Joyce's Voices

Joyce's Voices

Joyce's Voices

Joyce's Voices

Excerpt

A correspondent from Missouri enquired: "In your book, A Homemade World, on page 155, you write, 'Joyce began Ulysses in naturalism and ended it in parody, understanding more profoundly than any of his followers that naturalism cannot end anywhere else, and a law like the hidden law that governs the unfolding of styles in Ulysses brought Hemingway to self-parody at last, as though, not understanding the history disclosed by Joyce, he was condemned to repeat it.'

"Would you mind briefly explaining this sentence? . . ."

My reply promised this book, most of which is derived from the four T.S. Eliot Memorial Lectures I called Objectivity and After and delivered in May 1975 at the University of Kent at Canterbury, where the windows of the Great Hall of Eliot College frame a distant prospect of the towers of the cathedral. In the Chapter House near those towers the first performance of Murder in the Cathedral was rehearsed just forty years previously, and since Murder in the Cathedral bore on my theme, that view of the towers might have been framed to provide a visiting speaker with a trope. Eliot too had coopted such adventitious fact, when he dramatized in his playscript Becket's death for an audience who would sit not fifty yards from the place where Becket died. So had Joyce, staging the first scene . . .

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