Joycean lice and the life of art.
Article Type:
Animal symbolism (Methods)
Novelists (Works)
Allusions (Methods)
Ramey, James
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Name: College Literature Publisher: West Chester University Audience: Academic; Professional Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Education; Literature/writing Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2012 West Chester University ISSN: 0093-3139
Date: Wntr, 2012 Source Volume: 39 Source Issue: 1
Named Person: Joyce, James
Geographic Scope: United States Geographic Code: 1USA United States

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Joycean Lice and the Life of Art

"This essay offers an analysis of the problem of literary 'parasitism' in James Joyce's work. Joyce's recurrent use of parasitism as a trope for the absorptive properties of literary texts, and of his own art in particular, illuminates various issues important in Joyce studies today including recent scholarship on Joyce's work as metatextual commentary on its own extreme allusiveness, the evolution of his thinking about aesthetics, his vision of the relation between art and the body, his intense focus on life's quotidian details, his attitude toward Catholicism and the Jesuits, his perceived relationship to his time and his colonized people, and the function of cultural and individual memory in Ulysses. Joyce the aesthetician and Joyce the lover of the minutiae of everyday life find common ground in his earthy, ironic conception of words and ideas as contagious parasites, entities to be both coveted and dreaded for their stealthy, propagatory power.

James Joyce's literary weapon of choice is neither the metaphor, nor the epigram, nor even the well-crafted image. Rather, it is -- as the copious tomes of explanation and annotation indicate -- the allusion. If one were to leach the allusions from Ulysses so that they came only as frequently as they do in, say The Sun Also Rises, the novels 700-odd pages might be reduced to fifty But an art form based so fundamentally on allusion can feel like an overly derivative art: derivative of the ideas of other people, their linguistic styles, their personalities, their cultures. In short, an art founded on allusion faces the fundamental difficulty of being parasitic. Richard Ellmann puts Joyce's quandary in sunnier terms, but it amounts to the same thing: "his method of composition was very like T.S. Eliot's, the imaginative absorption of stray material. The method did not please Joyce very much because he considered it not imaginative enough, but it was the only way he could work" (Ellmann 1959, 250). The question I wish to consider here is how Joyce came to transform his penchant for parasitism, his dependence on complex allusions, and the "absorption of stray material" into thematic substance for his art.

As Ellmann's biography carefully documents, Joyce recognized early on that his foremost strength as an artist was his ability to borrow from, quote, imitate, reference, parody and steal from other texts and other people in cunning and pleasing combinations. However, rather than judging his parasitic predilection as a negative, ugly thing, he seems to have made peace with it by turning it into an object of aesthetic exaltation. If parasitic allusion was to be Joyce's primary artistic procedure, then parasitism itself would have to be elevated from minor sin to cardinal virtue. In the discussion that follows I offer an analysis of the intellectual pathways that appear to have enabled Joyce to put his literary parasitism on a pedestal. Although the importance of allusion and other forms of intertextuality to Joyce's work has been remarked upon often enough, Joyce's recurrent use of parasitism as a trope for the absorptive properties of literary texts, and of his own art in particular, illuminates various issues important in Joyce studies today, including recent scholarship on Joyce's work as metatextual commentary on its own extreme allusiveness, (1) the evolution of his thinking about aesthetics, (2) his vision of the relation between art and the body, (3) his intense focus on life's quotidian details, (4) his attitude toward Catholicism and the Jesuits, (5) his perceived relationship to his time and his colonized people. (6) and the function of cultural and individual memory in Ulysses. (7) Joyce the aesthetician and Joyce the lover of the minutiae of everyday life find common ground m his earthy ironic conception of words and ideas as contagious parasites, entities to be both coveted and dreaded for their stealthy, propagatory power.

Joyce's early thinking about an art form founded on a type of "appetite" appears in his writings about Thomistic aesthetics from his 1904 Pola notebook: "Bonum est in quod tendit appetitus. The good is that towards which an appetite tends: the desirable. ... Truth is desired by the intellectual appetite which is appeased by the most satisfying relations of the intelligible; beauty is desired by the aesthetic appetite which is appeased by the most satisfying relations of the sensible" (2000, i05). Through the lens of this culinary credo, I wish to suggest that literary allusion would have seemed a particularly savory device to the voting Joyce because it could appeal to both of these Thomistic appetites. An allusion can be considered Awe by virtue of referring to something that exists in the verifiable, indexical 'thereness' of a prior text; it should thus appease the intellectual appetite as Joyce describes it. An allusion can be considered beautiful if it recalls a pleasing passage, phrase, rhythm, image, or idea, and does so in a technically pleasing way; it should thus appease the aesthetic appetite as well. This thinking may have led Joyce to a conclusion he expresses in Stephen Hero: "For the artist the rhythms of phrase and period, the symbols of words and allusion, were paramount things" (Joyce 1963, 30). Therefore, in the "paramount" device of literary allusion, which became vastly more conspicuous in his later work, Joyce may have believed he had found a way to satisfy both of the Thomistic "appetites," the intellectual and the aesthetic. But Joyce was destined to blur the boundaries between the corporeal appetite for nourishment and the mental appetites of Aquinas in a way that Stephen never does. The emblem for this synthesis of cravings appears in the form of a remarkable, ravenous beast -- a louse on Stephen's nape that appears toward the end of A Portrait of the Artist as Young Man (Joyce 2003, 233).

In 2001, Jean-Michel Rabate took notice of this louse and argued that for Joyce in general "lice embody the stubborn resistance of nature or the body to ideas," and that "the image of lice follows a complex evolution in Joyce's works" (Rabate 2001, 86, 90). Rabate's fascinating study is the most valuable contribution to date on the thematic appearances of lice and other insects in Joyce's work, and his analysis in many ways forms the basis for my arguement here. (8) Nevertheless his guiding thesis, that lice represent a kind of resistance to the proliferation of ideas, seems to miss a larger issue: namely, that Stephen's louse-parasite allows Joyce to acknowledge the parasitism that was becoming evident in his own increasingly intertextual literary methodology. In this essay I chart the process through which Joyce elegantly recognizes his own parasitic tendencies, and then patterns them into the text and texture of his subsequent work. We will return to Stephen's mighty louse presently, but first we must consider its forerunners in Joyce's writings. They begin to hatch in Paris.

As Rabate points out, Joyce's early conception of lice derives from Aristotelian abiogenesis, the notion that small living organisms can develop from non-living matter. In the Paris notebook of March 1903, when Joyce had just turned twenty-one, he comments on the famous axiom from Aristotle's Physics, "e tekhne mimeitai ten physin." Joyce writes, "This phrase is falsely rendered as 'Art is an imitation of nature.' [But) Aristotle does not here define art; he says only, 'Art imitates Nature' and means that the artistic process is like the natural process" (Joyce 2000, 104). Two days later, Joyce gives what he considers an actual definition of art, derived from Hegel:"Art is the human disposition of sensible or intelligible matter for an aesthetic end" (2000, 104). (9) And a day after that, he writes:

This grouping of non-artistic "human products" includes "lice" in a list with "excrement" and "children" not only for the sake of smirking incongruity but also because of Aristotle's belief in the spontaneous generation of lice by the human body as expressed for example in the Problems:"the brain is moist; consequently the head is always moist. This is obvious from the fact that most hair grows there. The dampness of this region is most liable to produce lice" (Aristotle 1926, 63).As Rabate correctly points out, "Aristotle believes that lice are self-generated and equates the production of lice with the activity of the brain" (Rabate 2001, 88). However, Aristotle's conception of the "activity of the brain" was very different from Joyce's, since Aristotle thought the heart was the scat of the mind, and the brain merely a mechanism for cooling blood (Bear, Connors, and Paradisa 2001, 128). Joyce and everyone of his milieu knew otherwise, which means that for Joyce, the lice produced by a human brain were also produced by a human mind.

Although Joyce may have entertained Aristotle's theory of abiogenesis at age twenty-one, Rabate assumes that twelve years later, when Joyce transfers his notebook's question about excrements, children, and lice to the final chapter of Portrait, no change has taken place in his conception of lice -- no evolution of his thinking about lice nor the parasitism they represent. About Stephen, Rabate writes that, "Like Aristotle, Stephen believes that lice are self-begotten" (Rabate 2001, 88). While this is true as far as it goes, Rabate does not go on to differentiate between Stephen's brassy philosophizing about lice, representative of the artist as a young man in 1903, and Joyce's deliberate deployment of them in 1915. The difference, however, makes itself felt in the following exchange between Stephen and his friend Lynch in chapter five of Portrait:

Lynch's quip that Stephen's line of questioning has developed "the true scholastic stink" pokes fun at the Aristotelian thinking we have seen in Stephen's -- and Joyce's -- intellectual history. But Lynch's derisiveness also suggests that Stephen's questions about the possibility of art emerging from excrements, offspring, parasites, or furious random actions may not be Joyce's question anymore. Rather, the term "scholastic stink" applied to the questions Joyce had scribbled in his notebook twelve years earlier may be a sign that Joyce has evolved a certain irony toward his younger self. As Ellmann observes of the composition of Portrait, Joyce "needed to endow Stephen Dedalus not only with an aesthetic theory that closely resembled the one he had himself developed in Pola [and Paris], but with examples of aesthetic practice.... He remains a young man, and Joyce was to emphasize later that his title said so" (Ellmann 1959, 354-55; emphasis in original). Since Stephen must come across as a fledgling artist in this novel, it would seem Joyce makes sure his aesthetic ideas are still swaddled in the swathe of scholasticism.

It is crucial to register this difference between author and character if we are to understand the pivotal link between Stephen's "scholastic stink" and the most significant appearance of lice in the novel. A few pages after mentioning those lice in his mock-catechism with Lynch, Stephen sees an attractive female passerby at twilight and recalls a line of verse from Thomas Nash: "Darkness falls from the air!" Stephen is pleased with this recollection, particularly the word "Darkness," describing the verse's "dark vowels and its opening sound, rich and lutelike" (Joyce 2003, 233; emphasis in original). Stephen then experiences a sort of predatory thrill: "Vaguely first then more sharply he smelled her body. A conscious unrest seethed in his blood. Yes, it was her body he smelt" (233). Unfortunately for Stephen, these pleasantly predacious stirrings are interrupted by a parasitic predator somewhat closer to home:

Stephen's hallucinatory musings about lice here are linked to the conversation with Lynch by the same "scholastic stink" Lynch had whiffed: Cornelius a Lapide was a seventeenth-century theologian in the scholastic tradition who thought that "Ike, flies, maggots and the like" were so beneath significance in the cosmic order that God would not have stooped to create them. (10) Joyce, however, delights in turning this stodgy attitude upside down by including such parasites prominently in the cosmos of his own work, as he does with other "ugly" aspects of the world such as urination, defecation, and masturbation. Since thoughts in the form of lice ("His mind bred vermin. His thoughts were lice") are conceived here to be generated in the "human sweat" of Stephen Dedalus -- the burgeoning artist -- Joyce wryly suggests that works of art and other products of the artists brain, like Cornelius a Lapide's "lice born of human sweats are a type of organism "not created by God with the other animals on the sixth day." The implication would be that artists, not God, are the creators of their thoughts and their inventions; artists, not Cod, generate parasitic "animals." or thought-lice, in the "sweat" of their creative labor. And such labor is a form of conduct that Stephen bitterly predicts will be disregarded by the woman he lusts after as, an unathletic life of "sloth." Angrily, he thinks, "Well, then, let her go and be damned to her. She could love some clean athlete who washed himself every morning and had black hair on his chest. Let her" (Joyce 2003, 234).But in Joyce's mind, of course. Stephen's fertile generation of thought-lice is the highest, most spiritually athletic calling of all.

In a contrary vein, Rabate reads Stephen's louse not as a thought in the form of a parasite, but rather as "the stubborn resistance of nature or the body to ideas" (Rabate 2001, 86). On the face of it, this appears to make some sense. Stephen has misremembered Nash's line and associates this error with the louse, which is "born in the sweat of sloth" because Stephen has not studied hard enough to keep his trove of memorized verses pure. But here again. Joyce's symbolic deployment of the louse should not be confused with Stephen's self-flagellation, and Stephen's harsh opinion of himself should not be confused with Joyce's opinion of Stephen. For one thing, Joyce is representing a significant improvement in Stephen's performance, rather than the total failure Stephen makes of it. In the novels previous chapter, Stephen draws forth a phrase from "his treasure" of memorized literature and murmurs it to himself: "A day of dappled seaborne clouds" (Joyce 2003, 166). In a reverie similar to the one that will be evoked by Nash's verse in chapter live. Stephen enthuses about the synesthetic associations that the recollected words provoke in him: "Was it their colors? He allowed them to glow and fade, hue after hue: sunrise gold, the russet and green of apple orchards, azure of waves, the greyfringed fleece of clouds" (166). But as Don Gilford shows, what goes unmentioned here is that Stephen's "treasure" derives from a similar phrase in a book by Hugh Miller: "a day of dappled breeze-borne clouds" (Clifford 1967, 219; emphasis added). The younger Stephen of chapter four does not even realize he has made a mistake (the substitution of "sea" for "breeze"), nor does he demonstrate any awareness of where his precious phrase was picked up. By contrast, although the older Stephen in chapter five at first misremembers Nash's line, his memory is more rigorous now, and so he is able to correct himself. The moment of this correction occurs when Stephen sees, with eyelids closed, the dream-like vision of "brittle bright bodies of lice filling." It is the brightness of the falling louse-bodies he imagines that catalyzes his corrective remembrance of the word "brightness" from Nash's line: "Yes; and it was not darkness that fell from the air. It was brightness." Thus, while Stephen's response to this process of recollection and self-correction is to conclude with disgust that "His mind bred vermin," there would seem to be a delicate Joycean irony here: for it is precisely the brightness of the imagined vermin that sparks his maturing capacity for self-correction (Joyce 2003, 234).

The progress from the unnoticed error in chapter four to the noticed one in chapter five recalls Tim Conley's tracing of "an emergence of an awareness, an aesthetic of error" in Joyce's work that intensifies as it flows toward Finnegans Wake: "There is a clear sequence of literary self-awareness in Joyce's publishing history, wherein each new text emerges as a meta-text reassessing those that have appeared previous to it" (Conley 2003, 15). Although Stephen's mind does breed vermin in chapter five, and his thoughts are certainly represented there as lice, Joyce is working at a remove from Stephen's consciousness, and can thus deploy the precarious survival of those lice as a symbol of the precarious, parasitic nature of intertextual circulation itself. While Miller's "breeze-borne clouds" have dissipated into Stephen's "sea" of youthful oblivion, Nash's line manages to survive as a "brittle bright body" in Stephen's memory -- it is a thought-parasite generated by Nash that now inhabits Stephen's brain, twinkling with an autonomous, artistic life. If this reading of Stephen's gathering powers of memory is correct, then his shift from blithe error in chapter four to savage self-control in chapter five would seem to justify his comment to Eglinton in Ulysses: "Bosh! Stephen said rudely. A man of genius makes no mistakes. His errors are volitional and are the portals of discovery" (Joyce 1961, 243). From "breeze" to "sea" from "brightness" to "darkness," from thoughts to lice "born of the sweat of sloth"--these are the portals through which we must pass in order to understand this important early stage in Joyce's aesthetic of error.

It is also worth observing that in the louse passage of Portrait Joyce seems to register an elegant awareness of the Greek root-word parasitos, "beside the grain." When Stephen sees the louse with his artist's eyes, he likens it to a "grain of rice" and thereby reverses its parasitic relationship with him, converting the louse literally into "grain" or "food" for his art. This recalls Joyce's 1904 comments to his brother about his artistic project in relation to another type of sites, or grain-product: "I am trying ... to give people some kind of intellectual pleasure or spiritual enjoyment by converting the bread of everyday life into something that has a permanent artistic life of its own" (quoted in Ellmann 1959, 163). In the conversation with Lynch, lice had merely been a philosophical idea that Stephen borrows from Aristotle. By contrast, the empirical louse that Stephen expertly catches is transformed from a parasitos feeding on him to a "grain" of the "bread of everyday life" that he will transubstantiate into "something that has a permanent artistic life of its own" -- a Eucharistic conversion metafictively evident in the very passage in question, For just as Stephen lets the louse "fall from him and wondered would it live or die" the writer who publishes Portrait wonders whether it will have "a permanent artistic life of its own." and wonders whether his own "word-grains" will take root, flourish, and achieve the Life-status of a major artistic accomplishment.

Seen in this light, the louse passage can also be understood to mark an evolution and a sharp departure from Stephen's famous image of the "fingernails" that the detached, god-like artist is constantly paring. Prior to the louse passage, Stephen had boasted to lynch;" The artist, like the Clod of the creation, remains within or behind or above his handiwork, invisible, refined out of existence, indifferent, paring his fingernails" (Joyce 2003, 215). But now, when Stephen rolls the louse "between thumb and forefinger" and then lets it fall, he is markedly not indifferent to his "handiwork." Stephen wonders whether his mind-bred louse will "live or die"; he closes "his eyelids in a sudden spasm of despair" as he takes stock of the "life of his body illclad, illfed. louse-eaten"; he has a vivid vision of "the brittle bright bodies of lice falling from the air and turning often as they fell" (234). There is no indifferent, God-like artist here. If the lice are embodiments of the artist's thoughts, then these details point to a self-image quite different from the haughty performance put on in Stephen earlier pronouncements to Lynch. Now Stephen is alone, vulnerable, anxious -- and therefore intensely affected by the falling of the louse from his fingertips. He may not know it yet, but he is becoming invested in the thought-parasites his brain generates, since the question of whether they will "live or die" in the world corresponds to whether his words will "have a permanent artistic life" -- to whether or not they will leap to new hosts, replicate and proliferate through new brains (234, 215). Through this subtle change in Stephen, Joyce seems to suggest that such parasitic transmission is the only immortal divinity available to the artist, and that Stephen is beginning with some despondence to recognize this facet of his fate. If so, Stephen's bleak conclusion that his "mind bred vermin" and that his "thoughts were lice born of the sweat of sloth" would be accurate in Joyce's mind. However it is important to remain aware that Joyce is representing a younger version of himself, and that he may therefore be positing Stephens realization that his thoughts are lice as a genuine artistic epiphany, but one whose power Stephen is not yet mature enough to comprehend. I wish to suggest that Joyce intends Stephen to gain an insight into the parasitic nature of ideas and poetic language, but not yet to recognize that powerful words and ideas are inherently parasitic, nor that those which do thrive do so by spreading ferociously. The key to understanding the evolution of Joyce's thought here is seen in several references to lice and other contagions that he makes between the writing of the Paris notebook and the writing of Portrait.

Parasites and Thought Contagions

In Rome in 1907, Joyce writes to Stanislaus, "On Saturday last I went up to the headquarters of the black lice to find out if they had chosen their general.A carman told [me] they had elected a German and now were at their pranzo" (Joyce 1966, 160). The "black lice" in question are the Jesuits, who had elected Francis Xavier Werns as their General and whose Dublin counterparts were responsible for Joyce's education. This aggressively negative parasitic image of the Jesuits, with whom Joyce was at "secret war," (11) echoes Stephen's vision in Stephen Hero of a "plague of Catholicism" which, in the form of a "plague of locusts" blots out the sun for European civilization, and, in the form of "black tyrannous lice," swarms over Europe's collective "body," sucking dry its will and its natural joy in life:

Written in 1904, just a year or so after the Paris notebook entry, this passage provides strong evidence that Joyce's thinking about mental parasitism had already moved beyond Aristotelian abiogenesis to a conception of ideas and systems of thought as infectious contagions. Much later, Joyce puts a concept of civilization itself as a contagion into the mouth of the Citizen in the "Cyclops'' episode of Ulysses: when Bloom praises English "colonies" and "civilization;' the Citizen fires back, "Their syphilisation, you mean. ... To hell with them!" (Joyce 1961, 325). The Citizen also refers to the arrival of Jews in Ireland in terms similar to those of the Stephen Hero passage: "Those are nice things, says the Citizen, coining over here to Ireland filling the country with bugs" (323).The "bugs" in Stephen Hero are "vermin begotten in the catacombs in an age of sickness and cruelty" a "plague of locusts," and "black tyrannous lice," all representing the "plague of Catholicism" that has "beset the body" of Ireland and the rest of Europe (Joyce 1963, 199). Furthermore, in his 1904 diary Stanislaus writes, "He talks much of the syphilitic contagion m Europe, is at present writing a series of studies in it in Dublin, tracing practically everything to it. The drift of it seems to be that the contagion is congenital and incurable and responsible for all manias" (S.Joyce 1962, 51). Stanislaus dubs it "his theory of the contagion," a European affliction that leads people to "delight in the manias and to humour each to the top of its bent" (51). Although Stanislaus admits he does not entirely follow his brother's thinking, this diary entry draws a remarkable parallel between the notion of a "syphilitic contagion in Europe" and the "plague of Catholicism" described the same year in Stephen Hero, suggesting that Joyce saw powerful idea-systems like Catholicism as examples of the "manias" that informed his "theory of the contagion." In sum, these various parallels suggest that the figurative use of lice, plagues, and syphilis as a topological cluster to represent mental "contagions" had achieved a level of complexity in 1904 that would be retained by Joyce and incorporated in his later work.

It must be observed that Rabate seems to assume that in nature all lice are black and that Joyce always represents them as such (Rabate 2001, 9(1). In fact, lice vary in color from "dirty-white to rust to grayish-black " and head lice in particular "can change to become the color of the hosts hair"12 Consequently not all lice are black for Joyce -- they can also be "white," I like the ones that appear in a 1922 poem about the hunger strike of the lord Mayor of Cork: "White lice and black famine / Are the mayor of Corks supper" (quoted in Ellmann 1959, 533). Or, more to the point, lice can be "bright," like the lice in Portrait There seems to be a significant difference between the black lice that represent the odious "plague of Catholicism" in Stephen Hero, and the "brittle bright bodies of lice" of Stephen's vision in Portrait. The difference is telling, for it corresponds with the recurrent trope of the parallel Joyce sets up between the thought-contagion of Catholicism, with which he was at war, and the contagious literary fervor he wanted his own art to breed. In Ulysses, Murphy the sailor denounces black lice, and only black lice: "It's them black lads 1 objects to. I hate those buggers. Sucks your blood dry they does" (Joyce 1961. 631). But intriguingly the color of the lice on Murphy's body is never made explicit. He opens his shirt to reveal them, but ends up displaying his three tattoos instead, suggesting a fluid, associative relation between the invisible lice, emblematic of thought-organisms, and ink-drawn signs such as tattoos, or words in a text.

Of course, Joyce was hardly the only thinker of the early twentieth century to figure the transhistorical 'life' of language in biological terms: variations on this theme appear in linguistics, philosophy, sociology, and psychology. But there is one theorist who stands out for articulating a model remarkably congruent with the Joycean thinking we are tracing here: Mikhail Bakhtin. Stephen's misremembering of "Darkness" for "Brightness" in Nash's original line is a superb novelistic representation of an aspect of linguistic dialogisim that Bakhtin calls the "intense interaction and struggle between one's own and another's word" (Bakhtin 1981, 354-5). Although Bakhtin's rhetorical tendencies are too celebratory for him to figure ideas as parasites, as Joyce does, Bakhtin frequently uses terms that liken the novel genre to a young species engaged in a struggle for survival with other genres: "The novel appears to be a creature from an alien species. It gets on poorly with other genres. It fights for its own hegemony in literature; wherever it triumphs, the other older genres go into decline" (4). This Darwinian conception of the evolution of genres as a 'struggle for survival' offers a good example of the "biological thinking" that Michael Holquist has argued is central to Bakhtin's work (Holquist 1993, 171). It suggests an affiliation with the biological thinking that Joyce manifests in Stephen's thought-lice in Portrait and in certain aspects of Ulysses, especially the gestational/evolutionary "Oxen of the Sun" episode. (13) Such biological thinking no doubt draws on nineteenth-century discourses of organicism, which held that everything from societies to works of art were analogous in their functioning to organisms. However, both Bakhtin and Joyce go beyond organicism to something more like 'intertextual ecologism,' seeing textual productions across vast expanses of time and geography as being analogous to the functioning of dynamically evolving ecosystems, rather than discrete, finite organisms.

In a remarkable parallel to Stephens ecologically circulating thought-lice, Bakhtin describes something like a conceptual parasite as a constituent element of an 'ideology'." When a character articulates a distinctive way of viewing the world, she serves as an "ideologue," while the constituent elements of the articulated worldview are called "ideologemes." Bakhtin writes, "The speaking person in the novel is always, to one degree or another, an ideologue, and his words are always ideologemes.A particular language in a novel is always a particular way of viewing the world" (Bakhtin 1981, 333). The closeness of these concepts to the concept of Stephen's substitution of "Darkness" for "Brightness" as the production of an independent and parasitic "thought-organism" can be seen when Bakhtin discusses the agonistic "transmission" of ideologemes in everything from quotidian discourse to major works of literature:

Bakhtin repeats this idea in a myriad of forms and contexts, but the gist is quite similar to the notion of parasitism that Joyce allows Stephen to develop: the utterance is an "organism" that possesses a degree of agency above and beyond "the intention of the person uttering it," and it may live or die, replicate itself or not, in the utterances of others.

Stephen, unlike Nash, is inspired by the coming on of "darkness" and finds the word "rich and lutelike" (Joyce 2003, 233). Indeed. Stephen's consciousness is moved by life and lust to utter the line he does, while Nash's poem. "Song in Time of Pestilence," is a morose meditation on the inevitable withering of beauty and life, written in the midst of a plague in 1592:

When Stephen bitterly chastises himself for his substitution of "Darkness" for "Brightness" he is also foregrounding his substitution of what Bakhtin would call his "ideology" or "way of seeing the world" -- a hopeful and lascivious one -- for the despondent, deathly perspective expressed in Nash's poem of "pestilence." It is the brightness of hope that fills from the air in times of plague and death, rather than the "rich and lutelike" darkness evoked by Stephen's optimistic sex drive. But the bite of the louse, which leaves Stephen's mind "red and raw" and prompts him to recognize his misquotation of Nash, sends him spiraling into an abyss like the lice he envisions. It is ironically the louse, a sign of "pestilence" that causes Stephens mood to shift closer to Nash's gloomy "way of seeing the world" during plague-time. Bakhtin's idea that such a switch, from hope to hopelessness, can be effected by the restoration of a single original word to reintegrate a prior ideology therefore receives brilliant expression in the imaginary "bright lice" that cause Stephen to recall Nash's falling "brightness" in the middle of a plague. With the words "His mind bred vermin. His thoughts were lice born of the sweat of sloth," Joyce crystallizes the Bakhtinian concept of the word-organ-ism, or "ideologeme," by showing how the substitution of a single word in Stephens quotation radically alters the "way of seeing the world" expressed in Nash's poem. As a result, the nature of the "complex and dynamic organism" in Nash's original line of verse is radically altered.

The Louse in the Looking Glass

Recognition of the peculiar importance of lice in Joyce's work gives a new inflection to Buck's dig in the "Telemachus" episode of Ulysses about Stephen's "lousy leer and [...] gloomy Jesuit jibes" (Joyce 1961, 16). Since we have seen how Joyce tends to link lice with Jesuit priests and the Catholic thought-contagion they represent, it would no longer seem incidental that Buck chides Stephen for his "lousy leer" and "jesuit jibes" in the same breath. There may be a subtle inversion here: if Joyce associates Stephen's artistic poiesis with the production of lice, then in Joyce's mind Buck's disparagement of Stephen's "lousiness" would unwittingly insult the very creativity he covets in Stephen. The possibility that Stephen's thoughts are figured as lice not only in Portrait but also Ulysses gains strength when we examine another passage in "Telemachus" in which Buck teases Stephen with a mirror:

This subtle passage is laced with references to various sorts of parasitism, and repays close inspection. Buck's comment regarding "general paralysis of the insane" refers to a rumor circulating in the Ship tavern that Stephen's whoring has parasitized him with syphilis -- or as we have seen the Citizen call it, "syphilisation," a concise portmanteau word that describes civilization as a colonizing, biological, sexually transmitted pathogen. (14) Buck implicitly theatens to "flash the tidings" of this rumor further, thus menacing Stephen with a thought-parasite at least as contagious as the slender, spiral spirochete he is accused of hosting. The description of Buck's "curling shaven lips" and "the edges of his white glittering teeth" are perfectly appropriate for the hostile, voraciously parasitic role he will assume as the Homeric Antinous of the novel; so when he bids Stephen "Look at yourself ... you dreadful bard," we may read his mock-aggressive words as a genuine psychological onslaught. With the mirror, Buck has chosen his weapon well, since what Stephen sees does not please him. There is an implication that he sees or imagines lice crawling through his "hair on end," because the words that pop into his mind, "As he and others see inc." are an allusion to Robert Burns's 1786 poem. "To a Loose; On seeing One on a Lady's Bonnet at Church":

The possibility that Stephen sees or imagines lice in the mirror is reinforced by his glum reaction to his visage: "Who chose this face for me? This dogsbody to rid of vermin" These thoughts recall the passage from Portrait in which Stephen despairs of "The life of his body, illclad, ilifed, louse-eaten," and in which he concludes that his "mind bred vermin" (Joyce 2003, 234). Since Buck and Haines want to exploit Stephen, his brooding as he looks in the looking glass suggests that he imaginatively embodies his ideas and aphorisms in the mirror's image as lice or vermin produced by his teeming brain. This in turn gives Buck's later jab about Stephen's "lousiness" its ironic doubleness: though Buck has referred condescendingly to Stephen as a "poor dogsbody," meaning "a servant who does odd jobs," when Stephen sees himself "as others see me" as a "dogsbody to rid of vermin," he may be thinking of the epigrams that Buck and Haines want to steal: they mean to "rid" him, or take from him, his creative ideas (Joyce 1961, 6).

Furthermore, since Stephen is looking into a mirror when he mentally repeats the word Buck has applied to him, "dogsbody" can be understood as a mirror-reversal of "God's body," a Eucharistic transformation refracted out to the limits of the novel's artistic universe by the representational properties of the looking glass. As Buck attempts to "rid" Stephen of his creative thought-vermin -- to consume them, as it were -- they and Stephen are transubstantiated by the mirror to become an immortal "God's body," a consecrated "host" for the mock-Mass that Buck has been conducting from the first sentence of the novel a sentence in which the same mirror appears: "Stately, plump Buck Mulligan came on the stairhead, bearing a bowl of lather on which a mirror and a razor lay crossed" (Joyce 1961, 1). As others have pointed out, the word "stately" can be understood to invoke the colonizing state forces of England with which Buck allies himself and against which Stephen rebels, but the word "plump" in this context would therefore seem to reference the parasitism that both England and Buck represent -- the self-engorging hunger that yearns to feed pitilessly on the fat of Ireland, and on the "God's body" of Stephen's talent.

Moreover, when Buck brags that he has "pinched" the mirror "out of the skivvy's room," he reveals that he, like England, is happy to steal from those less powerful. And when he complains that his aunt "always keeps plain-looking servants for Malachi," he suggests he has a reputation for being predatory on women of lower station than himself. The hint of this more taboo, sexual form of parasitism leads directly to an even darker one: when Buck takes "the mirror away from Stephen's peering eyes," he laughs and exclaims, "The rage of Caliban at not seeing his face in a mirror If Wilde were only alive to see you," an overt allusion to Wilde's famous dig against Philistinism: "The nineteenth-century dislike of Realism is the rage of Caliban seeing his own face in a glass. / The nineteenth-century dislike of Romanticism is the rage of Caliban not seeing his own face in a glass" (Wilde 2004, xxiii). On the one hand, since Caliban is also a victim of colonization, Buck's 'Calibanizing' of Stephen merely reveals that Buck's affiliation with Oxford has infected him with what L.H. Piatt describes as "centuries of cultural imperialism which had stamped on English minds an indelible image of native Irish primitiveness" (Piatt 1989, 78). But on the other hand, since Caliban's name is a well-known anagram for "cannibal,' Buck's quotation can also be understood as a 'cannibalizing' ofWilde's epigram, which adds cannibalism to the dense cluster of ideas associated with appetite, feeding, and parasitism in this dialogue.

Stephen, however, offers a retort that leaves Buck momentarily speechless: "it is a symbol of Irish art.The cracked lookingglass of a servant" (Joyce 1961, 6). It is tempting to interpret this phrase as Buck does, and as Haines will -- an original, Wilde-like epigram and thus a sign of creative genius. And yet, as Gifford and Seidman's annotation reveals, Stephen's rejoinder is also 'cannibalized' from Wilde, though Stephen keeps its provenance conveniently unmentioned: in The Decay of Lying, Cyril says to Vivian, "I can quite understand your objection to art being treated as a mirror. You think it would reduce genius to the position of a cracked looking glass" (Gifford and Seidman 1988, 16). So while Buck has lifted his looking glass from his 'skivvy" or servant. Stephen has lifted his looking glass from another Irish "servant": Wilde, whom Joyce derides as a "court jester to the English" is his 1909 essay, "Oscar Wilde, the Poet of Salome" (Joyce 2000, 149). Joyce does therefore suggest that the looking glass is a symbol for Irish art, but not merely because it is cracked or of a servant. Rather, it also symbolizes Irish art because it has been stolen. Joyce thus impishly implies that Irish art, exemplified by Stephen's art, and by extension his own art, is primordially parasitic -- it depends on borrowing, citation, quotation, imitation, allusion, and stealing. In Finnegans Wake, Joyce would give expression to his parasitic brand of storytelling" with the oft-quoted term, "stolentelling" (Joyce 1939, 424). But already in the first pages of Ulysses, the cracked looking glass epigram that Buck contrives to steal from Stephen, a "dogsbody to rid of vermin" with a 'Mousy leer" is in fact a thought-parasite -- like those of Nash and Miller in Portrait -- that originated with another writer.

Buck will soon convey the "cracked lookingglass" line to Haines, who will also fail to recognize the plagiary, and therefore will begin to hunger for more of Stephen's dictums:

A surface reading of Stephen's unspoken response to Haines' offer is that, as with Lady Macbeth, nothing can remove the "spot" on Haines' "conscience" left by Britain's mistreatment of the Irish. But at the same time, since Stephen may also sense here that Haines and Buck are plotting to "wash and tub and scrub" him for his ideas, this passage links back to Stephen's apprehension that these "others see me" as a "dogsbody to rid of vermin," and that this scrubbing will therefore be a metaphorical delousing of his valuable thought-parasites (Joyce 1961, 6).

Haines's colonizing/parasitizing desire to pick Stephen clean in this way is aptly underscored by the information that colonizing, swindling, and deparasitizing are all traits inherited from his father: Buck has told Stephen that Haines's "old fellow made his tin by selling jalap to the Zulus or some bloody swindle or other" (Joyce 1961,7)."Jalap" is a herbal purgative derived from a vine in Mexico that would have been imported by colonizers to Africa primarily for use as a vermifuge to expel intestinal worms (Grieve 1971). In other words, Joyce has set up an amusing symmetry between the "swindle" practiced by the elder Haines on the native African Zulus and the swindle being attempted by the younger Haines on the native Irish Stephen: they both seek to make their "tin" by employing deceptive colonizing tactics that result in a 'deparasitizing' of their victims. Such an example allows us once again to see the intricacy with which the dynamics of parasitism are built into the opening episode of Ulysses. But if the parasitism of Haines's father is described as a "bloody swindle," one would expect blood to be associated with Stephen's prolific lice as well.

Blood of the Artist

In the examples of Stephen's louse parasitism we have examined so fir, Joyce shows a preoccupation with the abiogenetic production of lice by Stephen's artistic mind. These thought-lice spring spontaneously from Stephen, but are not explicitly seen to take sustenance from him in return: Joyce makes no mention of the blood that lice normally parasitize from their hosts. This changes significantly in "Telelemachus" when Stephen ruminates about his mother's dying days in a passage that problematizes the parasitic essence of memory itself:

With the words "Where now?" Stephen wonders where May Dedalus's "secrets" or memories have gone after her death. He imaginatively ponders a series of memories she might have had, memories of "toys" such as "fans," "dancecards," "amber beads," and a girlhood "birdcage" lost objects that are now "folded away in the memory of nature." The Theosophist concept of a universal memory in which all moments and thoughts are stored, first propounded by Alfred Percy Sinnett in 1896, surfaces several times in Ulysses (Clifford and Seidman 1988, 19), and also in Joyce's essays on James Clarence Mangan and William Blake (Joyce 2001, 136, 179). In the Blake essay for example, Joyce writes, "I am trying to the best of my ability to recall Blake's spirit from the twilight of the universal mind and to hold it fast for a moment to investigate it" (Joyce 2000, 179). As Ellmann relates, "Joyce was skeptical ofTheosophy [but] was genuinely interested in such Theosophical themes as cycles, reincarnation, the succession of gods, and the eternal mother-faith that underlies all transitory religions" (Ellmann 1959, 99). Although in Ulysses Joyce delights in poking fun at Theosophy particularly in "Scylla and Charybdis," Sinnett's idea of a "universal mind" seems to have served a serious function for Joyce. This is not surprising, since it offered a neutral, indifferent alternative to the Catholic tradition of a stern God, who not only remembers but also judges all thoughts and actions. Moreover, it offered a metaphysical paradigm for the ultra-comprehensive project of Ulysses itself, which can be understood as a kind of centrifugal cross-section of what a universal memory might record in the course of a single Dublin day.

When Stephen wistfully comforts himself by imagining that the memories and thoughts produced by his mother's consciousness are not nihilistically lost with her death but are rather "Folded away in the memory of nature," he is suddenly overwhelmed by his own memories of his mother: "Memories beset his brooding brain" (Joyce 1961, 10). These memories can be understood to "beset his brooding brain" in a sort of mental onslaught, or to he parasitic thoughts that are themselves "brooded" by his brain abiogenetically. Joyce will link memory with parasitism again in "Circe" when Blooms grandfather, Virag, exhorts him to "Exercise your mnemotechnic" in order to remember a cure for warts. Bloom responds, "Rosemary also did I understand you to say or willpower over parasitic tissues" (Joyce 1961, 514). On the free of it, Bloom appears to be offering the herb rosemary and simpie willpower as ways of getting rid of warts, or "parasitic tissues!' But Gifford and Seidman note that rosemary fits into a larger symbolic game in "Circe" that deploys the "language of herbs" in complex ways (494); rosemary symbolizes "remembrance" in this language, and therefore Blooms response can be understood to equate remembrance with "willpower over parasitic tissues." The figuration of memories as "parasitic tissues "perhaps similar to warts, and of remembrance as a form of "willpower" over those tissues, offers a useful way of thinking about Stephens relationship to his mother's memory in Ulysses.For Stephen, the central conflict of the novel will be to exert his willpower over his painful memory of May's death and of his refusal to repent at her bedside. These guilt-ridden memories have become "parasitic tissues" that rankle malignantly within him like the tumor that killed her.

Stephen's stubborn resistance to his mother's demand "For those words," for the speech act acknowledging the Catholic God, symbolizes the "secret war" between his life as an artist and the life Catholicism would prescribe for him (Ellmann 1959, 169). Therefore, May's bloody squashing of the lice on her children's shirts can be understood as an attempt to protect them by "squashing" any thought-parasites that might infect them with apostasy -- especially, one might assume, those generated by their eldest brothers rebellious mind. At the same time, the image of blood on May's fingertips in "Tclemachus" -- "shapely fingernails reddened by the blood of squashed lice from the children's shirts" (Joyce 1961, 10) -- can be understood to use those lice to make a wry parasitic allusion to Horner's trademark evocations of the red-tipped fingers of Eos, "rosy-fingered Dawn," thus underscoring Joyce's linkage of literary allusion with parasitism (Homer 1900, 13).

Moreover, Joyce has carefully positioned Stephen's remembrance of May bloodying her fingers with her children's lice as the trigger for a dream-recollection in which his guilt-ridden memory of her death has itself become a parasitic ghoul, an inimical memory-parasite that lives in his mind by chewing on his memory of May's corpse. The dream marks a new development in Joyce's thinking about parasitism, because now the dead and the memory of the dead have become parasitic on the living, just as dreams are parasitic on waking life:

In dialogue with Telemachus's boisterous repudiation of Penelope's authority in the Odyssey, Stephen inwardly resists his mother's demand that he repent, calling her a "Ghoul! Chewer of corpses!" (Joyce 1961, 10). It is a strange accusation on Stephen's part, since on the face of it there is no evidence of May chewing on any corpses. But when this conflict of wills conies to its dramatic apex in "Circe" May appears to Stephen again and demands that he "Repent! O, the fire of hell!" to which Stephen rejoins, "Corpsechewer! Raw head and bloody bones" (581). This allusion to Christ's crown of thorns and his sanguinary flagellation gives the clue that Stephen is referring to the consumption of wafer and wine in the Eucharist. Stephens reiterated description of his mother as a "corpsechewer" underscores the parasitic and cannibalistic implications of the Eucharists eating of the "host," which is the very "corpsechewing" May is insisting Stephen perform in order to repent. She responds to Stephen's rebellion with a gruesome lunge:"(She wises her blackened, withered right arm slowly towards Stephen's breast with out-stretchedfingers.) Beware! God's hand! (A green nab with malignant red eyes sticks deep its grinning claws in Stephen's hearty (582). Here the theme of parasitism emerges at the moment many consider the novel's climax. For May's green, bilious cancer is figured as a zodiacal "crab," a horrible parasite living in her body that plunges its "grinning claws into Stephen's heart." suggesting that "Gods hand" -- the Catholic church on Earth -- is nothing more than a metastatic parasite on the corpus of humanity much like the "plague of Catholicism" and the "black tyrannous lice" that "beset the body burdened and disaffected in its members" in Stephen Hero (Joyce 1963, 199). Stephen must summon all his "willpower over parasitic tissues" to resist her parasitic crab, her parasitic cancer, her parasitic memory and her demand that he join the parasitic "Corpsechewers" of Catholicism -- those who chew the bread (sitos) of the Eucharistic "host" (Joyce 190K 514, 581). Stephen follows Bloom by exercising his "mnemotechnic," drawing a single word from his " intellectual imagination" (582) to transform his ashplant walking stick into "Nothing" (583), which sounds like 'Nothing,' but which is actually the name of Siegfried's magic sword in Wagner's Die Walkure, a sword hidden by a god in the heart of an ash tree ("ashplant"). Thus Stephen defeats the ghoulish parasite that is his mother's memory by means of an elegant parasitic allusion -- the forged blade of allusion that will be the preeminent weapon of his future art.

It may not be mistaken to think Joyce represents parasitism in key passages of his novels because he sees it as a sometimes distasteful but always necessary aspect of art, civilization, and biological life itself. His deployment of lice as an emblem for this parasitism bespeaks an unflinching attitude toward art that obligates the artist to engage the ungainly but pervasive dynamics of parasitism in human existence. I wish to suggest that this approach is the result of a certain tragic lucidity: the recognition that even in the rarefied sublimity of 'high' art. something as universally and instinctively abhorred as parasitism permeates everything. But the final implication Joyce foregrounds. I think, is a comic one. His clean clinical perspective on the dynamics of intertextuality and societal relations reveals with wry irony that something civilization tends to elevate -- art -- turns out to depend upon something civilization tends to revile -- parasitism.

Works Cited

Aristotle. 1926. Problems. Trans. W.S. Hett. London: Heinemann.

Bakhtin, Mikhail. 1981. The Dialogic Imagination. Tram. Michael Holquist. Austin: University of Texas Press.

Bloom, Harold, ed. 2009. Bloom's Modem Critical Views: James Joyce. New York: Chelsea House.

Brown, Richard, ed. 2006. Joyce, "Penelope," and the Body. European Joyce Studies 17. Amsterdam: Rodopi.

Bear, Mark E, Barry W. Conners, and Michael A. Paradisa. 200l. Nruroscience: Exploring the Brain. Baltimore: Lippincott.

Brivic, Sheldon. 2008. Joyce Through Lacan and Zizek. Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan.

Bock, Martin. 2007. James Joyce and Germ Theory: The Skeleton at the Feast." James Joyce Quarterly 45.1: 23-46.

Conley, Tim, 2003. Joyce's Mistakes: Problems of Intention, Irony, and Interpretation. Toronto: Toronto University Press.

Ellmann, Richard. 1959. James Joyce. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Ferris, Kathleen 1994 James Joyce and the Burden of Disease. Lexington, KY: University Press of Kentucky.

Gibson. Andrew. 2002. Joyce's Revenge: History, Politics and Aesthetics in Ulysses. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Gifford, Don. 1967. Notes for Joyce: Dubliners and a Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. New York: Dutton.

Gifford, Don with Robert J. Seidman. 1988. Ulysses Annotated. 2nd ed. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Gordon, John, 2004. Joyce and Reality: The Empirical Strikes Back. Syracuse: Syracuse University Press.

Gottfried, Roy and Sebastian Knowles. 2008. Joyce's Misbelief. Gainesville: University of Florida Press.

Grieve, M. 1971. "Dindweed, Jalap." In A Modern Herbal New York: Dover, available at,

Hegel, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich. 1905. Introduction to Hegel's Philosophy of Fine Art. Trans. Bernand Bosanquet. London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner.

Holquist, Michael. 1993. Late Soviet Culture; Prom Perestroika to Novostroika. Eds. Thomas Lahusen and Gene Kuperman. Durham: Duke University Press.

Horner. 1900. The Odyssey. Trans. Samuel Butler. London: Fifield.

Joyce, James. 1968. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. Ed. Richard Ellmann. New York: Viking Press.

--. 2003. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. Ed. Seamus Deane. New York: Penguin..

--. 1967. Dubliners. Ed. Robert Scholes in consultation with Richard Ellman. New York: Viking Press.

--. 1939. Finnegans Wake. New York: Viking Press.

--. 1966. Letters of James Joyce. Ed. Stuart Gilbert. Vol. 2. New York: Viking.

--. 2000. Occasional, Critical, and Political Writing. Ed. Kevin Barry Oxford: Oxford University Press.

--. 1963. Stephen Hero. Ed. John J. Slocum and Herbert Gaboon. New York: New Directions.

--. 1961. Ulysses. New York; Random House.

Joyce, Stanislaus. 1962. The Complete Dublin Diary of Stanislaus Joyce. Ed. George H. Healey. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.

Knowlton, Eloise. 1998. Joyce, Joyceans, and the Rhetoric of Citation. Gainesville: University of Florida Press.

Lawrence, Karen, ed. 1998. Transcultural Joyce. Cambridge: University of Cambridge Press.

Lowe Evans, Mary. 2008. Catholic Nostalgia in Joyce, and Company. Gainesville: University of Florida Press.

Mahon, Peter. 2007. Imagining Joyce and Derrida: Between Finnegans Wake and Glas, Toronto: Toronto University Press.

McHugh, Roland. 1976. The Sigla of Finnegans Wake. London: Edward Arnold.

Miller, Nicholas Andrew. 2002. Modernism, Ireland and the Erotics of Memory, Cambridge: University of Cambridge Press.

Olson. Mesh 2009. Modernism and the Ordinary

Oxford: Oxford University Press. Orr, Leonard. 2008. Joyce, Imperialism and Postcolonialism. Syracuse: Syracuse University Press.

Quiller-Couch, Arthur, ed 1919. The Oxford Book of English Verse 1250-1900. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Platt, L. H. 1989. "The Buckeen and the Dogsbody: Aspects of History and Culture in 'Tetemachus'" James Joyce Quarterly 27.1: 77-86.

Rabate, Jean Michel. 2001. James Joyce and the Politics of Egoism. Cambridge: University of Cambridge Press.

Rickard, John. 1998. Joyce's Book of Memory: The Mnemotechnic of Ulysses. Durham and London: Duke University Press.

Salgado, Cesar Augusto. 2001. from Modernism to Neoharoque: Joyce and Lezama Lima. Cranbury; Associated University Presses.

Schork, R.J. 1998. Greek and Hellenic Culture in Joyce. Gainesville: University of Florida Press.

--. 1997. Latin and Roman Culture in Joyce. Gainesville: University of Florida Press.

--. 2000 Joyce and Hagiography: Saints Above! Gainesville: University of Florida Press.

Tvedten Steve. n.d. The Best Control accessed November 8, 2011,

Van Hulle, Dirk, 1999. "Reveiling the Ouragan of Spaces in Less Than a Schoppinhour." In Genitrickslin Joyce, ed. Sam Slote and Wim Van Mierlo, Huropean Joyce Studies 9. Amsterdam: Rodopi.

Wilde, Oscar. 2004. The Picture of Dorian Gray. New York: Modern Library.


(1.) For two excellent, diametrically opposed approaches to Joyce's metafictive intertextuality, see John Gordon's Joyce and Reality: The Empirical Strikes Back (2004) and Peter Mahon's Imagining Joyce and Derrida: Between Finnegans Wake and Glas (2007); see also Eloise Knowlton's Joyce, Joyceans, and the Rhetoric of Citation (1998); and see Sheldon Brivic's Joyce Through Lacan and Zizek (2008) for a fresh analysis of the Homeric allusions in Ulysses.

(2.) For a variety of stimulating perspectives on Joycean aesthetics, see Harold Bloom's Modern Critical Views: James Joyce (2009); see also Andrew Gibson's Joyce's Revenge: History, Politics and Aesthetics in Ulysses (2002);Tim Conley's Joyce's Mistakes (2003); and Cesar Augusto Salgado's comparative study, From Modernism to Neobaroque: Joyce and Lemma Lima (2001).

(3.) For a recent collection of criticism on Joyce, art, and the body, see Joyce, "Penelope," and the Body, edited by Richard Brown (2006).

(4.) See in particular Declan Kiberd's Ulysses and Us: The Art of livery day Living in Joyce's Masterpiece (2009) and Liesl Olson's Modernism and the Ordinary (2009).

(5.) See for example Roy Gottfried's and Sebastian Knowles's Joyce's Misbelief (2008), Mary Lowe Evans's Catholic Nostalgia in Joyce and Company (2008), and R.J. Schork's Joyce and Hagiography: Saints Above! (2000).

(6.) Transcultural Joyce, edited by Karen Lawrence (1998), remains a key reference for postcolonial Joyce studies; see also Leonard Orr's Joyce, Imperialism, and Postcolonialism (2008).

(7.) See John Rickard's Joyce's Book of Memory: The Mnemotechnic of Ulysses (1998), and Nicholas Andrew Millers Modernism, Ireland and the Erotics of Memory (2002).

(8.) A preliminary list of works that feature some consideration of insects in Joyce would include Roland McHugh's The Sigla of Finnegans Wake (1976), R.J. Schork's Greek and Hellenic Culture in Joyce and Latin and Roman Culture in Joyce (1998), and Dirk Vam Hulle's "Revelling the Ouragan of Spaces in Less Than a Sehoppinhour" (1999).

(9.) Barry points out in Occasional, Critical, and Political Writing (Joyce 2000, 3l2n) that Joyce here condenses chapter 3, "The Conception of Artistic Beauty," in Introduction to Hegel's Philosophy of Fine Art (Joyce 2000, 43-106).

(10.) See Seamus Deane's notes to Portrait (Joyce 2003, 324).

(11.) As Joyce once put it, "I made secret war upon [the Catholic church). By doing this I made myself a beggar but I retained my pride" (quoted in Ellmann 1959, 169).

(12.) See Tvedten, The Best Control, (n.d.).

(13.) Bakhtin drew explicit parallels between his ideas and the discoveries of Galileo and Einstein, but not with those of Darwin. It may not be mistaken to think chat he chose to be circumspect in relating literary evolution to Darwinian evolution under a Soviet regime that officially resisted Darwinism in favor of Lamarckism.

(14.) For useful discussions of syphilis and the germ theory of medicine in Joyce's intellectual history, see Kathleen Ferris, James Joyce and the Burden of Disease (1994) and Martin Bock, "James Joyce and Germ Theory: The Skeleton at the Feast" (2007).

James Ramey is Associate Professor of Humanities at Universidad Autonoma Metropolitana-Cuajimalpa in Mexico City. His publications include articles in Comparative Literature, James Joyce Quarterly, and Comparative Literature Studies.
Question: Why are not excrements, children and lice works of art?
  Answer: Excrements, children, and lice are human products - human
  dispositions of sensible matter. The process by which they are
  produced is natural and non-artistic; their end is not an aesthetic
  end: therefore they are not works of art." (Joyce 2000, 104)

-- Can excrement or a child or a louse he a work of art? If not,
  why not?
  -- Why nor indeed? said Lynch, laughing.
  -- If a man hacking in fury at a block of wood, Stephen continued,
  make there an image of a cow, is that image a work of art? If not,
  why not?
  -- That's a lowly one, said Lynch, laughing again. That has the true
  scholastic stink. (Joyce 2003, 214)

A louse crawled over the nape of his neck and, putting his thumb and
  forefinger deftly beneath his loose collar, he caught it. He rolled
  its body, tender yet brittle as a grain of rice, between thumb and
  forefinger for an instant before he let it tall from him and wondered
  would it live or die. There came to his mind a curious phrase from
  Cornelius a Lapide which said that the lice born of human sweat were
  not created by God with the other animals on the sixth day. But the
  tickling of the skin of his neck made his mind raw and red. The life
  of his body, illclad, illfed, louse-eaten, made him close his eyelids
  in a sudden spasm of despair: and in the darkness he saw the brittle
  bright bodies of lice falling from the air and turning often as they
  fell. Yes; and it was not darkness that fell from the air. It was
  Brightness falls from the air.
  He had not even remembered rightly Nash's line. All the images it had
  awakened were false. His mind bred vermin. His thoughts were lice born
  of the sweat of sloth. (Joyce 2003, 233-4)

In a stupor of powerlessness he reviewed the plague of Catholicism.
  He seemed to see the vermin begotten in the catacombs in an age of
  sickness and cruelty issuing forth upon the plains and mountains of
  Europe. Like the plague of locusts described in Callista they seemed
  to choke the rivers and fill the valleys up. They obscured the sun.
  Contempt of human nature, weakness, nervous trembling, fear of day and
  joy, distrust of man and life, hemiplegia of the will, beset the body
  burdened and disaffected in its members by its black tyrannous lice.
  (Joyce 1963, 198-99)

In the makeup of almost every utterance spoken by a social person
  -- from a brief response in a casual dialogue to major
  verbal-ideological works (literary, scholarly, and others) - a
  significant number of words can be identified that are implicitly or
  explicitly admitted as someone else's, and that are transmitted by a
  variety of different means. Within the arena of almost every
  utterance an intense interaction and struggle between one's own and
  another's word is being waged, a process in which they oppose or
  dialogically interanimate each other.The utterance so conceived is
  a considerably more complex and dynamic organism than it appears when
  construed simply as a thing that articulates the intention of the
  person uttering it. (Bakhtin 1981, 354-55)

Beauty is but a flower,
  Which wrinkles will devour;
  Brightness falls from the air;
  Queens have died young and falls;
  Dust hath closed Helen's eye.
  I am sick, I must die;
  Lord have mercy on us. (Quiller-Couch 1919, 202)

-- That fellow I was with in the Ship last night, said Buck Mulligan,
  says you have g.p.i. He's up in Dottyville with Conolly Norman.
  General paralysis of the insane.
  He swept the mirror a half circle in the air to flash the tidings
  abroad in sunlight now radiant on the sea. His curling shaven lips
  laughed and the edges of his white glittering teeth. Laughter seized
  all his strong wellknit trunk.
  -- Look at yourself, he said, you dreadful bard.
  Stephen bent forward and peered at the mirror held out to him, cleft
  by a crooked crack, hair on end. As he and others see me. Who chose
  this face for me? This dogsbody to rid of vermin. It asks me too.
  --I pinched it out of the skivvy's room, Buck Mulligan said. It does
  her all right. The aunt always keeps plain-looking servants for
  Malachi. Lead him not into temptation. And her name is Ursula.
  Laughing again, he brought the mirror away from Stephen's peering
  -- The rage of Caliban at not seeing his face in a mirror, he said.
  If Wilde were only alive to see you.
  Drawing back and pointing, Stephen said with bitterness:
  -- It is a symbol of Irish art. The cracked lookingglass of a servant.
  (Joyce 1961, 6)

O wad sonic Power the giftie gie us
  To sec oursels as ithers see us!
  It wad frae monie a blunder tree us.
  An' foolish notion, (quoted in Clifford and Seidman 1988, 16)

-- I intend to make a collection of your sayings if you will let me.
  Speaking to me. They wash and tub and scrub. Agenbite of inwit.
  Conscience. Yet here's a spot.
  -- That one about the cracked lookingglass of a servant being the
  symbol of Irish art is deuced good. ...
  -- Would I make money by it? Stephen asked.
  Haines laughed and. as he took his soft grey hat from the holdfast,
  of the hammock, said:
  -- I don't know. I'm sure. (Joyce 1961, 16)

Her door was open: she wanted to hear my music. Silent with awe
  and pity I went to her bedside. She was crying in her wretched bed.
  For those words, Stephen: love's bitter mystery.
  Where now?

  Her secrets: old feather fans, tasselled dancecards, powdered with
  musk, a gaud of amber beads in her locked drawer. A birdcage hung in
  the sunny window of her house when she was a girl. ...
  Folded away in the memory of nature with her toys. Memories beset his
  brooding brain. Her glass of water from the kitchen tap when she had
  approached the sacrament. A cored apple, filled with brown sugar,
  roasting for her at the hob on a dark autumn evening. Her shapely
  fingernails reddened by the blood of squashed lice from the
  children's shirts. (Joyce 1961, 10)

Her shapely fingernails reddened by the blood of squashed lice from
  the children's shirts.
  In a dream, silently, she had come to him, her wasted body within
  its loose graveclothes giving off an odour of wax and rosewood,
  her breath bent over him with mute secret words, a faint odour
  of wetted ashes.
  Her glazing eyes, staring out of death, to shake and bend my soul.
  On me alone. The ghostcandle to light her agony. Ghostly light on
  the tortured face. Her hoarse loud breath rattling in horror, while
  all prayed on their knees. Her eyes on me to strike me down. Liliata
  rutilantium te confessorum turma circumdet: iubilantium te virginum
  chorus exeipiat.
  Ghoul! Chewer of corpses!
  No mother. Let me be and let me live. (Joyce 1961,10)
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