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  • The Artist and the Rose
  • Barbara Seward


1. William York Tindall, “Dante and Mrs. Bloom,” Accent, XI (Spring 1951), 85–92.

2. Citations from the Portrait and Ulysses in this text are to the Modern Library editions.

3. Dantes, throughout his long career of vengeance, regarded himself as a veritable agent of Providence sent to punish his betrayers. Mercedes, the chief motive behind his fierce justice, was alone able to temper his vengeful excesses when they threatened the life of her innocent son.

4. An unresolved Oedipus complex also seems to be influential. In Freudian theory guilt over unconscious incestuous desires often results in a dichotomizing of women into pure women, placed in the mother category, and women who are sexually attractive but therefore evil.

5. See Hugh Kenner, “The Portrait in Perspective,” in James Joyce: Two Decades of Criticism, ed. Seon Givens (New York, 1948), 147–8.

6. Cf. Yeats’s “moment when we are both asleep and awake…in which the mind liberated from the pressure of the will is unfolded in symbols”—Essays (New York, 1924), 193; and T. S. Eliot’s visionary lady “who moves in the time between sleeping and waking” (Ash Wednesday).

7. Water here also suggests rebirth, as has Stephen’s wading in the first vision. His poem’s completion employs similar imagery to indicate his rebirth as artist through acceptance of sex (p. 262): “Her nakedness…enfolded him like water with a liquid life…the liquid letters of speech…flowed forth over his brain.”

8. Quoted in Herbert Gorman, James Joyce (New York, 1948), 76–7. Joyce borrows “flower of flowers” from Mangan’s “Dark Rosaleen,” a version of the traditional Irish song, allusions to which are also present in Yeats’ rose poems.



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