The Preservation of Tenderness: A Confusion of Tongues in Ulysses and Finnegans Wake
Marilyn L. Brownstein
In an address to the Twelfth International Psycho-Analytical Congress in Wiesbaden in September 1932, Sandor Ferenczi remarked on “too facile explanations” of neuroses “in terms of ‘disposition’ and ‘constitution.’”1 With the tact and care of a son staging something more sophisticated, more respectful, and infinitely more subtle than an oedipal revolt, he proceeded to offer a radical critique of psychoanalytic theory.2 He urged that psychoanalysis, instead of focusing on the self-generating causes of hysteria, examine the “traumatic factors in the pathogenesis of the neuroses.” Specifically, he insisted that attention be paid to the appalling frequency of “sexual mistreatment of children by parents, persons thought to be trustworthy such as relatives (uncles, aunts, grandparents), governesses or servants, who misuse the ignorance and the innocence of the child.”3 By discussing “the exogenous factor” in neuroses, “unjustly neglected in recent years” (Ferenczi, 156), Ferenczi offered a basic challenge to the long-standing preference of psychoanalysis for theories of infantile sexuality over theories of trauma, a preference that still dominates the field.
In his address, “Confusion of Tongues between Adults and the Child,” Ferenczi attempted a revision of theory and practice by investigating the functions of a doubled language on which the analyst must base his or her treatment of childhood sexual trauma. This “language of tenderness and of passion” consists of a dualistic linguistic register that operates distinctively for the analyst, the incest victim, and the perpetrator. In demonstrating possible variations in the dialectical arrangements of tenderness and passion, Ferenczi’s work provides linguistic paradigms for the resistances of victim and perpetrator and for the therapeutic reversals essential to successful treatment.
His work also offers an intriguing basis for investigating analogous resistances and reversals in the discursive dialectics of Ulysses and Finnegans Wake.4 Initially my reading focuses on the distinctive operations of the language of passion and tenderness within the father-daughter incest motif that seems to dominate the narrative modes of each of the Joycean texts. In addition, by disclosing the dialectical nature of the incest themes operating across both works, I hope to demonstrate how such a reading produces significant commentary on the political unconscious of the Joycean oeuvre; that is, a paradigmatic investigation based on Ferenczi’s design uncovers the tropes of a monstrosity-breeding ideology of forgetfulness, the overriding strategy for dealing with family sex crimes in our culture.5 The appearance of Ferenczi’s paper in Final Contributions to Psychoanalysis presents, moreover, yet another sort of reflection on Joyce’s method. Even as Ferenczi’s insistence on family history and the “exogenous factor” reproaches an ideological resistance within psychoanalysis, a resistance materializes, ironically enough, in the publication history of Ferenczi’s revolutionary paper.6
This suppression of incest narratives within psychoanalysis—a distinctive feature of the invention of psychoanalysis—establishes the outermost margins of an ideology of taboo linked to forgetfulness or repression.7 An altogether similar and not surprising suppression has operated over the years with respect to father-daughter incest themes in Joyce’s work. Both Margaret MacBride and Jane Ford have marked a path toward this apparently eminently dismissable issue of paternity in Ulysses. Both cite narrative lapses at the sites of Bloom’s sexual repression, and both note, in strikingly similar fashion, concomitant critical repressions as well. MacBride writes: “What may be the most important element in the story of Bloom has gone virtually unnoticed for over fifty years”; and Ford argues: “The theme of sin … is so overlayered … that his [Bloom’s] repression … has largely escaped critical recognition for over fifty years.”8 Thus, each introduces aspects of what I find to be the touchy central issue largely avoided in Joyce studies.9 In two articles, “At Four She Said” and “At Four She Said: II,” MacBride analyzes Bloom’s role in abetting Molly’s adultery, and in “Why Is Milly in Mullingar?” Ford uncovers the subterranean theme of Bloom’s incestuous relationship with Milly. While these essays richly expand my own reading of the text, I believe there is yet more to the story, concerning both Bloom’s sexual repression and (at the very least) a lack of critical enthusiasm for these matters.
Forgetfulness is the key for analyst and novelist. Just as the analysand’s neurotic repetitions disfigure the narrative of a near-fatal attraction, so the Joycean narrative is pocked and pitted by symptoms. Taking its cues from the illness itself, Ferenczi’s treatment effectively deemphasizes guilt by decentering the narrative of seduction. The analytic task is fulfilled in a recuperative remembering. This rescue of the narrative of a traumatic memory from among the repetitive symptoms that obscure and distort it operates in the faith that the narrative, in fact, resting amidst the rubble of neurosis, awaits its (hitherto resisting) subject. Although the actual remembering of the incest narrative is crucial for the subject, we find, most significantly, at the core of the analyst’s work an emphasis on recuperation rather than on the narrative itself. Neither a monster myth of the parent-deviant nor litanies of the ruined child are central. Instead, Ferenczi privileges ruminations on the monstrositybreeding forgetfulness of both parent and child. Analogously, within Joyce’s work a foundational irony inheres in the revelation that these deeply historical and historiographic10 texts have as their originary dynamic the “silence, exile, and cunning” of the artist. Serial traces of forgetfulness in Ulysses and Finnegans Wake, manifest as a distinctive and formal roominess, offering space for rumination, generate the negative space that, for the most part, determines the shape of each novel. Just as the conspiracy of silence in the suppression of incest shapes a community, the repression of incest, as a central matter in Joyce, organizes the formal aspects of both works. In each case the reader as resisting subject is differently implicated.
Thus, I want to show, at least in a preliminary way, that discursive configurations of father-daughter incest are obliquely and peculiarly secured to major plot functions throughout. That is, linguistic foregrounding, which serves as the key demonstration of Bloom’s repression in Ulysses, is the key agent of the plot; while in Finnegans Wake the major plot function is the concealment of incest. The discourse of Ulysses dialectically mimes the liturgies of repression. Repetitious linguistic symptoms that forestall remembering generate gaps in the plot. To the reader falls the task of lifting the layered and foregrounded veils of language in Ulysses. In particular Bloom’s polyglot, polysemous idiolect, to the extent that it consists of a dialectic of his own and Molly’s confusions of tenderness and passion, serves as an opaque wrapper for the parental fault. In this sense Ulysses is a paternal or seductive text, one that elicits the anxiety which is one version of our desire—“the hate impregnated love of adult mating,” as Ferenczi writes (Ferenczi, 167).
Throughout Finnegans Wake a subterranean code tantalizes with glimpses and hints of a sin or crime in the park; even when the father, HCE, is placed on trial, his crime is not named, at least not until the sixteenth chapter, the last chapter before Part IV, the novel’s final section. Moreover, it is not until the final page of Part IV that we discover just how important both the mystery and its resolution have always been. The particular confusion of tongues that marks the long-delayed eruption of the incest narrative, along with the violence, passion, and tenderness of the incest passage, are indexes of the universal power of repression and the complicated struggle toward remembering that is both Joyce’s theme and his method. In contrast to the dynamic of desire in Ulysses, Finnegans Wake is a text that desires the reader, a maternal or oceanic discourse that draws us in to “the guilt feelings that make the love-object of both loving and hating, i.e., of ambivalent emotions” (Ferenczi, 167).
An intertextual analysis of the mirror-image relation of the doubled discourses in Ulysses and Finnegans Wake—paralleling Ferenczi’s formulation of the dialectical arrangement of the languages of tenderness and passion between victim and parent and between analysand and analyst—specifies the madness of incest in relation to language and to culture, a madness constitutive of Joyce’s worldmaking vision. Ferenczi’s astute distinctions, applied with some care to the Joycean text, yield a dialectical model which I have used to interrogate form for value in Joyce’s work. The analyst’s unorthodox treatment substitutes a maternal and lovingly attentive therapy for the more orthodox paternal detachment. Memory is restored within a maternal ambiance. The basis for treatment (which Ferenczi notes is, naturally and practically, regressive) originates in a study of the languages of tenderness and passion that differently constitute the experience of the adultlike child (the incest victim) and the childish adult (the perpetrator). In treatment such a “confusion of tongues” operates in relation to the analyst’s maternal language, designed to initiate a healing reformulation of the dialectic of tenderness and passion, a dialectic of “maternal” and “paternal” languages.11 This is one principle on which the Joycean corpus depends.
Ferenczi’s descriptions of the language of tenderness and passion as it operates between victim and perpetrator, and between analyst and victim or perpetrator,12 provide a model for investigating the effects of debilitating repression and facilitating recuperation. In recognizing just how neatly the repression of the perpetrator and the repression of the victim reflect each other, Ferenczi also realizes that such mirror-image repressions are destined to be repeated during orthodox psychoanalytic treatment. It is, of course, through the mechanism of transference and an incidental (and perhaps not entirely gratuitous) matching of behavioral strategies that typical analytic detachment comes to represent to the analysand the position of the careless parent.13 Within this highly sensitive and altogether familiar alignment of the role of the parent and the role of the analyst, Ferenczi is able to interrogate the psychoanalytic problematic of childhood seduction and childhood desire. This work provides in its diction a gentle rebuke (“a maternal friendliness”) for what otherwise might be construed as a stern (“paternal”) commentary on Freud’s preference for the theory of oedipal attraction over the reality of sexual trauma as the pathogenic factor in certain stubborn neuroses.
We might further conjecture that what naturally follows from Ferenczi’s recognition of these dual registers of language is a useful insight into the operation of Joyce’s modernist styles. The movement from the seductive discourse of Ulysses to the discursive sprawl of Finnegans Wake provides distinctions. Subject-object fluidity (reflected in Ferenczi’s understanding of problems in the transference relation and his preference for a maternal analyst) is the condition of the engenderment of language. An empathic or maternal dynamic in the language of a paternal figure doubles point of view without the concomitant irony that is thought to be, in the study of modernist discourse, the ordinary consequence of such doubling. It is my own sense that Joyce distinctively balances (juggles would perhaps be a better term) these registers in the two works. In a Joycean ricorso we can begin (again) to sort out the confusion; with the end in sight, on the final page of Finnegans Wake, the Joycean text inevitably rewinds. The organizing situation of Finnegans Wake, which includes the reader’s awareness of the cyclic possibilities, occurs as the discursive site and circumstance of the father’s crime and the daughter’s ambivalence. A therapeutic remembering takes place in the dream of the father when ALP, in her death-in-life monologue, reembodies her younger self—a sexually abused daughter.14 Ulysses, by contrast, in this mirror-image, upside-down world of Joycean narrative, opens with a parodic introduction to ultimate patriarchal authority. “Stately plump Buck Mulligan” invites us to the penultimate mediation, the symbolic solace of the ultimate father (“Introibo ad altare Dei”) (U, I.I, 5). Bloom’s symptoms, of course, represent a weakening of this stability of subject position.
We might say, then, that over the course of the two works Joyce moved from the initially overly determined symbolic design of Ulysses (silence and exile) to the overly determined sensory register of Finnegans Wake, a discourse designed around the feminine body and women’s language. Finally, in part IV of Finnegans Wake the neurotic repetition of history’s “vicocyclometer” breaks down. Universal “significance” dissolves in the particularity of remembering, and the passionate father tenderly speaks the daughter’s defilement in the neologism “herword.” Thus, in a masculine-feminine turn he names the real act whose mimesis in the sixteenth chapter marks the return of the repressed.15 What is more, Ferenczi’s summation of the effects of incest on the victim so perfectly reflects the nature and function of language in ALP’s monologue within HCE’s dream at the close of the Wake that it seems to respond directly not only to Joyce himself but to the body of feminist criticism that has focused on these final lines as the place to assess Joyce’s sexual politics.16
In Ferenczi’s birthday tribute to Freud, in all liklihood written over a succession of the very same days on which Joyce toiled over his “Work in Progress,” Ferenczi, the maternal son, distinguishes the pathogeny of the adult’s response to incest from the child’s. He explains the disorders thus: “An adult and child love each other, the child nursing the playful fantasy of taking the role of the mother to the adult. This play may assume erotic forms but remains, nevertheless, on the level of tenderness. It is not so, however, with pathological adults. … They mistake the play of children for the desires of a sexually mature person or even allow themselves—irrespective of any consequences—to be carried away” (Ferenczi, 161). He elaborates the paired ambivalences: “If more love or love of a different kind from that which they need is forced upon children in the stage of tenderness [as opposed to the stage of passion, a stage of love between adults that involves conflict and violence], it may lead to pathological consequences in the same way as the frustration or withdrawal of love …” (Ferenczi, 164). The confusion of tongues refers, initially, to the superimposition of passionate and guilt-laden love on an immature and guiltless child. This confusion belongs in strikingly similar ways to adult and child.17 Parental pathology breeds its mirror image, usually a child with precociously adult predilections.
According to Ferenczi, then, the confusion of tongues, in a developmental view, is the result of a dangerous conflation of registers of experience. The father, whose register for the child is all and only symbolic (that is, the paternal relation operates through nomination), has intruded on the child’s register of the real (the register of body memory and maternal tenderness). For the child, incest becomes the agent of precocious development. The traumatized child internalizes rape and violence in an attempted normalization of passion. Tenderness for such a child is a facade; it is the unsupported activity of a self divided between premature passion and maternal instincts for preserving the family relation. Thus the affect of these divisions, of this self-fulfilling need for reparation which is also a self-effacing mechanism, exists in opposition to the rage, guilt, and violence which also occur among the violated innocent’s repertory of responses. In other words, the psychic fractures are compound. Strategies for managing the trauma of incestuous assault include the magical incorporation of both parents: the child, in dealing with the failure of good parental attention, hovers between self-parenting instincts consisting of both mothering (self-preservation, reparation) and fathering (self-annihilation). At the same time, the child must endure the excess (the violence of emotions accompanying the reality of victimization) which cannot be transformed by splitting or by projective identifications (the coping mechanisms of earliest development, the self-mothering and self-fathering which I have mentioned, engaged, in these circumstances, to manage disturbance within the register of the real).
For the incest victim the disorder of tenderness and passion erupts discursively. A failure in the transformation of organismic panic to signal anxiety (a breakdown between the registers of the real and the imaginary) results in eruptions of the real through rents in the symbolic. The violent objects of the real surface at the symbolic level unmediated by condensations and displacements, the mollifying tropes of the unconscious (or the register of the imaginary). Loss and vulnerability thus operate as active principles in the symbolic register of these subjects. Such a formulation only begins to account for the distinctively fluctuating registers of sensory and symbolic in the languages of Ulysses and Finnegans Wake.
Within the realm of confusions that exists between the passionate parent and tender child, Ferenczi, in the role of analyst, creates another layer of complexity. In what is perhaps the paper’s most radical demonstration, he observes that traditional analytic treatment exacerbates hysterical anxiety in incest victims. He finds that the cool and polite analyst recapitulates, in the method of the treatment, the transgressing father: “Almost always the perpetrator behaves as though nothing has happened, and consoles himself with the thought—Oh it is only a child, he does not know anything, he will forget it all. Not infrequently after such events, the seducer becomes overmoralistic or religious and endeavors to save the soul of the child by severity” (Ferenczi, 163). Ferenczi resourcefully notes that in stubborn cases of hysteria the analyst must abandon the detached position of the “insincere father”—the position, I would add, in which paternal discourse reproduces for the victim not paternal discourse but the body of the father. This is the failure of the imaginary, or what Jacques Lacan would call a point de capiton, a piercing of the symbolic by the real. Ferenczi’s solution is to offer the child a paternal admission of guilt within a maternal ambience. Such an acknowledgment makes possible the abatement of hysteria, the transformation of an organismic panic (the real) to a signal anxiety (a movement between imaginary and symbolic, that is, a mediation—a remembering within the analysis). What is essential to the regressive treatment is that the memory of the paternal body is converted to language at the site of a maternal holding, a willed and healing confusion of subject and object that is enabling since the victim is safely ensconced upon a maternal screen. The victim, safe within a maternal holding, can thus be vulnerable and at the same time empathetic, can be once again both child and parent, but in a distinctively reorganized relation.18 In this way the incest victim can recognize the guilt, pain, and desire of the intrusive body as congruent with her own. Such an occurrence is the key to sorting out the confusion of tongues, the languages of tenderness and passion.
Bloom/Zerlina, or Symbolic Passion
In discussing Ulysses I will not rehearse the evidence in the MacBride and Ford articles except to fill in the narrative. In “At Four She Said,” MacBride establishes Bloom’s repression of the appointed hour of Molly’s assignation by documenting the variety of narrative techniques which convey, in part by concealment and delay, this information. The second MacBride essay computes the peculiarly manipulative valence of Bloom’s repression by reminding us that Bloom introduced Molly to Boylan, ignored their flirtation, and announced his absence from home not merely at the appointed hour of Boylan’s visit but for most of the evening. MacBride stops short, however, of speculating on Bloom’s motives.
Jane Ford documents the incest narrative: Milly’s initiation of the relation in her “gluey,” somnambulistic kisses and Bloom’s ambivalence, his fascination and his guilt. Ford, in this manner, provides a motive for Milly’s exile, a motive that serves as well, in my view, Bloom’s clumsy attempt at reparation in arranging Molly’s adultery. Bloom, in his prolonged dance of the hours, his wending of the longest way home, acts out the winding of the clockworks, the priming of the machine of the plot. As the main character of Ulysses, Bloom, in his roles of husband and father, quite naturally is an agent of the plot, but Bloom also, and very specifically in the narrative innovation that MacBride cites, gives birth to the plot. Hence, Bloom authorizes the plot, and he does so by enacting a feminine version of Stephen’s Shakespeare theory. Joyce’s main character is both self-born and parent to the plot of Ulysses.19 A Lacanian analysis of the feminine symptom in the text attests to Bloom’s feminine self-birth, to his incorporation of Molly’s idiolect and its function as the agent of foregrounding, of the shifting of the registers of symbolic and real or form and content which define Joyce’s high modern style. Such a reading accounts, moreover, for the seemingly unheroic and incestuous Bloom, while also presenting thematic coherences in Ulysses and Finnegans Wake, coherences that disclose in the failure of conspiracies of silence the core of the sexual politics informing the Joycean oeuvre.20
Like the play of Stephen’s adopted linguistic paternity contained in his Shakespeare theory, Bloom’s symbolic paternity operates variously out of “will.” Bloom’s predominantly Italian “will” is most revealing. For Bloom’s symptom, repeated throughout the day, is his substitution of the present tense of “will” in Italian, voglio, for the conditional, vorrei. His neurotic repetition is a mistaken remembering of Molly’s portion of the duet “La ci darem la mano” from Don Giovanni. The subjectless Italian voglio barely conceals his parental helplessness, his vulnerability, and his guilt—his parental fault reiterated in his characteristically subjectless phrases in English. Bloom’s abrogation of certain responsibilities, represented in this rejection of subject position, reveals his anguish and his ambivalence. But most telling is Bloom’s “confusion of tongues,” his error in Molly’s portion of the duet from Don Giovanni. The voglio-vonei confusion in Bloom’s rendering of Molly’s part, the song of the peasant girl Zerlina, literally exposes a sad and ineffectually sadomasochistic Bloom failing in the symbolic transformation of his guilt. From within his ordinary adult (symbolic) situation—that is, as father, Bloom quite unexpectedly speaks the daughter’s part. In the neurotic repetition of voglio, he mimes the function of the incest victim, who, according to Ferenczi’s formulation, appears to be “willing” in her attempts to normalize incest. In Bloom’s symbolic and real failures we discover his humanity and the potential for family tragedy.
A Lacanian linguistics explains the transformations of Bloom’s will. Lacan, in valuing the signified over the signifier21 (a Bloomian “metampsychosis” or an inversion of the Saussurean formula), creates a particular re-membering of a system of reference in which the signified, the individual concept of a thing, is privileged. Language becomes interesting not at the level of the phoneme, where, according to Lacan, the arbitrary nonsense of communal meaning reigns, but at the level of the “patheme,” the symptom of the “passion of the body,” the effect of language. The patheme is generated, moreover, in “père-version.” Language is, in fact, ineluctably marked by perversion, defined in the “21 January Seminar” as the father’s role, “the sole guarantee of his function as father.” Since children of both sexes desire the maternal body, the role that falls “père-versement,” or toward the father, is the prevention of mother-child incest. The father attempts to fulfill his role in the demand for a substitution of the symbolic for the real, an attempt at the foreclosure of the real by which the “passion of the signifier then becomes a new dimension of the human condition.”22
The father’s role is also perverse in that it is an impossible one. Finally, as Lacan explains, since no father can be perfect (or in my view flawed—which is to say, human—in exactly the same way that other fathers may be) the range of perversions and pathematic manifestations (symptoms of the father’s imperfections, his lack) is equally and idiosyncratically various. In Ulysses the relation of two pathemes—Bloom’s repetitious mistakes of will, based on Zerlina’s coy reply to Don Giovanni (the operatic waverings of the nearly seduced daughter) and Bloom’s repetitions of Molly’s repetitious “O’s” (the sexualized exclamations of the the adulterous mother)—represent his perversion. Bloom debases the feminine symptom, the symptom of the daughter as well as that of the mother. We may discover the root of such debasement in considering the Freudian notion that, for the male, heterosexual relations depend on a prior disfiguring of the maternal or sororal.23 For Lacan, of course, there can be no sexual relation; instead there seems to be a sexual ideal which is either transcendent or located in the jouissance of the woman.
This version is Bloom’s, for Bloom’s femininity is fundamental to his père-version. Its source, his “abnegation,” is a sort of doubled self-denial resting in a rejection of his own father’s version (and perhaps rooted for Joyce in a rejection of his father’s behavior, a case variously made by Ruth Bauerle, Hélène Cixous, and Lacan).24 The confirmation of the sin of the father visited upon the son is the aberration of Rudy, Bloom’s son: “Mistake of nature. If it’s healthy it’s from the mother. If not from the man” (U, 6.329). An already guilty Bloom, by force of family circumstance, then, must find his reflection in his daughter’s mirror (“O, Milly Bloom, you are my darling. You are my lookingglass from night to morning” [U, 13.287, 288]) rather than in the son who does not survive to mirror him (“If little Rudy had lived. … My son. Me in his eyes” [U, 6.76]).
Bloom as a father himself, and in defiance of his own father’s père-version (suicide), distorts the mirror most peculiarly, taking his cue from the reflection he finds in his own daughter’s mirror. Bloom’s perversion, his made-up version of the paternal act he refuses to follow, surfaces as desire for his daughter, a hardly original but nonetheless perverse means of blocking oedipal desire.25 Bloom’s relation to Milly, in fact, has affected the marriage tie as well as the tie between mother and daughter.26 In the sequence “Young student. Yes, yes: a woman too: Life, life” (U, 6.89, 90), Bloom defies his father’s suicide, the ultimate abrogation of paternal function, in an affirmation of life which he finds in his daughter’s sexuality. Ironically, then, Bloom rediscovers in “Hades,” in the land of the dead, a life principle in a womanly version.
It is worth noting here that for Lacan as well as for Joyce, the life principle resides in perversion. The father’s affirmation of life as model for his children is his duty toward his desire for the maternal (FS, 167). Thus the sexual bond of matrimony and the incest taboo, which preserves the paternl prerogative, represent the father’s basic function. In Bloom’s case, however, the perversion must somehow be a disavowal of his father’s choice. Bloom struggles, it would seem, to maintain paternal function despite the hardships of the past—his father’s suicide and Rudy’s death. In his paternal role as incestuous desirer, moreover, Bloom, in yet another turn, comes to a femininity of his own creation, an ambivalence in which he acts out, pathematically, the role of the seduced as well as that of the seducer. He thus suffers the inevitable pains as well as perverse pleasures of incestuous confusions.
Bloom’s distress is focused in his longing for Milly. Jane Ford provides good evidence that Bloom has sent Milly to Mullingar to keep her safe from his desire. Milly’s absence situates Bloom’s ambivalence and his symptom. Bloom’s paternal role is that of “le juste mi-dieu,” creator of not the perfect solution but a happy “me-deum” (FS, 167). In Ulysses the wrong word (voglio), the repetitious symptom of paternal “justice,” becomes the creating word (in translation, “I will” is also “I lust,” an archaic form in English) and in that very sense le mot juste.
The wrong-word-that-gets-things-right becomes the sign of Bloom’s incestuous desire. In “Calypso” Bloom begins his abuse of the libretto of Don Giovanni (V, 4.327, 328). One might even say that Bloom debases Zerlina, pathematically, as he confuses Zerlina’s answer to Don Giovanni’s sexual demands, substituting the present, voglio, for the conditional, vorrei, in nearly every one of the book’s episodes in which he appears. On the day of Molly’s seduction, Bloom becomes his own version of a seduction in a mirror, a perversion of the innocent Zerlina, a phantasm of the nearly seduced daughter. So we might speculate, then, that he is Molly’s understudy, her stand-in, playing out a wish that Molly not succumb to Boylan.27 This does not necessarily explain, however, why Bloom plays the role of daughter, Zerlina, rather than that of seducer, Don Giovanni, who is after all disappointed by Zerlina. (Just once—in “Lotus Eaters”—Bloom attempts to sing the seducer’s part but reverts to worldless lalation, to infants’ noises, after the initial “La ci darem la mano” [U, 5.227, 228].) More to the point, Bloom preserves Milly’s presence (daughter-as-seducer in his memory of her kisses) by thinking, throughout the day, of the events leading to Milly’s exile, and, similarly, he acts out Zerlina’s choice by repeating, throughout the day, her answer to Don Giovanni, by remembering his own versions of Zerlina’s duet.
Bloom’s lack—Milly’s absence—has become his symptom. Bloom has introjected Milly/Zerlina; he entertains her in his thoughts rather than entering her. By colluding in Molly’s assignation, Bloom abuses himself-as-daughter rather than abusing his daughter. Bloom’s faulty memory, his mistake in Zerlina’s part, is the symptom of his missing his daughter—and of the near miss in a sexual encounter with her. Bloom sings “Voglio e non vorrei”: I wish or I will yet I wouldn’t—or I lust and I couldn’t—as opposed to the true Zerlina’s playfully ambivalent “vorrei e non vorrei.”
Bloom’s voglio mistake, which persists even after its correction in “Hades,” persists as a confusion in planes of experience, registers of being. Bloom’s impotence, his inability to respond completely to Milly’s sticky kisses, remands him to his infantile body—to the register of the real which invades his adult life. Bloom, then, is quite appropriately one who takes it lying down, and it is from this position that his perspective as a regarder of rears—“his pale Galilean eyes were upon her mesial groove” (U, 9.615)—makes both comic and good practical sense.28 In the lexicon of the Wake, Bloom’s “prixcockcity” is his impotence, his paternal genius as symptom, reflected in his linguistic symptom, a neurotic repetition of his painful desire. “Voglio e non vorrei,” Bloom sings, true to his père-version.
Bloom’s copy of the hitherto maidenly ambivalence of Zerlina’s role is also played out with respect to Molly’s liason with Boylan. Bloom dreads the encounter which he has helped to arrange and also feels guilty about his need to arrange it. Thus, ruled by the genius of his symptom on June 16, Bloom suffers, enjoys his fantasies, and shops for Molly; even in this instance we observe his ambivalence as he forages for concrete reparation for his sin. He buys soap and (not insignificantly) washes with it, orders and then forgets Molly’s lotion, plans the purchase of a silk petticoat, and acquires Sweets of Sin. The gifts of the guilty lover work two ways, indicating Bloom’s guilt in both its pleasurable and its painful aspects. And like the gifts of the guilty lover, the guilty Bloom’s sexual impulses, throughout the day, are equally unconsummated, generous and undeliverable, onanistic. The notable exception is the pornographic text, Sweets of Sin, the symbolic in substitution for the real. Or is it? For “everything speaks in its own way” we are reminded in “Aeolus,” where the language of machines and a spelling conundrum only begin to suggest the range of semiosis in the Joycean text. Nearly consistently for Bloom, the “sweets of sin” speak double-talk. By contrast, in Mozart’s (far less narratologically complicated) version of dangerous love between lass and lord, the unblemished but guilt-ridden bride returns to the arms of her true love, lyrically inviting her straightforward punishment, “Batti, batti, O bel massetto” (Beat me, beat me, my handsome Massetto).
In accordance, moreover, with the accretive laws of this Joycean epistemo-illogic or disembodied double-talk, Bloom’s tortured and lost “I” not only yields to Zerlina’s aria but also to Molly’s sign, the O. If the O is the feminine water sign, it is no less Bloom’s symptom than Molly’s. Bloom’s O is the symptom of his desire.29 In Lacan “desire” is the excess, the unfulfillable residue, the sensational memory of undifferentiated maternal and infantile part objects. The patheme which Lacan defines as “the passion of the body,” for Bloom, the O, is bound, as it is in Lacan, to first desire, to the formation of the “moi,” and to the body’s orifices and their margins, initially the anus and the mouth; to his list Lacan adds the voice and the urinary flow, and later the eye and the ear—agents of what Lacan calls spherical or spheroidal modes of perception.
Bloom’s symptoms and habits are constituted in these modes. In “Molly. Milly. Same thing watered down,” the water theme emerges (U, 6.87). Here it is a debased O, a urination symptom, and one which would seem to be pathemogenic: “She mightn’t like me to come that way without letting her know. Must be careful about women. Catch them once with their pants down. Never forgive you after that. Fifteen” (U, 6.493–85). This sequence suggests an altogether likely yet disturbing occasion for the awakening of paternal lust and one, of course, repeated in Finnegans Wake as a version of HCE’s crime in Phoenix Park.
This allusion to Bloom’s voyeurism, or perhaps his innocent error of walking in on a micturating Milly, follows closely after the passage in “Hades” where Bloom-Zerlina first translated the vogliovonei confusion, a moment in which he contemplates a visit to Milly. “Perhaps I will without writing,” muses Bloom during Dig-nam’s funeral (£7, 6.449). This translated voglio in “Hades” is the correct version, the conditional that Bloom briefly speaks. It is Bloom’s stronger version. Here the “I” is reinstated and the verb is in the present form, “I will,” modified by “perhaps.” In a burst of clarity about his affiliations, Bloom speaks, however, a debased form of the O. “Watered down” Milly suggests not merely a dilution of the mother’s sexuality in the figure of the daughter but a père-version, too, a debasement of the daughter in this allusion to urination.
Because Bloom compulsively repeats his Zerlina symptom as the sign of his père-version, the symptom would seem to reveal an unconsummated incest. Bloom is like Zerlina in his ambivalence. He has been approached, and he would if he could. So a guilty Bloom wends his way, making reparation to Molly for what almost occurred. Alternately Bloom relishes and despises his responses to Milly’s kisses, and he even reenacts them at tolerable distances with Martha and with Gerty. Hence, the père-version works: it preserves the family. In repeating Zerlina, another nearly seduced daughter, Bloom introjects Milly. Molly’s adultery is, then, only a small measure of Bloom’s torment. In Lacanian terms, Bloom has already faced his own castration. In embracing Milly, he has embraced jouissance beyond the phallus. As a result, Bloom’s sexuality is nostalgic, that is, feminine, and his and Molly’s sleeping position evokes the consummation of this nostalgia. Such displacement, then, does not betray a lack of sexual contact between them but rather conveys the nature of Bloom’s not exclusively genital organization. Bloom’s sexuality, it would seem, is more diffuse, feminine, polymorphously perverse. Nostos, in the end, becomes a sexual pun on Bloom’s (anally organized) return (to the body from which he was born) and Milly’s exile, part of Bloom’s poignant character, his sign of parental ability and disability. One might say that Bloom does the best he can do. We read his lack, the feminine symptom in the text.
Incest in Ulysses operates in Ferenczi’s terms in the detachment, the coolness of the paternal tongue. In Lacanian or Freudian terms, much of the language of Ulysses functions through an overdetermined symbolic, a register of triangulated desire. Bloom’s incestuous slide moreover uncovers the nature of the marriage tie as it displays Bloom’s body as an infantile body. His symptoms locate him in a maternal real. Bloom straddles the registers of the symbolic and the real. In the failure of the incestuous union and in Bloom’s complicity in the success of the adulterous union, the pain and guilt and heroism of the devoted husband and father emerge. In his bodily symptoms, as they break through into the symbolic, we come to know the jewgreek Bloom in thrall to loss, to history, to memory, and finally to the maternal body. Most significant for my argument, father-daughter incest as a discursive theme in Ulysses reveals the subject-object confusion of earliest life, the infantile tendencies at the base of Bloom’s desire. That is, the linguistic foregrounding is the symptom of narrative repression, of forgetting. Form nearly concels content, which in this case would be the narrative of the genius of the father’s body. Given his history, Bloom is a survivor and a genius at living. His impotence is his recovery of the father, his body remembering the will (once more, that voglio) as if it were the deed (or the dead).
Also, Bloom’s debasement of the daughter, à la lettre, is clearly his own version of sexuality rather than Molly’s; for Molly knows the proper song as well as the satisfying impropriety of the correct verb. Additional evidence of his life role, Bloom’s fragmented speech, his subjectless phrases, his voglio’s, his repetitions of Molly’s “O’s,” are linguistically metonymic. These language habits are not the products of unconscious (or, in Lacan, imaginary) tropes (condensations and displacements which typically govern linguistic mediations), but rather they represent unmediated infantile objects and part-objects inappropriately occurring in the symbolic register. Bloom’s symptoms (his love objects)—his assumption of Zerlina’s role, his fascination with body function and body parts, his appetite for organ meats and the “fine tang of faintly scented urine” (U, 4.4,5)—emerge as childlike and narcissistic, emanating from the core constituents of self. Like the language of Ferenczi’s incest perpetrator, Bloom’s language is cool, paternal. Yet he is most unlike the punitive and passionate perpetrator because his symptoms are those of tenderness.
Bloom’s primal yearning, for which—as primal yearning goes, according to Lacan—there is no satisfaction, produces a gap between self and environment. This painful lack is disguised, ordinarily, by covering it with an ideal figure. If in Bloom’s case it is Milly, Molly, and Rudy who are missing, his desire for his daughter barely contains or conceals all of his loss. A missing or incomplete part of himself is the true and unattainable object of his desire.30 Bloom’s losses are unmollifiable—unmillifillable. They cannot be mediated. Ultimately it is the politics as well as the poignancy of such loss that interests us. In the context of the former, Bloom’s femininity, his impotence, would seem to be features of the nonviability of the conventional paternal function and a concomitant disfigurement of the marriage tie, at least as it is defined by the discourse of Ulysses.31
HCE and Formalist Tenderness
In Finnegans Wake the relation of language to narrative seems to be the reverse of that which we find in Ulysses. There are several ways to view this shift. Lacan’s analysis of Joyce’s life and work posits his doubled discourses as linked to a father-child disturbance. As Ellie Ragland-Sullivan has noted, Lacan, in studying Finnegans Wake, indicates that Joyce’s dissociation within the oedipal relation is the basis of “passages of Finnegans Wake [that] signify nothing to anybody (including Joyce) beyond the signifying function itself.”32 Lacan locates problems such as Joyce’s eye condition, his increasingly arcane prose, and Lucia Joyce’s illness along the axis of a disturbed father-son relationship.33 Lacan thus would seem to view the Wakean discourse as a further disintegration, a failure without therapeutic potential.
Ferenczi’s analysis of the language of disturbance in incestuous families provides another explanation. Just as I argue that Bloom’s impotence is the physical gesture of his genius at parenting, in Ferenczi precocious intelligence is also a symptom, part of the victim’s drive to normalize abuse (a precocious parenting of the perpetrator, a striving to secure the family tie). The confusion of tongues, initially a symptom of abuse, becomes for perpetrator and victim an accommodation, a survival strategy—in some cases a strikingly ingenious symbolic reparation for deeply buried sorrow and terror.
Although the Lacanian analysis is helpful, Ferenzci’s work raises questions about a “language signifying nothing… beyond the signifying function.” The Lacanian reading makes sense to the extent that it sees a disturbance in the symbolic as symptomatic of a disturbance with the father, but such a formulation does not necessarily mean that the resulting language does not mean. Such a formulation merely privileges a paternal symbolic. Alternatively, Ferenczi’s “confusion of tongues” distinguishes among arrangements of the maternal and the paternal in language. In this context one could profitably speculate on the distinctiveness of the dialectics of the maternal and the paternal in Ulysses and Finnegans Wake. Such an analysis is constitutive of a linguistic dramatization of the movement from the repression of a personal sorrow in Ulysses to a politically motivated focus on a communal repression and the re- or dismembering of a sexist ideology in the maternally discursive antics of Finnegans Wake.
I refer here specifically to the representations of the act of father-daughter incest and subsequent (and eventually simultaneous) textual commentary on the act in Finnegans Wake. A consideration of key episodes indicates that the productions of the precocious intellect of the abused child would seem to be the model for a paternal narrative in a maternal register. Content is a rationalized attempt to normalize passion and form the sensory manifestation of a physical dialectic of tenderness and passion. Although the drive toward reparation or survival for the incest victim becomes apparent, as Lacan suggests, in symptomatic disturbances of the symbolic, such disturbances would be, in Ferenczian analysis, symptomatic of a greater disturbance, a failure of the mediating impulses of the imaginary. It is this failure that reproduces the reified forms of the maternal field. Since in the Wake the maternal is not field but river, we find evidence of the reified emotipnal forms in the watery field of tears with which or in which Anna Livia Plurabelle remembers and reproduces herself in her cyclic wash to the sea at the end of the text.
Such an invasion of the symbolic by a discourse of the real, this failure of mediations of the imaginary, results in a language organized by so-called regressive or primary process tropes. Accordingly, the movement from Ulysses to Finnegans Wake may be viewed as a shift not so much from an overdeterminedly modernist discourse to a language that “signifies nothing” as from an overdeterminedly symbolic or overrationalized discourse in Ulysses, a brilliantly detached paternal discourse, to an overwhelmingly maternal discourse in Finnegans Wake. A discourse designed to mediate paternal violence in Ulysses reverts to the mother tongue, a giving over to a maternal ethic, in the physicialized narrative of Finnegans Wake. Joyce’s “arcane prose,” then, means a great deal; it operates idiosyncratically, resurrecting the vulnerable and abused body, the specifically victimized or marginalized body altogether dependent on an empathetic observer for re-membering, for re-cognizing its abuse. (Remember, in Ferenczi the victim’s self-denial is a mode of processing incest; the victim’s return to self must originate in the discoverable empathy of the abuser—or a surrogate, who, as Ferenczi reminds us, must substitute for orthodox “paternal coolness” a “maternal friendliness.”)
While the plot of Finnegans Wake operates playfully to conceal incest, the discursive register remembers incest. The persistence of a “maternal friendliness” at the level of expression, this feminine (double)-engendering of the discourse of the Wake, eventually leads to a therapeutic remembering. The sensory resurrection of the father’s body is preparation for the empathic recovery of the daughter’s body. Joyce’s “arcane prose,” making possible a symbolic return to the mother coinciding with an embrace of the paternal, contains the possibility of the therapeutic remembering. Ferenczi’s work, in its designation of the potential for a balance of the maternal and paternal in language, quite specifically supports such a reading.
Throughout Joyce’s writing we can discover a dialectic of the languages of tenderness and passion, replications of the confusions of incest victim and perpetrator. In Finnegans Wake the language system is maternal or real (a language of formalist tenderness), while the narrative of desire itself is one not of tenderness but of passion. This is the arrangement of the dialectic of remembering. In Ulysses the language system is overdetermined, symbolic (that is, paternal, detached). Even as it deeply encodes the wisdom of Bloom’s body, this discourse resonates with the real (of tenderness and vulnerability), a representation of the impotent father in his childlike body. This is the arrangement of a dialectic of a failing repression. All of the preceding suggests, then, not that the Joycean discourses are constituted by the complementarities of a dialectic in a mirror but that in the variations of the dialectical confusions of tongues, we come to our relations with discursive possibilities.
“Herword in Flesh”
In Finnegans Wake the father takes the daughter in acts alternately violent, passionate, and tender. Even before the re-membering of the paternal body in the sixteenth chapter and the paternal empathy on the last page, if we “havelook, we seequeerscenes” (FW, 556.24). Although Roland McHugh annotates the word “Havelook” or “Havelock,” as an allusion to the fourteenth-century Dane, we can safely assume that a modern Havelock, surnamed Ellis, who studied the eros of micturition in adult sexuality, is also suggested.34 (Turnabout is fair play, or perhaps the only act in town; here is evidence of the irruption of tenderness in adult passion as opposed to the irruption of passion into the childhood sphere of tenderness in the case of incest.) Queer scenes in the Wake often involve, of course, the crimes in the park; urination and voyeurism throughout are familiar transformations of the scene of father-daughter incest. In the psychoanalytic case history, and, similarly, in HCE’s attraction to Issy, the love object, here the language of the text, projects a tender or infantile sexual orientation, while the act itself, a voluptuously adult union, demonstrates the confusion of tongues in its therapeutic aspect. Thus, a narrative romance occurs in the Wake. The father mistakes “the play of children for the desires of a sexually mature person” (Ferenczi, 161). It is, however, upon this paternal, and in this case poetic, narrative that the crude physical realities of the passionate body of the father are superimposed. The writing of the paternal body in the physicality of sexual engagement violently contradicts the lyric intensities of the incest passage. In other words, this maternal text invites us to entertain, in the père-version, the romantic pleasures and contingent revulsions of father-daughter incest. The consummation scene, couched in a bucolic and typically Wakean musical and passionate discourse, unveils the paternal genitals in a childishly physicalized language.
The ideal love object of the Wake, psychoanalytically viewed, is the delusion covering the inevitable rupture between self and environment. The choice of such an object forecloses on further development. The many repetitions of Issy and the manifestation of ALP at the cycle’s end as daughter rather than mother or wife confirm the Wake’s love object, the paternal repetition, as incestuous. Just as Milly is to Bloom, Issy is to HCE: yet another patch job, a “ms Butys Pott,” a cover for the text’s hole, a repetitious marker for unassuageable lack. She is also “saintette,” martyred, a little saint, or sans tête—irrational, all body. In the movement from Ulysses to Finnegans Wake, there is an apparent slip in registers of experience. In the gap we may discover what the figure of the daughter barely conceals. For desire’s symptoms in Ulysses produce the symptoms of repression in the girlish Bloom and the guilty Bloom, while incestuous desire in Finnegans Wake reproduces blissful consummations, paternal anguish, and, most strikingly, filial terror and resignation.
The Wake works, then, as Ferenczi contends a regressive therapy would: the maternal atmosphere makes possible a therapeutic return to tenderness. In Finnegans Wake, in fact, a maternal language prevails. It is established in a proliferation of preverbal tropes: disruptions of categories, binarisms, and the text’s linearity and in the multispatial and shifting registers of the text. Within this infantile linguistic field there remains, however, a confusion of tongues, for the incest narrative is one of passion (a mode of violence and conflict as Ferenczi defines it). Such speech contains, then, a significant remembering without reparation. But it is in this sense that the open form of Finnegans Wake, the gap before we begin again, holds potential for reparation as well as repetition.35
The situation in the sixteenth chapter of Finnegans Wake is analogous to Ferenczi’s thereapeutic situation. The paternal embrace and the paternal admission of wrongdoing are contained within a maternal field (and quite distinct from Bloom’s symbolic displacements and infantile embrace). The chapter moves in episodic fits and jerks from the symbolic register and paternal passion toward a tender conclusion in the maternal real. The shift occurs in the dialectical arrangement of discursive strategies in the father-daughter narrative. For example, at first Issy’s presentation operates from an ambivalent paternal perspective. Initially she is made of literary allusion and language games: as “infantina” she is everybody’s love but also “queenly pearl,” prized object of her father’s lust. But she is also poetry turned real: not only is “Isobel … so pretty truth to tell,” but she is so sad, “like some losthappy leaf, like blowing flower stilled, as fain would she anon, for soon again ‘twill be, win me, woo me, wed me, ah weary me! deeply now …” (FW, 556.20–22). HCE’s Isobel, closely related here to Bloom’s daughter (“Milly. Molly, same thing watered down”), occurs as some combination of herself and her mother. She is leafy as the Liffey and flowery as herself. Of greatest significance is that in this passage her name (Issy, Isabelle, and so on) is spelled with an o. The passage floats on o’s: “Isobel… so pretty … wildwood’s eyes … primarose hair … woods so wild … in mauves of moss … how all so still. …” This river of sound demarcates a shift from the symbolic to the real. Here the sign of the mother, Molly’s “O,” the water sign, is transformed. This time l’eaux de lust, however, are tears—perhaps deep waters of lamentations. The symbolic—the linguistic foregrounding with its historically allusive “infantina” and literary “queenly pearl”—has turned to the maternal (word has become substance) as the passage’s o’s overtake us. The symbolic is transformed to the maternal or real, as o’s (already mostly eaux in Ulysses) become tears in Finnegans Wake. The physical real, the text’s sensory memory, is foregrounded in what only appears to be linguistic foregrounding.
Yet we cannot be quite certain where all this watery sadness leads. We do find, however, that love’s charm, a coup de grace (in its ambivalence also a “grace cup”) to theories of language as symbolic substitution for the mother, has a name: “What an excessively lovecharming missyname to forsake, now that I have come to drink of it filtred, a grace cup fulled of bitterness …” (FW, 561:14–16). Incest and the name of the father are one. In this rite of passage the father “comes” to drink “filtred”—not sacramental wine but virgin’s blood. Thus he destroys the “maiden” in “maidenname.” In a confusion of tongues and fluids, which becomes an ambivalent conflation of loss of virginity and “grace,” his deepest sorrow is concomitant with profoundest gain. In replacing the “maiden” with “missyname,” he has, moreover, recreated her out of his destruction of her earlier identity. His determination is clear: “I will to show herword in flesh” (FW, 561.27; emphasis added). “Herword,” yet another neologism, synonymous with or replacing the already obsolete “missyname,” is a mystery yet, while the voglio has been retranslated once more: the name of the father now functions as an archaic verb. To will is to lust. “Herword in flesh” is a transgression of the symbolic, an affirmation of the father’s desire for the subject-object confusion of maternal intimacy, an intrusion of the real into the symbolic.
Such drunken transgression would seem to invoke a defensive enchantment. In fact, the unnameable, sleep-inducing act ensues, while the word, its name, is forbidden, repressed; word and act evaporate like dreams: “It is dormition! She may think, what though little doth she realize, as morning fresheth, it leath happened her, you know what, as they too dare not utter” (FW, 561.28–30; emphasis added). This passage, leading toward the lyric union of father and daughter, shifts to a plural pronoun and direct address. Out of the (neurotic) repetitions of Issy’s many manifestations, a narrative remembering of the multiple sins of the fathers occurs at the site of this daughter’s repression. Like all her sisters, Issy will repress the love whose name she “dare not utter,” while her father recalls her sisters are legion.
As the narrative voice speculates—perhaps hopefully, one might wonder—on Issy’s repression, there is a confusion of subject and object, typical of the infantile or maternal field. Here maternal language (and empathy) is managed from the paternal position or situation. And yet sorrow still speaks elliptically. And in the meantime, in a somewhat evasive interlude, sleep brings about the seemingly digressive disturbance of the twin’s nightmare which lasts until the family appears, veiled in what I would call a reassertion of the symbolic, a linguistic digression, a costume drama: “Here The infant Isabella from her coign to do obeisance toward the duffgerent, as furst furtherer with drawn brand. Then the court to come in to full morning” (FW, 566.23, 24). The subject (doubled, in the sense of syntactic position as well as in the narrative sense of subject to her “furst furtherer”) is the “infantina” once more. But is the court-to-come-in, the paternal courtship and consummation, already doomed? Could it be in full mourning as Isabella bows before her sire’s drawn sword? Thus, the language of detachment, of “dormition,” persists.
Toward the section’s end, passion’s moment (FW, 570–71)—doubly disturbing in the explicitness of the incest narrative and the lyric beauty of its expression—is introduced with Finnegan’s stammer and Finnegan’s leer, the symbolic stamp of literary homage and literary paternity. The Hamlet themes, the passivity and hesitation themes of Ulysses, shift into the active, tragic Lear themes in Finnegans Wake in the name, of course, of Will: “She, she, she! But on what do you again leer? I am not leering, I pink you pardons. I am highly sheshe sherious” (FW, 570.24, 25). The Celtic Lir, a Neptune figure, had two sons and a daughter, like HCE. The feminine trilogy is Will Shakespeare’s version.
And just as in Ulysses, where sexual willing, Bloom’s lust in its symbolic formulation, transforms to Molly’s “O’s” at the appropriate instance, so the same sexual symptom recurs in the maternal language of the Wake. Loss and sexual excitement, the return of the maternal, is announced metonymically in O’s. And as I noted earlier, the O which signifies maternal lust in Ulysses also embodies regret in the Wake—and an increasingly precarious vertigo. In a text so pocked with O’s it seems there is nowhere left to go but down and “on”: “Do you not must want to go somewhere on the present. Yes, O pity! That prickly heat feeling! Forthink not me spill it’s always so guey. Here we shall do a far walk (O pity) anygo Khaibits till the number one of sairey’s place. Is, is” (FW, 570.25–30). The cognitive dissonance generated by “on the present” leads compel-lingly to explicit paternal passion (omnipresent, besides) and an intricately deteriorating symbolic and almost incomprehensibly demanding line: “(O pity) anygo Khaibits till the number one… .” McHugh’s annotation supplies the Egyptian: khaibits is shadow. The line then reads: Annie go shadow or ALP in HCE’s arms becomes a shadow until the number one of Sarah’s place (beside, astride, beneath her master), the best choice in the first monotheist’s place, in Abraham’s first wife’s place, is (his daughter) Isabelle.
The passage continues: “I want you to admire her sceneries illustrationing our national first rout, one ought ought one.” If “her sceneries” are related to “queerscenes,” I would not be surprised if micturition were once more the topic. The “national first rout” is riveting and explicit. In apposition to the “first rout,” the thousand-and-one-nights formula is a statistic (and a stream of droplets as well, a stream of O’s). It could also be the Irish father’s version of the Dane’s indecision, and ought, or zero, functions both as a verb and a discrimination of moral responsibility. In all cases, the sexual and sad O has been transformed. The sexual sign, a quite literal sign of the father’s lack, the sign of castration anxiety, the hole in the text, generates a moral design.
The sin in the park, we learn as the passage proceeds, forecloses on the afterlife. This warning leads to a clearing in the park which is also a clearing of the mind of HCE (since, according to the topographical logic of the Wake, the park is also the landscape of the paternal body and the “fungopark” [FW, 51.20], his beard). Thus his responsibility would seem to increase in direct proportion to an increase in his detachment; here the narrative has shifted from the third-person singular, in which the narrator speculated on what was on Issy’s mind, to third-person plural, in which we are joined to him in the voyeuristic escapade. This shift in narrative voice is also, of course, a sign of HCE’s doubling, of his paternal and maternal manifestations, of his desire and his empathy. And the confusion of tongues is managed in this passage in the equilibrium of maternal and paternal discourses:
They arise from a clear springwell in the near of our park which makes the daft to hear all blend. The place of endearment! How it is clear! And how they cast their spells upon, the frond that thereup float, the bookstaff branchings! The druggeted stems, the leaves incut on trees! Do you can their tantrist spellings? I can lese, skillmistress aiding. … Yes they shall have brought us to the water trysting, by hedjes of maiden ferm, then here in another place is their chapelo-feases, sold for song, of which you have thought my praise too much my price. O ma ma! Yes, sad one of Ziod? Sell me, my soul dear! Ah, my sorrowful, his cloister dreeping of his monkshood, how it is triste to deth, all his dark ivytod! Where cold in dearth. Yet see, my blanching kissabelle, in the under close she is allso gay, her kirtles green, her curtisies white, her peony pear, her nistlingsloes! I, pipette, I must also quicklingly to tryst myself softly into this littleeasechapel. I would rather than Ireland! But I pray, make! Do your easiness! O, peace, this is heaven! O, Mr Prince of Pouringtoher, whatever I hear from you, with limmenings, lemantitions, after that swollen one? I am not sighing, I assure, but only I am soso sorry about all in my saarsplace. (FW 571.2–24)
The father acts out his inevitable role36 and also reacts maternally, that is, therapeutically, in his tripled apology: he has been disastrously “sheshe sherious.” Now he is “so so sorry.” (At least as Lear, he has exhausted his possibilities; he has cried “O” three times.) Thus the word of the father (remade in part from the moral letter of the mother’s sexuality, her O) attempts reparation simultaneous with his passion.
Accordingly the confusion of tongues persists, only to be resolved at the last possible moment out of the incredible momentum of the entire text. Ferenczi’s assessment of the incest victim’s situation can serve as an assessment of Wakean discourse:
It is difficult to imagine the behavior and the emotions of children after such violence. One would expect the first impulse to be that of reaction, hatred, disgust, and energetic refusal. “No, no, I do not want it, it is much too violent for me, it hurts, leave me alone,” this or something similar would be the immediate reaction if it had not been paralysed by enormous anxiety. These children feel physically and morally helpless, their personalities are not sufficiently consolidated in order to be able to protest, even if only in thought, for the overpowering force and authority of the adult makes them dumb and can rob them of their senses. The same anxiety, however, if it reaches a certain maximum, compels them to subordinate themselves like automata to the will of the aggressor, to divine each one of his desires and to gratify these; completely oblivious of themselves they identify themselves with the aggressor. Through the identification, or let us say, introjection of the aggressor, he disappears as part of the external reality, and becomes intra- instead of extra-psychic; the intrapsychic is then subjected, in a dream-like state as is the traumatic trance, to the primary process, i.e. according to the pleasure principle it can be modified or changed by the use of positive or negative hallucinations. In any case the attack as a rigid external reality ceases to exist and in the traumatic trance the child succeeds in maintaining the previous situation of tenderness. (Ferenczi, 162)
On the last page of Finnegans Wake the Celtic Lir resurfaces and remembers ALP as the daughter who draws the world round in her weary return “to my cold mad feary father, till the near sight of the mere size of him, the moyles and moyles of it, moananoaning, makes me seasilt saltsick and I rush, my only, into your army. I see them rising! Save me from those horrible prongs! … Yes carry me along taddy, like you done throgh the toy fair” (FW, 628.1–5; emphasis added. The father, at this late point in the narrative and with His Complete Empathy for the victim’s position, remembers incest as an inevitable part of the feminine cycle—a place of return related to a place of origin.
She has cried a river, it would seem. (And paternal speech affirms the origin; “moananoaning” rings not only with a lament for the mother—o an, an, o, an—but also recalls her to this infinitely sadder version of the father’s tale of the “moo cow” on the first page of Portrait. Here, in a wish fulfillment vers le père, a reversal occurs in which paternity is not only known through nomination. In the daughter’s last words his desire is real-ized. ALP’s watery transformation contains the paternal gain which is her loss, but the mother watered down is hardly washed out; ALP does not revert to Issy nor to her younger self.
She is all daughters. In Joyce’s oceanic world the inevitability of “herword,” incest—“our national first rout”—is as clearly and poignantly presented as the nature of love and of life itself. Only the point of view has changed. The père-version yields the source of the daughter’s subversion, her subordination remembered in the protean unreliability of the name of “love.” An ideology of concealment, failure, and transformation in Ulysses thus finds release through acknowledgment and potential for reparation in the feminine consciousness of Joyce’s late work. Here the maternal father opens the symbolic by re-o-penning the feminine wound at the site of his lack. “Herword” is “allflesh” remembering. “Herword” is our legacy.
1. Sandor Ferenczi, “Confusion of Tongues between Adults and the Child: The Language of Tenderness and of Passion,” in Final Contributions to the Problems and Methods of Psychoanalysis (New York: Brunner Mazel, 1980), chap. 8, 156; hereafter cited in the text as Ferenczi. I am grateful to my dear friend Marcella Bohn, who discovered the Ferenczi paper in the course of her own analytic practice and several years ago sent a copy to me. Without it much of what follows could not have been written.
2. Ferenczi presented his initial introduction of this topic in an “address given to the Viennese Psycho-Analytic Society on the occasion of Professor Freud’s seventy-fifth birthday” (ibid., 156).
3. “Even children of very respectable, sincerely puritanical families, fall victim to real violence or rape much more often than one had dared to suppose” (ibid., 161).
4. All citations are from James Joyce, Ulysses, ed. Hans Walter Gabler et al. (New York: Random House, 1986), and James Joyce, Finnegans Wake (New York: Viking Press, 1955); hereafter cited in the text as U with episode and line numbers, and FW with page and line numbers.
5. Although we often lose our way among the digressively various entertainments, it is in this very (digressive) sense that the kindergarten sprawl of Finnegans Wake evokes a compendium of monstrous forgetfulness, fancy although transparently disingenuous obfuscations of HCE’s sin in the park, an ironizing of the moment “when they were yung and easily freudened” (FW, 115.22, 23). In this text primal obscenity and its rationalizations walk on their hands, freely exhibiting Joyce’s penchant for the gritty, girlish ruffles of an irrational sensationalism: the latter—in a panty raid, if we dare to so name it—would seem to be a set of anti-ideological underpinnings. There is evidence that Joyce was bitterly aware of childhood sexual abuse (see notes 28 and 30). I would even venture to guess that his antipathy toward psychoanalytic practice arose not only from the disappointments of Carl Jung’s brief and unsuccessful encounter with Joyce’s daughter Lucia but also out of what Joyce saw as the intrinsic failing in an overrationalizing science.
6. A footnote to the article reports an initial presentation in 1932 and publication in German the following year (Ferenczi, “Confusion,” 156n1). Despite Ferenczi’s reputation within his profession, “Confusion of Tongues” was not published in English until 1949.
7. It would seem unfortunate, from the perspective of frequent reports of incest across all populations, that family sex crimes are historically linked at all with Freud’s formulation of the oedipal relation as part of psychosexual development. For one thing, a number of accounts—including Marie Balmary, Psychoanalyzing Psychoanalysis: Freud and the Hidden Fault of the Father, trans. Ned Lukacher (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1982)—posit Freud’s own neurosis as an explanation for his abandoning ten years of research pointing to childhood sexual abuse among his patients and his subsequent creation of the oedipal complex as an alternative explanation for certain hysterical symptoms. But even as Freud’s theories undergo revision, their longevity and flexibility confirm a cultural predisposition toward normative descriptions of the individual in her or his culture. Abandoning the facticity of the seduction of children would seem to mark, moreover, a most egregious example of an epistemological failure within psychoanalytic theory, an error of linear (developmental norms) and binary (childhood sexual abuse or oedipal trouble) thinking that only begins with Freud.
8. Margaret MacBride, “At Four She Said: II,” James Joyce Quarterly 18 (Summer 1981): 417; Jane Ford, “Why Is Milly in Mullingar?” James Joyce Quarterly 14 (Summer 1977): 436. See also MacBride, “At Four She Said,” James Joyce Quarterly 17 (Fall 1979): 21–40.
9. In my paper “Who Is He When She’s at Home?: The Debased Feminine Symptom in Ulysses,” read at the James Joyce Conference, Milwaukee, June 1987, I indicated my debt to Jane Ford, who finds father-daughter incest central to the novel. Her article “Why Is Milly in Mullingar” is the basis (and inspiration) for my own reading. I am grateful to Ford and to Christine Froula for their helpful discussions and support during the Copenhagen International Joyce Symposium.
10. I refer to the influence of Henri LeFebvre’s use of Ulysses as a methodological paradigm in Everyday Life in the Modern World, trans. Sacha Rabinowitz, intro. Philip Wander (New Brunswick, N.J.: Transaction Books, 1971), a work I initially encountered in Jules David Law, “Simulation, Pluralism, and the Politics of Everyday Life,” in Coping with Joyce: Essays from the Copenhagen Symposium, ed. Morris Beja and Shari Benstock (Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 1989).
11. “Maternal” and “paternal” in Ferenczi’s discussion are terms of gender. The analyst acknowledges that “the real rape of girls who have hardly grown out of the age of infants, similar sexual acts of mature women with boys, and also enforced homosexual acts, are more frequent … than has hitherto been assumed” (“Confusion,” 162). Maternal language refers to an empathic discourse, to a “maternal friendliness,” which, Ferenczi argues, must replace the detached discourse of orthodox treatment. Ferenczi thus makes the distinction to reinforce his observation of the inadvertent and disadvantageous matching of the analyst’s detachment with the perpetrator’s—a point I will develop more clearly in this essay. Here I simply wish to note that this vocabulary neither indicts fathers nor characterizes mothers but only distinguishes between the discourse of primary nurture (or a subject-object confusion, or empathy, rooted in bodily experience and sensory memory) and the discourse of incest (or an inappropriately sensory invasion of the symbolic). “Paternal” language here then is a doubly mediating form, constituted, as all language presumably is, as a mediation of the real and remediated by the coldness of the perpetrator’s repression, matched by “professional hypocrisy,” Ferenczi’s term for analytic detachment, no matter what the analyst in fact may be feeling with respect to the analysand (ibid., 159). This diction (“maternal” and “paternal”) in juxtaposition with point of view in Ferenczi’s paper reveals a cultural bias already in flux, an ideology of the traditional family reexamined in Ferenczi’s questioning of psychoanalytic orthodoxy.
12. The confusion begins here, since it is becoming increasingly clear that perpetrators tend to have been themselves abused as children.
13. An implication that may be drawn from Balmary’s work on Freud’s “neurotic” turn from the study of incestuous seduction among his hysterical patients to his favoring of the oedipal theory is how Freud’s relation to his own father formulated the paternalistic praxes of orthodox treatment. Freud’s rejection of his own documentation of the abuse of hysterical patients occurred during the period in which he was mourning his father’s death. Balmary cites the mysteries surrounding Jakob Freud’s second of three marriages, archivally documented but unacknowledged by the family, and a two-month difference between the date on which the family celebrated Sigmund’s birth and his birthdate as given in the city registers as evidence of the “fault of the father”—the fault that Freud’s reformulation of the reality of family sexual scandal was designed to hide (Balmary, Psychoanalyzing Psychoanalysis).
14. I agree with Kimberly Devlin, who finds HCE’s to be the voice of the episode, the narrator of the dream of mother and daughter (Kimberly Devlin, “ALP’s Final Monologue in Finnegans Wake: The Dialectical Logic of Joyce’s Dream Text,” in Coping with Joyce: Essays from the Copenhagen Symposium [Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 1989], 232–47). I also locate an antihegemonic effect in the dream’s embrace of feminine history. That is, as the victim’s language is reproduced in the dream of the father, we are afflicted with the pain of the narrative as well as the confusion that has generated disagreement over the identification of the speaking subject in this part of the dream. If the dream belongs to the father, then he speaks the language of the victim here. But he is only her agent inasmuch as he is his own. Agency and authority are joined by way of a certain logic: it was Freud’s observation that the dreamer in the dream “knew and remembered something which was beyond the reach of … waking memory” and that “one of the sources from which dreams derive material for reproduction—material which is part neither remembered nor used in the activities of waking thought—is childhood experience” (Sigmund Freud, The Interpretation of Dreams, trans. James Strachey [New York: Avon Books, 1967], 45, 49). Also, according to neuroscientific research on memory, this inaccessibility of certain memory—not necessarily forgotten but inarticulable—is especially typical of materials recorded from sensory rather than linguistic input. Since perpetrators of sexual abuse tend to have been victims themselves, one could account for HCE’s male and female voices within the doubled context of HCE’s masculinity (in paternity) and femininity (in victimization, in himself having been abused).
15. The development in Joyce’s work from the language of the church to the feminized Wakean discourse is interestingly handled in Frances L. Restuccia, Joyce and the Law of the Father (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1989).
16. I refer to Joyce’s ingenuity in working variations between passion and tenderness in the distinctive discourses of Ulysses and Finnegans Wake. These variations provide the basis for discriminating modernist from postmodernist Joyce, or, in feminist criticism, masculinist from feminist Joyce. In the present it would seem that there are as many feminist positions on the nature of Joycean discourse as there are feminist commentators on Joyce, although most agree that the close of Finnegans Wake is a special instance of a late move toward the feminine. For a range of interpretation, see, for example, Sandra Gilbert and Susan Gubar, who find a phallocentric Joyce (“Sexual Linguistics: Gender, Language, Sexuality,” New Literary History 16 [Spring 1985]: 515–43); Frances Restuccia, who describes a femininized sadomasochism (Joyce and the Law of the Father); Margot Norris, who notes Joyce’s “nonverbal semiologies” (“Anna Livia Plurabelle: The Dream Woman,” in Women in Joyce [Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1982], 197–213); and Kimberly Devlin, who hears the speaker of ALP’s monologue as the “female voice imagined yet again, the fantasized voice of the fantasized other” (“ALP’s Final Monologue,” 233). Using The Interpretation of Dreams as lexical authority, one might prefer “remembered” to “fantasized,” as I do here in distinguishing my own position.
17. The adult, in assuming the child is operating out of passion, is employing the subject-object confusion of early life organization (a rationalization of tenderness) as a means of ordering the seduction, while the child is forced into the maternal-subject or caretaking role, a role reversal within the realm of tenderness rather than passion.
18. This therapeutic remembering of the victim as both child and parent is a reordering of the pathogenic doubling I have discussed. In the incestuous relationship the child (in denial and divided within herself) behaves maternally toward (identifies with) the abusive parent. In the therapeutic relationship the child as subject (identified in her pain and victimization, and recognizing her prior self-objectification) can also (ideally) forgive rather than identify with the abuser. In this sense she is granted her vulnerability in exchange for her guilt. Reparation includes a transformation of guilt and shame into the “capacity for concern” (D. W. Winnicott, “The Development of the Capacity for Concern,” in The Maturational Processes and the Facilitating Environment: Studies in the Theory of Emotional Development [New York: International Universities Press, 1982], chap. 6)—in this case self-concern, which breeds empathy for the other.
19. Bloom’s relationship to Shakespeare and to Joyce’s project, the creation of the archetype “linguafied” (Joyce’s purpose in Ulysses, according to Hugh Kenner in Joyce’s Voices [Berkeley: University of California Press, 1979]) is spelled out in the “Orthographical” section of the “Aeolus” episode. Bloom is father to himself as he is literally born out of a languaged version of his inner life, in this instance a spelling conundrum in which the proper spelling of his unparalleled embarrassment, “the unpar one ar alleled embarra two ars is it? double ess ment” (U, 7.167), would seem to present a physicalized or barely undecoded version of Bloom’s hidden feelings. In the spelling exercise Bloom’s vulnerability and his specific concerns are represented. The bare arse—or “double ess,” ass—of the “harassed [or shaken) pedlar” (U, 7.168) is unparalleled, that is, like no other. Bloom’s inner state becomes statement, and unparalleled meaning, meanings unique to the text, proliferate under the auspices of the proper spelling. The pedlar is “unpar”ed, which is to say disconnected from the text’s proliferating “pears” or pairs, “pars,” and “parrs.” In this turn, moreover, universal meaning is reborn. For Bloom is also parent to the plot as the shaken sexual will and a shaken pairing system are graphically, orthographically, and phonetically melded whether they occur as the problematic of translation, that is, the question of “will” in Ulysses in English, Latin, and Italian; the problematic of reference, the relation of words and things; or the sexual problematic, the worrying of married and adulterous pairs with which the text teems. Adeline Glasheen, of course, has speculated on Shakespeare as the “matrix” of Ulysses (A Third Census of Finnegans Wake [Berkeley: University of California Press, 1977]). I quite agree, so long as we see the shaky wills of Bloom leading us to the book’s central statements, the answers to what is in the name: Will Shakes-peare (or “pairs” or “pars”) or in Bloom’s lack, the problematic of his sexual will worked out as woman’s sway: “While others have their will, Ann-hath-a-way.”
20. Although I agree with Gubar and Gilbert’s analysis of the status of the feminine in Ulysses (“Sexual Linguistics,” 523, 524), my reading of jouissance in Finnegans Wake identifies the operation of a feminine and even feminist politics in the later work (see Marilyn L. Brownstein, “The Rule of the Postmodern in the Phaedrus and Finnegans Wake,” in European Joyce Studies Annual, vol. 1, Joyce, Modernity, and Its Mediation, ed. Christine van Boheemen [Amsterdam: Rodopi, 1989], 79–96).
21. “Lacan has reformulated Saussure’s concept of the sign in which the signified (concept) is superior to the signifier (sound or form) in determining meaning” (Ellie Ragland-Sullivan, “Jacques Lacan: Feminism and the Problem of Gender Identity,” Substance 11 : 19.
22. Jacques Lacan, Feminine Sexuality: Jacques Lacan and the Ecole Freudianne, trans. Jacqueline Rose, ed. Juliet Mitchell and Jacqueline Rose (New York: W. W. Norton, 1985), 165, 167, 78, hereafter cited in the text as FS.
23. “It sounds not only disagreeable but also paradoxical, yet it must nevertheless be said that anyone who is to be really free and happy in love must have surmounted his respect for women and have come to terms with the idea of incest with his mother or sister” (Sigmund Freud, “On the Universal Tendency to Debasement in the Sphere of Love,” in On Sexuality [New York: Viking Penguin, 1977], 254, 255).
24. Ruth Bauerle, “Date Rape, Mate Rape: A Liturgical Interpretation of ‘The Dead,’” in New Alliances in Joyce Studies: “When It’s Aped to Foul a Delfian,” ed. Bonnie Kime Scott (Newark: University of Delaware Press, 1988); Hélène Cixous, The Exile of James Joyce, trans. Sally A. J. Purcell (New York: David Lewis, 1972]; Jacques Lacan, “Joyce le symptome,” in Joyce and Paris: Actes du Cinquième Symposium International James Joyce, ed. Jacques Aubert and Maria Jolas (Paris: Publications de l’Universitè de Lille, 1979), 13–17.
25. In Lacan, oedipal desire refers to a desire to return to the maternal, a regression to the nondifferentiated state of mother and infant. Thus Bloom, in desiring Milly, makes possible her separation from the maternal.
26. See Ford, “Why Is Milly in Mullingar?”
27. In “Calypso” the voglio symptom is introduced in the context of Molly’s adultery. Bloom searches the bed for Molly’s book, and his thoughts leap from her song to his purpose: he says, “Voglio. Not in the bed” (U, 4.328). His symptom contains a wish, then, that Molly not say voglio to Boylan in that bed later in the day. The book Bloom seeks, moreover, a tired piece of pornography, has prophetically fallen to rest (as Molly will later in the day) “sprawled beside the orange-keyed chamberpot.”
28. If we consider Bloom’s position to be an echo of Stephen “rere regardant” on the strand (U, 3.502), then we get a sense of the upside-down arrangements of the masculine relation, of father to son, in this discourse.
29. While the O is notably the sign of Molly’s idiolect and her connection to water as female principle, it also becomes Bloom’s sign in that he frequently speaks Molly’s idiolect; his speech is punctuated with her “O’s,” particularly in passages in which his vulnerability prevails (see, for example, U, 5.8, 15; 5.208; 5.468; 5.471).
30. For the incest victim an incomplete identification with the aggressor results in castration anxiety. This would be Joyce’s bind (and Bloom’s) in a Lacanian reading. Such unresolved father conflict would produce, quite predictably, a female (castrated) ideal. That it would be the most helpless female figure, the daughter, rather than the mother is equally predictable.
31. Joyce’s aversion to the marriage tie is, of course, well known. No speculation on the topic can ignore the apparent misery of May Joyce’s marriage and her eldest son’s carefully documented guilt (“self-penned”) as well as his sympathy for his mother’s suffering; evidence exists, of course, in Joyce’s long-standing resistance to the marriage ceremony despite his allegiance to his bond with Nora.
32. The source of this comment is a personal communication, March 1987. Much of Lacan’s work on Joyce, as Ellie Rayland-Sullivan pointed out in her talk at the Joyce Conference, Milwaukee, June 1987, is unpublished and untranslated. In his Introduction to Joyce between Genders: Lacanian Views, a recent James Joyce Quarterly 29 (Fall 1991): 13–19, which he edited with Ragland-Sullivan, Sheldon Brivic observes that Lacan’s seminars on Joyce, “given weekly from 18 November 1975 … to at least 11 May 1976,” will, “once they are assembled by Jacques-Alain Miller, make up Lacan’s twenty-third volume of seminars” (18). Brivic lists souces for French publications of several seminars and some English translation “by E. Tito Cohen on audio tapes.”
33. Discussions of John Joyce’s alcoholism, indebtedness, and verbal and physical abuse of family members may be found in Bauerle, “Date Rape, Mate Rape”; Cixous, The Exile of James Joyce; George H. Healey, The Complete Dublin Diary of Stanislaus Joyce (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1962); and Colbert Kearney, “The Joycead,” in Coping with Joyce: Essays from the Copenhagen Symposium. John Joyce’s excesses and brutality produced in Stanislaus a hatred for his father and in James a bind between an overwhelming need to reject his father and an overriding inability to do so. In that language acquisition is tied to the oedipal relation, Joyce’s bind, from a Lacanian view, would be Joyce’s genius.
34. Roland McHugh, Annotations to Finnegans Wake (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1980). I am grateful to Susan Stanford Friedman, who offered me this connection.
35. One might, for example, reread this nightmare (of history’s nightmare) as a narrative of the decline of patriarchy. In the beginning there is the fall—of Adam, Napoleon, Wellington, or “Willingdone,” as he is known in the Wake, the last a transformation that repeats on a grander scale the voglio theme of Ulysses while at the same time it functions as commentary on the roles of mastery and power in conventional historical narratives, especially as we come to recognize that “each harmonical has a point of its own” (FW, 12.31). At the end of a linear reading we find, moreover, that the fall of a daughter eclipses or perhaps summarizes the fall of the fathers. The ethical-epistemological-historical axis of Joyce’s radical rewriting of history’s nightmare would seem to resonate with the negative dialectics of a contemporaneous radical social theory—a “coincidance” of the sort Joyce might have cherished. The Critical Theory of the Frankfurt School, for instance, is dominated by the construction of a negative (and unsynthesizable) dialectic, a reading of individual suffering against the concept of history. Theodor Adorno, in formalizing the praxis, refers to it as a cognitive concept constitutive of the “speculative moment” (Theodor W. Adorno, Negative Dialectics, trans. E. B. Ashton [New York: Continuum, 1973], 15–18). Finnegans Wake specifically formulates such an anti-ideological critique as cognitive strategy in the dialectical arrangements of the daughter’s suffering and the ideology of patriarchy (a concept of history as paternal power and sexual mastery). The potential for reparation thus occurs, initially, in the recognition that canonization, another version of the hegemony of patriarchy, in the case of Joyce’s last work, has been maintained by a silence that repeats the silence of patriarchal control: these, then, are the interludes that reparation seeks.
36. The father’s role in repressing for his children their versions of his desire, their oedipal longing, is always problematic. “Rarely,” Lacan comments, “does this … succeed” (Feminine Sexuality, 167).