to the line “Hurry up, damn it. Make hay while the sun shines.” Bloom thinks these thoughts as he contemplates the hams of the voluptuous girl he wishes to follow out of the butcher shop. My notes read more or less as follows:

carpe diem —> typically a vitality genre, often full of senses —> Calypso is Odysseus’s chance to get moving

The middle note bears some explanation. I had noticed that Joyce’s Calypso episode seemed unusually full of sense descriptions, from oddly accurate onomatopoeic representations of a cat’s meow to the pissy tang that Bloome finds appealing in kidneys. There are odors galore (in one of the annotations at UlyssesSeen, we’re told that Joyce was one of our great smell writers) — water scented with fennel; a bar squirting out whiffs of ginger, teadust, and biscuitmush; fresh air; “the lukewarm breath of cooked spicy pig’s blood,” the recollected perfume of citrus fruit; the smell of breath; and of course the stench of feces. Each of the other senses is represented as well, some of them very vividly.

The Calypso episode begins with eating and ends with death. In between, there’s more eating, thoughts of sexual activity, and evacuation. It’s an episode very much about the details of living, told with the specter of death in the background. I began to think of it as something of a carpe diem piece. “Enjoy even the most basic, prosaic things about life to the fullest,” it seemed to me to say.

Then The Lotus Eaters episode continued the venial theme and did so with a floral motif. In The Odyssey, the adventurers who consume the troublesome flower are stopped in their tracks by apathy and a lack of any desire to continue their journey home. The flower in the old story represents the suppression of desire. Joyce turns that representation on its ear. Bloom — masquerading in print as Henry Flower (both floral names, note) — writes titillating letters back and forth with one Martha. Bloom can’t even notice the horses he passes without thinking about the fact that they’re gelded. We see various references to pins (tiny phalluses), including one bawdy song with the refrain “To keep it up.” There’s a passage on page 78 about the eucharist that uses very suggestive language about women bowing their heads and having things put into their mouths and drops shaken in. He imagines the old popes as eunuchs. He contemplates (I believe) masturbating in the bath, and the episode ends with Bloom considering the languid floating flower of his genitals and pubic hair floating in the bath. There’s more that I haven’t catalogued here and no doubt more that I missed. Toward the end of the episode, Joyce writes “Always passing, the stream of life, which in the stream of life we trace is dearer than them all.” Here too I made a margin note of “carpe diem.” In an episode very much about desire and filled with floral associations, it bears keeping in mind that flowers are perhaps nature’s most overtly sexual beings, with their colorful organs ever on display, the smell of their sex valuable to people (Bloom goes to the chemist’s for a scented lotion) as a perfume.

Our third section for the week addresses death more frankly than it does life and sex and sensation, but it’s not drained wholly of these matters. Bloom thinks about his daughter’s blooming as she reaches her mid-teens, for example, and there’s much made of heirs potentially ruined (Stephen) or already dead (Bloom’s dead child Rudy). Joyce writes of “love among the tombstomes.” “In the midst of death we are in life” he writes. Rather touchingly, he writes of Bloom’s ill-fated son’s conception:

My son. Me in his eyes. Strange feeling it would be. From me. Just a chance. Must have been that morning in Raymond terrace she was at the window, watching the two dogs at it by the wall of the cease to do evil. And the sergeant grinning up. She had that cream gown on with the rip she never stitched. Give us a touch, Poldy. God, I’m dying for it. How life begins.

I begin, as I chew on these episodes a bit, to think of Calypso as a chapter about appetite and desire generally. It’s so full of senses, and yet it is not bawdy or often explicitly sexual, and so it seems to me to be a chapter about living life in general to its fullest, about enjoying even the tiniest things like a remembered scent of oranges and citrons. Lotus, then, is an amplification of the particular desire for sex. But it is still a chapter about desire more than about fulfillment of desire. The titillating letters are ever about a future meeting and not about a successful tryst. Hades, then, is in some way about long-past fulfillment of desire (see the passage quoted at some length above) and contemplation of the inevitability of death; it’s about regret and loss (as it is in Joyce’s source material).

I don’t think I’m quite ready to declare that this week’s reading assignment constitutes a formal, intentional member of the carpe diem genre, but certainly with all its desire and sexual innuendo (and nuendo?), its direct statements in the carpe diem vein, and its preoccupation with the finitude of life, it can be read with the carpe diem genre very much in mind.

Which brings me to the title for my post, which I take from the opening stanza of Marvell’s exemplary carpe diem poem “To His Coy Mistress”:

Had we but world enough, and time,
This coyness, lady, were no crime.
We would sit down and think which way
To walk, and pass our long love’s day;

Ulysses is, of course, a book obsessed with time. It details a day’s activities and thoughts painstakingly, often with nods to the time of day. It is also a book obsessed with place, and it is a pedestrian book, by which I mean not that it is boring or usual but that it is a walking book. So Marvell’s opening lines work nicely as a sort of epigraph as I consider this week’s reading through the filter I’ve here described rather disjunctively. Had we but world enough and time to walk and pass our long love’s day, we might instead read Ulysses.

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And the Stream of Consciousness Rolls Ever On

July 18, 2010 5 comments

All right, so I know that in 1922 the stream of consciousness was the very Rubicon that marked the border with the future of literature; but lo these 88 years later, we’re reasonably familiar with the trick. I have a well-loved Mrs Dalloway in one of my boxes of books, and we most of us had to read The Sound and the Fury in high school, or repeatedly for pleasure, right? (And let’s not forget Ken Erdedy and Clenette Henderson.) It’s not a new game. But I’m surprised at how disorienting it is in Ulysses. I may just be rusty, but Joyce’s use of the technique—especially in “Proteus,” although of course that’s no accident—is more thorough and defamiliarizing than I expected.

I caught the switch between third person and first person that Judd notes, so it’s mostly clear when we’re dealing with “the narrator” and when we’re reading a character’s mind. What trips me up sometimes is the comprehensiveness of the stream-of-consciousness bits: In the same way that your thoughts to yourself generally don’t actually narrate your situation and actions, but only your impressions of them, conscious reactions to them, and mental processes that merely happen to take place among them, Stephen doesn’t tell us what he’s doing, only what he’s thinking about as he does it. This makes it difficult sometimes to keep up with the stage business of the story. Among other things, I think this is what makes “Proteus” such a challenge on the first try. Stephen is so wrapped up in his own head that he only notices some of what occurs around him, and what “the narrator” doesn’t explain for us, we often have to riddle out. For instance (to backtrack to “Telemachus”), that seal’s head is Malachi Mulligan, plump double dactyl, ’s, right? Instead of an actual seal’s, I mean.

Then again, it’s Stephen’s imagination and rambling associativeness that drives the most beautiful passages in the first three episodes. His memories that never happened of the milkwoman (1.397ff.) and of Mrs. Sargent’s mother-love (2.139ff.) are magical bits of imaginative creation, and the water-songs (1.242ff., 3.55ff., and 3.456ff.) are gorgeous poetry. I think the most impressive stretch of these first 40-ish pages is Stephen’s remembered dream of his mother at 1.102ff. For sheer psychological condensation, it rivals “My mother is a fish.”

The Ulysses “Seen” page for this passage does a fine job of showing the horror that Stephen attaches to the details of his dream’s dead mother—the smells, the physical wasting, the breath coming out of her mouth. The text then begins a remarkable layering process that demonstrates how overdetermined Stephen’s thoughts are, how everything reminds him of other things. He’s looking at his cuff, and remembers (among other things) his mother’s graveclothes; then, as he thinks of the “wetted ashes” smell of his mother’s breath, he sees beyond his cuff the sea, which Buck, quoting Swinburne, has called a mother. (Wetted ashes and the water and horrid breath congeal again at 3.150: “Unwholesome sandflats waited to suck his treading soles, breathing upward sewage breath, a pocket of seaweed smouldered in seafire under a midden of man’s ashes.”) “Clothes” and “wet” and “mother” lead from his own mother to the sea, where the bay is the edge of a bowl holding a “dull green mass of liquid” just like the white china bowl his mother hacked her bile into on her deathbed, and then “Buck Mulligan wiped again his razorblade,” which reactivates the bowl association to include the first sentence of the book, in which Buck’s shaving bowl parodies a solemn religious accoutrement (I don’t know Catholicism well enough to say which one) so that we remember again what we learned 15 lines ago, that Stephen refused to pray for his own dying mother.

As densely associative as this passage is—and I’m sure I’ve missed some of the connections; at the very least, I suspect there’s something in it of Stephen’s penury (the edge of his cuff is both “fraying” and “threadbare”) and of the contrast between Buck’s “wellfed” voice and the mother’s “loud groaning vomiting”—that’s how Stephen’s mind works. It’s a foretaste of the “Proteus” to come, in miniature and with context, to demonstrate how far we’re going to roam in this book from what we’re accustomed to. Yet it will seem familiar all the same, once we can learn the motions of it, because its abandonment of traditional technique is in the service of a psychological realism in which we can recognize some of the ways our minds work.

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