publisher colophon

To Hans Walter Gabler

This study began as a sample reading of an ostensibly marginal and manageable corpus of Joyce's work in which I tried to see whether phenomenology, as a specific perspective of looking at things, has anything at all to offer to our understanding of Joyce. The perspective turned out overwhelmingly productive, every discovery was followed by another, and the textual field of my examination expanded until Joyce himself emerged, essentially, as a phenomenologist: an original and rigorous thinker who developed a phenomenology of aesthetic experience in his own terms, and an artist whose creative work is comprehensively grounded in the conception of art put forward in his theoretical reflections.

The reading that follows is an exposition of this vision of Joyce and of the phenomenological aesthetics of literature that Joyce elaborates in his writing across different genres. Epiphany remains at the epicenter of this vision, but the vision itself expands far beyond the limits of what epiphany encapsulates as a concept or what it appears to be as a literary genre. This conception of literary experience is not defined by epiphany or any other single notion but reshapes our prevailing assumptions about art and literature, just as phenomenology does in relation to analytic or metaphysical philosophy.

As a perspective grounded in distinct philosophical positions, phenomenology has not yet enabled a comprehensive reading of Joyce. Separate aspects of Joyce's writing have been examined as expressing phenomenological insights (which, unsurprisingly, cluster around epiphany) from early Joyce criticism to the present, but there has been no attempt to [End Page 185] expand these implications to an understanding of Joyce's work as a whole. Rudd Fleming back in 1952 and Shiv K. Kumar several years later seem to identify the phenomenological grounding of Joyce's notion of epiphany, without drawing sufficiently forceful conclusions.1 Antoine Levy, in a far more recent reading, derives a phenomenological notion of epiphany directly from Aristotle and uses it to foreground Stephen's perceptual apprehension in "Proteus," but he does not position his reading or Joyce's work in the context of phenomenology.2 Richard Kearney swerves in the opposite direction: He draws on Joyce's epiphany to build a hermeneutic phenomenology of religion, language, and otherness, yet his engagement with Joyce is mostly interpretative, focused on the manifestation of these phenomena in Joyce's narrative plots but not on his work as a medium for expressing them.3 Sharon Kim opens her monograph on literary epiphany with a chapter on parallels between Joyce's epiphany and Heidegger's epiphanic aesthetics, but misses the phenomenological thrust that quite clearly underlies both conceptions she presents.4 Carole Bourne-Taylor and Ariane Mildenberg, in their editorial Introduction to an essay collection on phenomenology in Modernism, list Joyce among the "orchestrators of modernism" next to the paradigmatically phenomenological writers, Virginia Woolf and Marcel Proust; but the representation of Joyce's work in the collection is limited to a section in an article that, both thematically and methodologically, is closer to postcolonial criticism than phenomenological commentary.5

To go beyond such fragmentary insights and appreciate the full significance and interpretative value of the phenomenological outlook in Joyce's art, we must begin with the philosophical grounding of phenomenology itself.

philosophical preliminaries

In the neo-Kantian frames of reference that dominate our current critical discourse on art, we see aesthetic experience as a special, disinterested kind of contemplation of an art object, considering the object itself and so the experience autonomous from the rest of the world by definition. This approach ascribes to a work of art an idealistic immanence and, consequently, associates aesthetic experience with spiritual elevation and transcendence, leaving the mundane experiences of the lived world behind. However powerful, this conception of aesthetic autonomy is relatively new in the history of philosophy, reaching back to the eighteenth century [End Page 186] only. Kant himself in his early work uses the term "aesthetic" in the Greek sense of the word—meaning sensuality as such, as opposed to intellect—and defines the aesthetic in the way we know it only in the third Critique against the work of his contemporary, Alexander Gottlieb Baumgarten.6 Edmund Husserl revives the original sense of the term by returning it into its original dichotomy: The aesthetic here does not belong to the domain of the artistic, as opposed to the other domains of experienced reality, but denotes the sphere of the sensuous as opposed to the realm of intellectual apprehension. This opposition grounds the operative logic of Husserl's phenomenological project and enables the hermeneutic conception of aesthetic experience developed by Martin Heidegger and Hans-Georg Gadamer after Husserl in contrast to Baumgarten and Kant, as well as the phenomenology of aesthetic experience developed by Mikel Dufrenne.7

The phenomenological-hermeneutic return to the classical notion of aesthetics takes place as a shift of analytic attention away from the work of art as an object-in-itself, the central focus in neo-Kantian descriptions of art, toward the conditions that mediate our perceptual apprehension of the work and thus enable its self-manifestation to us in all possible ways, including but not limited to its Kantian conception. To put it in less abstract terms, a phenomenological examination does not quite try to determine whether or not, say, a work of art indeed is what one claims it to be but, rather, is guided by the question of what makes it possible for a work to be perceived in a given way. To assume this perspective effectively means to acknowledge the fact that all reality we know is perceived reality by definition and, by consequence, to (re-)consider the object's constitution strictly within the framework of perceptual apprehension. This qualifies the ontological examination of things crucially because perceptual framework itself is endowed with a constitutive force: Not only does perception mediate the manner in which things are manifest to us but it also shapes their objective identities, as every given thing manifests itself to us for what we understand it to be in the given conditions of its self-manifestation. This reframing of ontology, performed in an insistence on its embeddedness in perception and demanding an account of the implications of this embeddedness, is the constitutive move of phenomenology itself, and it is referred to as the phenomenological reduction. To assume and sustain this perspective means to approach all things of reality we know as, irreducibly, perceived objects—or phenomena—rather than objects-in-themselves. [End Page 187]

Insightfully performed and well sustained, phenomenological reflection quite mercilessly reshapes all fundamental notions and reshuffles all basic distinctions that constitute the operative framework of our thinking. The phenomenological reduction significantly modifies categories such as subjectivity and objectivity, body and mind, consciousness and the world, interiority and exteriority, ideality and materiality, language and sensuous perception, fiction and fact, imagination and knowledge, and experience and reflection, repositioning them in relation to one another and to what we perceive as reality itself. It is, therefore, an essentially philosophical and complex project to reconsider our neo-Kantian assumptions about art strictly in the framework of our perceptual experience of it.

Joyce himself undertook and successfully completed this project, drawing on available terminologies to consider the general structure of perceptual apprehension and think how works of art function within it. These reflections have enabled him to develop literary forms that are embedded in the phenomenal structure of experience and that convey the effects they do by virtue of this embeddedness. Anticipating phenomenological re-descriptions of artistic expression, Joyce presents the work of art as not quite an object-in-itself in the neo-Kantian sense but, rather, a medium that evokes and intensifies the perception of things it expresses, making them appear to the reader's apprehending eye in the course of reading. Understanding art as such a medium in theory and realizing this power of artistic expression in creative practice, Joyce's aesthetics as a whole is the aesthetics of phenomena.

Epiphany, both as a concept and the genre of literary miniatures he wrote, appears to have been instrumental in the development of Joyce's phenomenological understanding of art and its functions. To perform the phenomenological turn with Joyce, we must face and deconstruct our own neo-Kantian assumptions, which have long guided interpretations of epiphany and the aesthetics Joyce builds around it.

the rise and fall of literary epiphany

Epiphany is one of those enigmatic Modernist terms that resists conceptually rigorous re-definitions and that despite—or maybe because—its ambiguity has an immensely wide field of practical application. While epiphany rarely figures in theoretically grounded contemporary critical discussions of Joyce, there is a substantial and still growing body of interpretative criticism that presents Joyce as the originator of this concept and [End Page 188] deploys it to read a variety of creative work. It seems that the Joycean epiphany encapsulates a fundamental structure of literary representation, found in virtually all major Modernists, from Dostoyevsky and Huysmans to Proust, Woolf, Faulkner, Mann, Pound, Stevens, and Rilke.8 Epiphany has also enabled several critics to read Joyce alongside Pater, Wordsworth, and Browning.9 While many credit Joyce with giving "the phenomenon its critical reputation," the origins of epiphany as a literary technique have been located in Katherine Mansfield and Chekhov, and its manifestations found in the nineteenth-century sonnet and Gothic fiction, Emerson and Whitman, George Moore and Yeats, Bowen and Beckett, Larkin and Heaney, and even in the cinema of Stanley Kubrick.10

It would be a separate and rather ambitious project to examine such a vast body of critical work in order to determine whether there is a common meaning of epiphany in this corpus and if it relates to Joyce's work beyond those few sentences from Stephen Hero usually quoted to define the term.11 Yet the way in which epiphany was introduced and established as a key concept within Joyce studies shows that it has been taken to name the most general—representational—structure of signification in general. Such a structure is characteristic of all language and artistic expression, and it has been identified in the theoretical re-definitions of Joyce's epiphany, effectively highlighting the double structure of the linguistic sign, comprising the signifier and the signified. Hence, Don Gifford redefines epiphany in ostensibly linguistic terms, as an instance "when the metaphoric potential of an object (or a moment, gesture, phrase, etc.) is realized."12 David Hayman follows Joyce in ascribing this structure to reality itself by presenting epiphany as an artist's exceptional capacity for "making reality the vehicle for its own transcendence."13 Transcendence—the driving force of all signification—plays a crucial role in David Weir's idealist understanding of epiphany as a somewhat modified version of the Kantian noumenon: an object that is apprehended by pure reason and thus a purely ideal object, as opposed to phenomenal—sensuously perceivable—reality.14 If epiphany could be taken to designate the basic structure of signification within these and more specific definitions, it could indeed be identified as an operative structure in any work of art.

Harry Levin, in his 1941 Critical Introduction, was the first to introduce epiphany into critical discourse on Joyce and Modernism. Levin takes into account the etymological meaning of the notion as a revelation of the divine, while also relating it to the distinctly Modernist—namely, Proustian—experience of a meaningfulness in modern life shining [End Page 189] through its apparent chaos at certain, epiphanic, moments.15 Clearly, the common denominator here is the double structure of a linguistic sign: the perceivable surface of that through which the divine manifests itself, or the chaotic surface of modern life, functions as the signifier to the signified, here identified with the divine, or the meaningful. Identifying this structure in Joyce's work, Levin redefines an epiphany as "any showing forth" of an "inner meaning" (28) of someone or something. He goes on to read the entire corpus of Joyce's work as a series of "attempts to create a literary substitute for the revelations of religion" (29). Levin thus seems to have found a key to unlock Joyce's unconventional, difficult narratives. The problem is that he does not quite derive this key from Joyce. To arrive at "a clinical definition" of epiphany, Levin quotes Oliver Gogarty, a friend of Joyce's (28). And, to claim the grounding of epiphany in religious experience, he endows the words Joyce uses to characterize epiphany—"spiritual manifestation"—with a generally assumed meaning, as if they referred to the manifestation of Jesus Christ to the Magi (28), disregarding the fact that the narrative episode where these words appear does not link epiphany to Christ or even, arguably, to the divine.16

Levin's version of epiphany established itself with remarkable speed and force. Irene Hendry, publishing her seminal study of Joyce's revelatory aesthetics five years later in 1946, presents her reader with a fuller quote from Stephen Hero to provide a guiding description of epiphany.17 But her reading remains entrenched in Levin's notion of epiphany and reinforces it even further by presenting Joyce as a systematic thinker and practitioner of an ostensibly metaphysical, Thomistic aesthetics that makes epiphany an experience of the transcendental. Like Levin and many commentators today, Hendry does not consider the significance of the narrative context in which Joyce gives his definition of the term, even though the novel had been published two years before, in 1944.18 By 1964, this theoretical, allegedly Joycean concept of epiphany was firmly established. Robert Scholes argues against this dominant tradition in Joyce criticism, noting that the epiphanies Joyce actually wrote do not reveal any transcendental, divine realities.19 A selection of Joyce's collected epiphanies had already been published, in 1956,20 and Scholes himself edited them in full for publication in 1965,21 but his demand for taking them into account in defining the concept remained unheard. Jacques Aubert's study of Joyce's aesthetics is symptomatic in this respect: He places epiphany at the core of Joyce's thought on aesthetics and covers all relevant texts and contexts of the early period in Joyce's intellectual [End Page 190] development, but he ignores Joyce's epiphanies, written during the same period.22

Admittedly, Joyce makes it easy for his commentators to identify in epiphany the representational structure of signification. In Stephen Hero, he gives two encapsulations of the term's meaning, positioning them at the beginning and the end of what seems to be a single narrative move. Stephen happens to experience an epiphany, spontaneously names the experience as such and then privately defines what he means by the word. This is immediately followed by a much more detailed explanation of what epiphany is and how it constitutes the core of aesthetic experience, which Stephen gives to his friend Cranly (SH 211–13). The first encapsulation of the term's meaning specifies that by an epiphany Stephen "meant a sudden spiritual manifestation, whether in the vulgarity of speech or of gesture or in a memorable phase of the mind itself" (SH 211). The second definition summarizes and closes Stephen's elaborate explication of the concept: At the climactic moment of an epiphanic self-manifestation of a thing, the thing's "soul, its whatness, leaps to us from the vestment of its appearance" and "seems to us radiant" even if this is "the commonest object" that "achieves its epiphany" in the event (SH 213).

Joyce's linguistic choices indeed appear to mark epiphany as both aesthetic and religious experience, ascribing to it a metaphysical dimension that distinguishes this kind of apprehension from everyday experiences of things. An epiphanic manifestation comes through the "vulgarity" of verbal or bodily gesture, while itself being "spiritual"—that is, something other than the vulgar gesture or the common object that brings it forth. In the other definition, an object's "soul" is said to break through "the vestment of its appearance"—as if the soul was, again, something other than the vestment through which it must break as the thing's true, authentic identity. Thus, Joyce seems to localize the sacred in the everyday in order to build around it an aesthetics. Epiphanic experience is regarded as a kind of religious revelation, while art turns out to be a secularized manifestation of the divine. It seems that for Joyce, just as for medieval man, everyday unreflected actions, ordinary unnoticeable events, and common objects of the lived world have a symbolic divine meaning that shows forth in an epiphany.23

This reading may be relatively easy to follow by virtue of building on our common assumptions, but the validity of its interpretative reasoning depends on the reader's inclination to see the "soul" as purely metaphysical, fully removed from the sensuously perceivable manifestation of a [End Page 191] thing, and to conflate the spiritual with the divine and thus the true. Twentieth-century critical thought has exposed the operative mechanism of these conflations extensively, questioning their ontological validity and dismantling them in order to show that metaphysical idealities do not necessarily have the value of eternal truths, and that truth, instead, is grounded in the material, physically manifest and lived reality as it shows itself to ordinary people in the routine circumstances of their daily lives. Such critique of the metaphysical is the bread and butter of post-structuralist readings of Joyce as a rebellious proponent of this turn of Western thought, entangled in an ongoing self-critical effort to dismantle symbolic structures that inform our thinking and to expose ungrounded metaphysical assumptions that embed it.

This turn in Joyce's intellectual development has been noted well before post-structuralist self-awareness came to dominate Joyce studies. "A rejection of idealism leads ultimately to a rejection of esthetics itself, which deals not with things but with ideas,"24 Scholes generalizes back in 1964, while observing that Joyce shows interest in both epiphany and theoretical aesthetics only in early years. Indeed, even then Joyce defines epiphany in the voice of his fictional alter ego in a novel he left unfinished (SH 211–13), removes the term from the published version of Stephen's theory (P 204–16), and has the Stephen of "Proteus" mock himself for ever believing that he had been creating art of eternal value in the form of epiphanies (U 3.141–44). Joyce's intention to publish his own epiphanies faded away (LII 28, 35), though he used most—but not all—of them in his published fiction with more or less substantial revisions.25 He does not seem to have cared for their survival even in manuscripts.26 With all these gestures of self-dismissal in place, Joyce himself seems to undermine the significance of epiphany for both his conception of art and his practice of creating it. This helps to account for the neglect of epiphany in contemporary criticism. Quite simply, epiphany seems to belong to the kind of discourse that by now has been fully discredited for its metaphysical assumptions, and that Joyce cast aside in the course of his artistic development.

However, there is another story to tell, if only the ideal "spiritual" is not conflated with the sacred so readily but is considered instead as a necessary, constitutive condition of all human perception. In this alternative story, Joyce turns out to be a consistent thinker and practitioner of art as a medium that enables and intensifies the experience of apprehending lived reality. Epiphany proves to be central in his thought on aesthetics, while his epiphanies appear to be instrumental in developing his own, [End Page 192] distinctly Joycean form of narrative, in which he realizes his theoretical conception of the fundamental functions of art. This is a consistency that shows Joyce himself to have been, in effect, a phenomenologist.

joyce's aesthetics of epiphaneia

Phenomenology does not contrast the body and the mind but, instead, approaches consciousness as both sense-giving and embodied. Consciousness is inseparably grounded in the sensuous body, for apprehension, by definition, is sensuous experience as well as the work of the sense-giving mind. From this point of view, every objectivity that constitutes itself in perception is an intelligible ideality that manifests itself as a sensible identity. Hence, the constitution of an object does not quite refer to knowing a Kantian noumenon—a pure ideality—by pure intellect but, rather, designates an event of grasping an object in the composite mode of both intellectual understanding and sensible apprehension. Even Kant himself concludes his analysis of the phenomena-noumena dichotomy with a statement that, in reality, neither of these modes ever functions without the other.27

In Husserl far more explicitly, the sensible and the intelligible constitute two aspects of every perceptual act. A perceptual act is directed by an ideality, or an eidos, which is the condition for anything to manifest itself as an objectivity to the perceiving consciousness. Yet this act can only be performed by a living consciousness: a consciousness that lives in the sensing body and thus is grounded in the sensuous—that is, matter (or, in the Husserlian Greek terms, hyle), which is organized into the perception of things.28 Considered in this perceptual framework, all things appear to be perceived objectivities, or intentional objects. And because intentional perception itself is the given condition of the human grasp of all things, there is no "true" object as opposed to the intentional one: an object must manifest itself somehow, and it manifests itself by way of appearing to a perceiver. Thereby every object is also a phenomenon—"that which appears" in the original, Greek meaning. It is only for Kant that, as Heidegger puts it, "everything present has already become the object of our representation" and has thus been torn away from its presumably true nature, while for the Greeks this distinction does not exist; they think of "phainomena as phenomena": [End Page 193]

phainestai means to them that being assumes its radiance, and in that radiance it appears. Thus appearance is still the basic trait of the presence of all present beings, as they rise into unconcealment.29

That is, reality shows in appearance, rather than being veiled or deformed by it. The real manifests itself by appearing to human apprehension in a moment of simultaneous self-manifestation and grasp of truth.

This moment is named an epiphany in Joyce. The word derives from the Greek epiphaneia, and the semantic content Joyce gives it in Stephen Hero makes it a synonym of the phenomenon.30 Here, Stephen defines and describes epiphany as a phenomenal appearance of a thing, rather than a symbolic structure of signification as it has been commonly understood. To see that this is the case, it is crucial to keep in mind that Stephen, explaining the concept to Cranly, is not describing a particular, aesthetic object or experience, as opposed to other, non-aesthetic objects or experiences, but is trying to understand "the mechanism of esthetic apprehension" (SH 212). He points to an object that happens to be there—the Ballast Office clock or a basket (SH 211, P 212)—in order to show how any object is necessarily a perceptually apprehended object, and he does this through theoretical reflection, trying to figure out what exactly is going on when we are apprehending anything at all. In effect, by asking himself this particular question in this particular way, Stephen performs the phenomenological reduction and carries out a phenomenological analysis of perceptual experience.

In his ostensibly Thomistic description, Stephen indeed considers the general conditions in which an object manifests itself in perceptual apprehension. To start with, he notes that perceiving an object is necessarily grounded in the grasp of a certain perceptual field as potentially a "self-bounded and selfcontained" entity against the background of what it is not (P 212). Such a grasp is the originary condition for anything to manifest itself as "one thing," or "a thing" (SH 212, P 212)—that is, as a certain wholeness, with a characteristic integrity to it. This also means that, on examination, an object reveals itself as a consistent and internally cohesive identity: It does not turn into something else if looked at from a different perspective, nor does it disintegrate in the course of manifesting itself as "multiple, divisible, separable, made up of its parts, the result of its parts and their sum" as the perceiver moves from "point to point" while observing it. On the contrary, these multiple appearances organize themselves into an integrity—which Stephen associates with harmony and rhythm— [End Page 194] whereby this identity appears to be "a thing," "a definitely constituted entity" (SH 212, P 212). Finally, while these are the general conditions of perceptual apprehension, every given thing manifests itself within this framework as having a distinct, even singular identity: an identity to itself and thus a whatness that is recognizable as "that thing which it is and not other thing" (P 213).

As an identity, a thing shows as identical to itself through multiple appearances—hence, the perceiver's grasp of this identity is the moment of the constitution of an ideality. Husserl uses the word "eidos" for this identity. Joyce marks this ideality by naming it a "spiritual manifestation" and acknowledges its dependence on perception by binding it to "a spiritual eye" that perceives it (SH 211). This is a conscious, sense-giving eye: grounded in the bodily organ, it is, rather, a way of looking at a thing, marked by an ability to tune into the mode of the thing's self-manifestation, "to adjust its vision to an exact focus." Seeing the thing in the best possible way constitutes an epiphany—an insight into what this thing is (SH 211).

In Stephen Hero, Stephen does not have much more to say about this eye as the organ that mediates aesthetic apprehension. Its description here is limited to a quasi-metaphorical analogy between aesthetic perception and the processes of the physiological body. Assuming that the human body has the same physiological structure across the world, Stephen sees "no reason for thinking that the Chinaman has a different system of digestion from that which we have though our diets are quite dissimilar" (SH 212). In a similar way, he concludes, it must be possible "to find the justification of every form of beauty which has ever been adored on the earth by an examination into the mechanism of esthetic apprehension" whereby human beings perceive the world in the symbolic terms of their native cultural traditions, even though traditions themselves are incompatibly different (SH 212).

A Portrait proposes a more nuanced and fuller explanation. Here, Stephen explains to Lynch that aesthetic apprehension, while evidently involving both the sensuous living body and the apprehending sense-giving mind, must not be confused with either physiological functions or the projection of a metaphysical ideality on experience. On the one hand, aesthetic response is not purely physiological: The sexual excitement one might happen to feel looking at the Venus of Praxiteles in the Museum does not constitute an aesthetic contemplation of the sculpture but is a [End Page 195] "pornographical" (P 205) response to the female body the sculpture presents to the spectator's view. On the plane of such physiological responsiveness, "we are all animals," Stephen explains to Lynch (P 206), while the response itself is the subject matter of a Darwinian "eugenics" concerned with the reproduction of species rather than aesthetics (P 208–9). On the other hand, aesthetic perception is not the contemplation of the metaphysical either. Stephen takes some time to explain that the Thomistic claritas seems to refer to "the artistic discovery and representation of the divine purpose in anything or a force of generalisation which would make the esthetic image a universal one, make it outshine its proper conditions" only to dismiss this implication as "literary talk" (P 213). Stephen's more adequate version of Aquinas looks into the "proper conditions" of aesthetic apprehension themselves: "the scholastic quidditas, the whatness of the thing," or given reality; the artist's imagination, or conscious intellectual apprehension, that conceives an aesthetic image as the eidetic-spiritual form of this whatness; and "the enchantment of the heart," or the sensing body, that mediates all perception by definition (P 213). An aesthetic grasp of whatever appears in epiphanic experience involves an overlap and mutual reinforcement of these conditions to the effect of the self-manifestation of truth in the appearance. To manipulate perceptual apprehension toward such an appearance is the fundamental function of art and thus the ultimate task of an artist.

In effect, Stephen's exposition of his theory elaborates on the significance of every one of these constituents, although he carries it out in rather abstract scholastic terms with very few examples to clarify the relationships between them. Yet Joyce's own non-fictional writing on these issues fills in the gaps, presenting us with a quite complete and internally coherent phenomenological conception of literary aesthetics. Joyce's notes on aesthetics in the Paris and Pola Notebooks, parts of which he revised for Stephen's speeches in A Portrait, show him playing with the Aristotelian and Thomistic distinctions between the sensible and the intelligible. Joyce must have been composing these notes while reading an English translation of Aristotle along with Summa Theologica by Aquinas in the original Latin or English.31 In either case, Joyce would be juggling the basic terms of his would-be aesthetics in their Latin forms, sensatio/sensitivus (sometimes aestheticus) for the sensible and intellectus/intellectivus for the intelligible. These are the Latin equivalents for the Greek aisthēsis and noesis referring to, respectively, intellectual and sensual apprehension,32 and providing the respective English words for the same concepts with [End Page 196] Latin roots. The Greeks thought of apprehension in terms of the dichotomy of the sensible and the intelligible; neither Aristotle nor Aquinas develops a comprehensive conception of beauty as the object of aesthetic experience.33 It is, then, Joyce himself who splits the Aristotelian binary opposition into a triad in his definition of art as "the human disposition of sensible or intelligible matter for an aesthetic end"34 (P 207), introducing the aesthetic as a composite of the sensible and the intelligible in the act of apprehending what a work of art brings into appearance. In his critical writing, Joyce draws on this notion of art by demanding that artistic expression expose three interrelated qualities: It must be clear, which is achieved by controlling creative energies; it must control these energies by being truthful to the vision of the things it expresses; and it must achieve the effect of such truthfulness by animating the sensuous in the perception of that which it represents.

As early as 1898, Joyce speaks of the necessity to control creative imagination—especially if it proved "too prolific"—for the sake of clarity in artistic expression, which poets of "high, fanciful temper" failed to perform. Shelley, becoming lost in "regions of loveliness unutterable, which his faculties scarcely grasp, which dazzles his senses, and defies speech," ends up producing poetry that is "vague and misty" ("Subjugation," OW 7–8). Such an unruly, "impatient temper" is characteristic of the Romantic sensibility, and it is precisely for this reason that "the highest praise must be withheld from the romantic school," as Joyce puts it in the 1902 essay on James Clarence Mangan (OW 53). In the 1903 review of Henrik Ibsen's Catilina, written on the occasion of the play's translation into French, Joyce says that "the imagination has the quality of a fluid, and it must be held firmly, lest it become vague, and delicately, that it may lose none of its magical powers" (OW 73, 304). In contrast to the romantics, Ibsen is in full control of his imaginative power and, further, "has united with his strong, ample, imaginative faculty a pre-occupation with the things present to him" ("Catilina," OW 73). It is not some transcendental, ideal, artificial aesthetic order that holds the fluid of artistic imagination; on the contrary, it is in "the things present to him" that an artist finds a form to hold the waters of his imaginative sensibility. And it is by virtue of this embeddedness in the given, as Joyce had said it even more directly in 1900, that art performs its fundamental function of expressing "the interplay of passions to portray truth" ("Drama and Life," OW 24). [End Page 197]

By 1906, two years after Joyce jotted down his scholastic sketches on aesthetic apprehension, this demand for both precision and truthfulness in artistic expression grows into a fully developed position on what literary writing must be. Herbert Gorman summarizes Joyce's response to the Irish and English literature he had been reading extensively at the time: "fuzziness of conception, disregard for exactitude of expression, sentimentalism, compromise of any sort with one's literary integrity, the failure to intelligently circumscribe an idea"—these were flaws that Joyce refused to forgive.35 As a reader, he wanted to see the writer expressing something he had understood, while, Gorman adds, "by understanding he meant to see the thing, the situation, the emotional resolution exactly and wholly for what it was … and so convey it to the reader."36 It is this aim of getting a clear sense of a reality and finding an exact expression for it that Joyce pursues as a writer committed to the paramount imperative of truth-telling. It is an aim he refuses to renounce even in the direst circumstances. In May 1906, defending his right to publish Dubliners in the form he wrote it, Joyce answered endless demands for revisions, proposed aiming to make the collection more palatable to the Irish public: He refused to modify his work, explaining, "he is a very bold man who dares to alter in the presentment, still more to deform, whatever he has seen and heard … I cannot alter what I have written" (LII 134).

In the 1902 essay on Mangan, Joyce makes it clear that truth is an essential, constitutive condition of beauty:

Beauty, the splendour of truth, is a gracious presence when the imagination contemplates intensely the truth of its own being or the visible world … These are realities and these alone give and sustain life.

(OW 60)

Truth, that is, shows in a self-reflective turn of imagination on itself or on the world that is not the world-in-itself but rather the visible world: the world as it reveals itself to perceptual vision. In A Portrait, Joyce has Stephen explaining that visibility must be understood as apprehensibility in the widest sense of the word: the visible refers to all that is perceivable by "esthetic intellection" (P 186). In his paraphrase of Aquinas, Stephen deliberately replaces vision with apprehension: "that is beautiful the apprehension of which pleases," he says (P 207). Corrected by Lynch, who quotes the original Latin saying "Pulcra sunt qœ visa placent" instead, Stephen seizes the opportunity to explain that the word visa in Aquinas [End Page 198] covers "apprehension of all kinds, whether through sight or hearing or through any other avenue of apprehension" (P 207). He also adds that it is the thing itself—rather than the senses of the physical body—that determines the way it is apprehended: an "esthetic image is presented to us either in space or in time. What is audible is presented in time, what is visible is presented in space" (P 212). One's perceptual capacities are animated by what is audible or visible or otherwise apprehensible in one's surroundings and what, therefore, shows itself as a "sensible object" ("Pola Notebook," OW 105–6). It is this object that organizes and subsumes the flow of the perceiver's sensuous energy into a perceptual grasp of the thing that it is. The self-manifestation of objects to sensuous perception in this way makes them self-evident "realities," as stated in Joyce's definition of the quasi-synonymy of beauty and truth above. These realities—for Joyce, "these alone"—indeed "give and sustain life" because the animation of the sensing living body constitutes the experiential ground of life itself.

Bringing to light the truth of being thus understood is a complex task because this kind of truth cannot be told or told about but, rather, must be (re-)presented in a way that mediates the (re-)grasp of what is presented to the perceiver of the work of art. This kind of truth, by definition, cannot be encapsulated in a concept because a concept reduces what it represents to an intelligible object; it can refer to experience but it does not reproduce it. This is why Joyce insists, in a 1902 essay on Irish poetry, that good writing must not be dominated "by those big words that make us so unhappy" ("An Irish Poet," OW 62). Joyce himself uses some big words when, for instance, he speaks of Mangan as a poet who "can tell of the beauty of hate" (OW 59). Yet, crucially, he speaks of the beauty of hate, rather than hate itself, immediately adding that "pure hate is as excellent as pure love" (OW 59). That is, Mangan does not infuse his poetry with the notion of hate, in contrast to Irish poets (such as William Rooney) who subject their aesthetic sense to feelings (such as patriotism) that have nothing to do with literature or aesthetic value and hence make their art serve other purposes. Mangan, on the contrary, foregrounds the beauty of whatever feeling his poetry re-animates for the reader. For Joyce, to re-animate the beauty of anything means to capture that thing for what it is, thereby fulfilling the task of an artist to bring a reality to life.

Such reanimation of the sensuous takes place in the act of apprehending a work of art, which Joyce describes as the processual, kinetic aspect of aesthetic experience over against the stasis of the self-manifestation of a work of art as itself an object. "It is false to say that sculpture, for instance, [End Page 199] is an art of repose," Joyce writes in the Paris Notebook in 1903, and he then proceeds with an explication: "Sculpture is associated with movement as much as it is rhythmic; for a work of sculptural art must be surveyed according to its rhythm and this surveying is an imaginary movement in space" (OW 104). A literary work is "surveyed" by reading it, as its language—just like a sculpture's spatial form—directs the movement of the reader's apprehending energies. Language, of course, works as a conceptual medium, but Joyce finds examples of overcoming the inherent conceptuality of his artistic medium already in place in the history of literature. Post-Renaissance literature across the world, he says in 1912, plays on the "epidermis" of "modern man" and draws on "the sensory power of his organism" by presenting the reader with the excess of "circumstance" given in detail at the expense of an "ideational" economy and coherence (OW 188–89). That is, for Joyce, the erosion of the linguistic order is not an end in itself but has the purpose of embedding literary discourse in sensuous apprehension. He wants to draw on "the sensory power" of the body to perceive things even if things themselves are not present to perception. To achieve this end, an artist must find a language that will manipulate the reader's sensuous energies in ways that will convey this effect. In the same essay on Mangan, Joyce writes:

A song by Shakespeare or Verlaine, which seems as free and living and as remote from any conscious purpose as rain that falls in a garden or the lights of evening, is discovered to be the rhythmic speech of an emotion otherwise incommunicable, at least so fitly.

(OW 54)

In order to be "free and living," aesthetically organized language must suspend all conscious projections ingrained in its conceptuality and adjust itself to the rhythms of sensuously perceived reality, such as rain or evening lights. These are particularly fragile objectivities that emerge in immediate perception only. I hear rain falling in a garden as a particular, distinct rhythm. This music I identify as rain is not the concept of rain, nor does it refer to rain as a thing out there like the word "rain" does; it is instead a distinct, sensuously grasped (self-)manifestation of rain that cannot be captured otherwise than in this sensuous experience. This experience is sensuous but, on the other hand, its dynamic is organized—informed in the full sense of the word—by an eidetic grasp, a direct immediate identification of this music as rain rather than anything else. [End Page 200] Further: only against the background of the eidetic grasp do I acquire an awareness of the sensuality of my experience as a corporeally felt directedness toward a given phenomenon of reality. Further: in Joyce's description, language appears to play a decisive, constitutive role in making the phenomenon appear, for it is the language of a poem that intensifies and stabilizes the perceptual rhythms of apprehended reality. Joyce does not simply hear rain falling in a garden through the poetry of Shakespeare or Verlaine: They are "discovered" in "the rhythmic speech of an emotion otherwise incommunicable" that this poetry evokes.

It is this kind of discovery that, in Stephen Hero, Stephen spontaneously names an epiphany, but the object of his discovery is desire, a far more complex phenomenon than rain. Wandering around Dublin and brooding on the reasons why he has been rejected by Emma, "with all these thoughts dancing the dance of unrest in his brain," Stephen walks on a couple flirting on the stairs of a house on Eccles Street (SH 210–11). Their body language and their half-whispered speech are suggestive enough to identify the exchange as an act of flirtation, and Stephen makes that identification before he knows it: On seeing the couple and hearing them, he "receive[s] an impression keen enough to afflict his sensitiveness very severely" (SH 211). Such an affliction can only be a pang of the frustrated desire Stephen is trying to walk off at the time of this involuntary quasi-involvement in the exchange. Joyce leaves a gap in the narrative at this point: As if submitting to his own aesthetic imperative not to encapsulate lived experience in a word, he carefully avoids naming what it is that Stephen is both exposed to and immersed in. Instead, he makes Stephen, as a would-be artist, think of this event in more general terms than his private experience: Stephen identifies in this experience an event of an intuitive insight, a moment of recognition that he names an epiphany.

Such an insight draws on the double nature of every appearance. An experience such as desire (as well as hate, love, or patriotism) can only be "a spiritual manifestation" because there is no way for it to manifest itself other than "in the vulgarity of speech or of gesture or in a memorable phase of the mind itself" (SH 211) in the moment of one's understanding what it is that those unreflected bodily and verbal gestures express. The spirituality of the manifestation here does not mark a symbolic relation but names instead the general structure of expression: Just as the distinct rhythm of rain is not rain itself, so the gestures and the talk of the couple are not desire although these gestures express the feeling. Significantly, Stephen's unsatisfied desire makes his "thoughts" dance in "his brain" [End Page 201] while he is walking, yet it is "his sensitiveness" that is afflicted with "an impression keen enough" to bring the epiphany about. Psychological and moralizing speculations do not lead Stephen into understanding of the nature of desire, but a sensuous response to this scene, in which desire manifests itself, instantly puts it into Stephen's grasp.

For Stephen, this is an artistic initiation grounded in—but not confused with—erotic experience. The first definition of an epiphany, which he formulates to himself before engaging in a conversation with Cranly, has a split reference: Stephen wants to collect epiphanies in a book as "moments" of insight into lived reality—moments of the kind he has just experienced; and he immediately notes that "these epiphanies" must be recorded by an artist "with extreme care, seeing that they themselves are the most delicate and evanescent of moments" (SH 211). A man of letters, that is, must create a literary form that will—like those songs of Shakespeare or Verlaine—uncover for the reader the most fragile things of apprehended reality, things that do not show themselves otherwise than in the perceptual rhythms directed and controlled by the flow of language.

We do not see Stephen creating such form: He thinks of writing a book of epiphanies but does not start it on this occasion, embarking instead on "composing some ardent verses which he entitled a 'Vilanelle of the Temptress'" (SH 211). Yet Joyce, at the time of writing this scene, had already had some experience of composing in this kind of aesthetic form. He translated Verlaine in 1899, and his own poems, published in the collection Chamber Music in 1904, were compared with Paul Verlaine's poetry by one reviewer, and characterized as "tiny evanescent things" that "evoke, not only roses in midwinter, but the very dew of the roses" by another.37 Joyce was writing epiphanies alongside these ventures into poetic form, and it seems his experience of working in the medium of poetry gave him a sufficiently firm grasp of an aesthetic sense that a literary work must (re-)produce. Yet his search for ways to express this sense in the medium of an extended narrative did not draw on poetry directly but took place within the framework of dramatic action.

the genesis of the epiphanic narrative form

For good reasons, Joyce's epiphanies are often characterized in terms of formal insufficiency, as tending toward but not quite belonging to any of the major literary modes. Their typographical layout invites their classification into two types, dramatic and narrative, while their aesthetic effects [End Page 202] have earned them the names of "prose sketches"38 and "prose poems."39 They have been placed among Joyce's "minor works" for their formal indeterminacy making it difficult to see them as "successful, original, or even finished compositions."40 Scholars have even doubted whether they deserve to be referred to as "form" at all, given that Stephen, in the event of the inaugural epiphany, speaks of an artist's duty "to record" (SH 211) epiphanies, as opposed to creatively composing them as ostensibly literary pieces (Workshop 3).

All these assessments are enabled by the underlying distinction between literary form (as manifested in the major generic modes of poetry, narrative and drama) and other—non-literary—writing (such as a record of one's experiences or a chronicle of historical events).41 This distinction proves ineffective in describing epiphanies because their operative mechanism is grounded in the general structure of perceptual apprehension, rather than any conventional literary form. To animate the sensuous—as Joyce expects a work of art to do—an expression does not have to conform to a conventional literary form but must, instead, direct sensuous experience toward the grasp of the phenomenon it brings to self-manifestation in perception. Hence, to record one's experience of such a grasp in lived reality already means to give it an aesthetic form, but only if the recording satisfies the condition of reinvoking the direct—sensuous—re-experience of what has been recorded. The form of the recording itself—as writing that achieves the required effect of mediating a (re-)grasp of the phenomenon—may or may not manifest literary "form" in the received sense of the word.

Joyce's epiphanies are precisely such recordings. The variety of formal patterns they expose and the evident absence of a common formal structure among them suggest that, as a textual corpus, they are a testing ground where Joyce plays with the writing techniques and representational modes made available by the literary tradition, trying to find a form that will satisfy his demand for a work of art to mediate the manifestation of things in aesthetic perception. In terms of traditional genres, epiphanies are a transitional form: a bridge for Joyce's passage from what might be called the First Text—the text that registers direct experience—into a generically literary form of expression, extended fictional narrative.

The narrative of A Portrait enacts this passage in the plot, which tells us that Stephen "chronicled with patience what he saw" and stages the process for the reader, presenting us with a sequence of scenes Stephen is recording, including two of Joyce's epiphanies—namely, epiphanies 3 and [End Page 203] 5—into this sequence (P 67–69, cf. Workshop 15, 13). Epiphany 3 recurs, along with epiphany 26, further in the novel, in another extended narrative passage, which stages the process of artistic creation: Stephen, half-asleep at dawn, relives his experiences while writing a villanelle. His recollections and the poem's lines intertwine until the villanelle emerges complete (P 217–24; 219, 222 cf. Workshop 36, 13). This scene immediately follows Stephen's conversation about his aesthetic theory with Lynch, which ends with a revised version of another epiphany, 25 (P 216; cf. Workshop 35).

All these epiphanies appear as Stephen's re-experiences rather than transformed pieces he wrote to chronicle the events of his surrounding reality. Yet they are written pieces nonetheless: Joyce certainly had to write them, shaping them formally in a certain way to stage them for the reader of his narrative. While writing them, Joyce was in fact recording his own lived experiences: the surviving epiphanies do not manifest any intertextual references or structural models,42 yet their action is easy to locate in the specific contexts of his individual biography. It seems that here Joyce himself "chronicled with patience what he saw" (P 67–69), as if a notebook of epiphanies were his diary. There are no diaries in the extant corpus of Joyce's biographical documents. If that means he never wrote one, it seems that Joyce—as an artist to the core of his being—chose instead to record his lived experience in a way that would lead him toward a fully developed form of irreducibly aesthetic literary expression.

The most immediate problem Joyce faced in undertaking the task of merely recording what one sees was choosing the best form to represent this directly perceived reality on the page. It seems that Joyce, at this stage, opted for the model deployed in representing drama. Hans Walter Gabler has proposed that Joyce must have written dramatic epiphanies first, as the simpler form, and then moved to narrative, gradually increasing the complexity of the narrative structure, although the textual and contextual evidence for this claim remains inconclusive.43 To complicate it further, Joyce also appears to have started working on his first long fiction, Stephen Hero, while still writing epiphanies,44 which means that, for some period, he might have been trying his hand in all three forms, including dramatic and narrative miniatures along with extended narrative fiction. Within this generic paradigm, the line of logical progression from dramatic scenes through narrative epiphanies toward extended fiction is quite clear, whether or not this was also the factual chronology of Joyce's move from form to form. This is, indeed, a progression from the [End Page 204] basic—dramatic—action through more complicated narrative miniatures to extended fiction, with the ultimate effect of preserving the affective and signifying force mediated by each of these genres.

Joyce's choice of drama as the form in which experienced reality manifests itself to perception—and in which, consequently, it can be put on the page in writing—could not have been accidental. Drama affected Joyce most profoundly, inspiring him to associate the aesthetic force per se with the dramatic, for he saw it ingrained in all forms of art and in human existence itself, as the object of artistic expression. Joyce proposes and passionately defends these positions in his first programmatic statement on art, "Drama and Life," in 1900 in response to the work of the playwright Henrik Ibsen (OW 23–29). Further, Joyce must have formulated this profound response while reading Ibsen's drama rather than watching his plays performed. Joyce's love for performative arts in general is well documented, and he will see Ibsen performed in 1908 in Trieste, and again in 1934 in Paris (JJ 266, 669). However, back in 1900 he learned Dano-Norwegian to be able to read Ibsen's drama in the original, and he also studied German in order to translate for the Irish Literary Theatre the work of Gerhard Hauptmann, whom Joyce considered Ibsen's principal disciple (JJ 76, 88).

Plowing his way through their plays and trying to reproduce them in his own language, Joyce would have been entangled in the dramatic action mediated by its typographical representation on the page. He would be following this action in the virtual space of a play while looking at characteristically straightforward references to spatial objects of the setting, speech-indexes naming dramatis personae, transcriptions of their speeches and verbal gestures (exclamations, hesitations, and pauses, marked by ellipses and inventive spelling), and descriptions of their bodily movements in stage directions. In other words, he would be following the language on the page to experience the reality represented in drama in the shoes of the actors who inhabit it.

On the virtual stage of the dramatic action Joyce would have had to imagine, he would have seen these actors expressing themselves precisely in the way that provided Stephen with the inaugural epiphany. The experiences, attitudes, feelings, and even their individual human nature would be available to the spectator's grasp only as epiphanic "spiritual" manifestations (SH 211), showing in, but not identifiable with, the gestures and words that express them. This is the way drama mediates the self-manifestation of phenomena such as love and hate Joyce speaks about in [End Page 205] relation to Mangan, or desire that afflicts Stephen's sensitivity with a force he recognizes as paradigmatically aesthetic in Stephen Hero.

In the dramatic epiphanies, Joyce reproduces this effect on a minimal scale. He stages the drama of human existence—rather than that of a fictional, invented world—by enacting the dramatic epiphanic scenes in the undeniably, self-evidently true—his own—lived reality. They are set in Joyce's biographical settings, such as Mullingar, Dublin, and London, sometimes specifying the exact place (such as "the North Circular Road" or "the house in Glengariff Parade" in the epiphanies 18 and 19, and "at Sheehy's, Belvedere Place" repeatedly, in the epiphanies 11–14, 17). Their actors, too, are historical persons from Joyce's environment: Joyce himself, his family members (1, 4, 11, 19, Workshop 11, 14, 21, 29), the Sheehys, and the others who used to gather in their house (12–14, 18, Workshop 22–24, 28), and Joyce's friends and acquaintances such as Skeffington (22), Eva Leslie (35), or Gogarty (22, 35, 40, Workshop 32, 45, 50). The action itself is kept to a minimum: Epiphanies present just enough of it for us to sense, for example, the shame and fear of a little boy hiding under the table from the consequences of his misdeed (1, Workshop 11) or of the two children facing the anger of the lame beggar they must have mocked (15, Workshop 15).

Such dramatic staging, however, has a limit, which Joyce overcomes by deploying narrative. Drama gives Joyce a framework for mediating lived reality, teaching him to anchor it to human self-expression by placing multiple actors on the virtual stage of action and enacting their responsiveness to one another and their immediate surroundings. Yet dramatic representation offers no means to represent the perceptual multi-modality of lived experience and show a human being perceiving and interpreting reality as well as acting in it. A perceptual act of sense-making is an act of consciousness, even if it lives in the body; it is, as Joyce voices it Stephen's definition of an epiphany, "a memorable phase of the mind itself" (SH 211), in which consciousness grasps the sense of what it perceives and, subsequently, can relive it in a variety of modes, such as memory or imagination. This kind of activity cannot be staged as a dramatic action; it demands narrative, and Joyce uses it both to focus the perceptual vision of his characters and to split it into multiple modes of apprehension, so that reality in his epiphanies appears as perceived and, also, remembered or dreamt or imagined. The dramatic structure remains in place: Epiphanies stage scenes, in which the observing-and-experiencing "I" is involved in some interaction with another being and tries to assume the other's [End Page 206] viewpoint and grasp their experience. Thus, by keeping his narrative within the confines of dramatic interaction, Joyce brings to life living beings without objectifying them, as their observer (and so the reader) finds himself drawn into reliving the gesture of their self-expressive bodies and trying to grasp the significance of the experience these movements seem to express.

Epiphany 39, for instance, pictures a girl reading: the watching eye of the narrative draws the lines of her posture and her face to bring her pictorial image to the reader's perception and ask what she is living through in the moment: "What is the lesson that she reads—of apes, of strange inventions, or the legends of martyrs? Who knows how deeply meditative, how reminiscent is this comeliness of Rafaello?" (Workshop 49). The narrative does not tell us if we are looking at a living girl or a girl's image in a painting, for it is the self-expression of a human being and the possibilities of its perception that are being staged. The eye of Joyce's epiphanies always sees through bodily gestures and postures into the heart of the experience they express, even if these expressive bodies are not actually living beings anymore. Even sculpturally represented bodies, "the images of fabulous kings" that are "set in stone," have their hands "folded upon their knees" not for the reasons of their sculptural form, but "in token of weariness, and their eyes are darkened for the errors of men" (29, Workshop 39).45 A dead brother, in a dream epiphany that gives relief to grief, appears as a living, "whirling body" in a breathtakingly beautiful dance that is "sudden and young and male," and then "falls again to earth in tremulous sobbing to die upon its triumph" (23, Workshop 33). An unidentifiable beast speaks an unknown language in response when poked with a stick (16, Workshop 26), and a dog "utters a prolonged sorrowful howl," as it seems to those who pass it by and "hear the utterance of their own sorrow that had once its voice but is now voiceless" (8, Workshop 18). The "sensible object" (OW 105–6) that Joyce's epiphanies illuminate is nothing like a clock or a basket; it is, rather, the nature—the phenomenal, experiential essence—of being human, in every form of its often blindingly radiant self-expression.

The tram epiphany (3, Workshop 13) stands out within the corpus of these literary miniatures because here Joyce presents us with a perfectly balanced drama of aesthetic experience. The action he stages here connects the actors within a single lived space and a moment of shared, mutually acknowledged significance. This is a scene of mutual attraction [End Page 207] between a girl and a boy, or of budding desire, which in itself is a paradigmatic illustration of the aesthetic, sensuously grounded experience Stephen comes to learn (SH 211). As a scene staging the expression of desire in human interaction, this is one of a great number of variants Joyce replays across his narratives, including the inaugural epiphany episode in Stephen Hero. This epiphany has also been integrated into the narrative of A Portrait, recurring here in two different textual variants at two different points in the novel (68–70, 222). With all these characteristics in place, this epiphany presents us with an exceptional opportunity to trace the development of the Joycean narrative form on the textual level: to foreground the basic structure Joyce creates to keep readerly perception embedded in the sensuous and then examine the precise transformations he makes as he takes the scene, and thus the structure, into a larger narrative. The epiphany reads:

The children who have stayed latest are getting on their things to go home for the party is over. This is the last tram. The lank brown horses know it and shake their bells to the clear night, in admonition. The conductor talks with the driver; both nod often in the green light of the lamp. There is nobody near. We seem to listen, I on the upper step and she on the lower. She comes up to my step many times and goes down again, between our phrases, and once or twice remains beside me, forgetting to go down, and then goes down. .… Let be; let be. … And now she does not urge her vanities—her fine dress and sash and long black stockings—for now (wisdom of children) we seem to know that this end will please us better than any end we have laboured for.

(Workshop 13)

The narrative begins with the spatiotemporal preamble setting the stage for the event. The children are getting dressed to go home in a hall after a party. It is late, and everybody is focused on getting home. To enact their impatience, the narrative leaps into another spatiotemporal location without warning, into "the last tram" that is pulled by the horses who, too, are impatient to finish the last trip of the day. The tram is itself an enclosed space in relation to rest of the city; and it is also perceived as a vacant space: "The conductor talks with the driver" out there, "in the green light of the lamp," while "[t]here is nobody near," over here. Nobody is intruding into the space where the event is about to take place, and now the narration locates the participants of this event in a way that [End Page 208] also ascribes to them an intention to isolate their space from the rest of the environment: They "seem to listen" to the conversation out there and, as it turns out, to one another, while actually focusing on themselves, he "on the upper step and she on the lower." They speak, but we learn nothing about the content of this conversation: It is the fact of conversation itself that matters, the dance-like link and the choreography in which this link holds their minds and bodies tied to one another. Their attention is focused on each other's bodily movements—or gestures—that express their immersion in this experience of the connection, their bodies moving in a conversational harmony, while the content of this conversation, inevitably communicated in the words they must be saying, is completely disregarded. He only watches her coming up and down the steps and relishes the moments she stays near him as the conversation pauses, wishing to hold it for a little longer: "Let be; let be. …" No spontaneous distractions interrupt this shared moment of bliss: "now she does not urge her vanities," and he—while noting "her fine dress and sash and long black stockings"—cares for the fact of her unawareness rather than the "vanities" themselves. They both "seem to know that this end will please [them] better than any end [they] have laboured for." "This end" is not specified: It refers to the interaction just staged, returning the reading eye to something it has just observed while reading. Thus, the epiphany closes in a fully circular, self-referential structure.

Early in A Portrait, Joyce expands the epiphany textually into a narrative passage that is four times longer (68–70). He uses almost all of the epiphany's text, omitting just a few words and introducing some stylistic and semantic changes. Stylistically, Joyce consistently repositions grammatical deictic references to the time of action and the actors. He narrates in the past tense rather than in the dramatic present that, in the epiphany, placed the reader in the midst of action and sustained a sense of the scene as unfolding in the here-and-now of the narration-and-reading act. The first-person narration also contributed to this effect of immediacy in the epiphany: The first person placed the reader in the position of the experiencing "I," whereby experience unfolded in the course of narration as "mine," and the "we" of it united "myself" with "her" in a single action and experience. In A Portrait, the episode is narrated in the third person: Here the narrator—and, by consequence, the reader—observes the action rather than acting it, and then "we" must be transformed into "them," marking the two actors as "him" and "her." These simple grammatical shifts have the overall effect of distancing the action from narration, [End Page 209] which also involves splitting the acting subjectivity from the observing-and-narrating "I."

Splitting subjective spaces takes place on the semantic level of the narrative as well: In A Portrait, the tram episode no longer enacts the intersubjective bond staged in the epiphany. The preamble to the narrative action here does not demarcate the space of intimacy between the couple over against the outside space of the tram and the city, as it did in the epiphany, but instead presents us with a two-paragraph description of Stephen's solitude over against the mirth of the party. The girl here is given the specific role of Muse. She excites him so he must put some effort into "hiding from the other eyes the feverish agitation of his blood" while trying to catch her eyes, as "through the circling of the dancers and amid the music and laughter her glance travelled to his corner" (P 68–69); the following day he will try to write poetry, feeding on this excitement (P 70). The narrative here does not leap from the hall right into the tram but, with Stephen, watches the girl's movements as they leave the house and walk together: her gesture as she wraps herself in her shawl, "sprays of her fresh warm breath [that] flew gaily above her cowled head," and her steps as "her shoes tapped blithely on the glassy road" (P 69).

Such close attention to detail characterizes Stephen's gaze around the entire space of action. Focus on details and separate objects fragments this space into a sequence of separate perceptions instead of concentrating attention on an undisturbed, self-enclosed spot that was marked as a scene for potential intimacy in the epiphany. Joyce performs this fragmentation in revision, by splitting semantic units—which are also perceptual images—into their constituents: The concentrated expression of an empty, undisturbed space, encapsulated in the straightforward sentence "There is nobody near" in the epiphany, here breaks into the composite image of "the empty seats of the tram" and "no sound" around (P 69).

Using the same technique of splitting a continuity into its constituent images, Joyce distinguishes two independent subjectivities from the original unity of the single inter-subjective act. He breaks the single flow of the harmonious conversational movement of the original epiphanic act into a complex of reflections by duplicating images and, ultimately, by making the narrative enact for us a self-reflective consciousness—and thus a fully constituted subjectivity—involved in an effort of communication.

To achieve this ultimate effect, Joyce must separate the participating body from the perceiving consciousness. The harmony, in the epiphany played out as the couple's dance-like interaction, here is encapsulated in [End Page 210] the metaphorical image of Stephen's heart that "danced upon her movements like a cork upon a tide" (P 69), up and down to mirror the rhythm of the girl's physical movements. This is also an image of subjective self-reflection: It focuses our view on Stephen's sense of himself, as opposed to their commonly performed act. And it is complemented by the self-awareness of the girl, too: Stephen sees "her urge her vanities" (P 69), which she emphatically did not do in the epiphany. Once the narrative enters the realm of conscious self-reflective perception, memory and imagination open a whole world of possible associations, so Stephen finds himself reflecting on an experience that mirrors the one he is living in the present. He remembers a day in the past, when he and another girl (Eileen rather than E– C–,with whom he is on the tram) were looking at a "fox terrier scampering to and fro on the sunny lawn" of a hotel, another image of an oscillating movement. Stephen's recollection is brought about by finding himself in the same position, as he stands "listlessly in his place, seemingly a tranquil watcher of the scene before him" (P 69). This complex multiplication of reflections and splits, narrated in the past tense and thus enacted as a memory rather than an action in the here-and-now, is itself placed at a distance from another pair of seemingly tranquil observers, the narrator and the reader.

With such a divide between Stephen and the girl in place, there is no sense of the "we" that enabled the narrator to know what they both wished for in the moment. In A Portrait, the girl's attraction to him is an object of Stephen's ongoing speculation until he decides that "She too wants [him] to catch hold of her. That's why she came with [him] to the tram." The ending has another crucial split of reference: The unspecified "end," with which the epiphany enclosed its narrative in a self-referential structure, here turns into Stephen's calculation of what he might do in accepting her "gift": "catch hold of her" and "kiss her." He does neither of those things, and thus finishes his tram journey alone, staring "gloomily at the corrugated footboard." Instead of the bliss of being together, we are presented with a faint implication of dissatisfaction about a missed opportunity. This is also a moment that constitutes subjectivity as self-enclosed consciousness striving for but not achieving connection with another being. This appears to be the pathos of the scene, quite the opposite to its epiphanic original that celebrated one's unity with the other in a common act.

To make it even more anticlimactic, Joyce provides an epilogue in Stephen's failed attempt to write poetry the following day, trying to draw on [End Page 211] the inspiration from his muse (P 70). He performs all preparatory rituals for writing: sets a writing scene, with a new pen, a fresh ink bottle, and a new exercise book laid on the desk, and puts down a dedication to his muse for the poem's title, just as Lord Byron did. But an inspiration does not come. Instead of poetic lines, Stephen automatically writes down a list of names and addresses of his classmates, as if his writing hand simply extended the gesture of scribbling the same kind of language he started with, putting down a sequence of names after the first one because his brain had "refused to grapple with the theme" and bring anything at all to his mind.

The epiphanic sense of the bliss returns in the second revision of the epiphany in A Portrait many pages later, in Stephen's memory of the tram:

He had written verses for her again after ten years. Ten years before she had worn her shawl cowlwise about her head, sending sprays of her warm breath into the night air, tapping her foot upon the glassy road. It was the last tram; the lank brown horses knew it and shook their bells to the clear night in admonition. The conductor talked with the driver, both nodding often in the green light of the lamp. They stood on the steps of the tram, he on the upper, she on the lower. She came up to his step many times between their phrases and went down again and once or twice remained beside him forgetting to go down and then went down. Let be! Let be!

Ten years from that wisdom of children to his folly. If he sent her the verses? They would be read out at breakfast amid the tapping of egg-shells. Folly indeed! …


Ten years later Stephen appreciates his inaction as the "wisdom of children" and cherishes the moment for what it was. There is no party setting at all; the setting here is Stephen's look at her shawl about her head and his feel of "sprays of her warm breath into the night air," whereby the narrative directly states his attraction to her and their connection. Compared to the epiphany, let alone its expansion in the first instance of its use in A Portrait, the narrative here speeds up. Joyce combines the epiphany's sentence "This was the last tram" and the description of the horses into one sentence. He also omits the statements that "[t]here is nobody near" and that the couple "seem to listen" while actually busy with one another, as well as the details about her vanities. The narrative presents their [End Page 212] mutual immersion in each other only by reporting their movements on the steps. There is no semantic redundancy, and all distractions are removed until the tension culminates in a shout, "Let be! Let be!," as opposed to the whisper of the epiphany, which has a semicolon and an ellipsis instead of the exclamation marks.

By the means of such concentration, Joyce gives us a narrative that purifies and intensifies the experience of bliss in which Stephen—and thus the reader—finds himself immersed far more unequivocally than in the there-and-then of the event itself described some pages earlier. The experience of this bliss is sharpened even further by a contrast: The joy of the remembered past is far more intense than the "folly" of the present in which any connection between them is poignantly absent, nor is there any sense of a self-evident purpose of existence that permeated the original epiphany.

The epiphanic closure does not occur either. Intensified as it is, the tram epiphany now appears in a sequence of images brought forward by Stephen's half-dreaming consciousness early in the morning, as he wakes up at dawn, falls back to sleep, and writes a villanelle verse after verse until the poem comes out complete (P 217–24). In this larger narrative framework, the recollection of the tram trip, with the phantasmal experience of the inter-corporeal bond and the re-animation of the excitement that accompanies it, marks a pre-climactic moment. The phantasmal vision of the tram trip incites desire in Stephen's body and soul, and he is carried into another phantasmal experience, of being caressed by her: She "enfolded him like water with a liquid life" until his desire spilled out of his living flesh into the form of the villanelle, as "the liquid letters of speech, symbols of the element of mystery, flowed forth over his brain" (P 223). This is a merciless parody of the neo-Romantic notion of poetic genius: This drama of the effusion of creative energy barely veils another act, of a wet dream.46 And yet, even in such a disguise of a self-subversive parody, this scene stages an irreducibly aesthetic creative act. A work of a most complex and formally rigid genre, the villanelle, is not constructed in the course of linguistic play or creative rituals; it emerges instead from the most intensively corporeal self-manifestation of desire that flows out of the living flesh into the vestment of poetry.

Such a complex integration of the epiphany into a framing narrative marks the endpoint of the development of the Joycean form: It started with dramatic mini-scenes Joyce put on the page to capture human reality on the immediately perceivable plane of its self-manifestation in action, [End Page 213] moved to narrative epiphanies that Joyce constructed by infusing the basic dramatic structure of human self-expression with signifying perception, and ended up with the expansion of this epiphanic narrative into an extended fiction. The factual chronology of this progression is not decisively important because no structure has been dropped on the way. Joyce keeps the skeleton of the dramatic action in all his narratives to present reality as necessarily someone's vision, and this focus conveys a corporeal and multilayered consciousness implanted in the living flesh and engaged in perceiving, remembering, and imagining simultaneously. All structures of expressing human reality, which Joyce finds while playing with the forms of literary expression, pile up to create the poly-centric and multi-modal narrative style that has been described in a range of terms as Joyce's style.

The genesis of this form through epiphanies also shows that Joyce creates this style as an aesthetic form: a form that plays on the mechanism of aesthetic apprehension, which is the mechanism of making sense of our lived world, or of producing meaning. The three variants of the tram epiphany make it clear that this is, effectively, the mechanism of textualizing lived reality. In these variants, Joyce works with seemingly the same text, and yet the significance of the experience he stages differs in every case. What phenomena show in narrative mediation evidently depends on the limits he sets as the beginning and the end of the experience being staged, on the scope and intensity of Stephen's involvement in the event, and on the specific topography of significant elements that constitute the sense of what he has experienced in the event. We have seen Joyce thinking these conditions through as he outlined through Stephen's voice the phases of the epiphanic self-manifestation of a thing. His revisions of the epiphany manipulate these conditions to present a moment of bliss in the original epiphany, then turn it into a pang of disappointment in an expanded and more detailed presentation, and finally incite an ecstatic experience as it is relived in memory. Not only does Joyce stage the reality of phenomena for us to relive, but he also lays bare the operative mechanism of lived experience itself.


The very fact that Joyce integrates the tram epiphany into a larger narrative and the ways in which he does it also testifies to the fact that Joyce never left epiphany behind but, rather, wove a narrative that stages and [End Page 214] mediates epiphanic experiences throughout. An extended narrative cannot do without narrative pillars that support coherence, such as character and plot development, by definition. These are rather abstracted, intelligible structures, as opposed to the sensible ones, but Joyce makes these structures emerge out of aesthetic, sensuous experience, recorded on a minimal scale in his epiphanies and then expanded by working with the texture of their language. He reshapes it to reinforce the immediate effects of textual micro-transformations and thus foreground emergent meanings, multiplying them, letting them split, overlap, and compete, as well as assimilate into and refine one another until they bring to presence most complex phenomena: living subjectivities, their lived environments, and our common world in which we find them. With this multifaceted structure in place, Joyce gives us narratives in which, as the post-phenomenologist of our time Jacques Derrida has said of Ulysses, "the virtual totality of experience … tends to unfold itself and reconstitute itself by playing out all its possible combinations."47

To keep this process going, Joyce stages for us a continuous, never-ending activity of what Derrida calls "the autobiographic-encyclopedic circumnavigation" of his characters in their virtual world, and he stages it in a way that entangles his readers in the same quest, so that everyone—including Derrida—finds herself writing "the chronicle of my experiences" while interpreting his texts.48 This is because Joyce, by embedding his narrative in the perceptual structure of apprehension as such, inevitably grounds it in every particular act of reading and thus in the only living "mechanism of esthetic apprehension" (SH 212) that makes itself available in such an act: the reader. It is, then, our individual, personal participation that enables the aesthetic effect of Joyce's narrative, as it invites and satisfies our intellectual apprehension by keeping apprehension itself firmly bound to an unreflected involvement of our living sensuous bodies in the experience of making sense of his text, grasping a myriad of realities it brings to our view as a network of perceptually intelligible appearances.

Jūratė Levina

Jūratė Levina is a researcher and lecturer at Vilnius University, Lithuania, where she specializes in the phenomenology of literature and modernist aesthetics. She holds a Ph.D. in English from the University of York. Her publications include articles on T. S. Eliot, Virginia Woolf, and John Banville, Lithuanian translations of theoretical papers by Michael Riffaterre, Umberto Eco, and Raymond Williams, and Stephen Greenblatt's biography of Shakespeare, Will in the World. Currently, she is editing A. J. Greimas's Lithuanian manuscripts and translating his biography by Thomas F. Broden.


1. Shiv K. Kumar, "Joyce's Epiphany and Bergson's 'L'intuition Philosophique,'" Modern Language Quarterly 20 (March 1959): 27–30; Rudd Fleming, "Dramatic Involution: Tate, Husserl, and Joyce," The Sewanee Review 60, no. 3 (July–September 1952): 445–64. [End Page 215]

2. Antoine Levy, O.P., "Great misinterpretations: Umberto Eco on Joyce and Aquinas," Logos: A Journal of Catholic Thought and Culture 13, no. 3 (Summer 2010): 124–63.

3. Richard Kearney, "Epiphanies in Joyce," in Global Ireland: Irish Literatures for the New Millennium, ed. Ondřej Pilný and Clare Wallace (Prague: Litteraria Pragensia, 2005), 147–82.

4. Sharon Kim, Literary Epiphany in the Novel, 1850–1950: Constellations of the Soul (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012), 31–48.

5. Phenomenology, Modernism and Beyond, ed. Carole Bourne-Taylor and Ariane Mildenberg (Bern: Peter Lang, 2010), 17; Minna Niemi and Justin Parks, "Home, Homelessness and the Wayward Subject in the Novels of James Joyce and Claude McKay," 249–72.

6. Paul Guyer, in the Editor's Introduction to Immanuel Kant's Critique of the Power of Judgment, trans. Paul Guyer (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000), xiii–lii, gives a concise account of the development of Kant's conception in the setting of his contemporary thought on aesthetics (xiii–xxiii), including, in addition to Baumgarten and other thinkers, A Philosophical Enquiry into the Original of Our Ideas of the Sublime and the Beautiful by Edmunde Burke (xv). For a concise and comprehensive account of Baumgarten's attempt to initiate a rationalist aesthetics, see Mary J. Gregor, "Baumgarten's Aesthetica," The Review of Metaphysics 37, no. 2 (December 1983): 357–85. For the history of the emergence of the modern system of the arts and of aesthetics as a field of philosophical concern, inaugurated by Baumgarten, against the background of art as a cultural practice from Plato to Kant, see Paul Oscar Kristeller, "The Modern System of the Arts: A Study in the History Aesthetics," Journal of the History of Ideas 12, no. 4 (October 1951): 496–527; 13, no. 1 (January 1952): 17–46.

7. Arūnas Sverdiolas, Būti ir klausti: Hermeneutinės filosofijos studijos—1 (Vilnius: Strofa, 2002), 181–204; Aiškinimo ratas: Hermeneutinės filosofijos studijos—2 (Vilnius: Strofa, 2003), 9–60. Mikel Dufrenne, The Phenomenology of Aesthetic Experience, trans. Edward Casey (Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 1973 [1953]). Also see Günter Figal, Aesthetics as Phenomenology, trans. Jerome Veith (Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 2010).

8. Morris Beja, Epiphany in the Modern Novel (London: Peter Owen, 1971); Gerald Gillespie, "Epiphany: Applicability of a Modernist Term," in Proust, Mann, Joyce in the Modernist Context (Washington: Catholic University of America Press, 2003), 50–67; Robert K. Weninger, "The Epitome of the Epiphany: Stephen and Malte, Joyce and Rilke," in The German Joyce (Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2012), 158–73.

9. Robert M. Scotto, "'Visions' and 'Epiphanies': Fictional technique in Pater's Marius and Joyce's Portrait," James Joyce Quarterly 11 (1973): 41–50; Alan D. Perlis, "Beyond Epiphany: Pater's Aesthetic Hero in the Works of Joyce," James Joyce Quarterly 17, no. 3 (Spring 1980): 272–79; and Jay B. Losey, "Pater's Epiphanies and the Open Form," South Central Review 6, no. 4 (Winter 1989): 30–50, esp. 48. Herbert [End Page 216] F. Tucker, "Epiphany and Browning: Character Made Manifest," PMLA 107, no. 5 (October 1992): 1208–21.

10. Wim Tigges, ed., Moments of Moment: Aspects of the Literary Epiphany (Amsterdam: Rodopi, 1999).

11. Morris Beja's account of criticism on epiphany and related issues in Joyce studies remains most concise and useful; see his "Epiphany and Epiphanies," in A Companion to Joyce Studies, ed. Zack Bowen and James F. Carens (Westport, London: Greenwood, 1984), 707–25, esp. 716–21.

12. Don Gifford, "Ulysses" Annotated: Notes for James Joyce's "Ulysses" (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1988), 51 (3.141).

13. David Hayman, "The Purpose and Permanence of the Joycean Epiphany," JJQ 35, no. 4 (Summer-Fall 1998): 633–55, 638.

14. David Weir, "Epiphanoumenon," JJQ 31, no. 2 (Winter 1994): 55–64, esp. 57–58.

15. Harry Levin, James Joyce: A Critical Introduction (New York: New Directions, 1960 [1941]), 28–29; further references will be cited parenthetically in the text.

16. James Joyce, Stephen Hero, ed. Theodore Spencer, John J. Slocum, and Herbert Cahoon (New York: New Directions, 1963 [1944]), 211–13; further references will be cited parenthetically in the text as SH.

17. Irene Hendry, "Joyce's Epiphanies," The Sewanee Review 54, no. 3 (July–September 1946): 449–67.

18. James Joyce, Stephen Hero, edited with an introduction by Theodore Spencer (London: Jonathan Cape, 1944).

19. Robert Scholes, "Joyce and the Epiphany: The Key to the Labyrinth?" The Sewanee Review 72, no. 1 (Winter 1964): 65–77, 65–67.

20. James Joyce, Epiphanies, with an Introduction and notes by Oscar Ansell Silverman ([Buffalo]: Lockwood Memorial Library, University of Buffalo, 1956).

21. James Joyce, "The Epiphanies," with the editors' "Introductory Note," in The Workshop of Daedalus: James Joyce and the Materials for "A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man", ed. Robert Scholes and Richard Morgan Kain (Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 1965), 3–51; further references will be cited as Workshop parenthetically in the text.

22. Jacques Aubert, The Aesthetics of James Joyce (Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press, 1992 [1973]).

23. Umberto Eco, The Aesthetics of Chaosmos: The Middle Ages of James Joyce, trans. Ellen Esrock (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1989), 7, cf. 24–27.

24. Robert Scholes, "Joyce and the Epiphany," 70.

25. Morris Beja provides a full documentation of Joyce's re-use of the epiphanies; see "Epiphany and the Epiphanies," in A Companion to Joyce Studies, ed. Zack Bowen and James F. Carens (Westport, Conn., London: Greenwood, 1984), 712–13.

26. This is witnessed by the fact that only forty epiphanies, out of at least seventy Joyce must have written, have reached us, with seventeen of them surviving in his brother's hand rather than Joyce's own; see Hans Walter Gabler, "Preface," in Portrait [End Page 217] of the Artist as a Young Man: A Facsimile of Epiphanies, Notes, Manuscripts and Typescripts, gen. ed. Michael Groden ([New York, London]: Garland, 1978), xxiii–xxv.

27. Kant, Critique of Pure Reason, 364.

28. See esp. Edmund Husserl, Ideas Pertaining to a Pure Phenomenology and to a Phenomenological Philosophy. First Book: General Introduction to a Pure Phenomenology, trans. F. Kersten (The Hague, Boston, Lancaster: Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 1983), 203–7 (§85).

29. Martin Heidegger, "A Dialogue on Language," in On the Way to Language, trans. Peter D. Hertz (San Francisco: Harper Collins Publishers, 1971), 37–38.

30. Cf. Kim, Literary Epiphany in the Novel, 1850–1950, 7–12, 23.

31. Umberto Eco, The Aesthetics of Chaosmos: The Middle Ages of James Joyce, trans. Ellen Esrock (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1989), 6, 10.

32. Sverdiolas, Aiškinimo ratas, 13.

33. Aubert, 105. Drawing on William T. Noon, Joyce and Aquinas: A study of the Religious Elements in the Writing of James Joyce (New Haven: Yale University Press; London: Oxford University Press, 1957). Aubert also notes that Joyce did not have a systematic training in scholastics (4–6, 100), which must have been the enabling condition for his re-interpretation of these notions.

34. James Joyce, Occasional, Critical, and Political Writing, ed. Kevin Barry (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000), 104; further references will appear parenthetically in the text by the title of the piece when relevant and the abbreviation OW followed by the page reference.

35. Herbert Gorman, James Joyce: A Definitive Biography (London: John Lane, The Bodley Head, 1949 [1941]), 182.

36. Gorman, James Joyce, 182.

37. Thomas Kettle made the comparison (JJ 261), and Arthur Symons is the author of the description, qt. in Gorman, James Joyce, 192. Gorman (59) and Ellmann after him (JJ 76fn) quote from Joyce's translation of Verlaine.

38. Vicki Mahaffey, "Joyce's shorter works," in The Cambridge Companion to James Joyce, ed. Derek Attridge (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990), 172–95, 179; Gabler, "Preface," xxiii.

39. Gabler, "Preface," xxiii.

40. Mahaffey, 172.

41. Hans Walter Gabler assumes the same distinction when he qualifies Stephen Hero as "the 'perception text'" rather than fictional narrative as literary, aesthetically organized form; see "'He chronicled with patience:' Early Joycean Progressions between Non-Fictionality and Fiction," in Outside His Jurisfiction: Joyce's Non-Fiction Writings, ed. Katherine Ebury and James Frazer (London: Palgrave, forthcoming 2017), originally presented at the International Conference "'Outside his jurisfiction:' Joyce's Non-fiction," University of York, UK, March 23–25, 2012.

42. I am grateful to Kevin Barry for drawing my attention to this rather obvious shared characteristic of the epiphanies, which he did in response to the first version of this study I presented at the University of York in March 2012, pointing to its potential significance to my reading of Joyce. [End Page 218]

43. Gabler, "Preface," xxiii–xxvii, xxvii.

44. Gabler provides evidence that Joyce must have started writing the novel months before August 1903 ("Introduction: Composition, Text, and Editing," in James Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man: A Norton Critical Edition, ed. John Paul Riquelme, text ed. Hans Walter Gabler with Walter Hettche [New York, London: Norton, 2007], xv–xxiii, xv–xvi), while at least two Epiphanies (6, 21, Workshop 16, 31) were written after Joyce's mother's death that month. Also see Hans Walter Gabler, "The Genesis of A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man" in Critical Essays on James Joyce's "A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man", ed. Phillip Brady and James F. Carens (New York: G. K. Hall, 1998), 83–112, 83.

45. Frank Budgen remembers that Joyce understood plastic arts exclusively in terms of their capacity to mediate a human character by capturing it in the bodily posture they represent rather than appreciating any formal characteristics of it or technical challenges a work might be overcoming; see James Joyce and the Making of "Ulysses" and other writings, with an introduction by Clive Hart (London: Oxford University Press, 1972), 188–89.

46. Zack Bowen and Paul Buters, "The New Bloomusalem: Transformations in Epiphany Land," Modern British Literature 3, no. 1 (1978): 48–55, 49.

47. Jacques Derrida, "Ulysses Gramophone: Hear Say Yes in Joyce," in Acts of Literature, ed. Derek Attridge (New York, London: Routledge, 1992), 253–309, 291.

48. Derrida, "Ulysses Gramophone," 262, 265. [End Page 219]

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