Monday, April 28, 2008

Some Thoughts on Parallax

If I had to point to a single theme as the novel's most important, it would be parallax, but not for its obvious use to underscore the variation of observational perception.
The great challenge -- and one might say responsibility -- Joyce undertook in writing Ulysses was to present Ireland, Irish culture, and what it meant to be Irish in 1904 Dublin, in a manner that was both authentic and pleasing to EVERY Irishman. But Ulysses was not merely a regional production. Therefore Joyce had to present, as nearly as possible, his beloved native culture to the entire world without over-glamorizing but still offering thorough and complete coverage of it.
Yet there isanother audience a man of such confidence and brilliance writes for -- the future. Therefore Joyce had to balance the expectations of audiences across ideological, cultural, and temporal lines and produce a work that would not only appeal to each audience, but also, ideally, effect the same emotional reaction from each demographic of his readership.
Because the novel has sustained, and in fact grown, in popularity since the time of its publication, I would go as far as to project that Joyce included concept in parallax in the book because it was an issue foremost on his mind.
Anyone dig this?

1 comment:

Nick Surbey said...

I don't think that Joyce is writing with the intention of pleaseing every Irishman. The blasphemy of Buck Mulligan, Bloom's thoughts during the catholic service in "Lotus-eaters," and the sexualization of the Virgin Mary in "Nausicaa" were not exactly meant to please the overwhelmingly Catholic population of Ireland.