Today, February 2, is the day on which James Joyce was born in 1882. In his honor, I am putting up this special post, one considerably longer than usual. I will continue my current post series on “The Conversion of Nature and Technology” next Monday in accordance with my regular schedule for posting.
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“. . . to recognize Ulysses for what it is—perhaps the most objective work of fiction ever created . . .”
William Troy was a gifted American university educator and literary critic who died of cancer in 1961, when he was only 57. The line above is from his posthumously published Selected Essays (page 90), which was awarded the 1968 National Book Award for Arts and Letters.* Because Joyce’s work, with its pioneering experiments in the literary technique often called “stream-of-consciousness” or “interior monologue,” is frequently taken, especially in the popular press, as embodying the very height of the introduction of “subjectivity” into the modern novel, Troy’s remark is startling. Indeed, if taken as seriously as Troy himself meant it to be, and not simply passed over hurriedly or even dismissed out of hand, its effect should in fact be to shock us. What it should shock us into, is thinking carefully and leisurely about just what, if anything, we mean when we use, as we often do, the terms “objective” and “subjective.” In this day of charges and counter-charges about “fake news,” the question of just what constitutes “objectivity” and “subjectivity” in speaking and writing is surely deserving of just such careful, unhurried thought.
Stated a bit more radically: If we grow thoughtful in the face of Troy’s remark, we find ourselves having to ask serious just how and to what effect author, world, and word interrelate in the literary work of art itself.
Joyce has much to tell us on those very matters.
Troy follows up on his remark about Joyce’s Ulysses being “perhaps the most objective work of fiction ever created” by immediately adding, as his reason for saying so, that the novel at issue is “a work about which it is impossible to say that it is written in such and such a style, since it is written in as many styles as there are characters and situations to be rendered.” Thus, in accord with Troy’s observation we could say that Joyce himself succeeds in realizing that highest stage of art where, as Stephen Dedalus says in Joyce’s Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, the artist as such is no longer even present in his work, which is released altogether to and for participation with the audience, while the artist himself, is off elsewhere, “pairing his fingernails.”**
A common enough way of viewing how, in his artworks themselves, the famous passages in which Joyce uses the literary technique of so called “interior monologue” or “stream-of-consciousness,” what is happening is a sort of turn to the “subject.” The idea is that, as it were, such techniques “subjectivize” the world of the narrative work by giving the reader only a world “as seen by so and so,” rather than locating the story’s characters in a common, “objective” world independent of all such “views,” such “as-seen-by’s.” According to this account, Joyce’s fiction would, at best, reduce the world to nothing more than the unity of such merely subjective “views.” Depending on one’s biases, one might, then, see Joyce’s achievement either as the realization in fiction of the pinnacle of German idealism, or (more common, probably) as a literary example of what sociologist David L. Miller, borrowing from psychologist U. T. Place, in a book of essays about the pragmatist philosopher and sociologist George Herbert Mead that came out not too many years after Troy’s Selected Essays, calls the “phenomenalistic fallacy.” Miller defines that fallacy this way: “To assume [. . .] that the individual begins by an awareness of his own private experiences or subjective states or sense data that appear to him in a sort of internal cinema, and to assume, further, that one can begin with such experiences and work toward a knowledge of the existence of an external order.” (Miller, page 101).
In truth, however, such accounts would completely miss the point of Joyce’s use of the technique in question, which is precisely to place the “subjectivity” of the given “subject” in interdependence with an encompassing world of symbol, myth, and history—of tradition and community, concepts and language—so that both that world and the unique experience of the individual in that world (the supposed “subject”) may disclose themselves as they are. It is this, finally, that lies behind Troy’s notion of Joyce’s “objectivity,” as well as behind the frequently expressed critical comment that “interior monologue” and “stream-of-consciousness” are misnomers, insofar as such tours de force as Molly Bloom’s soliloquy ending Ulysses do not and cannot really succeed in (and do not really aim at, in the first place) duplicating the continuous internal chatter with which human beings—or at least modern man—seems to accompany all his actions, let alone duplicating the actual course of full consciousness.
Unlike, for example, the transcriptions of Richard M. Nixon’s notorious Whitehouse tapes about the Watergate affair, or a “true-to-life” transcription of someone’s continual internal chatter, Ulysses is, of course, a crafted, structured work. Molly’s soliloquy in placed in the text, and her prattle to herself is present in the work only insofar as it is textualized along with, and in relation to, the talking of all the other voices in Ulysses. The work thereby makes a place for Molly herself as a unique/common, everywoman/no-woman, irreducibly separate, private, and alone, albeit socialized and conventionalizes, adulteress/wife/mother, among other things. As Molly in her bed leaves room (even though with soiled sheets still bearing the imprint of her lover) for Bloom to return home at last from his wanderings, so does Ulysses leave room for Molly. By such moves, Joyce’s art clears a place for the modern “subject,” a space for that chattering, mortal creature to affirm itself and the world.
Joyce’s work lets the “subject” be. It stops and reverses the fascinated fall of the “subject” into subjectivity—into that house of mirrors where the physicist Heisenberg finally sees only himself. In this respect, Joyce is finally much closer in spirit to Husserl, Heidegger, and phenomenology, for example, than to any of the various forms of Idealism, let alone to phenomenalism and sensation-theory from Descartes to Carnap. His work is in that sense the very opposite of “subjective”: of a hermetic sealing-off of world and a retreat into narcissistic emptiness. It is, instead, a hermeneutic opening-up of the world to the so-called “subject,” and of that “subject” to the world. In Joyce, subjectivity is at last overcome, by making room for the “subject,” allowing it to be within its limits, placed with others in a community that, far from being reducible to a rats’-nest of atomic individuals, requires the interdependence of “all the living and the dead,” to use the closing words of Joyce’s Dubliners (to which words I will return soon).
A literary work such as Joyce’s places the “subject” in the text and, thereby, in relations of interdependence with history, tradition, and myth (maybe only in the format of colloquialisms and idiomatic expressions). Such a work reestablishes the proper balance between self, others, and the common world. Accordingly, such a work is ultimately the antagonist of all “subjectivism”—in the sense of the prioritization, over all that is inter-subjective and belongs to a common, shared human world as such, of some sort of private, personal, “internal” experience that requires the construction of some supposed bridge to reconnect to that world.
News commentators exchanging opinions on Fox News, CNN, or one of the TV networks are being extremely subjective even when they are as careful as they can be to marshal their data, get to the roots of the issue, and above all . . . put on a good show. Even to have such subjective “opinions” is already bad enough, but to exchange them is to sin mortally, if subjectivism is to be the measure. Yet nightly we witness such public blasphemies as soon as we turn on the TV set.
In contrast, even the creators of genuine literary artworks who insert themselves by name into their own works, as various post-Joycean authors do, are being wholly “objective” in the sense Troy, for one, gives that term. Examples of such writers who include themselves by name in their own works can be found in works of fiction. To give one instance, in some of his works of fiction the important “postmodern” novelist and short-story writer John Barth inserts himself by name as a character into the text itself. However, it is not only in fiction that such self-insertion into the work occurs. It also occurs in such famous non-fictional journalistic works as many by Norman Mailer (The Armies of the Night, Miami and the Siege of Chicago, The Prisoner of Sex, etc.), Hunter S. Thompson (most famously, perhaps, Hell’s Angels and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas), Tom Wolfe (such as The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test)—as well as in articles and essays by such important contemporary journalistic writers such a Ta-Nehisi Coates.
By literally putting themselves into their work, such writers commit themselves to a seriousness, openness, and vulnerability that is inconceivable at the entertaining level of “an honest exchange of opinions.” Such authors share with Joyce, of pairing his fingernails while the work works on its audience, the artist’s courage to vanish into the text itself, and to be only in the work.
The tendency to judge art in terms appropriate to the assessment of newscasts or sit-com episodes—terms such as: interesting, enlightening, uplifting, pessimistic, optimistic, educational, funny, encouraging, informative, amusing, juvenile, depressing, stimulating, insipid, tasteless, pretentious, trustworthy, or avuncular—issues from the same hidden, only apparently unimportant source as does the extreme subjectivism of those two types of entertainments themselves. The root of it all is this: the reduction of language to its merely instrumental, referential aspects.
The view, for example, that the passages in Joyce employing the “interior monologue” device are solipsistic and subjectivizing is fostered by the notion that these passages are meant merely to be signs or marks referentially expressive of the “thoughts” of some (imaginary) body. If that is all that is going on, then to make such passages the very heart of literature is, indeed, rampant trivialization of the writer’s craft. But, of all the modern writers, it is above all Joyce himself who does most to wean us away from this naïve vies of language in literature—and this is true not only of Ulysses and Finnegans Wake, but also of the earlier, more widely accessible Portrait, and even of Dubliners, especially its long final story, ‘The Dead,” which I will now consider in some detail.
In “The Dead,” the referential content of the work, the “story” in the vulgar sense of the who, what, when, where, and how, is the account of how Gabriel Conroy, a cosmopolitan Dubliner of Joyce’s day, inadvertently learns, at the end of an evening of family partying, of his Galway wife Gretta’s earlier involvement with a young man named Michael Furey, now dead. That referential content coalesces with the thematic content, which the great Joyce biographer Richard Ellman identifies as the “mutuality” of all men, both living and dead, insofar as “all men feel and lose feeling, all interact, all warrant the sympathy that Gabriel now [at the end of the story] extends to Furey, to Gretta, and to himself” (Ellman, pages 260-261).
The two dimensions of content coalesce powerfully in a final image that transcends both, and that captures as well the essence of Joyce’s own art: the image of Gabriel sitting alone by the window next to his sleeping wife in their Dublin hotel room. It is the closing line not only of “The Dead” but also of Dubliners as a whole: “His soul swooned slowly as her heard the snow falling faintly through the universe and faintly falling, like the descent of their last end, upon all the living and the dead.”
Ellman maintains that this snow cannot be death itself, as has frequently been held, since that would yield the supposedly un-Joycean redundancy of death falling on the dead. Elmann instead identifies the snow, as already indicated, with what he calls “mutuality” itself.
That identification, however, confuses the snow itself with what accompanies it. In the snow, the living and the dead are a community, and the snow’s faint fall lets the mutuality of all emerge. But the snow is not itself that community, that mutuality.
Ellman is indeed right to deny that the snow is death. Joyce tells us only that it is “like” death, man’s “last end.” The snow is like death in that both it and death fall upon all alike—no one is granted exception. All die, and the snow falls on everyone. But it is precisely because all die that they form a community. All are one in the face of death. To say, with Ellman, that all feel and lose feeling, and that all warrant sympathy is to say, above all else, that all die.
The snow, in its likeness to death, is what let’s Gabriel’s swooning soul finally hear that death unites all men, and that death itself is precisely like the snow in that, finally, by virtue of its very indifference and inexorability, it has a peculiar gentleness and equanimity. In falling faintly, and in that faint fall’s being heard, the snow thereby invests Gabriel with his own full humanity: it admits him to the community of all in death.
To say that the living and the dead are one in death, however, does that not return to redundancy? The dead, those who have already died, can they still suffer death? Is not death a “mutualizing” force only for the still living?
No, as we can learn earlier in Joyce’s story, when Gabriel fist comes to hear of Michael Furey, and of his place in Gretta’s life back in Galway.
Coming back to their hotel room after the Christmas-Eve party at Gabriel’s aunts’ house, the account of which takes up most of “The Dead,” Gabriel is feeling very self-satisfied. He is proud of himself for his dinner-speech at his aunts’ home. Exhilarated by his petty success and by the evening’s ongoing snowstorm, he is aroused by his wife’s beauty. Anticipating gratification of his desire, Gabriel is put off by Greta’s distance and her lack of response to his obvious interest. Driven by mixed feelings of hurt pride and a mild desire to avenge himself on her for her perceived slight, Gabriel pursues Gretta with questions—but finds himself wholly unprepared for her answers.
In response to his inquiry about what is bothering and distracting her, Gretta tells Gabriel that the song they overheard while they lingered in departure from the party has reminded her of Michael Furey, a young man who was, she says, in love with her years before, when she was still a young woman at home in Galway. She tells Gabriel how Michael, although consumptive, snuck out from his room one evening to come and see her not long before she left Galway, and how he sang that same song beneath her window on that occasion—and how he died shortly thereafter.
“And what did he die of so young, Gretta?” asks Gabriel. “Consumption, was it?” However, Gretta replies negatively. “I think,” she says, “ he died for me.”
Gabriel senses that the gap this reply reveals between him and his wife is one that in at least one important sense can never be bridged. He will never, he senses, be able to reach that place in her life and memory that she still shares with Michael Furey, a place where that youth, even in death, will always be more present to her than he, her husband, will be, no matter how physically close they come to each other. The irremediable ache of being alone that Gabriel now feels contrasts sharply with the self-preoccupied, naïve anticipation of warmth, security, and gratification that had excited him only moments before.
The irreparable rupture of communication, of sharing, revealed in this exchange with Gretta also contrasts sharply with the garrulity of the party-goers earlier in the evening, including that of Gabriel himself. In the mindless, everyday chatter and patter that Joyce brilliantly—and boringly, in fact, just as such chatter always truly is—captures, everything is mere surface. There are no hiding places of language where the pain of separateness might lie cooling itself, ready to freeze the easy conversation.
In a youthful lecture in Dublin, Joyce once spoke of death as the most beautiful form of life, only to be parodied in a campus newspaper that depicted absence as the highest form of presence. As Ellman notes, however, Joyce would have found neither notion absurd (Ellman, page 262). “The Dead,” in fact, is Joyce’s proof of both. The dead Michael Furey calls out Greta’s living passion as Gabriel, at hand, cannot at that moment hope to do. Similarly, Gretta’s reticence and the silence of Gabriel’s musings after she has gone to sleep say more than all the sharpened repartee and perfected deliveries of developed conversation from the earlier scenes at the party.
To die is to be consigned to being most present only in absence, and absent in presence. Death is the disclosure of this inescapable priority of absence within presence, and the descent of death upon the dead is no mere redundancy, but is a wind that will never let the dead die away, a wind fanning them, instead, into flames of presence, to consume the living. In “The Dead,” death’s reign over all life is finally stilled, and Gabriel is finally reconciled to the dominance of death (of absence: Michael Furey) over life (presence: Gabriel himself), only by the faintly falling snow, which, being “like” death in its gentle yet ineluctable and indifferent descent, is a mantel lightly covering both the living in their beds and the dead in their graves, buffering each to the other, establishing peace between them.
The snow does not “represent” the mutuality of the living and the dead. Nor is it just a “symbol” the “meaning” of which is the community of all human beings. The snow is no more than snow: It “signifies” nothing.
Rather, in its faint fall the snow has an iconic resemblance to death, with which it thereby forms a kinship, so that, hearing the snow faintly falling, Gabriel’s soul hears death’s descent as well, only now muted. Just can snow also mute the otherwise harsh and painful clang of a church-bell being rung. So muted, the sound of the bell is also distorted, but in that very distortion can now be given to the ear, that it might be heard. In the same way, the faintly falling snow presents death in distortion, but through that distortion brings reconciliation—by allowing death’s echo to resound in the soul, whose own soft swoon now mirrors back death’s snowy image.
The non-referential, iconic way in which the snow of “The Dead” re-presents death is the paradigmatic literary device for all of Joyce’s famous “epiphanies.” Joyce’s images do not “signify” or “refer to” what they allow us to see (or hear), but present it through a protectively muting and distorting icon.
To be such a muted, distorted, iconic image is the essence of the emblem, and Joyce’s art is thoroughly emblematic. This has commonly been remarked of Ulysses (for example, in the connection of the various parts of that work to parts of the body) and especially of Finnegans Wake. But is has also been noted in the progress of the style of the Portrait of the Artist and is, in fact, already characteristic of Dubliners.
Emphasizing this non-referential, emblematic aspect of Joyce’s works does not involve overlooking the still properly linguistic nature of his art. William Troy was quite right, for example, to reject the notion that in Finnegans Wake Joyce reduces language to the pure musicality of its sound, beyond “meaning.”
Troy points out that the force of even the most fanciful of Joyce’s word-plays in the Wake is still a function of discerned interconnections of the “meanings” of the words played upon, never merely the result of resemblances of abstract, isolated sounds (Troy, pages 95-97). Indeed, as has often enough been observed (by Heidegger, for example), it is extremely difficult even to force oneself to hear a word—even a words in an unfamiliar language—as a mere sound-pattern.
Joyce’s emblematic art is wholly misunderstood if the notion of iconic resemblance is confined to the dimension of abstract physical resemblance, though Joyce does not disdain even that. The stuff from which Joyce draws his emblematic connections includes much more than merely similarity of sound. To put it paradoxically, his non-referential, emblematic art does not eliminate or even restrict the linguistic function of words, but rather expands the domain of language to include phenomena heretofore thought of as non-linguistic, and sublimates the very concept of reference into that of iconic resemblance. Eventually for Joyce, the domain of language comes to embrace being in totality. Ellman quotes Stephen Dedalus: “In the virgin womb of the imagination the word was made flesh” (Ellman, page 307). But equally well, the word can become flesh only because all flesh is already word, and a pair of colored brushes, for instance, can speak more clearly and resoundingly than any set of merely referential, information-conveying sentences from a newspaper clipping.
What art does is selectively to distort references and resemblances to create emblems—epiphanies—in which, through absence, what the flesh says can come to be present in the soul. The writer structures the references, sounds, and cadences of words into distorted images that, precisely through the distortion, let the absent world present itself.
A caricature consisting of no more than a few lines, but skillfully distorting a visage to emphasize an expression can often recall to us a long absent friend more forcefully and vividly than a completely accurate snapshot. In the snapshot, where nothing is staged or composed, where everything is visible, the decisive presence of a pictured friend is often still lacking. In contrast, the caricature, which may not be “accurate” in the least, can yield the most vivid presence of the absent friend.
This is because all the photograph can do is reproduce in detail the elements of what was once present at some past time. It cannot capture anything of just how the pictured elements combined and broke asunder, of the dance of gestures that animated them, the voice that gave them measure. It can capture only isolated, abstract “things,” never the living world that invested them with meaning to compose the face of a friend. For that world itself is no additional thing or element, but the structure of all their interrelationships. Precisely in and by their sparseness, the few lines of the caricature can capture what can never be literally put in the picture—what can never be merely present alongside everything else: the world itself of that friend.
This same principle of distortion and caricature in the service, not of deception but of revelation, is at work in Joyce’s art. In the gap established by the artificial, emblematic distortion of the literary image, disclosure occurs: Joycean “epiphany.” The literary image “refers” only in the sense that the snow of “The Dead” itself “refers” to death and the community of all: iconic “likeness” shatters referential identity to establish an interval where determinate absence makes itself felt. Swooning into this interval, the soul renounces its narcissistic contentment with what is merely present in answer to the soul’s own needs, and abandons itself to dependence on the always withheld presence of the world.
Not only does the slow, broken rhythm of the last line of “The Dead,” for example, unite with the alliteration of ‘s’ and ‘f’ (“soul swooned softly . . . snow . . . faintly falling . . . falling faintly”) to onomatopoetically, as it were, re-present the soft, faint fall of the snow itself, but that re-presentation is also strongly reinforced by the meanings of such terms as “softly” and “faintly.” Thus, cadence, alliteration, onomatopoeia, and meaning all reinforce one another to create a word-image of the faintly falling snow itself.
At the same time, this entire image is taken in a new an unexpected direction through the meanings of the phrases “heard the snow” (not “saw”—and how can a soul, especially one swooning, “hear” such a “faintly falling” snow at all?), “falling . . . through the universe” (which both recalls, with the vastness of “universe,” the hard, cold impersonality of the snowfall, and suddenly broadens the scope of the image so that it now encompasses the all), and “last end” (which emphasizes not only the extremity of the snow’s reach, but also the finality of the soul’s swoon in hearing it).
Finally, to these two contrasting directions in which the line pulls the reader (toward the soft, quiet, restful envelopment of the snowfall, on the one hand, and toward the pale, cold extremity of the vastness of the universe, on the other), Joyce adds a third. That is the tug toward death itself given bluntly by the introduction of everyone’s “last end” and repeatedly reinforced by various connotations of “swooned,” “falling,” and “through” (as death is a swooning fall from life through and out of the world of the living).
Joyce’s closing line occurs at the end of tale called “The Dead,” which deals with death and separation, and which repeatedly and variously documents the contrast between the emptiness of the living present (e.g., the platitudinous emptiness of the chatter at the party, including Gabriel’s dinner speech of which he felt so proud), with the richness of the dead and silent past. So textualized, the line does not resolve the opposition between its three directions of allusions. No higher synthesis reestablishes harmonious unity. Rather, the unresolved strife between the three directions is left to yield the final, least obtrusive, but most powerful of all the story’s presentations of how the message of the snow at last reconciles Gabriel’s swooning soul with the inescapability of fragmentation, solitude, and absence.
Not only is the line “about” what the snow accomplishes in Gabriel’s swoon, but also the line is that very same accomplishment. It “refers to” the reconciliation of death and isolation with life and community in just such a way as to effect that very reconciliation—to bring it about in the soul of whoever is able to hear the faint fall of Joyce’s own words.
Joyce does more than merely describe a unique, cosmic snowfall; he writes a story that is one.
Faintly falling snow is a fitting emblem not only for death, but also both for Joyce’s own work and for the artwork in general, insofar as the essence of all art lies in world-disclosure. Like the snow, art distorts and covers-up that upon which it falls; and just as the snow is neither simply of heaven nor simply of earth, but traverses the distance between, falling from the one upon the other, so art belongs neither to sacred things nor to practical and everyday concerns, but covers the latter with the condensed residue of the former. Conversely, art, like snow, makes heaven heavy, earth-like. Yet, once again like snow, simultaneously it silently relates everything to everything else, bringing all together into a common world.
If we must still speak of the “reference” or “significance” of the artistic image, then we must say that art, like the snow, refers heaven and earth to one another, literally carries each back to the other (re- + ferre, “to carry or bear”), and in the lacuna between the two, signifies the absence which is the world itself. Art, like snow, is that gesture of which Merleau-Ponty says the “meaning” is a world. In this snowy world, earth and heaven traffic with one another in images. The intercourse so engendered renders earth heavenly, but it also renders heaven mundane.***
As an emblem not only of Joyce’s own parturient art, but of art in general, the faintly falling snow of “The Dead” fixes the irreducible distance between the work of art as a revelation of, and reconciliation to, the world of death and pain, and any sort of religious reconciliation. The soul’s slow swoon before absence leaves the world forever fragmented: Michael Furey remains dead; the form of seamless communication between men remains shattered; and Gabriel will never again be able to bury his loneliness in the body of his wife. In the universe through which Joyce’s snow faintly falls, there is no resurrection, death is the only life, and each of us is alone in pain. But the snow’s faint fall is like a whisper telling the swooning soul that that is enough, and more than enough.
By the unrepentant rigor of the apostasy of his art, Joyce liberates the novel. If Ulysses is the most objective novel ever written, it is only in the sense that it is the most purely literary. It is in the service of no gods and indebted to no power beyond that of distorting artifice itself. The often-noted inability of subsequent writers to discover and explore new novelistic territory is in no sense to be derided. For the novel after Joyce, as for Alexander the Great after his conquests, there remain no new worlds to conquer. It remains only for novelists to enter into their inheritance.
Even if there are keys somewhere, Bloom has forgotten them. So he climbs over the wall around his home and opens the gate from the inside. All we can do is accept, with Stephen, the hospitality Bloom thereby proffers, and pass within.
But surely that, too, is more than enough.
Ellman, Richard. James Joyce. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1959.
Joyce, James. Dubliners. New York: The Viking Press, 1967.
Miller, David L. “Mead’s Theory of Universals.” In The Philosophy of George Herbert Mead. Edited by Walter Robert Corti. Wintertur, Switzerland: Amriswiler, 1973.
Troy, William. Selected Essays. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1967.
* In passing at this point as I begin to honor Joyce’s memory, I’d like also to honor the memory of a near and dear friend of mine, Don Shoemaker, who first called my attention to Troy and his essays. I first met Don at a meeting held for all newly appointed faculty at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, New Mexico, at the very beginning of the fall semester of 1969, as we were both starting our first-time professorial teaching positions there. He and I were members of the same department, which for purely historical reasons cobbled together two philosophers and seven political scientists into a single “Department of Government and Philosophy.” Don, who was twenty years older than I, was one of the “government” faculty, whereas I was one of the two in “philosophy.” He and I and our two families became fast friends. Both Don and his wife died a number of years ago now, but are still very much present to me and my own wife in their absence—if anything, more present in the absence of death than they were in physical life. At any rate, one of the many gifts Don gave me over the years was knowledge of Troy and his work, Don having had the privilege of taking courses with Troy at the New School for Social Research in New York City not long before Troy’s own death.
** The pseudo-generic usage of masculine pronouns and nouns is Joyce’s own, which I have retained in quoting him.
*** Art’s mundanizing work is especially focal in Joyce’s vision. In connecting Bloom to Odysseus in Ulysses, for instance, Joyce does not so much valorize Bloom and the everyday events of one day in the life of a petty-bourgeois Dublin Jew (which valorization has been so often noted) as he Bloomizes valor. It is not so much that Bloom is made a hero, as that heroes are shown to be no more than Blooms. Joyce’s final words on this matter, however, is Molly’s “Yes,” which says, in effect, that being a Bloom is finally all the hero one ever needs.