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BOOK REVIEWS goes unmentioned, but whether this is because other critics have adequately covered it or it would take Peters too far afield from his philosophical target is unclear. Nonetheless, Peters plainly enough, if somewhat laboriously, establishes the main lines of the impact of Impressionism in specific works and in Conrad's Weltanschauung. A number of his individual readings are convincingly argued, and some are engaging. (His take on "The Secret Sharer" is not, and he offers a conventional reading of the narrator and narrative procedures, rather than mining the story's impressionistic gestures to expose the solipsistic , self-absorbed character of the egotistical captain's triumphalist judgments on himself and others. Indeed, the blurring of lines here—of responsibility, of morality, and the self would seem particularly apt for a subtle discussion rather than the conventional wisdom on this story served up cold.) In short, this is, at given moments, a stimulating book despite the frigidly logical procedures it employs and even when it perversely annihilates a latent sense of excitement about its topic by burying the reader under a plethora of details or a recitation of supporting authorities highly placed in the critical pantheon. The dissecting table is usually a calm and quiet place, but given the opportunity to explore a new creature under the sun one might expect to hear gasps of surprise and wonder even from the most disciplined and wizened investigator. Alas, of those, there are too few here. J. H. Stape ______________ Vancouver, British Columbia Joyce's Metamorphosis Stanley Sultan. Joyce's Metamorphosis. Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2001. xv + 207 pp. $55.00 FOR READERS interested both in Joyce studies and in theories of autobiography, Joyce's Metamorphosis is tantalizing in its attempt to correlate Joyce's extraordinary development as an experimental artist with defining moments in the Irish author's personal experience. Contrasting Joyce's auto/biographical inspiration with the more pragmatic practices of his contemporary, D. H. Lawrence, Sultan embarks on a journey whose emphasis is aesthetic rather than biographical. How did a timorous Catholic adolescent male, steeped in Jesuit institutions and Victorian prudery, overcome the psychosocial split between spiritual idealism and bodily disgust imbricated in the ideological state appara483 ELT 45 : 4 2002 tuses of Ireland's provincial capital? How, indeed, did he manage to fly by the nets of family, church, and state to become the successful Daedalian artificer invoked at the end of A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man? And how did the historical author, the athletic and sanguine "Sunny Jim," serve as model for Joyce's self-inscription "in propria persona " into his major works? According to Sultan, the answer to such riddles might be found in Joyce's subtle inscription of his own spiritual and erotic metamorphosis under the profound influence of Nora Barnacle. Jim's first "date" with this country-bred chambermaid purportedly occurred on 16 June 1904, the temporal setting of Ulysses. Whether or not Nora actually "made a man" of her partner by doling out masturbatory favors on that evening seems irrelevant. What Sultan finds more salient is Joyce's transformation from adolescent prurience to adult affection in the summer months during which he and Nora courted before eloping to the continent. Tormented by Catholic sexual guilt that evinced an irreconcilable split between "ens and idea," Joyce learned, through Nora's patient tutelage, to become an integrated artist and a devoted lover, reconciling not only "his own inner urges, but the general contraries of the human condition." In his most intimate letters, Jim could address Nora, unabashedly, as both spiritual madonna and "little fucking whore." Through her, he successfully achieved a magical integration of erotic need and spiritual idealism . Through a close reading of Stephen's composition of the villanelle in Chapter 5 of Portrait, Sultan illustrates the soul-defeating battle that the young artist engages in his futile agon with an eternal temptress whose physical embodiment, based on the shadowy E-C-, remains tantalizing but elusive. It is not until Ulysses that Stephen learns to amalgamate body and spirit through a serendipitous meeting with Leopold Bloom—a fictional surrogate, Sultan hypothesizes, for the instrumental function of Nora Barnacle. As...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1559-2715
Print ISSN
0013-8339
Pages
pp. 483-487
Launched on MUSE
2010-05-21
Open Access
No
Archive Status
Will Be Archived 2021
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