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Introduction “This monument of literature”: so Stuart Gilbert honored Ulysses even before it could be legally purchased in any English-speaking country. The designation of “monument” certainly fits a work about which so many critical books and articles have been written, which headed a list of the most important twentieth-century novels and whose three main characters ranked among the century’s top ten characters, and which can still command much popular attention and generate much controversy, even among people who haven’t read it. The term recurs regularly in Ulysses criticism: S. L. Goldberg calls Joyce’s novel “a literary monument of our age,” Marilyn French refers to it as “a monument defining morality in a relativistic world,” Vincent Sherry notes the “colossal monument of Joyce’s work,” and Derek Attridge its “massive monumentality.” (Somehow combining monumentality with liquidity, Wyndham Lewis called Ulysses “a monument like a record diarrhoea.”)1 In writing yet another book on Ulysses, I can’t help but acknowledge and contribute to Joyce’s novel’s monumental status. Public monuments can serve, as John Pedro Schwartz has recently noted, “to represent history and ensure its continuity with the present,” but they do so enmeshed in politics and ideology. Schwartz and Ellen Carol Jones both document the erection of monuments in nineteenth-century Ireland first to British imperialist interests and then to Irish nationalist ones, creating different kinds of (in Jones’s words) “politicized public memory.” A monument like Nelson’s Pillar in Dublin can be both provocative in its sexual connotations —Stephen Dedalus refers to Nelson as “the onehandled adulterer” (U 7:1017–18)—and also irreparably inflammatory in what Schwartz calls its “imperial symbolism,” as a member of the IRA demonstrated when he blew up the pillar on the Easter Rising’s fiftieth anniversary in the mid-1960s.2 2 Ulysses in Focus Apart from their political symbolism, however, monuments can be rather boring in their solid and stolid dominance of a cityscape or landscape. So Molly Bloom complains as she recalls her attempt to titillate Leopold Bloom by telling him about “some dean or bishop was sitting beside me in the jews temples gardens when I was knitting that woollen thing a stranger to Dublin ,” Bloom responding only by rambling on “about the monuments and he tired me out with statues” (U 18:90–93). Monuments suggest stasis, the young Stephen Dedalus’s artistic ideal in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man and far removed from Molly’s kinetic desires. Stephen argues that the mind is “arrested and raised above desire and loathing” by true, static art, unlike the “feelings excited by improper”—that is, kinetic—“art” (P 205). Ulysses moves beyond this hierarchy, however, as it balances Stephen’s rather static picture of the women at the top of Nelson’s Pillar in his “Parable of the Plums” at the end of “Aeolus” with Bloom’s decidedly kinetic interest in the anatomical accuracy of the National Museum of Ireland’s statues of goddesses .3 It contrasts not only static and kinetic reactions to art but also stasis and motion, from the activity of the people on Dublin’s streets during the day to the tumescence and detumescence of Bloom’s penis as “He kissed the plump mellow yellow smellow melons of [Molly’s] rump” (U 17:2241) to the description of the Blooms in bed at the end of “Ithaca” as both “At rest” and “In motion” (U 17:2307). As I thought about Nelson’s Pillar in Stephen’s parable (for chapter 3 in this book) and more generally about Ulysses as a monument and as kinetic art, I read genetic critic Pierre-Marc de Biasi’s claims that a work’s drafts reveal “a mobile image, far more hypothetical and often richer than the one the published text will eventually give us to be read as its truth after many reworkings.”4 A mobile is a provocative counter-image to a monument. I looked at the sequence of changes in the Nelson’s Pillar passage as Joyce revised it (my main concern in the chapter), and the two monuments—the pillar and Ulysses—both seemed to start to move. “Mobile” can suggest the mobility of people in the modern world, whether Leopold Bloom unknowingly reenacting the epic, heroic wanderings of Odysseus as he walks around Dublin on June 16, 1904, or the decidedly unheroic Joe Hynes mocking Bloom’s concept of a nation by declaring that he...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9780813036564
Related ISBN
9780813034980
MARC Record
OCLC
664428153
Pages
272
Launched on MUSE
2013-01-01
Language
English
Open Access
No
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