Silhouettes, short fiction in a realistic mode, but
none survives. Begins Moods, first collection of poetry,
review of Ibsen's When We Dead Awaken for the Fortnightly
Review and is published.
Publishes James Clarence Mangan and graduates from
UCD; leaves for Paris.
rejected by publisher. First draft of novel, A Portrait
of the Artist as a Young Man.
Hero: Longer autobiographical version of essay or second
draft of novel (Joyce is 23 years old) well underway; publishes
four stories in Irish Homestead; meets Nora Barnacle and leaves
in Trieste, Paris, and Rome. Dubliners (1906) rejected
by publisher, Richards, a Dublin firm, for fear of obscenity/libel
31, 1906-March 7, 1907
Impressions: Shelley, St. Peter's, the Colosseum, and the
Forums. Works in bank, reads Ibsen and Hauptmann and Gissing.
Has epiphanic momentsdue to his being an intellectual
outside of the Italian culture, which are important for him
just as are memories, especially personal memories. Finds
job in private evening school. Rejection of Dubliners.
Acceptance of Chamber Music (poems). Visits Biblioteca
Nazionale--100 yards from bank--where he can get all the dictionaries
he wants. Quits bank in February.
(third major draft) begun as revision of Stephen Hero
with some of Hero cut away into Dubliner stories
and Portrait finally see publication.
The Creation of Creativity
Joyce, afflicted with melancholia caused by poverty
and sordidness, his daughter's violent mental breakdown, and his
own twenty-five eye operations (interspersed with periods of blindness),
nonetheless separated his depression from his art. Each of his
works deals with grief. This grief is
encountered in mourning and death, and it is encountered in melancholia.
Yet Joyce interprets grief as the language of mourning and deathnot
as the language of his own melancholiaand thus further breaks
(dies) from the form of traditional prose and transforms writing
into something original or striking in conception or style, something
not known before.
In his essay,
Mourning and Melancholia, Freud states that melancholia, like
mourning, is a reaction of grief to the loss of a loved object.
"In mourning, it is the world which has become poor and empty;
in melancholia, it is the ego itself."
Therefore, mourning is grief over the loss of someone or something
beloved. Melancholia is grief over the loss of the ego. "With
one exception, the same traits (of melancholia) are met with in
mourning," Freud states. Melancholia
remains an unnatural open wound; mourning, a natural process,
frees the participant upon its completion. The mourning or death
process is similar to the creative process
process is a death process for the living in which the participant
travels the cycle of adjustment when a loved one leaves. In the
death process one may or may not find permanent rebirth, but one
loses self-awareness and so achieves a temporary rebirth at least.
In the mourning process, one must find rebirth; if not, one is
in a cycle of melancholia instead. The mourning/death process,
likened to the creative process, gives
new life, new art, new form.
Freud says the
need to be an artist comes from early childhood and a sense of
loss that enables the artist to see things differently. This vision
rules his life. Not entirely neurotic, not entirely normal, the
artist is endowed with a creative personality and a ruthless passion
that allows him to separate his own grief feelings of melancholia
from his grief feelings of mourning (death/rebirth or creativity
cycle). Longing for normalcy, the artist is constantly fought
by his need for art, by his vision, by his inner life. Beset by
melancholia, his ruthless passion for his inner life during his
session (days, weeks, months) of producing an art work separates
him from his neurosis. Grief is interpreted as mourning, not depression.
Mourning, a positive process in life, leads the sufferer to change
and growth, to a kind of rebirth, to a condition previously unknown.
is Joyce's language of grief, not of melancholy, which in Portrait
(as well as in Ulysses and Finnegans Wake) surges
and ebbs, exceeds traditional edges, is sometimes extinguished,
but then is revived. This language is left in a new place, in
a new form.
One View of the Artist and his Manuscript:
Breakthrough as a Result of Influence
Joyce's six-month stay in Rome in 1906-7 was an influence
on the final major rewriting of Portrait and on the writing
of Ulysses. Dispossessed socially by his father, Joyce
saw things differently. He wanted to deliver his message to people,
but his message was rejected again and
again by publishers. He rewrote. But not until he lived in Rome
for seven months did he find what he was missing. All along, Joyce
had studied and loved English and classical literature. Yet only
in Rome was he made aware of his love for the English Romantic
poet, Shelley, and for classical mythology. In Rome, where Shelley
lived and wrote Prometheus Unbound in 1821, Joyce was made
aware of the significance Shelley had in his life. He remembered
Shelley's defence of poetry essay, and like Goethe, he identified
with Shelley's Prometheus. He was also reminded of the myth of
Daedalus. Both Prometheus and Daedalus broke free of labyrinths.
Shelley broke free of the labyrinth of old language. Joyce understood
that Shelley and the Romantic poets were his literary fathers
as he spent days sitting among the Roman ruins (Forums). At the
same time, he was made aware of death/rebirth. Rome and its ruins
told him of mortality; Prometheus and Daedalus and Shelley told
him of breaking free
of figuratively dying and finding
Again, the mourning/death
process, likened to the creative process, gives new life, new
art, new form. Confronted with death, the need to create becomes
manifest. The artist dies away from
old vision, old language, and breaks into new. Rome and its ruins
influenced Joyce in his creative process by enabling him to die
and be reborn
to die by leaving conventional language and
to be reborn by creating new form and style. Joyce incorporated
these themes of the artist breaking free in Portrait, which
is, of course, about Stephen Daedalus,
an aspiring writer and lover of language who is at once similar
and not similar to Joyce.
the voice of authority; something that is tried on and either
kept or discarded. If kept, it is ingrained and carved as an inner
path. Influence has a root meaning of 'inflow' and a prime meaning
of receiving an ethereal fluid that flows in upon one from the
stars and affects one's character and destiny.
Ben Jonson preferred the word 'imitation' over 'influence' and
says imitation means "to make a choice of one excellent man
or condition above the rest and so follow him or it till he grow
very he or it or so like him or it as the copy may be mistaken
for the original." Therefore,
an influence can be called a father figure; the poet, Shelley,
and the mythological Daedalus are Stephen's father figures.
quotation at the end of the fourth section, Chapter 2, is juxtaposed
with the inadequacy of the protagonist's father. Stephen Dedalus's
father's behavior stands as humiliation for him:"His childhood
was dead or lost and with it his soul capable of simple joys,
and he was drifting amid life like the barren shell of the moon."
"Art thou pale for weariness/Of climbing heaven and
gazing on the earth,/Wandering companionless
He repeated to himself the lines of Shelley's fragment. Its alternation
of sad human ineffectualness with vast inhuman cycles of activity
chilled him, and he forgot his own human and ineffectual grieving.
which contains five more lines, soothes Stephen because it provides
fellowship for him; despite his sense of isolation, that imagined
literary fellowship unifies him with others who love language.
The moon, in Shelley's verse, is a chosen sister of the Spirit,
a being that allows the spirit to find pity in its heart. Stephen
finds in Shelley the resonance that soothes his despair: Shelley,
too, in the nineteenth century myth,
stood isolated, despairing of his real world, heroic in his defiance
of it. Like the moon in the fragment, Stephen stands at a great
distance from his father and friends. "An abyss
him from them; his mind shone coldly on their strife and happiness
like a moon upon a younger earth."
In his essay
on the defense of poetry, Shelley states that all good writing
must break out of the repression of language and perception; it
must be an enlargement of human awareness by new compoundings
of perceptions (epiphanies). It is a process of imagination that
distends and bursts the present circumference of the poet's and
hearer's mind and overflows all present cultural standards and
barriers. It is fresh language breaking out of the labyrinth.
Unbound, Shelley's four-act drama written in Italy, tells
of Prometheus, a Titan, bound by Jupiter because he, Prometheus,
brought fire and life to mankind. Goethe used Prometheus as a
symbol of man's creative power and striving and his revolt against
society. Shelley strengthened this and glorified the virtues of
revolt, of breaking free from authority that destroys the artist's
freedom. Joyce sees the tablet commemorating Shelley's writing
of Prometheus Unbound on his first day in Rome and has an epiphany.
was an Athenian, an artist and the inventor of the wedge, axe,
level, and the sails of ships. He scuplted statues that seemed
to move of themselves, seemed endowed with life. Likewise, he
made sails with similar qualities
sails which were so beautiful
and detailed that ships seemed endowed with life, seemed to be
flying. After murdering his nephew, Daedalus went to Crete, with
his son, Icarus. Daedalus made a labyrinth there for Minos and
assisted the queen in gratifying her passion for a bull. As punishment,
Daedalus was confined in the labyrinth by Minos. Consequently,
Daedalus made wings of feathers and wax. Strapping on their wings,
he and his son flew from Crete. Icarus flew too high, and consequently
fell to his death. An altar was erected to him near Pompeii by
his father. Then Daedalus flew to Sicily. But it is the flight
of Daedalus from Crete with his wings which stirred Joyce
in the distance, Daedalus would have passed for a man with wings,
but most likely his wings were sails, the sails of a ship. Most
likely, Daedalus sailed from Crete. This subconscious water image
of Daedalus--Daedalus as sail-maker, not wing-maker--is a turning
point in Portrait when Stephen chooses the sea over the
land at the end of Chapter 4 (page 124).
In Chapter 3
(page 72), the district of the brothels becomes Stephen's labyrinth.
Then Father Arnall and his labyrinth of spiritual language force
Stephen to repent (pages 90-104), and Father Arnall replaces Shelley
temporarily. But Stephen returns to his literary fathers, breaks
away from labyrinth of religion and seeks new language, new form
like Daedalus, like Shelley.
figures in Rome (Shelley and Daedalus) coalesce into death. Death
itself is the artist's influence. From death and destruction come
new life. People create to survive their physical demise; truly
immortal beings would not take the trouble to create. Creating
is seen as an act of the gods: fearing death because it destroys
unique individuality, the artist has the will to self-immortalization
and so lives doubly (artist and lifeartist and creation).
Authentic living begins only when death is faced directly, said
Camus, for in the face of death, one has comfort in companionship
and a connection to others. And it is this encounter that creativity
seeks, this closeness and intense study of life not realized unless
viewed through the death process
this ability to link the
creative self with colleagues from the past whose traditions one
carries on. Thus, creating resembles the act of dying: self-awareness
disappears and one feels united with all things. Through death
is rebirth. For Joyce, Rome is symbolic
of death and rebirth, Rome is where the artist frees himself from
himself. Rome shows truth; a recognition of truth is a transfiguring
death. To Stanislaus, his brother, Joyce writes, "Rome reminds
me of a man who lives by exhibiting to travellers his grandmother's
corpse." He goes on to say that
he left Dublin because it was the center of paralysis; that in
Rome he has found the center of Death. Like Dublin, Rome is oppressed
and oppressive, a crumbling, debased city that lives off its own
death, but which knows, ironically, how to be proud of its past
and grows into a formidable metaphor of death.
In Rome, as a
banker, in 1906-07, Joyce worked from 8:30 to 7:30, six days a
week. He gave private lessons evenings at a neighborhood school.
He had a young son and Nora, his companion, was pregnant. Yet
Joyce would listen to bands, stop in churches to rest, and would
walk. Joyce visited the Forums and the Colosseum regularly. "The
neighborhood of the Colosseum is like an old cemetery with broken
columns of temples and slabs," he wrote to his brother. Impatient
with postcard sellers and tourists, Joyce perceived certain aspects
of Rome with great insight and ignored others. He regretted not
knowing more Latin or Roman history, yet read Ferrero's work on
Rome. He liked sitting at the top of the Spanish steps. Ancient
Rome, and not Renaissance Rome, was his hate and his love. Part
of his hate was looking for cheap rooms, barely furnished, up
flights of stairs for himself and pregnant Nora and their son;
at the same time, Joyce speaks of Rome as a 'fine metropolis',
a place where he could share with Shelley an eradication of the
boundaries between art and life. Joyce was an educated man who
could not give up good literature and theater and who discovered
his bank job in Rome further isolated him socially and culturally.
Rome became the place where Joyce, the artist as a young man,
found his creative death and resurrection. He had heeded Shelley's
Go thou to Romeat once the Paradise,
The grave, the city, and the wilderness;
And where its wrecks like shattered mountains rise,
And flowering weeds, and fragrant copses dress
The bones of Desolation's nakedness
And grey walls moulder round, on which dull Time
Feeds, like slow fire upon a hoary brand;
And one keen pyramid with wedge sublime
Like flame transformed to marble.
"Adonais", P.B. Shelley
What is Joyce's new language in Portrait?
It is the language
of knowledge, repression, playfulness, risk, ruthlessness, influence,
recognizing textual problems, loss of self-awareness, and surprise.
It is the language of the creative writing process itself.
Chapter 1 follows
the writing dictum of 'show; don't tell'. Consisting of Stephen's
earliest memories, it is the overture to the entire novel. There
is imagery of the five senses: the three songs and the clapping
of Charles and Dante (sound); the wet, then the warm bed (touch);
the lemon platt and cachous (taste); the oil sheet and his father's
smells (smell); the red and green of Dante's brushes (sight).
at Christmas (pages 16-26) emphasizes the language of dialogue
and reads as a scene from a play. Like an aspiring writer, Stephen
Dedalus/James Joyce is using the text to try out another genre,
perhaps in an attempt to see where his strength lies. The entire
first chapter is musical in tone; unified by a theme of guilt
and punishment, the events depicted by the pandybat incident appear
as a crescendo. After the sound of the pandybat on the hands has
faded, the sound of pens on paper along with the sounds of dripping
water create a diminuendo.
Chapter 2 tells
of Stephen's summer following his year of school at Clongowes
and extends to his early adolescence. The dissolution of the Dedalus
household (reflecting Joyce's psychological loss of his father)
proceeds into extended emphasis on Stephen's sense of isolation.
His interior life is juxtaposed with play with his friends
the outer world is seen as filthy, but his inner one is replete
with words of readings and thoughts. His friends cane him, which
is a symbolic attempt to break down his inner life, but his interior
literary life remains intact. He refuses to betray Byron (page
56-7). Later in the chapter, he identifies with Shelley when he
realizes he has been dispossessed by his father during their Dublin
walk together (page 66)
"'Then he's not his father's
son,' said the little old man." Yet at the close of the chapter,
after Stephen wins money for his essay, he breaks his isolation
temporarily and buys gifts for his family (pages 67-69).
Chapter 3 deals
with Stephen's religious ideality. The narration of his retreat
is an extension of the basic rhythm of the sermon form16 and covers
death, judgment, hell, and the ensuing psychological horrors.
Chapter 4 continues
briefly with Stephen's religious ideality, and is somewhat redolent
of the childhood religious habits of Freud's Wolf Man. Yet Stephen
rejects the clerical life. Language, perception, and images emerge
as motifs of the life he will choose. His walk between Byron's
publichouse and Clontarf Chapel is his choice between the clerical
and artistic life (pages 117-118). At the close of the chapter,
he turns landward (religion), then seaward (art).
Chapter 5 is
a quest for language: Stephen, the ruthless artist, is concerned
about words (see funnel/tundish on page 136); he writes a mediocre
villanelle on page 163 (but he does attempt one, just like an
aspiring artist tries all forms); he turns to the diary form at
the close of the chapter, of the novel to symbolize that he is
now immersed in language and is willing to exist alone and commit
himself to the death and rebirth necessary in the artist's life.
Joyce's Death Fixation and The "Calypso" Chapter in
In Ulysses, Joyce represents himself as father
and son, as Bloom and as Dedalusjust as in Hamlet, Shakespeare
represents himself as the Ghost-Father and as the son. Leopold
Bloom's primitive and sensual responses to life and death juxtapose
and compliment Stephen Dedalus's creative and aesthetic ones.
Molly Bloom's responses reveal her own inner thoughts and further
define those of Bloom/Joyce.
Molly is the river that flows through the wasteland of Bloom and
his Dublin. As the river, she courses toward the end of the novel,
toward the sea where Bloom sits away from her (the salty fishy
shore where he practices coitus interruptus), toward the salty
(sexual preoccupation talk) fluids of her monologue. As well,
the fluids or waters are baptismal and contain not only Molly's
blood, but the blood of Christ. She, like the Romans, would like
to have the whole house swimming in roses to camouflage sterility
and death. Just as Penelope takes Odysseus to their bed upon his
return, and just as Penelope is penetrated by Odysseus, Molly
thinks she would like Bloom to ejaculate inside her (to have another
vision of life and death, and their role in the creativity of
the artist, is appliedusing images of smells, secretions,
micturition, and excretionsto Bloom and Molly in "Calypso"
to further develop the Odyssean theme of the marriage plot.
"Calypso"Life: Smells and Secretions
"Smell was the first of our senses," says Diane
Ackerman in her essay on the five senses. "It was so successful
that in time the small lump of olfactory tissue atop the nerve
cord grew into a brain. Our cerebral hemispheres were originally
buds from the olfactory stalks. We think because we smelled."
Joyce's Portrait opens with a description of the five senses,
and the smells of oilcloth and his urine-soaked sheets are some
of Stephen Dedalus's earliest memories. In Homer's Odyssey, the
Calypso chapter opens with Calypso singing and weaving and sometimes
stopping to braid her hair, and her dark warm cave is sheltered
by fragrant cypresses, alders, and aspens. A garden with grapes
surrounds, and four rivulets have been trained to trail around
her cavern and run to the sea, a sea that is sometimes bloodwarm
and wine red. Often she is brewing tea, and a fire blazes on her
hearth. Ulysses's Calypso chapter opens with Leopold Bloom
making tea for Molly, his wife who is upstairs lying in bed, and
intermittently singing popular love songs and weaving lies about
her sexual life. Lies about the stamina and romantic qualities
of suitors. Twenty-five suitors, but not all twenty-five have
been her lovers. And Molly is knitting, or remembering knitting,
the little woolen jacket for Rudy to wear in his grave. In imagination,
she knits, unravels, reknits until her near-constant gloom is
concealed within the stories of her suitors. Concealed, too, in
this chapter, through her singing of popular love songs, are her
disappointments with her lovers and her history of sexual practices.
7 Eccles (Ambrose Eccles was a Shakespearean critic) Street, the
kitchen coals are reddening, Leopold Bloom longs for a kidney,
and feeds his cat a saucer of warmbubbled milk, fresh milk just
left by the milkwoman and perhaps bloodwarm as Molly's was when
she nursed Milly. The cat purrs, "Mkgnao." When Bloom
serves Molly her tea, she replies in a shortened version of the
cat's language, "Mn."
Street is a wasteland. Downstairs is a cat who washes all human
touching from his fur. His master enjoys eating dead organs, passes
the living and abundant flesh of his wife, to concentrate on the
purchasing and cooking of one urine-flavored piece of meat. The
tang of urine may remind Bloom of cunnilingus with Molly; it may
also remind him of baby Rudy for newborns seem to be constantly
urine-soaked until their pee patterns are recognized by their
caregivers. The tang of urine reminds Bloom of his sexuality and
his paternity. Upstairs is Molly and the smell of her in "warm
yellow twilight," the warmth of her couched body mingling
with the tea and the echo of the mkgnao of the cat. Her breasts
are like a goat's udder, the goat which passed them and dropped
excrement the first time they made love on a hillside. Her fullness
conceals her husband's lack of penetrating desire. Molly as mother
and lover is now mother to Bloom and conceals her understanding
of him: after the death of a child, it is too hurtful to enter
that child's mother
the remembrance of the happiness of
conception becomes a stale smell, "stale like foul flowerwater."
"Smell is the mute sense. The one without words."
It seems, too, that in the Bloom household, grief is a mute emotion.
One without words.
The gentle smoke
of the tea and the warmth of Molly
the fragrance of the
tea and the memory of the smell of Molly when she was young and
scented with rose perfume (per fumar
the smoke of the roses mixes with the smoke of the tea) and strawberry
cream is juxtaposed against this morning's frowsty Molly. Her
perfumes, fruits, and animal secretions disturb with delight,
yet Bloom does not want to go home to warm, heavy Molly as she
sighs and turns in bed
"Not unlike her, with her hair
down. Slimmer." Bloom rejects his nymph just as Odysseus
rejected his Calypso, "I am quite aware that my wife, Penelope,
is nothing like so tall or so beautiful as yourself. She is only
a woman, whereas you are an immortal."
an army veteran in foreign parts, Bloom does not want to go 'home,'
i.e., return to his wife's natural female organ and beget a child.
It is Bloom's duty as a husband, but, ready deviser, reluctant
fertiliser, he makes excuse after excuse for continuing absent,
device upon device for shirking his duty. When one excuse is undercut,
he makes another--my wife is unpalatable, bossy, unfaithful
interior monologue is invested with imagery of flow, wetness,
smell, roses, smell, and the sea. Her menstrual flow of roses
and redness is sign of no fertilization by Boylan, and it is a
brief return in memory to Bloom and other lovers. And her mind
wanders to her seduction of Bloom (just as Ann Hathaway seduced
Shakespeare) on Howth. Her memory of saying yes, a female word
as Bloom says. Yes, the mouth opens into a little cave to say
olfactory bulb detects somethingduring eating, sex, an emotional
encounter, a stroll through a parkit signals the cerebral
cortex and sends a message straight into the limbic system, a
mysterious, ancient, and intensely emotional section of our brain
in which we feel, lust, and invent."22
And so Bloom
invents as he walks the island of Dublin and smells the shops
. Follows a trail of smells originating with his kitchen's
hot coals and warmbubbled milk and the tea he is making for Molly.
The scent from Calypso's burning logs of split juniper and cedar
was wafted far across her island, too.
there is a gush of porter smell. Whiffs of ginger, teadust, and
biscuitmush. The National School windows are open for fresh air.
Bloom daydreams of an east with carpets and stalls and good smells.
A violet moon, the color of Molly's garters. He hears a dulcimer
being played. Oranges, almonds, and citrons and olives stock his
fruit-laden dream of the east. There are melon fields, and there
are Molly's melons which he kisses each night. The fine fruits
of his daydream are indicative of Molly's fertility. But penetrating
Molly is unthinkable, unreal, just like his daydream. Yet the
cool, waxen fruit
in imagination, he holds it to his nostrils.
And relives Molly's perfume. Molly's "skin so delicate white
like wax," "know her smell in a thousand. Bathwater,
too. Reminds me of strawberries and cream." Perfume. Anal
sacs of perfumes. The slaughter of animals for their glandular
secretions: Civet, a honeylike secretion from the genital area
of nocturnal, carnivorous Ethiopian cat; musk, a red, jellylike
secretion from the lower guts of East Asian deer. The porcelain
containers in which Molly keeps her cream, her perfumes
the word 'porcelain' coming from the words for the genitals of
a female pig, silky porcelain, silky like Molly's vagina, mouth.
A silky mouth, a yes, holding secretions from male cats and deer.
The real world
is one of shit smells, after all. Yet to smell her tea, the fume
of butter to saute his kidney, her bedwarmed ample flesh
to kiss her (a kiss is a prolonged smelling of one's beloved,
relative, or friend in Burma) or not to kiss her (the stale smell
of her full lips, drinking. As they would close around his cock,
her lips. Her vaginal wetness and her seaside salt smell calling
him home. The sweetness of her lips. Gluey. Resist. Her soiled
drawers. The smell of them made him want to enter her. Soiled
bed linens, semen-spotted, sperm-smeared and lover-soiled like
she is from her many suitors. It is too sad to couple with the
woman who was Rudy's mother). Thus Bloom seems to soliloquize.
lovers. Yet Bloom, like Odysseus, is a liar. He does not tell
his spouse of Martha Gifford nor of his others. As Odysseus does
not tell Penelope of Nausicaa, Circe, or Calypso.
letter-writer. Wrote letters to Molly when he was still her suitor.
Explained words and books to her. Explained love to her. Something
like Stephen Dedalus's love
something like the letters
Dedalus would write
not like the common letters Blazes
Boylan writes, not like the common letters Martha Gifford writes.
No, Leopold Bloom was an aesthetic letter-writer. And Molly was
his aesthetic appreciator.
To keep his memory
of aesthetic and erotic letter-writing to Molly intact, Leopold
takes the pen name of Henry Flower for his correspondence with
Martha Gifford. He wants the idea of the smell of him to attract
a smell of violets or of roses. No, not violets. "Violets
resist the perfumer's art." For
violets are "forward, not permanent, sweet, not lasting,
The perfume and suppliance of a minute." (Shakespeare) Probably
a stalk-like flower to connote the idea of his stalk-like penis.
Not the somewhat soft penis, perhaps, which comes on Molly's backside,
between her melons. But a flower, for flowers have a robust and
energetic sex life, and a flower's fragrance tells it is available,
fertile, desirable. Its sex organs ooze with nectar. Ambrosia
and nectar are given Odysseus in Calypso's cave. Is it not Calypso's
nectar (wetness, salt) which convinces Odysseus to spend seven
years of nights making love to her? Was it not Molly's milk (too
much milk for Milly to drink), staining the bed linens, creaming
his lips, which convinced Leopold to spend his nights penetrating
Molly again and again, eventually resulting in the conception
"Calypso"Death: Micturition and Excretions
Unlike Calypso, Molly does not make the tea. Rather, it
is Poldy's job. Molly shortens Leopold's name to 'Poldy' and delionizes
him; therefore, it is fitting he has the unmanly, un-Odyssean
task of making the tea for her.
departure for his kidney, his dead meat, dead organ, symbolizes
Odysseus's morning departure from Calypso. The departure also
indicates Dignam's funeral, and its mourning, which Bloom will
attend later that day; it symbolizes Bloom's constant mute mourning
for his son, Rudy. It symbolizes Odysseus's daily mourning or
weeping for Penelope as he sat all day by the sea until it was
again evening and time to be Calypso's lover. "But the days
found him sitting on the rocks or sands, torturing himself with
tears and groans and heartache, and looking out with streaming
eyes across the watery wilderness."
It suggests, too, Shakespeare's London mornings as he left the
beds of court ladies, burghers' wives, and prostitutes and mourned
for the absence (and the infidelity) of his companion and mother
of his children, Ann Hathaway. It is redolent of a London morning
in 1596 when Shakespeare would be in grief over the death of his
eleven-and-a-half-year-old son, Hamnet.
Molly's bed jangles.
It is a well-used bed. The spices surrounding Calypso's cave jangle
Odysseus's nerves, incite his passion just as they have incited
and ignited lovers before him. Ann Hathaway's bed is a second
best bed, willed to her by Shakespeare. As a used bed, it jangles
with both Shakespeare's and Hathaway's concealed lovers. But Molly's
bed jangles so much, she and Blazes Boylan, later that day, will
finish copulating on the floor just like Ruby, the pride of the
ring, "pride of the floor" as Bloom says, in Molly's
with his kidney and its scent of urine signifies his urination
fetish, and his preoccupation with the site of the female urinary
tract, near the yes
the cave his penis cannot penetrate.
Molly, his micturition queen, is also the Irish urinaryqueen:
she is one of the Brobdingnagian court's maids of honor who could
"discharge what they had drunk, to the quantity of at least
two hogsheads, in a vessel that held above three tuns."
She is the "great-bladdered Emer" of Yeats's "Crazy
Jane on the Mountain" and the woman in Irish myth who "was
murdered by jealous rivals because she made the deepest hole in
the snow with her urine." Molly seems to have a full bladder
or will soon be in the process of emptying it for she is drinking
tea and her chamberpot is directly beneath the bed's valance.
Micturition is an exciting orificial activity. An item of Molly's
allure, and excretion (something to be disposed of, something
dead--not a secretion which assists an organ in its performance),
it correlates with Bloom's sterile or death-like coming on her
backside against her excretion sac for solids.
also as a camouflage, and not just as an allure. The ancient Romans
were obsessed with roses. Roses were strewn at public ceremonies
and banquets. Rose water bubbled through the emperor's fountain.
Public baths surged with rose water. Men and women wore rose perfume.
Pillows were stuffed with rose petals, and rose pudding was a
favorite Roman dessert. During orgies, floors were layered with
roses. Couples and groups lay in the roses and copulated. The
Romans received their passion for roses from the Egyptian art
of the bath. Roman spas were patterned after Egyptian baths, and
the walls, whenever possible, were of rosewood. After bathing,
clothes were soaked in the rose perfume baths. Washed bodies underwent
aromatherapy. The Egyptians applied this technique and process
of rose water baths and aromatherapy to themselves after noticing
how successful a burial (mummifying) technique it was for their
Molly calls her
menstrual period 'her roses'. An issuing of blood which conceals
her unused, discarded egg. Blood or roses or the sloughing away
of the lining of the womb to camouflage her dead egg. Rosaries
originally consisted of roses: 165 dried, rolled-up roses in each
rosary, for the rose was the symbol of the Virgin Mary.
refuses to make new living flesh. He passes the living flesh of
his spouse to eat dead meat, sausages and kidneys. He calls it
toothsome pliant meat, this flesh redolent of Latin graveyards,
this flesh cooled until he chooses to purchase it. The urine in
the kidney as it fries makes the kitchen smell of a watercloset.
The watercloset where Bloom goes to defecate and urinate. Slowly--the
way he masturbates, the onanistic way he always experiences his
sex since Rudy's death.
Early in evolution,
man traveled for food, not pleasure, and smell was essential.
(This symbolizes the closed-in-ness of Dublin from the rest of
a city on an island left stagnated at the finding-food
stage). Man smelled, also, to find a mate. Sandor Ferenczi, a
disciple of Freud's, said men make love to women because women's
wombs smell of herring brine, and men are trying to get back to
the primordial ocean. The fishiness, however, is due to stale
sperm left in the vagina. 'Old put', in Irish, is slang for a
prostitute or one with staleness in the vagina. It is a seaside
girl. As in the song, the seaside girls give boys a treat. A boy
falls in love with all the girls, and not erotically with one
girl to whom he can write letters and with whom he can know companionship.
does not want to go home to Molly's vagina. He fears it. A hairy
trap, a cave with a garden of tendrils all around it, rivulets
of secretions streaming
a replica, almost, of Calypso's
cavern. Does he smell Molly's vagina? If he does, he smells another
lover's sperm for he does not deposit his within. This absence
of Bloom's fertile sex reflects Odysseus's absence from Penelope.
For when Odysseus returns to Penelope, one of the initial things
they do is lie in their bed just as they did before he left. Odysseus
farm on the lakeshore of Tiberias in the advertisement: Bloom
imagines the beasts lowing in their pens. Thinks of their dung.
May recall that the Romans used pigeon dung to bleach their hair.
Remembers the breeders' slaps on the cattle's rumps at market.
Later that day, Blazes Boylan, breeder, penetrator, man with massive
cock, will slap Molly's rump.
The Zion advertisement
issues a promise of the bearing of fine fruits. The eastern fruits
Bloom daydreams about
and which symbolize his fertile spouse.
The Zion advertisement makes Bloom think of the Dead Sea as a
grey sunken cunt. There is no semen in this vagina. There is no
fish, no semen. It is weedless. It can bear no more. It is like
Molly and no longer bears fruit. Her cunt is dead through his
onanism. The Zion advertisement reminds Bloom of his unprosperous
back garden. The place which badly needs fertilization, the place
he walks through to deposit his bowels and piss where they cannot
fertilize--in an antiseptic manmade receptacle, watercloset. To
Zion, to wife, and to garden, Bloom refuses to give himself.
with his hand, the moist tender gland, the kidney, from the butcher.
He puts it in his side pocket. It is his scrotum, his soft penis,
Molly's lips, Molly's yes.
Back at 7 Eccles
Street, Bloom cooks his kidney, urine-scented. A plume of steam
rises from the tea kettle's spout. Bloom may recall that some
prostitutes will insert a feather, as a treat, into the anus of
an affluent regular customer as he ejaculates. He pours cream
for Molly's tea. Once she poured her extra cream (too much mother's
milk for Milly, she would say
"help me with it, Poldy")
into his tea.
cream spiraling through Molly's tea looks the way metempsychosis
sounds. Thick and sensual. Metempsychosis: Having the ability
to change into animal or tree. Bloom's foot hits the chamberpot
as he runs to rescue the burning kidney. The Greek fret of the
chamberpot is a style popular in Homer's time. Pungent smoke,
metempsychosis, the kidney has changed? No, it is only a little
burned. Bloom takes the kidney from the stove, from the funeral
pyre. He cuts away the burnt flesh. It is toothsome pliant meat.
He drinks some tea. He sops up the kidney gravy with his bread,
then eats more of the kidney. Toothsome pliant meat. No, not the
dead on view in the Latin ruins. But the blood and flesh of Christ.
Metempsychosis: The flesh and blood of Christ changed into animal,
dead toothsome pliant meat shared during holy communion.
Yet Bloom's musings
on the afterlife are as shallow as those of Shakespeare's Hamlet.
And books themselves are miniature coffins holding thoughts that
were once alive and new to the people of their time.
walks through his garden. He carries his copy of Titbits under
his armpit as some Renaissance people carried apples beneath their
armpits to absorb their smells. Later, these pungent apples were
exchanged with their lovers. Bloom names his flowers, Virginia
creeper, scarlet runners, blades of spearmint. In the watercloset,
he reminds himself to keep his trousers clean for Dignam's funeral.
Stale cobwebs, moldy limewash surround. He readies himself to
move his bowels; and he mentions the laxative (perfume-like) he
had taken. Cascara sagrada, a Spanish laxative from the buckthorn
tree. He pees and momentarily conjoins with his urinary queen.
He wonders if he will have time for a restorative, perhaps preservative,
bath before Dignam's funeral. A bath similar to the mortician-administered
one Dignam himself may have recently received.
The artist, like every human being, has a life comprised of eight
stages: infancy, early childhood, play age, school age, adolescence,
young adulthood, adulthood, and old age. For the artist, young
adulthood and adulthood are the most crucial steps and are to
be interpreted as psychological ones and not ones of physical
maturation. In the creative or psychological lifestyle, young
adulthood is a time of sublimation, of redirecting libidinal forces
into pyscho-social contexts. It is a time of intimacy with the
self. The artist recognizes his inner, but mostly unexpressed
creativity--and as it is a time of isolation, the artist fears
remaining separate because being separate means being unrecognized
and unproductive. In the creative or psychological lifestyles,
adulthood consists of creativity and production versus self-absorption
and decay. The artist must transcend his separation and meet with
other artists, discuss ideas, share thoughts. The artist cannot
survive in a vacuum. He requires a household or community of like-minded
individuals, some of the time, to conceive, develop, and give
birth to his distinctiveness. Through the influence of his peers,
through his rejection of some of their ideas and through his reforming
of their thoughts by mixing them with the freshness of his own
mind, the artist finds a voice and subject matter of his own.
The artist requires
creative courage. Creative courage is the capacity to move ahead
in spite of despair, the capacity to listen to the self and to
listen to the self speak to others. It is the capacity to mix
with like-minded individuals.
The artist must
have an encounter: he must open himself to influence. Without
influence, he will have no control, no drive for the creation.
He must pay attention with his five senses, undergo active listening,
and have waited for adulthood to begin. He must be caught up in
this new environment. It may be long or short, this absorption
of his environment
he may find it beguiling or repulsive,
but the experience must be intense. It then gives form to the
new creative work. And the artist will use everything at hand,
will take possession of whatever he needs in his surroundings,
and will reconstruct and reshape it to fit his creation.
Joyce has an encounter
he opens himself to influence
he claims his vision as separate from the rest, he rejects the
setting and returns to Trieste for rest and other work. In Trieste,
away from setting of the encounter, the creative impulse expresses
itself and Joyce, the artist, shapes and reshapes his text (third
major draft of Portrait) and finally has breakthrough and
the groundwork for Ulysses. 
Freud, Sigmund, "Mourning and Melancholia'.
The Freud Reader. Ed. Peter Gay. New York: W.W. Norton
& Company, 1989.
Homer, The Odyssey. New York:
Penguin Books, 1982.
Joyce, James, Letters of James Joyce
Joyce, James, Portrait of the Artist
as a Young Man. New York: Penguin Books, 1992.
Joyce, James, Ulysses. New York:
Random House, 1992.
Creativity Research Journal,
Volumes 4, 6, and 8.
Ackerman, Diane, A Natural History
of the Senses. New York: Vintage Books, 1991.
Bloom, Harold, The Anxiety of Influence.
Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1973.
Erikson, Erik H., The Life Cycle
Completed. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1985.
James Joyce's Ulysses: Critical Essays.
Eds. Clive Hart and David Hayman, Berkeley: U. Cal. Press, 1974.
May, Rollo, The Courage to Create.
New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1975.
Shechner, Mark, Joyce in Nighttown.
Berkeley: U. Cal. Press, 1974.
1 His poverty in adulthood, from 1912
until he died, was assuaged by a patron, Harriet Shaw Weaver.
2 Grief is a distressed or angered state
of mind; a malady or disease; a document; an emotional suffering
caused by bereavement, remorse, panic, or despair. Taken from
Webster's Third New International Dictionary (unabridged) . Freud
interprets grief as a death process during which the individual
cathectically looks at things left, times remembered and from
which he should emerge reborn or in a new (but sound) emotional
state. Paraphrased from Freud's Mourning and Melancholia.
3 Sigmund Freud, "Mourning and
Melancholi"a. The Freud Reader. Ed. Peter Gay (New
York: W.W.Norton & Company, 1989) 585.
5 Jock Abra, "Do the Muses Dwell
in Elysium? Death as a Motive for Creativity", Creativity
Research Journal Vol. 8, No. 3 (1995): 214
6 His message is the short essay, "A
Portrait of the Artist"-the initial version of Portrait;
then his message is Stephen Hero-the second major version of Portrait
which will be slimmed down after his stay in Rome
in Stephen Hero is reworked into two pieces, The Dubliners
(a collection of short stories) and Portrait.
7 Abra 214. "The creative act requires
courage precisely because it is an act of dying, of mourning,
of experiencing grief, and it is an act of rebirth."
8 Stephanus--musician and a Greek writer
known for his dictionary giving an account of towns and places
in the ancient world. Stephen is tauntingly called Stephanus by
his friends at one point in the text.
9 Harold Bloom, The Anxiety of Influence.
(Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1973) 26.
10 Bloom 27.
11 See chronology. Rome and its literary
(and mythological) father figures are Joyce's influence prior
to his third major rewriting of Portrait.
12 Shelley is likened to Icarus, son
of Daedalus, in the myth. Icarus, seeking new form (wings) with
his father, flies too close to the sun and his wings melt. Shelley,
seeking a liberation of language, symbolically flies too close
to the sun
not enough of society understands his language
and metaphors, and so he is constantly fighting a creative death.
13 Epiphany is the sudden manifestation
or perception of the essential meaning of something.
14 Paraphrased from Abra.
15 James Joyce, Letters of James
Joyce Volume 2, 165.
16 Sermon structure (my own text delineations):
exordium (introduction to a composition, 'to begin a web')-page
77; propositio (material offered for an argument)-pages 77-8;
partitio (analysis of subject, sometimes in debate style)-page
78; digresio (a turning aside from main subject)-pages 78-9; reprehensio
(a chiding and reproving) , applicatio (previously stated principles
applied to practical uses), peroration (a summing up)-pages 92-3
roughly ; prayer, prophesy, and exhortation-pages 95-6.
17 Diane Ackerman, A Natural History
of the Senses. (New York: Vintage Books, 1991) 20.
18 Calypso's name means 'the concealer'.
19 Ackerman 6.
20 Homer 93.
21 Adaline Glasheen, "Calypso,"
James Joyce's Ulysses: Critical Essays. eds. Clive Hart
and David Hayman (Berkeley: U. Cal. Press, 1974) 57.
22 Ackerman 11.
23 Ackerman 9. She goes on to say that
violets contain ionone, which short-circuits our sense of smell.
The flower continues to exude its fragrance, but we lose the ability
to smell it.
24 Homer, The Odyssey. (New York:
Penguin Books, 1982) 92.
25 Jonathan Swift, Gulliver's Travels
(Boston: Riverside Press, 1960) 2(5):96.
26 Ackerman 37.
27 Paraphrased from Dedalus's talk in
library in "Scylla and Charybdis."
28 Paraphrased from Erik H. Erikson,
The Life Cycle Completed. (New York: W.W. Norton & Company,
29 Paraphrased from Rollo May, The
Courage to Create (New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1975).
30 Preparation: ideas are identified
and toyed with