James Joyce Style
There is not much to add to the Shmoop
Editorial Team. "Ulysses
Writing Style." (Shmoop.com. Shmoop University, Inc., 11 Nov. 2008.
Web. 30 Sep. 2015.)
But I want to present a different
angle to the subject. As it is put in this essay, and I would dare to say it
represents 99% of the Ivory Tower
idea of it, and everything boils down to, and I quote:
Joyce had this idea that what
you say is absolutely inseparable from how you say it. As Samuel Beckett wrote
in his essay on Joyce (he was referring to Finnegan's Wake, but the comment
is also applicable to Ulysses), "form is content, content is form."
What is this, and is it really all
there is to say?
Too easy....and what it really means?
A form like that of Marilyn Monroe suggests what contents?
This paragraph, is the quintessential
of the standard analysis you will find in countless classrooms and I quote:
"A last point on the style.
Something we'll call the what factor. The point is that some of
Joyce's sentences can be quite hard to process. You read the same sentence over
and over again and you really have no idea what he's saying. Frustrating as
these may be, you have to realize that as you struggle with the sentence, Joyce
has forced you to bring much more attention to his words than you would have
otherwise. Your eyes can't just move idly over the page in Ulysses. It's an
active book, and as a reader you have to put in a great deal of effort in order
to figure out what the sentence is saying. One way to think of these sentences
is as Gordian knots, seemingly impenetrable riddles. But once you undo the knot
and make the sentence go flat, you'll often find that the realization inside
is pretty remarkable and probably couldn't have been communicated any other
If you don't believe us, here's one
we'll help you along with. The lines come from "Ithaca:"
"From outrage (matrimony)
to outrage (adultery) there arose nought but outrage (copulation) yet the matrimonial
violator of the matrimonially violated had not been outraged by the adulterous
violator of the adulterously violated." (17.292)
Later, the narrator comments on the
"natural grammatical transition by inversion involving no alteration of
sense" from the active to the passive voice". (17.294). Believe it
or not these lines are moving toward Bloom's acceptance of Molly's affair. He
has ceased to consider the situation as a perpetration, as a question of what
Boylan did to Molly or what Molly did to Bloom. Instead, he has come to see
it in terms of what was done to Molly, what was done to Bloom. As a result,
Bloom manages not to be overcome by anger and jealousy because he can acknowledge
that Molly was not outraged by what was done to her, that in fact she needed
it and deeply enjoyed it. Coupled with the fact that he could not provide it
for her, Bloom manages to achieve a mood of equanimity. It seems that Bloom's
ability to reconcile himself to his wife's affair actually relies heavily on
the grammatical form of the English language. A switch from the active to the
passive voice (to an extent) allows him to accept Molly's adultery."
What factor my eyes...
If the Ulysses being read was from
the time it displayed the S
+ M = P and if you knew that Ulysses was Joyce`s wedding present after
living with Nora Barnacle for 27 years (She met Joyce on 10 June 1904 while
still in Dublin, and they had their first romantic liaison on 16 June). Joyce
later choose this date as the setting for his novel Ulysses, and it has come
to be known and celebrated around the world as Bloomsday. If you take a look
in the controversial book of Carol Loeb Shloss Lucia
Joyce: To Dance in the Wake, or, if you don`t have the time or simply
does not want to do it, take a look on how
the family received it and how
the critics received it, adding that supposedly Joyce and Nora married
out of pressure form her daughter Lucia, you will agree that if there is something
which is not apparent in Ulysses is the content...
Something that could make some sense
is what follows:
by Michael Phillips January 18, 2013
My husband wants me to go
with other men so hell have something to write about, the former
Nora Barnacle said of her partner in life, James Joyce.
She didnt go, as far as
we know. But Joyce did, in fact, have much to write about: The reedy Irishmans
gnawing paranoia regarding his wife, among other factors, fed the seven-year
creation of the novel Ulysses, whose protagonist, Leopold Bloom,
is celebrated annually on Bloomsday with staged readings and other
events worldwide, along with countless renewed vows to actually read the damned
book the most musical novel in existence in its daunting entirety.
Consider the documentary In
Bed With Ulysses a friendly nudge in that direction. Its
playing this week as part of the Siskel Film Centers Stranger Than
Fiction series. In a trim 80 minutes, directors Alan Adelson and Kate
Taverna survey the whirling circumstances of Joyces creation, as the author
dragged his family from country to country, mooching, making do, imagining Noras
infidelities at every turn. Molly Bloom of the novel came straight out of Joyces
conception of Nora a fictional character based on a pre-fictionalized,
The novel, with so many obscenity
charges and censorship battles ahead of it, was published in Paris by Shakespeare
and Company bookstore owner Sylvia Beach in 1922. Random House won a key court
battle in 1934 and suddenly Joyce, the disreputable smut-peddler, was on American
bookshelves. In Bed With Ulysses does a brisk job of tracing the
literary history. Rehearsals and a performance of a Ulysses staged
reading, featuring actress Kathleen Chalfant (who originated Wit
off-Broadway), provide the through-line here. And Bloom may well prove to be
what In Bed With Ulysses says he is: as eternal a character
If Ulysses was a fishbowl, what Joyce
did was to stirrup the bottom in such a way that it is very hard to look through
the water and distinguish what kind of fishes are swimming... and this is what
to call Noise which is the novelty ingredient he introduced in his writings
to tell the world what he felt about what seemed to him his reality.
In Finnegans Wake, he blows up the
fishbowl and splashes just about everything all over... As it is well known,
square is the symbol to Finnegans, as Joyce once wrote to Ms.Harriet
I think I have done what
I wanted to do. I am glad you like my punctuality as an engine driver. I have
taken this up because I am really one of the great engineers, if not the greatest,
in the world besides being a musicmaker, philosophist and heaps of other things.
All the engines I know are wrong. Simplicity. I am making an engine with only
one wheel. No spokes of course. The wheel is a perfect square. You see
what I am driving at, dont you? I am awfully solemn about it, mind you,
so you must not think it is a silly story about the mouse and the grapes. Its
a wheel, I tell the world. And its all square.
To Harriet Shaw Weaver, postcard
of 16 April 1927, Letters Vol I, p250.
It becomes very apparent if you put
this together with the inherent circularity of the book, which laces the last
sentence with the first one.
Any discussion on Joyce`s style in
Finnegans should be preceded by a
thoroughly understanding of that.
To that if you add the following
analysis by prof. James S.Atherton and understand why he called some of Joyces
ideas on how to "square the circle" home
made theology you have a very good clue on why he needed noise to come
accross with his ideas.
I quote and repeat what I did there:
This is the perfect example of a
carefully designed "noise" as
it is the main proposition of this whole job
And last, but not least, his style
was much more a characteristic of his idiosyncrasy which in turn had a lot to
do with what I discuss in James
Finally, If there is a man on which
assertion it is James Joyce:"The
style is the man himself"