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New Perspectives on James Joyce: Ignatius Loyola Make Haste to Help Me! (review)

From: James Joyce Quarterly
Volume 47, Number 4, Summer 2010
pp. 652-656 | 10.1353/jjq.2010.0009

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The appearance of yet another Spanish publication devoted to Joyce demonstrates the good health that Joyce studies enjoy in the culturally and linguistically diverse Iberian peninsula, where scholars across this geographically varied country gather once a year to hold the conference of the James Joyce Spanish Society. This new volume includes in the title a quotation from Ulysses (U 9.163) that significantly winks at the connection between the Irish writer and the institution responsible for its publication, the University of Deusto, in the Basque Country, founded by the Jesuits in 1886.

We find assembled here twenty contributions derived from papers delivered at the twentieth conference, which, despite their being dissimilar in terms of theme, approach, tone, and even length, seem to have fallen “logically into five sections” (16), as the editors claim, with the book closing on a particularly original note. This is an engaging interview with Alfonso Zapico, the comic illustrator responsible for the drawing on the program cover: an image of Joyce staring at the monumental façade of the University building across the river from one of the most emblematic areas of the “new” Bilbao. Zapico discusses his current project, a graphic novel directly inspired by Joyce’s life and work, intended both as a “shortcut” through the writer’s “inaccessibility” and a tribute to Joyce’s concern with depicting real life “at ground level” (280).

The first section, “On the Genesis of Joyce’s Works,” opens with a typically thought-provoking contribution by Fritz Senn, entitled “Random Instances of Joyce’s Handling of Time,” which examines the peculiarities of Joyce’s engagement with temporality and, thus, revises notions of structure, sequentiality, simultaneity, and chronology as they reveal themselves mainly in Ulysses. Given his fascination with the world of words, Senn devotes most of his essay to exploring how Joyce’s meticulous use of language enacts temporal disjunctions. He notes that, in many of Bloom’s monologues, word order does not follow syntax but, instead, “psychological impact” (34). Similarly, he studies several examples from Finnegans Wake, where “[m]any meanings may elude us well into the future” (36) before appropriately concluding that, in the Wake, reading is necessarily affected by “deferred recognition” (38).

Finnegans Wake is also the focus of an intriguing essay by Ricardo Navarrete Franco, who argues that Joyce’s memory functions as the invisible counterpart of what can be seen in the notebooks as he discusses the recurrences of the Quinet motif. In his essay “The Stephens-Joyce Connection,” José María Tejedor Cabrera considers the ties between Joyce and James Stephens, especially in the context of Joyce’s desire to have Stephens complete Finnegans Wake. Drawing heavily on the information supplied by the published letters of both writers, the author traces convergences and divergences in their personal trajectories and literary development. Throughout the discussion of Stephens’s shortcomings, Tejedor clearly sides with Richard Ellmann who spoke of Joyce’s plan as “one of the strangest ideas in literary history” (41, JJII 591). The first section closes with an essay by Anne MacCarthy on James Duffy’s Irish Catholic Magazine (1847–1848) in which she argues that the periodical was pivotal in the construction of a narrow and even intolerant version of the Irish literary tradition that was to become predominant in Joyce’s time.

The second section is devoted to Irish-Basque literary relations and includes a revealing piece by Francisco García Tortosa on the rarely studied presence of the Basque language in the Wake and an enticing essay by Asier Altuna García de Salazar on the portrait of Basques in the weekly Nation, which, he claims, contributed to notions concerning the singularity and distinctiveness of a Basque people much esteemed by a burgeoning Irish nationalism. Two other pieces, by Jon Kortazar and Mikel Hernández Abaitua, track the interrelations between the work of emblematic twentieth-century Basque and Irish writers.

The third section includes five essayists who consider both Joyce’s influence on other writers and his work in translation. Within the first group, José Manuel Estévez Saá centers on a comparative analysis of affective relations in Dubliners and two of William Trevor’s short stories, enabling him...

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