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JAMES JOYCE

Now, as never before, his strange name seemed to him a prophecy. So
timeless seemed the grey warm air, so fluid and impersonal his own mood,
that all ages were as one to him. […] Now, at the name of the fabulous
artificer, he seemed to hear the noise of dim waves and to see a winged form
flying above the waves and slowly climbing the air. What did it mean? Was
it a quaint device opening a page of some medieval book of prophecies and
symbols, a hawklike man flying sunward above the sea, a prophecy of the
end he had been born to serve and had been following through the mists of
childhood and boyhood, a symbol of the artist forging anew in his workshop
out of the sluggish matter of the earth a new soaring impalpable
imperishable being? (A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, 192)
His soul had arisen from the grave of boyhood, spurning her graveclothes.
Yes! Yes! Yes! He would create proudly out of the freedom and power of his
soul, as the great artificer whose name he bore, a living thing, new and
soaring and beautiful, impalpable, imperishable. (A Portrait of the Artist as
a Young Man, 193)

Some of its original readers, Virginia Woolf or T.S. Eliot, hailed Joyce’s
work as “the most important expression which the present age has found.” 1
Others, like Bennett or Aldington, were repelled by it, seeing it as “a
tremendous libel on humanity.”2 Yet, no matter if they praised it for being able
“to come closer to life” 3 or loathed it for being “indecent, obscene, scatological
and licentious”4, all agreed that Joyce’s work was remarkable, technically
successful, an astonishing literary phenomenon.
1

T. S. Eliot, ‘Ulysses, Order and Myth’, 222.
Richard Aldington, ‘The Influence of Mr. James Joyce,’ The Idea of literature. The Foundations of
English Criticism (Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1979) 211.
3
Virginia Woolf, ‘Modern Fiction’, 199.
4
Arnold Bennett, ‘James Joyce’s Ulysses’, 209.
2

that expresses what we wish to express. if we are writers. art as a form of expression enjoying the advantage of a medium of its own. Joyce’s most strikingly asserts itself as art. each method is seen as a pathway to knowledge. every method is right. ‘Modern Fiction’. that brings us closer to the novelist’s intention. everything is a proper stuff of fiction. the deeper the meaning that began to surface. but in the new status assigned to literature. 202. . Thus Joyce’s work may be seen as an unparalleled artistic answer to the essential modernist questions relating to the essence of the literary act. every feeling. What is the proper stuff of fiction? “The proper stuff of fiction” does not exist. Joyce’s originality. Of all the English modernists’ works. it does not reside so much in the sense realism and modernism make of the real. Joyce’s is the indubitable evidence that if there is any difference at all between realism and modernism in literary terms.. that is language and technique. This does not mean that Joyce’s narrative strategy necessarily.”6 What Joyce demonstrates through his work is that. By this strategy. no perception comes amiss. Joyce did in 5 6 Virginia Woolf.art as a form of knowledge. if fiction is to be raised to the status of art. resides in the variety and the combination of techniques. implies the adoption of completely new techniques. 200. The more variations on a method he could imagine. much of the difficulty presupposed by the reading of his texts being caused by it. this can be done only through focus on the potentialities of what gives the art of fiction its specificity in relation to the other arts. she would undoubtedly bid us break her and bully her. every thought. that is techniques that had not been also used by his predecessors. and exclusively. if we are readers. the art of fiction . And if we can imagine the art of fiction come alive and standing in our midst. For Joyce. The less expected the combination of methods. art as autonomous. Ibid. the richer the aspects of reality that were likely to be revealed.”5 How is the material that life provides to be made into art? “Any method is right. for so her youth is renewed and her sovereignty assured. every quality of the brain and spirit is drawn upon.Of the English modernist novelists’ works. as well as honour her.

thus. . access to the object’s essence and understands it as integrated within a system 7 Derek Attridge. Depending on the intensity of focalisation. The moment the focus is reached the object is epiphanised. He rather tried to “heighten our awareness of the techniques he so skilfully deploys by raising questions about our strategies of interpretation. of things and beings. One such concept. seeing that they themselves are the most delicate and evanescent of moments. By an epiphany he meant a sudden spiritual manifestation. catch a glimpse of it. at least familiarity with aesthetic and ethical concepts and principles on which much of Joyce’s philosophy of life and art was built. ‘Reading Joyce. allude to it. It is only an item in the catalogue of Dublin’s street furniture. He believed that it was for the man of letters to record these epiphanies with extreme care. the supreme quality of beauty. refer to it.’ The Cambridge Companion to James Joyce. indispensable to the understanding of Joyce’s work as a whole. 216) Beauty resides in the perceiving subject’s ability to move beyond surfaces. the perceiving subject starts resonating with the perceived object and has.no way attempt to destroy the illusion of reality or to discard as useless the methods employed to create this illusion. whether in the vulgarity of speech or of gesture or in a memorable phase of the mind itself. He told Cranly that the clock of the Ballast Office was capable of an epiphany.’ said Stephen. which Joyce defined in Stephen Hero.’ ‘What?’ ‘Imagine my glimpses at that clock as the gropings of a spiritual eye which seeks to adjust its vision to an exact focus. 1990) 8. ‘I will pass it time after time. is epiphany. Derek Attridge (Cambridge: Cambridge UP. if not a level of erudition similar to Joyce’s when he created. Understanding Joyce requires from readers.’ (Stephen Hero. Then all at once I see it and I know at once what it is: epiphany.”7 Understanding Joyce always means more than just reading his novels for the sheer pleasure of the reading act. ‘Yes. It is just in this epiphany I find the third. ed. Cranly questioned the inscrutable dial of the Ballast Office with his no less inscrutable countenance. the novel from which A Portrait of the Artist as A Young Man emerged.

In each of the five parts. to religion.of universal meanings relating to life. Each part deals with one stage in the process through which Stephen acquires self-knowledge.’ Derek Attridge.e. Aesthetically. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man is generally considered to be a Bildungsroman. They simply create a pattern for Stephen’s development and help orient the reader in the movement from the outer to the inner world of Stephen’s mind. 117. the novel may be also understood as a Künstler-roman (an artist-novel).e. the ordinary and the extraordinary into the proper stuff of fiction. with all the ambiguity created by the alternate use of the definite and indefinite articles.. Epiphany enables Joyce to make the trivial and the spiritual. the narrator’s discourse about the character’s thoughts and narrated monologue. the two species tend to overlap. on whose solidity he may rely in his interpretative effort. “Stephen achieves a momentary insight and intensity through a transforming experience. at times traumatic. This is a reading of the novel that is clearly encouraged by the title of the novel itself. related chronologically. the character’s thoughts under the guise of the narrator’s words.. based on the quality of the perception. family and art. The effect of chronological succession is enhanced by the fact that each of the five parts starts by an apparently neutral presentation of events in the outer world from the standpoint of a narrator who keeps aloof from the narrated events. ‘Stephen Hero. following the development of Stephen Dedalus. although. Stephen tries to define himself in relation to the other and to himself. The episodic structure of the novel also creates the illusion that the reader is provided with a plot. from childhood into adulthood. cit. the work of art can include one or an infinity of meanings. op. . due to the coincidence of trajectory between Stephen’s evolution as an individual and his evolution as an artist. which definitely opens up various horizons of expectations and paths of interpretation. quest for identity. i. 8 John Paul Riquelme. its hero. i. the process of Stephen’s growing self-awareness is rendered through an artful combination of psycho-narration. Dubliners.”8 Technically. and A Portrait of the Artist as A Young Man: styles of realism and fantasy. through a tormented. Since the novel simultaneously focuses on Stephen’s becoming as an artist. These events are not. the single item or the universe. however. ed.

cit. It is contaminated by the character’s idiom. Critics have often pointed to Joyce’s preference for the interior monologue as a more direct method for expressing the figural mind. Joyce managed to express subjectivity while preserving that degree of impersonality that is the necessary condition for a work of art to come into existence. see Dorrit Cohn. op. “He persistently adapts his style to the age and mood of his hero. confuse. with the bathos of the budding artist-in-revolt at the end. the main quality of Joyce’s narrator in A Portrait is his obvious chameleonic nature. The character’s mental processes become visible and significant by the authority that the narrator’s lending his language to figural consciousness gives them. is never neutral. not yet crystallised states of mind of the character. which makes the reader assume that there also is an overlap between the narrator’s knowledge of Stephen’s psyche and Stephen’s own knowledge of himself. Thus. 9 Dorrit Cohn. colouring it with baby-talk in the beginning section. bending over him from all sides. for more extensive reference to consonant psycho-narration. By using it. (A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. secretly.. breathing upon him. however. time after time. Joyce preserves psycho-narration as a means of access to the indeterminate. he had done them. How came it that God had not struck him dead? The leprous company of his sins closed about him. Stephen Dedalus. The narrator’s language. op. 10 The major outcome of such a narrative strategy is a proper balance between exacerbated subjectivity and dry objectivity. cit. 10 . hardened in sinful impenitence. in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. had done those things? His conscience sighed in answer.”9 The narrator’s discourse about the character’s consciousness seems to coincide with the character’s discourse about himself. 156) Through this combination. Yet. and in between with a spectrum of psychological states and developmental stages. an increased textual continuity is obtained and the passage from the exterior world to the inner world is not perceived as abrupt.. and. he had dared to wear the mask of holiness before the tabernacle itself while his soul within was a living mass of corruption. 30-33. filthily.Could it be that he. Yes. 30.

The second reason why the quoted interior monologue is infrequently used is because it is felt as hardly miscible with psycho-narration. My heart is quite calm now. . the two techniques create arbitrary shifts and discontinuity in perspective. who have not reached yet a condition of self-awareness. though Joyce is acknowledged as the most daring and direct investigator of the mind. One reason why this mode of rendering consciousness is avoided is that it can only superficially account for the profusion and complexity of the young man’s states of mind. school. the exterior forces at large. Once these states of mind have been put into the character’s limited and limiting idiom. country. brought his steps to rest. In an epiphanic sense.Surprisingly. becomes an aesthetic act. A Portrait is the expression of Stephen’s learning to adjust his vision to an exact focus. central to the novel. (98) Stephen’s development as an individual follows. Stephen’s development as an artist. This is even more likely to happen in the case of characters in development. I will go back. his true . It will calm my heart. more or less. he only seldom resorts to the quoted interior monologue in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. It is a good odour to breathe. Stephen is a child who becomes an adult as a result of several factors that contribute to the shaping of his personality: family. akin to that which had often made anger or resentment fall from him. A power. The process of Stephen defining himself as an identity and of becoming self-aware is similar to the processes taking place in the artificer’s workshop. church. which is clearly demonstrated by the quotation beneath. a natural trajectory. much of their original depth has been sacrificed. Mention should be also made of the difference in investigating power between the two techniques. especially in situations when the development of the character’s language cannot keep pace with the character’s inner change. he thought. A film still veiled his eyes but they burned no longer. He saw the word Lotts on the wall of the lane and breathed slowly the rank of heavy air. He stood still and gazed up at the sombre porch of the morgue and from that to the dark cobbled laneway at its side.That is horse piss and rotted straw. In combination.

Art as an end. A Portrait alternates between “two antagonistic styles of visionary intensity and grim realism […] both characteristic of Stephen’s consciousness in Joyce’s unusual attempt to represent the mental act of aesthetic creation. This supreme 11 John Paul Riquelme. presupposes. and cunning. op. exile. You see that it is that thing which it is and no other thing. or my church: and I will try to express myself in some mode of life or art as freely as I can and as wholly as I can. A Portrait would be in this sense less the work of a novelist than that of an aesthete. I will tell you what I will do and what I will not do. The radiance of which [Aquinas] speaks is the scholastic quidditas. the artist’s and the artist’s art. I will not serve that in which I no longer believe. we could also see in A Portrait less an intention to come closer to life than a sustained effort to create an autonomous. Beauty. is dependent on the artist’s imagination and his ability to capture the whatness of a thing in an aesthetic image. You have asked me what I would do and what I would not do. language. cit. When you have apprehended that basket as a thing you make the only synthesis which is logically and esthetically permissible. can catch a glimpse of the universal wholeness..” 11 Thus. my fatherland. using for my defence the only arms I allow myself to use – silence.Look here. as a mode of life.” (281) This may be seen as a synthesis of Joyce’s outlook on life and the status of art. . And it is also through art that the self can capture the meaning underlying all things. The self. out of the ordinariness of his material. a receptacle of extraneous influences. [Stephen] said. . the whatness of a thing. more importantly. whether it call itself my home. 121. of value standards and of method. For him. according to Joyce. self-sufficient alternative to life. Art is a form of expression of the self through depersonalisation. Cranly. not as a means to life. from Joyce’s point of view complete freedom of choice. to forge. life and art tend to overlap. and. has a chance to self-knowledge only through art. Joyce’s view of life-art is completed by his theory of beauty and aesthetic pleasure. the imperishable being.self.

Four Essays (Princeton: Princeton UP. No other text has so generously offered material of discussion to critics of all imaginable orientations. it would be difficult to decide whether A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man is a novel about life. What we know for sure is that A Portrait is a piece of prose fiction. Yet. the Western literary tradition. to confession. no matter how presumptuous we would be to claim the contrary. with even more difficulty. the less it is read. . The more it is written about. in intention and realisation. Ulysses lends itself. beyond the literary. not of one time and one space. Its reading requires knowledge. to straightforward categorisation. Homer’s epic. either from Joyce’s contemporaries or from succeeding generations of readers. that is an autobiographical writing produced as a result of a creative. if we agree to Northrop Frye’s theory. is apprehended luminously by the mind which has been arrested by its wholeness and fascinated by its harmony is the luminous silent stasis of esthetic pleasure […] (242-243) With these ideas in view. it is Ulysses that has generated most of the contradictory responses. A Portrait comes closer. The mind in that mysterious instant Shelley likened beautifully to a fading coal. the clear radiance of the esthetic image. The instant wherein that supreme quality of beauty. Ulysses is a difficult and unpleasant reading. When confession enters a novel. the end product is fictional autobiography or the Künstler-roman. 12 This view is further supported by the explicit theoretical and intellectual interest in art and religion that is central to A Portrait. The differences of views range from deciding whether Ulysses is Symbolist or Naturalist to assigning it to a specific genre. literary and cultural. Joyce’s work. by which readers have set their course 12 see Northrop Frye . thus fictional impulse to operate selections on the events and experiences in a writer’s life.quality is felt by the artist when the esthetic image is first conceived in his imagination. or a novel on art. Anatomy of Criticism. the mixture being favoured by the use of the consciousness investigating techniques. but of the whole Western literary tradition and of the whole history of mankind. 1973) ‘Theory of Genres’. As a matter of fact. Yet there is a paradoxical situation about Ulysses. But “there are also other worlds. as a matter of fact flows into it. There is literary knowledge that Ulysses draws on.

op. but several forms of prose fiction at once. resisted the categorisation as ‘novels’. Joyce’s intention of reaching completeness translated itself into the book’s encompassing more than one form of prose fiction. but rather as one functioning alongside other forms. whereas those of the romance are seen in their individuality in vacuo. risking at times to violate the very limits of intelligibility. the freedom of all narrative or expressive techniques. Novel versus romance. that. the particular and the cosmic. Irish history. cit. the trivial and the extraordinary. present.. Frye distinguishes thus the novel from romance. Frye starts from the assumption that. the Celtic Revival. Ulysses would rather be called a fictional prose book than a novel. While the novel attempts to create the illusion of “real people”. 136.. This leads to Frye’s concluding that the novel is not to be seen as the only form of prose fiction. He allowed himself. to this purpose. combinations between them being always possible. we have to acknowledge Ulysses as the mankind’s book. likely to expand into psychological archetypes. ‘Ulysses. Dublin geography. popular culture. ed. and a certain slice of middle-class Dublin life in the years before and after the turn of the century all play their part. past and future. Yet. The range of languages and codes within which Ulysses is inscribed has a great deal to do with Joyce’s sense of himself as a citizen. The characters in a novel exist as personalities. though fictional. we may find it easier to identify the pattern underlying the organisation of Ulysses beyond its formal shapelessness. no matter how agreeable or disagreeable it might be to individual readers.”13 Ulysses embodies Joyce’s ambition to include everything in one book. we will adopt the model of analysis that Northrop Frye proposes in his Anatomy of Criticism according to which Ulysses is not a novel. there have been productions. confession and anatomy. in the history of Western literature. For one possible way of looking at Ulysses. . the romance produces more stylised figures.through Ulysses. If we accept this as a premise. He seems to have found the mode of life or art through which he could express himself as freely as he could and as wholly as he could. Catholicism. once the distinction between ‘non-fiction’ and ‘fiction’ has been made and ‘fiction’ has been generally equated to the ‘novel’.’ Derek Attridge. rather 13 Jennifer Levine.

the fictional autobiography is obtained. parodically. while the anatomy makes them exponents of different ideas. religion. which makes it function as an intermediate between the novel. The anatomy dissects or analyses intellectual themes or attitudes by always displaying exhaustive erudition of treatment. the latter deal with ideas and attitudes. there are no “pure” forms. the novel. always foregrounds a theoretical and intellectual interest in various issues such as politics. It is a romance if we judge it by the way in which the story and the characters are placed. which centres on men. When the confession enters the novel. or rather dissolved. sounds and sights. through its technique. Having an autobiographical character. art from a subjective standpoint. Frye sums up the differences among forms showing that the novel is extroverted and personal. which deals with gods. ideas and theories being hidden. the anatomy deals less with people than with mental attitudes. Various categories of villains are dealt with not in terms of their position in society.than within the framework of a society. It is a confession if we focus on the use of the . presupposes a process of depersonalisation. the confession. Novel versus anatomy. Following this line of argument. Ulysses is a synthesis of all these forms. with all its smells. the romance is introverted and personal. his view being supported by the actual writings in the history of Western literature. According to Frye. by skilfully portraying the characters and bringing them into dialogue. and its inhabitants. against the archetypal heroic patterns found mainly in the analogy with Homer’s Odyssey. Developed from the Menippean satire. the confession is introverted and intellectual. The novel characterises people. the romance deals with heroes. for instance. but in terms of their approach to life. whereas the anatomy is extroverted and intellectual. though it implies selection of events and experiences of a writer’s life. in personal relationships. and the myth. The anatomy merging with the novel may end up in the roman à thèse. Unlike the confession. Novel versus confession. In its tendency to allegory. It is a novel on account of the accuracy with which it represents the life of Dublin. We should add that the two former forms deal with people.

The strict sequencing of events of the narrative is embedded into a broader texture of symbols. Ulysses not being only and exclusively a novel did not mean that it was not a work of prose fiction. op. and all essential to one another. better said. It can be seen as belonging to the dramatic genre as well. We will follow a line of argument according to which Ulysses should be understood across genre boundary or. all of practically equal importance. which will certainly bring us to similar conclusions as regards Joyce’s ambition to make this book include everything. Their actual encounter is thus symbolically interpreted as man’s reaching wholeness in a flesh and spirit union. cit. not in surprise given the complexity of Joyce’s work. that it is ‘text’. so that the book is a unity and not an aggregate. allusions and archetypal patterns. as well as the final meeting of father and son after a spiritual search for each other 14 15 Northrop Frye. if we consider uniquely the ‘Circe’ episode. acquires significance. Yet Ulysses can be also read as a novel and a poem at the same time. “What kind of a literary object is Ulysses? Three implicit answers have been offered: that it is primarily a poem. Jennifer Levine. is that. as a dramatisation of irrational thought. . It is only by reading Ulysses as a poem that Stephen and Bloom’s meeting.”15 Ulysses is a poem to the extent to which it uses syntax and diction freely or replaces the narrative logic with a metaphorical and allusive one. this view may hold equally valid. Frye sees Ulysses as “a complete prose epic with all four forms employed in it. What is certain is that Ulysses refuses to be contained in the ‘ill-fitting vestments’ that the traditional genre division provides. is to consider it beyond any limitations that its being assigned to a specific genre may impose. 314.consciousness techniques for the revelation of character and incident. still.”14 Another possible way to look at Ulysses.. op. whose repetition and intermingling convey a sense of formal perfection. most recently. it transgresses the boundaries of one single genre. characteristic of a poem. It is an anatomy in its intellectual. and. For Frye. cit. in all its triviality.. What we will discover. a novel. encyclopaedic and erudite handling both of technique and of subject matter. It cannot be restricted to the realm of fiction. that it is really. 137. though different from Frye’s. at the intersection of different genres.

time exists only to the extent to which it exists through Molly’s words and advances only as long as Molly’s thoughts are articulated. in this sense. the technique that imitates it in fiction can remain convincing only if it excludes all factual statements. cit. “Within the limited corpus of autonomous interior monologues the ‘Penelope’ section of Ulysses may be regarded as a locus classicus.”17 Very much like a poem. the most famous and the most perfectly executed of its species. 141. The effect of continuity of Molly’s thoughts is increased further more by the omission of punctuation. cit.” 18 Thus. a marked non-narrative and non16 Jennifer Levine..”16 The method Joyce employed in the ‘Penelope’ episode offers a strong argument in favour of our considering Ulysses a poem. echoes. graphically marked by blanks that would correspond to Molly’s mental breath and would convey both the sense of time passing and of Molly’s interruption of thoughts. in the absence of a time manipulating narrator. the reader is unable to see at what pace time flows or whether it flows at all. 17 . And “since language-for-oneself is by definition the form of language in which speaker and listener coincide. 18 Dorrit Cohn. ‘Penelope’. the narrated time is totally dependent on the time of narration. symbols. sequence is less important than a synchronic and spatial mapping based on repetition: allusions. functions outside its context as a self-sufficient text. All effect of chronology is suspended. Molly’s monologue conveys the illusion of existing outside any external determination. unless reality is projected and distilled in her mind. all explicit report on present and past happenings. and archetypal patterns all being. Dorrit Cohn. severs any connection with the real. given Molly’s unawareness of time passing. op. as it is the only section in which the fictional character’s voice is never interrupted by an authorial narrative voice. The ‘Penelope’ episode has. modes of repetition which forestall the onward moving logic of the narrative. unlike the other sections of Ulysses. Molly’s mind is represented as involved in self-address.. as. “In this version of Ulysses. 217. In Molly Bloom’s autonomous interior monologue. op.. Molly’s thoughts are interrupted just by brief moments of silence.constantly carried out throughout the novel. op. essentially. 226. cit. Its main characteristic is its formal independence. And.

. 218. Its clear egocentricity determines a high degree of subjectivity. in parallel.”21 Ulysses is a novel inasmuch as it deals with characters and accurately represents the society in which these characters live. op. heightened even more by the absence of an authorial narrative voice that would point to the monologue being part of a representation of reality. “It [the ‘Ithaca’ chapter] is in reality the end as ‘Penelope’ has no beginning. cit. nothing significant happens. pointing to the egocentricity of the monologue. Dedalus and Bloom reach Bloom’s house. in Dublin. This is true if we consider the fact that Molly addresses herself. Time is suspended and it exclusively depends on the thinking mind. Yet it is just about one day. through Dublin in the company of other characters who happen to cross their paths at one moment of the day or another until they meet in Dr.”20 “It begins and ends with the female Yes.communicative character enhanced by the high referential instability of the pronouns. where they talk and drink coffee. existing even if not referred to Ulysses as a whole.. 20 . In terms of external events. In a third-person narrative context. Horne’s maternity hospital. where Stephen is welcomed with a cup of cocoa. Ulysses offers his readers an unparalleled richness of the characters’ inner life. quoted in Dorrit Cohn. 218. the various techniques used to investigate the mind. After a stop in the cabman’s shelter. 21 Ibid. view which coincides with Joyce’s own perception of the episode. ‘Penelope’ is an independent form. 16 June 1904. Except for the personal pronoun ‘I’ that incontestably refers to Molly. “selfgenerated. but the ambiguity bewilders even more the reader who contemplates the thinking mind. Stephen and Leopold are wandering. Molly’s monologue could come closer in interpretation to a poem for several reasons. And above all. all the other pronouns are used as if knowledge of their referents were implicit. It turns like the huge earthball slowly surely and evenly round and round spinning. self-supported and self-enclosed” 19. where Stephen is attacked by the British soldiers and Bloom takes care of him. in spite of the paucity of events in the external world. Even if it is rendered in prose. Letters of James Joyce. middle or end. Yet. Stephen and Leopold go then to Bella Cohen’s brothel. from the conscious 19 Ibid.

Who could count them? Never know what you find. the movement in and out of the character’s mind passes almost unnoticed. The quotation marks that used to signal the passage from the authorial narrative voice to the character’s consciousness are omitted. Children always want to throw things in the sea. . What’s this? Bit of stick. which significantly reduces the distance between the outer and the inner world. combination in which all modernists saw the proper narrative solution for conveying a sense of continuity between the outer and the inner world. The entry into the fictional character’s mind is smooth and almost imperceptible. while giving readers unhindered access to the characters’ consciousness. The most often employed is the technique of the quoted interior monologue. he never discarded the possibility of combining psycho-narration and the narrated monologue. The same effect is obtained by the use of the narrated monologue. (Ulysses. This strategy is frequently used by all the modernists who. Parcels post. Mr. still want to maintain control over the narrative by an impersonal narrator’s veiled presence. Due to the fact that the character’s thoughts are presented in the guise of the narrator’s discourse. as the following excerpt proves. 403) The undoubtedly monologic pattern of the fragment is. I’m tired to move. bring readers into immediate contact with a far richer world.to the unconscious. feelings. All those holes and pebbles. but in a typically Joycean one. marked grammatically by the change of person and tense and stylistically by adopting the character’s idiom. Letter? No. unobtrusively altered by psycho-narration (“Children always want to throw things in the sea. Trust? Bread cast on the waters.”). that of the characters’ thoughts. Can’t read. Though Joyce had a clear preference for the use of the interior monologue. Bloom stooped and turned over a piece of paper on the strand. though not in a conventional manner. Bottle with story of a treasure in it thrown from a wreck. the narrative voice being thus continuous. however. He brought it near his eyes and peered. Better go. Page of an old copybook. emotions and sensations. Better.

Joyce resorts to devices that do not pertain to the narrative art. to be sure it was. he would certainly call. yes: a very great success.”22 Language no longer refers to a reality outside the characters’ mind. he adopts the technique of the expressionist drama to objectify an inner world “violently distorted under the pressure of intense personal moods. cit. And her boys. In the ‘Circe’ episode. Yes. i. it is exclusively used to express feeling and imagination. (231) What is. The fact that he did not give it up. 78. Today. rather unexpectedly if we consider that he was the most radical experimenter of all.and the unconscious.or beyond verbal layers of human consciousness. ideas. to reveal the sub. The house was still sitting. Beautiful weather it was. but rather to the dramatic one. He would go to Buxton probably for the waters. the illusion of the narrative being kept under control by a superior instance.Father Conmee was wonderfully well indeed. can only point to Joyce’s intending to preserve. were they getting on well at Belvedere? Was that so? Father Conmee was very glad indeed to hear that.. ZOE What day were you born? STEPHEN 22 Thursday. it was very probable that Father Bernard Vaughan would come again to preach. As the characters in Ulysses represent mature consciousnesses capable of expressing themselves. delightful indeed. P. . however. O. looking so well and he begged to be remembered to Mr David Sheehy M. Yes. and emotions.e. the sub. psycho-narration could have been easily dispensed with if it had not been for Joyce’s intention to preserve the illusion of realism. That this idea is correct is proved by the fact that. Father Conmee was very glad to see the wife of Mr David Sheehy M. through it. for instance. worthwhile noticing is that Joyce’s use of psychonarration comes closer to the realist convention than to the manner the same technique is employed by Lawrence. Chris Baldick. A wonderful man really. And Mr Sheehy himself? Still in London. when dealing with the deeper strata of being. P. op.

In ‘Oxen of the Sun’.) I won’t tell you what’s not good for you. anatomy. FLORRY ZOE (Pointing. 147. Or do you want to know? (Ulysses. the meaning of Ulysses lies at the confluence of the meanings of other texts. the answer could be affirmative if by text we mean “a ‘theme or subject on which one speaks’.) Line of fate. better ‘interplay’. Paradoxically. through parody. The new interest 23 24 see Rodica Kereaski. Jennifer Levine. Joyce asserts and subverts all meanings. text. all these contradictory views help us see more clearly Ulysses – novel. or better ‘intertextuality’. (She traces lines on his hand. You’ll meet with a … (She peers at his hands abruptly.ZOE Thursday’s child has far to go. but always awaiting a reader/ speaker who will call it out into life.) Imagination. poem.. The individual truth is just one aspect of truth and.. Mount of the moon. In a rather postmodernist perspective. Joyce points to it being limited. romance. cit. cit. Written in an age whose main characteristic is relativity. we could see in the combination of these modes of expressing consciousness a form of scepticism about the subjective and the individual truth. . Ulysses operates a shift of interest from the outer world of events to the inner world of the mind. never fully complete in itself. which generates man’s scepticism about immutable truths. through allusion and parody. Naturalist or Symbolist – as a perfect embodiment of Modernism. op. the process always presupposing a necessary involvement on the part of the reader. no matter how directly it is presented to the reader. Influential friends. always implies ‘play’ or. 554) With Joyce. op.” 24 ‘Textuality’. instead of tearing Ulysses apart.23 To the question whether Ulysses is a text or not. Homer’s Odyssey and Shakespeare’s Hamlet are the first texts that the reader is expected to recognise for part of the meaning of Ulysses to come to life. chapter ‘James Joyce’. Ulysses as a text establishes relationships with other texts. ‘a statement on which one dilates’: never autonomous.

The change of focus from the outside to the inside is accompanied by a new view of time. a reality which is not true. Sceptical of the truth of all else. which would comfortably include both the modernist and the postmodernist enterprise. Ulysses is modernist in its search for a meaning. The subjectively distilled present moment expands into infinity. Yet.. This selfconsciousness […] involves the recognition of a disparity [between self and world]. Ulysses asserts and denies simultaneously. 19. op. but the individual’s subjective response to it. being at the same time confident in and sceptical about each and all truths. Time and timelessness fuse. pointing thus to the status of literature as art. to postmodernism. Ulysses is in essence the expression of the modern. either in its modernist or in its postmodernist manifestations. with language lying central to it. through an artful assimilation and reprocessing of tradition. 25 Alan Wilde. Ulysses is essentially a modernist work in its effort to reach completeness out of fragments. a relationship with it. in its turning upon itself and asserting the fictional truth as the only one valid.in the individual’s mind accounts for the use of those techniques meant to help move closer to the essence of what the modernists understood by life. . a disparity contained however within an integer. the work of art itself. Drawing on other books and other ways of writing. upon its own paradoxical actuality of fiction. cit.” 25 It is postmodernist in its distrust of all meanings. in the first instance. if only negatively. to “shape a disordered world . a truth which is not reality. We would agree thus to Faulkner’s evaluation of Ulysses. its attention must rest initially and ultimately upon itself. Reality is thus decomposed through numberless subjective centres of consciousness. By its highly unusual use of language. instead. but as duration. of which it becomes part. Ulysses connects the literary tradition. not exterior reality. in its striving to reach stability. under the reserve that his ‘modernist literature’ should be read as ‘modern literature’. “Ulysses manifests pre-eminently the self-consciousness characteristic of modernist literature. to establish. either to reform or escape it but. understood not as chronology.not. Ulysses draws attention to language itself as the specific medium of literature. to cast coherence upon a dismembering system.

”26 26 Peter Faulkner. .. cit. 50. first and last. upon its status and quality as artefact and fiction. op.Ulysses thus insists.