My intention is to transpose the myth sub specie temporis nostri.
Each adventure (that is, every hour, every organ, every art being
interconnected and interrelated in the structural scheme of the
whole) should not only condition but even create its own
technique. Joyce in 19201
IN The Sacred River L. A. G. Strong tells of a revealing conversation between Joyce and Frank O'Connor. The scene is Joyce's flat: O'Connor has just touched the frame of a picture on the wall.
'Yes, I see it's Cork. I was born there. But what's the frame?'
This anecdote illuminates one of Joyce's major artistic techniques, a method which increased in importance during the making of Ulysses until it finally dominated the late revisions. The technique--to which I have given the name 'expressive form'3--seeks to establish a direct correspondence between substance and style. The form 'expresses' or imitates qualities of its subject. Following this ideal, Joyce tried to endow each episode of Ulysses with a form which would suggest characteristics of the setting or action. Thus an episode which takes place in a newspaper office is cast in the form of a newspaper, or a section on sentimental girlhood is written in a 'namby-pamby jammy marmalady drawersy (alto lá!) style'.4 Since all art is 'expressive' to some degree, we can define Joyce's extreme use of the technique by observing that late in the writing of Ulysses he had reached a point where he was willing to imitate in the novel's