In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

ELT: Volume 33:4 1990 but a lever is thus found to disarticulate the still-centered Aristotelian cosmos in which the knot is also a rose; and the decentered cosmos of Ulysses just needs the tranquil self-rotation of Molly's terrestrial singsong which alone can "countersign" it for eternity. Chew on that for a bit, perhaps reflecting that its vision of Stephen and Bloom's initial "verticality" requires that the two men, leaving a lighted house to enter a dark garden completely unknown to one of them, are not watching where they are going but rather craning their necks to look, vertically, up at the sky. Then return to the text of Ulysses, where you will be told explicitly that they are not looking straight up, that the "heaventree of stars" "confronted them" as they entered the garden, a direction which makes perfect sense if we note that "heaventree" denotes Yggdrasil, the mythical Nordic world-tree whose trunk extends through the earth's axis to the North Star and whose branches are the circumpolar constellations, that in Dublin the North Star is fifty-three degrees above the horizon and would therefore confront Stephen and Bloom almost directly as, ascending the steps from Bloom's basement kitchen, they enter the garden heading in a north-north-east direction, that for Bloom's gaze then to drift to Molly's window, about sixty degrees west of the North Star at what should be about the same angle from the horizon, involves no "difference of level," no disarticulation of any cosmos, but simple processes of inertial momentum and association. In "Ithaca" as in the rest of Joyce's work, there is a North Star, however occulted it may sometimes be, a possibility of distinguishing right readings from wrong according to familiar principles of verifiability , consistency, and probability. Whatever else it shows, The Augmented Ninth demonstrates that the business of disorientation has gone on long enough. Re-orientation is what we need now. Time to haul out the compass and sextant, open our eyes to the stars and sea, re-check the charts, and re-set the course. John Gordon Connecticut College The Resonant Texts of Joyce's Sexuality Mary Lowe-Evans. Crimes Against Fecundity: Joyce and Population Control. Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 1989. 112 pp. $22.95 JOYCE ONCE WROTE Frank Budgen that the idea underlying the "Oxen of the Sun" chapter of Ulysses was "the crime committed against 504 Book Reviews fecundity by sterilizing the act of coition." That critics have interpreted the remark in a wide variety of ways is hardly surprising, especially given the enormous number of contradictory readings of the chapter itself. Lowe-Evans's contribution to this ongoing dialogue is to see Joycean "fecundity" as formed by, and responding to, a larger context of ideas. Thus, her book talks about population control in terms of the Great Famine and Malthusian doctrine, Margaret Sanger's birth control movement and the Catholic church—all filtered, as it were, through Michel Foucault's observation that "one of the great innovations in techniques of power in the eighteenth century was the emergence of 'population' as an economic and political problem ." Moreover, for Foucault—as well as for Lowe-Evans—pressures to radically alter the size or makeup of a given part of the population were often rhetorical ones. No doubt there are those who will hasten to disagree about how "rhetorical" any of these pressures were, and are; whatever else the Great Irish Famine might have been, it was hardly rhetorical—and the same might be said of the Church's stands with respect to contraception and abortion. Nonetheless, Lowe-Evan's study is often richer and more useful—especially in terms of her forays into social history as reflected in the Irish Homestead, or her impressive researches into commentators about the Famine—than her au courant "Introduction" suggests . Where Crimes Against Fecundity goes wrong, alas, is when it views specific Joyce works through the lens of her thesis about "population." Again and again we read that the arguments about population were the impetus—and are now the "key"—to stories such as "The Sisters" or "Eveline," to A Portrait, to...


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 504-507
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Archive Status
Will Be Archived 2021
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.