Musical Allusions in the Works of James Joyce: Early Poetry through Ulysses

Musical Allusions in the Works of James Joyce: Early Poetry through Ulysses

Musical Allusions in the Works of James Joyce: Early Poetry through Ulysses

Musical Allusions in the Works of James Joyce: Early Poetry through Ulysses

Excerpt

The importance of music in the works of James Joyce has long been acknowledged by Joycean scholars, though few systematic attempts have been made to deal with the problem. Scholarly references to the music which appears in Joyce's early works are rare, partly because prior to Ulysses there are relatively few musical allusions in Joyce's work. Most of the major commentaries on the novel refer to musical allusions in Ulysses, but these references are at best occasional mention of specific lines in the narrative and identifications of the songs from which they come. There have been several general treatments of the tonal qualities of Ulysses by such musicians as Terrence White, who sees the "Deshil Holles Eamus" passage of the Oxen of the Sun episode as a series of wind-instrument effects; Luigi Dallapiccola, who claims various words and sounds in the Circe episode correspond to a twelve-note scale; and Martin Ross, who envisions all of Ulysses as a musical composition rather than a literary work. These studies, while sometimes graced by aesthetic flights of fancy, are of little use to scholars in terms of textual explication. A much more interesting and useful overall musical schema for Ulysses is Father Robert Boyle's, "Ulysses as Frustrated Sonata Form," in which he admits that his application of the novel to the sonata isn't exactly congruent in all details. He does, however, provide an outline of the book in musical terms, which can be a handy device for introducing the structure of the novel in the classroom. From a practical standpoint another good treatment of the musical techniques of Joyce's prose appears in Frederick Sternfeld's "Poetry and Music— Joyce's Ulysses." Sternfeld renders the aural dimensions of the words in a few musical allusions in Ulysses by considering the actual musical scores to which they refer.

There are many interpretations of the Sirens chapter of Ulysses, some of which will be discussed in the course of this study. Since the chapter deals primarily with music and Joyce's musical tech-

Author Advanced search

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.