Saturday, April 26, 2008

In response to clay...

I agree Joyce's undertaking is rich with a robust confidence. However, I don't know that his references are made with the purpose of being unintelligible to the rest of the world, as I believe T.S Elliot's The Wasteland was. The references are overwhelmingly Irish and personal. In bringing in the names of common people around the town and noting the physical setting of 1904 Dublin, it makes the book a standing relic of IRISH history, and I believe that was the point. To write a thoroughly IRISH classic to be cannonized in literary glory for all time. Allusions to endings or deaths reappear throughout the novel, and it seems Joyce's goal was to ensure that the Irish spirit captured in the novel, along with its physical artifacts, remain intact for as long as possible.
Furthermore, the "Irishness" of the book also seems to reveal an intent to overwhelm any specifically ENGLISH works. The obscure allusions throughout are clearly Irish, and often reflect the collective anti-English sentiment of the Irish people. This serves not so much as an attack against England, but to further ensure that it is an independent Ireland, in spirit and mind if not in reality, that is forever remembered.
In short, the fact Joyce believed he could cannonize Ireland with one wholly Irish novel. The fact he presumed greatness is a reflection of him being aware of his talents as well as his confidence in the Irish spirit. The references, though certainly obscure, don't flaunt knowledge as much as Irish pride.

1 comment:

Clay Mason said...

Willie, I definitely see your point. Joyce had an unbelievable amount of pride for Ireland and it showed throughout the novel. I still feel the novel was written with a great deal of arrogance. Though this bitterness might just be coming from me as a result of my difficulty in understanding the novel, Joyce certainly thought very highly of himself and this really shows through in Ulysses.