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Karen Lawrence



Copyright © 1981 by Princeton University Press

Published by Princeton University Press, Princeton, New Jersey

In the United Kingdom: Princeton University Press, Guildford, Surrey

All Rights Reserved

Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data will be found cm the last printed page of this book This book has been composed in Linotron Monticello Clothbound editions of Princeton University Press books are printed on acid-free paper, and binding materials are chosen for strength and durability Printed in the United States of America by Princeton University Press, Princeton, New Jersey To my mother and father, and to Peter, with love and thanks CONTENTS ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ix Introduction 3 Chapter I. Dublin Voices 16 Chapter II. The Narrative Norm 38 Chapter III. "Aeolus": Interruption and Inventory 55 Chapter IV. "Wandering Rocks" and "Sirens": The Breakdown of Narrative 80 Chapter V. "Cyclops," "Nausicaa" and "Oxen of the Sun": Borrowed Styles 101 Chapter VI. "Circe": The Rhetoric of Drama 146 Chapter VII. "EumaeusThe Way of All Language 165 Chapter VIII. "Ithaca": The Order of Things 180 Chapter IX. "Penelope": A Coda 203 BIBLIOGRAPHY 211 INDEX 225 vii


I would like to thank some outstanding teachers and schol­ ars who were more than willing to help a new Joycean get started. First as a dissertation adviser at Columbia, and then as a reader of the book manuscript, Michael Wood offered his guidance, encouragement, and superb critical talents. His insight and subtlety as a critic have helped me immeasurably in understanding Ulysses and in clarifying my own approach to the text. I'd also like to thank Joseph Mazzeo, my second dissertation reader, for his support and advice. I would urge anyone writing a dissertation on Joyce to have such a Renaissance man on his committee.

The transformation of a dissertation into a book can be a difficult and sometimes unsuccessful process. I was for­ tunate to encounter a number of people who helped make the process both enjoyable and productive.

To three deservedly well-known Joyceans—A. Walton Litz, Fritz Senn, and Michael Groden—I would like to extend my appreciation for their astute criticism, their sup­ port, and their help in getting the book published. Walt Litz read part of the manuscript and encouraged me to submit it to Princeton University Press. Fritz Senn and Mike Groden were the kind of scrupulous readers whom any aspiring author would hope to have—demanding but encouraging, critical but sympathetic.

I also benefited greatly from discussions with friends and colleagues whom I expect will be the next generation of prominent scholars and teachers. For the last five years, I have profited from an ongoing, sometimes long-distance, dialogue on Joyce with Betsy Seifter, whose intelligence and time have been much appreciated. I would like to Acknowledgments thank Henry Staten, my friend and colleague at the Uni­ versity of Utah, who offered his talent for argument and analysis, and provided support while challenging me to clarify and prove my assertions. My thanks also to Vivian Sobchack, who offered perceptive comments and editorial suggestions right up until the manuscript was cast in ce­ ment, and to Barry Weller for help in the final stages of manuscript preparation.

I also want to thank Jerry Sherwood and Cathy Thatcher, my editors at Princeton, who have made it a pleasure to work with their press, and Karen Donahue at the Univer­ sity of Utah, for the meticulous care and intelligence she displayed in typing the manuscript in its various incarna­ tions. Finally, my special thanks to my husband, Peter, for being the only surgical resident I know capable of such understanding, interest, and support during his own trial by fire.

I would like to thank Madame Marcel Duchamp, who very kindly allowed me to reprint Constantin Brancusi's Portrait of James Joyce, 1929, now in Madame Duchamp's private collection. For permission to quote from the works of James Joyce, I am indebted to the Society of Authors as the literary representatives of the Estate of James Joyce and to the Executors of the James Joyce Estate (Dubliners and A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man), and to the following publishers: Random House and The Bodley Head (Ulysses), The Viking Press (Letters of James Joyce, Selected Letters of James Joyce, Dubliners, and A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man), and Jonathan Cape Ltd. (Dub­ liners and A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man).

In a different form, this book was a dissertation submit­ ted for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in English Lit­ erature at Columbia University. Two chapters of the book, since revised, have appeared as articles: "Aeolus: Interrup­ tion and Inventory" appeared in The James Joyce Quarterly 17 (Summer 1980): 389-405, and "Style and Narrative in χ Acknowledgments the 'Ithaca' Chapter of Joyce's Ulysses" appeared in English Literary History 47 (Fall 1980): 559-574. I wish to ac­ knowledge The Johns Hopkins University Press as copy­ right holder for the latter article. My work during the sum­ mer of 1978 was made possible by a Faculty Development Grant from the University of Utah College of Humanities.

–  –  –

Until well into the 1970s, most book-length studies of Ulysses paid little attention to its radical stylistic changes.

Critics and teachers tended to focus on character, symbol, and myth rather than style.1 In part, this focus represented various attempts to come to terms with one of the major difficulties that critics perceived in the book: its narrative discontinuity. Leopold Bloom, Plumtree's Potted Meat, Ulysses—character, symbol, and myth—offered the critic certain patterns to offset the gaps in the narrative. During the first fifty years of Ulysses criticism, this focus was re


1 Of course, there are exceptions, such as Anthony Burgess, Arnold Gold­

man, and Hugh Kenner. Burgess displays a novelist's interest in style in ReJoyce (New York: W. W. Norton & Co., Inc., 1965) and later in Joyspnck: An Introduction to the Language of James Joyce (London: Andre Deutsch, 1973). Goldman, a particularly fine literary critic, anticipates the direction of subsequent Joyce criticism in one section of his book The Joyce Paradox: Form and Freedom in His Fiction (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1966). Kenner, who has written on Joyce's style more often and more provocatively than almost anyone else, discusses style at length in Dublin's Joyce (1956; reprint ed., Boston: Beacon Press, 1962). The following books published in the 1970s all include some discussion of style: David Hayman, Ulysses: The Mechanics of Meaning (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice Hall, Inc., 1970); Marilyn French, The Book as World: James Joyce's Ulysses (Cam­

bridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1976); C. H. Peake, James Joyce:

The Citizen and the Artist (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1977); and Hugh Kenner, Joyce's Voices (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1978). Since the writing of this book, two new studies that include discus­ sions of language have been published: Hugh Kenner, Ulysses (London: Al­ len & Unwin, Ltd., 1980), and Roy K. Gottfried, The Art of Joyce's Syntax in Ulysses (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1980).


fleeted in two main critical approaches that, in different ways, attempted to make sense of the narrative discontinuity in the text: the novelistic and the "spatial" or structural approaches.

One of the finest examples of the novelistic approach to Ulysses is S. L. Goldberg's The Classical Temper: A Study of James Joyce-lS Ulysses. For Goldberg, the discontinuity of the narrative is bridged by the continuity of character development. His interpretive model is the Jamesian novel of character and dramatic conflict; he praises the technical innovations in Ulysses that contribute to the development of plot and character and criticizes the rhetorical experi­ ments that impede this development.2 Erwin Steinberg's The Stream of Consciousness and Beyond in Ulysses is an­ other critical study that discusses narrative discontinuity in reference to character development and deliberately eschews analysis of the more radical, less character-based experi­ ments in the latter half of Ulysses. 3 More prevalent from the 1920s to the 1970s was the "spatial" or structural approach to Ulysses, articulated most fully by Joseph Frank in 1945. In his "Spatial Form in Modern Literature," Frank offered almost a manifesto for the spatial approach to modern literature in general. Re­ sponding to the narrative discontinuity in modern fiction, Frank proposed a "spatial" or nonsequential reading pre­ viously reserved for the study of poetry. Citing Ulysses as one of his major examples, Frank claimed that modern nov­ els are like imagist poems, which work at "frustrating the reader's normal expectation of a sequence and forcing him to perceive the elements of the poem as juxtaposed in space rather than unrolling in time."4 In order to perceive this 2 S. L. Goldberg, The Classical Temper: A Study of James Joyce's Ulysses (London: Chatto and Windus, 1961).

3 Erwin R. Steinberg, The Stream of Consciousness and Beyond in Ulysses (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1973).

4 Joseph Frank, "Spatial Form in Modern Literature," Sewanee Review 53 (1945). Revised in TheWidening Gyre: Crisis and Mastery in Modern Literature (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1963), p. 10.


juxtaposition in space, the reader must have the entire book in his mind; he must see the beginning in terms of the end.

Consequently, modern fiction, like modern poetry, cannot be "read" but only "reread," so that the reader can discover the "pattern of relationships" woven into the text. What Joseph Frank and others did for the readers of works like Ulysses was to give them a model of intelligibility, the imagist poem, that helped to explain the discontinuity of the fiction. If this modernist fiction deliberately destroyed nar­ rative continuity, it replaced the unity of narrative with a unity of what Frank called "aesthetic form."5 Later critics like William York Tindall continued to read Ulysses as a kind of gigantic poem. Whereas Frank con­ cerned himself with the details and allusions in Ulysses that had to be fit together like the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle, Tindall was equally interested in symbolic and allegorical parallels within the work. Although he leads his reader through Ulysses chapter by chapter in his A Reader's Guide to James Joyce, Tindall portrays Ulysses as a system of crossreferences, a spatial, symbolic poem.6 Both the novelistic and the spatial approaches to the book refused to deal with its most strikingly original and diso­ rienting aspect: its radical stylistic and modal changes. In reading Ulysses as a dramatic novel or as an imagist poem, these critics lost the sense of it as a work that deliberately changes, develops, transforms itself. One could say that the novelistic readings of Ulysses express the wish that all of

5 Recently, there has been much debate on the concept of spatial form,

particularly in Critical Inquiry, which has provided a forum for discussions of space versus time in literature. In recent essays, Frank has buttressed his thesis on space versus time in modern literature with arguments from structuralism and linguistics. See "Spatial Form: An Answer to Critics," Critical Inquiry 4 (Winter 1977): 231-252, and "Spatial Form: Some Further Reflections," Crit­ ical Inquiry 5 (Winter 1978): 275-290. Anyone interested in the entire debate, including some convincing rebuttals to Frank, should consult Critical Inquiry 4 (Winter 1977), and Frank Kermode's "Reply to Joseph Frank," in Critical Inquiry 4 (Spring 1978): 579-588.

6 William York Tindall, A Reader's Guide to James Joyce (New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1959).


Ulysses resembled its early chapters; the spatial readings ignore the fact that it doesn't.7 In regarding the book as a map spread out before the reader, the "spatial" critics, es­ pecially, ignore both the stylistic progression in the narrative and the process of confirmation and disconfirmation of ex­ pectations in the reader's experience.

In this book I offer a reading that focuses on style instead of plot and structure and that restores the notion of temporal process to the reading of Ulysses in two ways: by regarding the changes in style as rhetorical experiments that move in certain general directions and by regarding the effects of these experiments on the reader's expectations. One can describe Ulysses as a book that changes its mind as it pro­ gresses and forces a corresponding change of mind in the reader. The segmented quality of Ulysses—the discontinuity of the narrative as it dons various stylistic "masks"—can be treated as successive breaks in "narrative contracts" and successive rhetorical experiments rather than segments in a spatial whole. The reader of Ulysses comes to each chapter with expectations that are contingent upon what he has experienced not only in other novels but also in the pre­ ceding chapters of this one. These expectations are frus­ trated and altered as the book progresses. The narrative contract we form at the beginning of the book—the implicit agreement between the writer and the reader about the way the book is to be read—is broken. No one who has read Ulysses can deny his increasing struggle to cope with the wealth of detail and with the protean transformations of style. This sense of increasing difficulty may be mentioned in a discussion of structure, but in a sequential or linear reading of Ulysses, this struggle forms one of the major concerns.

My interest in the process of reading and the problems of interpretation converges, in part, with such reader-oriSee Joyce's Voices (pp. 1-2) for Hugh Kenner's remarks on T. S. Eliot's famous essay "Ulysses, Order and Myth," which was one of the earliest struc­ tural or spatial approaches to Ulysses.


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