By Jacques Aubert
"Readers who neglected the 1973 French version of this ebook may be shocked and extremely joyful with the author's overview of source-figures in the back of Joyce's aesthetics. a few of this fabric, notwithstanding frequent quite often, is now traced with extraordinary intensity and class; a few of it truly is new; and the implicit account of Joyce's creative improvement is valuable, a great and great achievement."--Mary T. Reynolds, James Joyce Literary complement.
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Extra info for The Aesthetics of James Joyce
It can be argued that Joyce's aesthetic is to some extent direaed by the problem of the artist's autonomy, not so much from his social environment (as is commonly believed after a superficial reading of Stephen Hero zn&A Portrait of the Artist) as from possible alienation into the interpretative symbolic framework in which he had been brought up, which had shaped—and threatened to par alyze—him. The latent questions are: How can the writer's ex perience be symbolized by him, in his own ethical act as 21 THE AESTHETICS OF JAMES JOYCE writer?
Wick .. ed . . (SH, 211) Stephen's imperious desire to redistribute signifiers through a poetic gesture is immediately repressed and concealed by a historical, linear narrative, and the ethical quality of the expe22 EXPLORATIONS rience is translated into moralistic precept: "It was for the man of letters to record these epiphanies with extreme care" (SH, 211). The Tables of the Law have once more displaced, re placed the law of the poet's tablets. Such is the attitude, at least, in such early effort at theorization.
When literature asserts "the naked power of speech," it is with the full weight and force that the Creational Word suggests; when it "encounters 19 THE AESTHETICS OF JAMES JOYCE the untamed, imperious being of words," it is carried along with their ontological implications. In other words, what characterizes Joyce's untenable posi tion is that he is forced to confront at its very root the contra diction between Science and Truth. He does not feel wholly committed either to the one or to the other, but bound in obe dience to them both and torn between divided loyalties.
The Aesthetics of James Joyce by Jacques Aubert