The Triestine essays of 12 reflect his preoccupation with nationalism and imperialism and further assert the mesmerizing influence of nationalist rhetoric over the Irish populace: Fenianism had repeatedly remodelled the character of the Irish people, Joyce notes, and Charles Stewart Parnell, leader of the Irish Parliamentary Party between and , had exercised a hold over them not easily explained CW , This recognition of the growing power of political suasion notwithstanding, Joyce never fully relinquished his belief that the Catholic Church was the most insidious oppressor of the Irish people and tried hard to shake its influence on his own life, refusing to baptize his children and declaring himself apostate.
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But Joyce continued in these early years to recognize the immense control the Catholic Church wielded over not only Ireland but also over his own thinking. Though he proclaimed himself incapable of belief of any kind, Joyce also reported to Stanislaus that others were not so convinced of his dissent, given his habit of frequenting Greek Orthodox Mass in Trieste: PAGE 20 6 Joyce and the Victorians" [A fellow Berlitz instructor] says I will die a Catholic because I am always moping in and out of the Greek Churches and am a believer at heart, Joyce confessed to his brother Letters II In Joyce wrote again, I think my policy of subtracting oneself and one s progeny from the church is too slow.
I don t believe the church has suffered vitally from the number of her apostates Letters II The dissonance in such remarks betrays a nagging suspicion on Joyce s part that forces as powerful as the Church ultimately may be insurmountable by lone dissenters; certainly his professional life is bracketed by facts that demonstrate the inevitable acquiescence that social strictures can demand.
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The youthful idealism implicit in Joyce s self-styled escape with Nora Barnacle from Church and State is ironically dashed by a sequence of events that begins in with an English printer s moralistic objections to and refusal to publish Dubliners and culminates in Joyce s ultimate marriage to Nora in , in London and under English law, in order to secure the rights of his literary estate to his progeny. While Joyce s earliest fiction, the Dubliners stories, purports to represent a relentless cultural and individual stolidity, his subsequent writing struggles with means to free both the artist and modern consciousness itself from all forms of ideological constraint.
In Dubliners, Joyce presents us with a city whose inhabitants minds are constituted within the tangled nets of discourse and who remain largely unaware of the circumscription of their thought. The vision of both children and adults is stymied within this text; not even epiphanies assure their liberation. The narrator of the collection s first story, The Sisters, never does discover what had gone wrong with old Father Flynn, nor does he understand why he himself feels freed by the fact of the priest s death; the young narrator of Araby never realizes, in spite of his final epiphany, how his image of Mangan s sister is shaped by his culture s vision of the Ideal Feminine; Mrs.
Kearney, the bested heroine of A Mother, never fully comprehends the patriarchal nature of the nationalist power structure that she defies. In a series of now-famous exchanges with publisher Grant Richards in , Joyce wrote that his intent in representing Ireland s paralysis in the volume was to counter this ideological blindness by providing the Irish people with one good look at themselves in my nicely polished lookingglass Letters I 64 ; he viewed such exposure and the possibility of selfrecognition by his Irish readers as the first step towards the spiritual liberation of my country Letters I Joyce s subsequent work renders the confining ideologies of his era progressively more visible, but though his characters become increasingly aware of their enclosure within such PAGE 21 Introduction 7structures, they are no more able to escape them than are the priests, children, parents, and lovers of Dubliners.
Joyce evidently intended his first novel, Stephen Hero begun slightly before Dubliners in , to provide a protagonist who breaks free from the chains of politics, Catholicism and morality; he wrote to Stanislaus on February 28, , that shorter novels might be easier to write, but what I want to wear away in this novel cannot be worn away except by constant dropping Letters II It is common practice in Joyce criticism to conflate the protagonists of Stephen Hero and Portrait, but Joyce s revision of his early draft in fact reveals an altered sense of the ability of modern consciousness to exist and create independent of cultural influence.
In Stephen Hero, Joyce fashions a protagonist able to rise above those big words which make us so unhappy U 2. Stephen studies Skeat s Etymological Dictionary and peruses the prose of Freeman and Morris as one would read a thesaurus ; he first devises a theory and then begins to explore the language for himself and to choose, and thereby rescue the words and phrases most amenable to his theory SH 26, my emphasis. Indeed, this Stephen determines whether to immerse himself in style, syntax, or substance; the Portrait Stephen, however, is awash in all three simultaneously, his perspectives and perceptions filtered through his culture.
Whereas the Daedalus of Stephen Hero insists to his mother that art is not an escape from life SH 86 , his Portrait counterpart uses the novels of Dumas and Bulwer-Lytton in just this way, imagining a new life for himself as the heroic Edmond Dantes or the victorious Claude Melnotte. The Stephen of the first novel also does a far more convincing job of holding himself apart from both the politics and the beliefs of his age: he remains calmly detached from McCann s pleas to sign the petition for universal brotherhood SH , but in Portrait he reacts with scorn and anger toward MacCann s petitioners P In Stephen Hero, he dismisses with relative surety Irish Catholicism s Christ as someone who makes general remarks on life with which he disagrees SH ; in Portrait, he is not at all sure of the falsity of Catholicism P In contrast to the protagonist of Stephen Hero, the Stephen of Portrait is irretrievably immersed in the discourse of politics, language, and religion from the novel s opening pages; he is revealed as contained within narrative and, by extension, ideology, from his first conscious moment: in PAGE 22 8 Joyce and the Victoriansthe bedtime tale Stephen s father tells, the young Dedalus was baby tuckoo P 7, my emphasis.
Joyce replaces the radical, independent Ibsen as the principal arbiter of Stephen s thought with Byron, Shelley, and Newman and presents a Stephen who despite his overwhelming desire to cast himself as an independent thinker is deeply and inextricably mired not in modern skepticism but in nineteenthcentury romanticism. This Stephen is denied the ability to opt out of the cultural narrative accorded to his predecessor, who anticipates his escape with excitement and surety SH ; by contrast, the Stephen of Portrait vows only to try to fly by those nets of nationality, language, [and] religion P , my emphasis.
His friend Cranly notes the difficulty of achieving such independence: Stephen s mind is supersaturated with the very doctrines he would disbelieve; he has absorbed their messages too thoroughly to ever fully reject them P Now I have broken my slavery but I cannot in a moment destroy every feeling in my nature. That takes time implies a confidence in the ultimate purgation of cultural influence that the Portrait Stephen does not entirely share SH , my emphasis. Each text presents the story of a mind awakening to the consciousness of ideological influence, but the emphasis in Stephen Hero is on the protagonist s dispassionate resolve and absolute rejection of such hegemony; by contrast, the Stephen of Portrait is besieged by the discourses he would reject and wages a difficult battle against their authority, one whose outcome is not at all certain.
Each time the Portrait Stephen actively attempts to resist the forces that bind him, he is brought violently to heel: Wells shoulders him into a cesspool at Clongowes for refusing to swap his snuffbox and defying the schoolyard hierarchy; Heron and Boland pound him with cabbage stumps for the heresy of championing Byron over Tennyson and for resisting conventional mores; the Catholic Church browbeats him into penance with threats of hellfire and damnation in Stephen Hero, a liberated Stephen later marvels at the self that allowed itself to be terrorized by such rhetoric [ SH 56 57].
Portrait, unlike Stephen Hero, is finally the story of culture s intractable power to influence subjectivity and the complex struggle, rather than the easy insouciance, required to resist its influence. PAGE 23 Introduction 9Stephen s departure for Paris at the end of Portrait posits, to his conscious mind, a strong chance for independence, but his diary also betrays an intense anxiety over the possibility of never achieving this freedom: before he can conjure a kinship with peoples of distant nations, Stephen imagines a death contest with an old Irishman: It is with him I must struggle all through this night till day come, till he or I lie dead, gripping him by the sinewy throat till Till what?
Till he yield to me? I mean him no harm P Stephen should have slain the old man when he had the chance, for another alternative in fact exists till I yield to him one that Stephen does not consciously acknowledge until it is too late. Portrait s hopeful flight is cut short by the opening of Ulysses, as D a edalus-become-Icarus falls back to earth with a thud: in this context of clipped flight, of foiled escape, Haines s remark in the Telemachus episode I should think you are able to free yourself stings painfully. Stephen s heated rejoinder attests that the ideological nets have been tightly woven and well cast; he has found himself unable to escape them.
Portrait s ringing declaration, I will not serve P , is now rendered, I am the servant of two masters, an English and an Italian. And a third there is who wants me for odd jobs U 1. Something more, though, is implied within this exchange, especially if we recall that Daedalus, the artificer of Greek myth, not only found himself imprisoned within the labyrinth and fashioned wings of escape for himself and his son but also, as builder of it, was the architect of his own confinement.
As the exchange between Stephen and Haines invokes the mythological image, it also suggests another way in which consciousness and culture are intertwined for Joyce: individuals, their subjectivities shaped by cultural discourse, also become the agents of its perpetuation; like D a edalus, they unknowingly help to forge the ties that bind them. Stephen s transformation between Stephen Hero and Portrait has its roots in Joyce s own experiences between February when, a thousand pages into Stephen Hero, he suspended its writing Letters I 60 and September , when he decided to revise the massive draft twentysix chapters with thirty-seven still to go into the five-episode Portrait.
The period was tumultuous personally as well as financially; after leaving his teaching job at the Berlitz School in Trieste, Joyce moved his family to Rome in , where he worked unhappily as a bank clerk for six months before returning to Trieste in More important to his artistic vision than the personal upheaval of this period, however, was Joyce s contentious correspondence with Grant Richards over the publication of Dubliners.
Rooted in the offense taken by Richards s printer at Two Gal- PAGE 24 10 Joyce and the Victorianslants as well as Joyce s liberal use of the word bloody, the dispute resulted in the publisher s final rejection of the manuscript in October Letters I 60 Ellmann reports that Joyce s reading during this period included Hardy, Wilde, Moore, Kipling, Gissing, and Hauptmann; Joyce praised Kipling for his use of detail and Hauptmann for his frankness the rest he tellingly panned for beating around the bush James Joyce It is the frankness and independence of Dubliners that Joyce tried to preserve from the editor s pen, but even at such a distance from London and Dublin, the author fell victim to the implacable, censorial sensibilities of those cities.
The manuscript was again rejected in February this time by John Long , and it would not be until and several more rebuffs that any printer would endanger his immortal soul to publish the book Letters I In the wake of this tempest, Joyce composed The Dead, which, as Margot Norris has brilliantly argued in Joyce s Web, concerns itself with offering back answers to various structures of patriarchal authority represented within and by the text; he also attempted to destroy Stephen Hero and its free-thinking protagonist In Joyce would write to Harriet Shaw Weaver about Portrait: the original original I tore up and threw in to the stove about eight years ago in a fit of rage on account of the trouble over Dubliners.
The charred remains of the MS were rescued by a family fire brigade and tied up in an old sheet where they remained for some months. I sorted them out and pieced them together as best I could and the present MS is the result Selected Letters The consequent Portrait is one of a young man who no longer functions independently of his culture, but who is instead thoroughly bound by its discourses.
Though by shifting its narrative attention to other characters Ulysses appears to lose interest in Stephen Dedalus and his failed attempts to loosen the political and religious fetters that bind both his art and his mind, it is in this novel that Joyce expands his exploration of the impact of Victorian and Edwardian cultural discourse on subjectivity, through new characters who often exhibit much less awareness than Stephen of the influences that act upon them.
But as these ideas begin to collide within the swirl of individual consciousness, they formulate a new possibility for dissidence according to Sinfield s model, one that destabilizes ideological authority by exposing the fissures and contradictions that exist within authority itself. Joyce s most powerful method of achieving this deconstruction is the conflation of apparently dissimilar discourses into unsettling synthesis. Everyone wants to. Then I will tell you all. Punish me, please. Great weapon in their hands.
More than doctor or solicitor U 5. Such reflections subvert the dominant ecclesiastical discourse by demystifying and denaturalizing it: according to Bloom s associative logic, priests are not chaste, humble servants of a compassionate God, chosen to dispense God s mercy to the faithful; instead they morph into sexual sadists who employ the weapon of confession to inflict pain upon their all-too-willing victims. Similarly seditious conflations and demystifications occur in the musings of Gerty MacDowell, whose consciousness, like Bloom s, is formulated within a confluence of religious dogma, popular melodrama, and contemporary advertising;7 filtered through Gerty s subjectivity, the icon of the Blessed Virgin is suspiciously subtended by the image of the fallen woman, and the home presided over by the angel of the house turns out to be physically and emotionally abusive.
Critics have long noted that Molly Bloom contradicts herself throughout the Penelope episode,8 but so, too, do the social standards that would dictate her behavior. In her important essay, Pretending in Penelope : Masquerade, Mimicry, and Molly Bloom, Kimberly Devlin contends that Molly performs not one role but several subversive ones, doing and undoing ideological gender acts 81 ; I would further suggest that as Molly attempts to make and remake herself in her final speech, its most disruptive trait is its exposure of the contradictions and double standards that exist within and between the models offered for her emulation.
In the books that Molly reads, the fate of the angel of the house is often indistinguishable from that of the fallen woman: the adulteress of Mrs. Henry Wood s East Lynne is punished for her sexual infidelity, but the chaste and faithful women of The Shadow of Ashlydyat die similarly painful and untimely deaths, while neither text chastises its philandering men.
Molly discerns the operation of a sexual double standard within her society, and in this newly opened space of recognition, she speculates freely on what late Victorian and Edwardian society referred to as the Woman Question : as Bonnie Scott has observed, beneath Molly s final remarks runs a questioning refrain, Who made life the way it is for women? Joyce and Feminism The discordant eruptions of Molly Bloom fracture what Jameson has termed the collective unconscious, that realm in which certain choices and behaviors, specifically those that would fly in the face of culturally determined norms, are re- PAGE 26 12 Joyce and the Victorianspressed and eliminated by ideological force.
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Molly s speech helps to denaturalize and to make visible those power structures whose control is rooted in their very imperceptibility. Although she may not be able to exact change for herself, Molly s ruminations perhaps create new spaces where such transformations might take place. This predilection of Joyce s characters not only to absorb cultural systems of belief but also to transform these systems is vital to his ironic exposure and critique of the multiple ideologies that shaped late-Victorian and Edwardian thought.
While Herr examines the pervasive, censorial influence of the press, the stage, and the pulpit on Joyce s Dublin, Kershner demonstrates the ideological function of the popular texts that appear in Joyce s work, presenting their effects on the characters of Dubliners, Portrait, and Exiles. Spoo and Fairhall have analyzed Joyce s treatment of the repressive hegemony of historical narrative; Spoo argues that Joyce, ultimately, recognizes that there is no freedom from the self s confinement within history; Fairhall takes perhaps a too-optimistic view, seeing in the linguistic play of Ulysses and Finnegans Wake a wish to evade the authority of the word My sense is that what Joyce achieves by perforating the ideological mesh of nationalism, religion, and gender is not so much the dismantling of a belief system as it is an important awareness of its existence, and while some characters Stephen and Molly, for instance are more cognizant of ideology than others, they are no more able to escape its influence than are Gerty MacDowell or Leopold Bloom.
In other words, Joyce effects for his characters the possibility of what Sinfield refers to as dissidence rather than revolution, the potential for refusing an aspect of the dominant rather than its complete dismantling Faultlines My artifacts range more widely than those of my predecessors I review letters, diaries, newspapers, journals, poems, novels, laws, and medical texts, as well as various cultural studies of the period in order to reconstruct salient voices wherever they emerged.
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Additionally, I examine Joyce s personal writings, his letters and essays, as further examples of cultural documents that reflect dominant PAGE 27 Introduction 13currents of his milieu. My point of departure in each case has been allusions to contemporary mores made by Joyce s characters themselves; after locating and reconstructing the broader cultural contexts of these references, I have constructed a close reading of Joyce s text in order to discern its relationship to the discourse in question.
My focus is necessarily broader than that of previous studies; my goal has been to sketch a vista of Victorian and Edwardian Dublin that identifies and engages its most significant cultural discourses in terms of Joyce s work specifically, those currents of colonial politics, spiritualism, masculinism, public morality, and the changing status of women. This book is organized into three sections: parts one and two focus on Stephen Dedalus and Leopold Bloom, respectively.
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Specifically, section one, Not a Strong Swimmer : Submersions of Dedalus, examines the political and religious discourses that circulated throughout Victorian and Edwardian Ireland and analyzes their impact on the subjectivity of Stephen, who seems entirely unable to fly by th[e]se nets in either Portrait or Ulysses.
The section includes two chapters: one that analyzes Stephen s subject position in relation to both colonial politics and the ideology of Irishness that it propagated and another that looks at Stephen s connections to the popular religious philosophies that vied with the authority of contemporary Catholicism within the context of what is often referred to as the nineteenth century s crisis of faith. Section two of the book, Caught in the Currents: Victorian Manliness, Public Morality, and Leopold Bloom, deals with the constructs of masculinity and public morality as they migrated to Ireland from England in the late Victorian era and explores the ways in which Bloom s subjectivity is constituted according to specific models that are available to him in popular discourse, especially that of the Muscular Christian and the social reformer.
Bloom s manifestation of these discourses not only reveals their pervasive impact on the social fabric of Edwardian Ireland, it also exposes the ironic fissures and contradictions located within the discourses themselves. The first chapter in this section examines the influence of Anglican minister Charles Kingsley and his rhetoric of Christian manliness on both Bloom and Irish colonial culture at-large as well as the discourse of aestheticism that undermined it; the second analyzes Joyce s gleeful subversion of the moralistic discourse of social reform by exposing, through his own prurient reformer, the ironic link that exists between vice and vigilance.
Molly Bloom provided the initial focus for the book s third section, but as I began to examine her discursive contexts, it became clear that while Molly is indeed a unique creation and not merely a female archetype as PAGE 28 14 Joyce and the VictoriansRobert Boyle pointed out so many years ago , she also functions as a Joycean evolution, a character who manifests the progression of conflicting cultural messages regarding womanhood in late Victorian and Edwardian Ireland.
Because other constructed femininities in Joyce s work also appeared to owe a great deal to this cultural context, it seemed important to trace Joyce s exploration of this discourse through multiple figures, including women from Dubliners, Stephen Hero, Portrait, Ulysses, and Finnegans Wake. Therefore, section three, Fracturing the Discursive Feminine: Joyce and the Woman Question, '" examines the popular textual discourse that purported to represent the feminine experience in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and analyzes the ways Joyce engages the cultural constructions of womanhood in Victorian and Edwardian Ireland.
I argue for Joyce s awareness of such diverse figures as the domestic angel, the hysteric, and the New Woman and assert his attempts to write into his texts real women whose lives were circumscribed by the all-tooreal boundaries of gendered discourse. Ultimately, Joyce s work does not liberate modern consciousness from the authoritarian structures of nation, religion, morality, and gender; instead, Joyce explores the potential for personal release by denaturalizing dogma and exposing it, not as a foundation but as a quicksand that submerges and assimilates the tide of individual thought.
Though he wanted his readers to perceive the forces of influence, Joyce realized that recognition alone was not, finally, enough to achieve the spiritual liberation that he had hoped to foment with Dubliners.
This is the lesson of Stephen D a edalus, who knows what ideologies suffuse his thought and constrain his art, but who cannot, after all, free himself; it is also the lesson of Leopold and Molly Bloom, who have internalized both the divergent discourses of their culture and its perpetuating mechanisms of constraint and control.