Joyce, Bakhtin, and Popular Literature: Chronicles of Disorder

Joyce, Bakhtin, and Popular Literature: Chronicles of Disorder

Joyce, Bakhtin, and Popular Literature: Chronicles of Disorder

Joyce, Bakhtin, and Popular Literature: Chronicles of Disorder

Synopsis

'The interpretations offered here are among the most sensitive and enlightening that I have seen. . .Kershner has produced an analysis with profound and diverse implications for further studies of Joyce and his culture.' -James Joyce Quarterly

Excerpt

Quietude and silence (the absence of the word). the pause and the beginning of the word. the disturbance of quietude by sound is mechanical and physiological (as a condition of perception); the disturbance of silence by the word is personalistic and intelligible: it is an entirely different world. in quietude nobody makes a sound (or somebody does not speak). Silence is possible only in the human world (and only for man). of course, both quietude and silence are always relative. . . . Silence--intelligible sound (a word)-- and the pause constitute a special logosphere, a unified and continuous structure, an open (unfinalized) totality. (sg, 133-34)

Dubliners records the breaking of the silence: the silence before Joyce's first mature work and the silence given to the child-protagonist in response to the multitude of passionate questions that he already knows he must refuse to ask. Certainly this is a book about the confrontation with languages at the most fundamental level. in each of the first three stories the child encounters an adult or group of adults who speak a different language, what might be termed a "language of the initiate" that refers perpetually to something always unstated but always implied in their speech. Through silences and gestures of exclusion the adults enact--almost ritually--an insistence that the child remain incommunicado; but of course the child, frustrated and alienated by this barrage of exclusive language, refuses to admit his situation. He adopts a disguise . . .

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