James Joyce is one of the most revered writers in the English language
and a central figure in the history of the novel
he is still hugely important to us
because of his devotion to some crucial themes
the idea of the grandeur of Ordinary Life
his determination to portray what actually goes on through our heads moment by moment
What we now know partly thanks to him as the stream of consciousness
and his determination to capture on the page
what language really sounds like in our own minds.
Born in 1882,
James Joyce spent the first 20 years of his life in and around Dublin
and the rest wandering in and between the European cities
of Trieste Zurich and Paris
In three decades
he published two books of poetry
one collection of short stories one play and three novels
一本短篇小说集 一出戏剧 三部小说
All of them different in scope and scale,
but sharing one thing in common
Dublin, a city he loved and hated
“Each of my books,”he once explained to a friend, “is a book about Dublin.”
“Dublin is a city of scarcely 300,000 [residents],
but it has become the universal city in my work.”
At the end of the nineteenth century
Dublin was the second city of the British Empire
Like his father
Joyce was fiercely opposed to Ireland’s status as a british colony
and supported the cause of Irish independence
Joyce was educated by the Jesuits
and early on at school began to reveal his knack for foreign languages
By the time he arrived at University College Dublin
Joyce was writing book reviews poems and short stories
But he also needed to find a career.
He tried medical school in Paris,
but spent more time in brothels and bars than the library
he met a young woman from Galway named Nora Barnacle
who was uneducatedated
but highly erotic and compelling to Joyce
When she first saw him, she thought he was a nordic seaman
with electric blue eyes,
a yachting cap and plimsolls,
but when he spoke, well then!
I knew him at once for just another worthless Dublin boaster
trying to chat up a country girl
But Nora fell in love with him nevertheless
and remained devoted through all their difficult years of life together.
After a few months,
Nora agreed to follow Joyce to Europe for a self-imposed exile
free from the morality of the Catholic church
and the subjugation of the British Empire
They eventually landed in Trieste,
an austro-Hungarian port town
where they would spend the next 10 years
raising two children
both of them given Italian names
Lucia and Giorgio
Joyce eked out a meager existence as a language teacher at the Berlitz school
and translating Irish writers like Yeats and Oscar Wilde into Italian
1914 turned out to be Joyce’s year of breakthrough
when a publisher in London finally decided
to bring out his book of short stories Dubliners
which had been rejected 22 times.
and the American poet Ezra Pound arranged to
get his novel A Portrait Of The Artist serialized.
this was followed by the serialization of Ulysses in 1918
the novel which made Joyce’s name around the world
For the next 23 years Joyce’s reputation grew,
and he took his experiments with language and literary form ever further
until his unexpected and sudden death in zurich in 1941.
He was buried in Fronton Cemetery just near Zurich’s main zoo.
Joyce’s principal work Ulysses
is named after the most dramatic adventure story
the ancient Greeks handed down to western civilization.
It is seen as a pinnacle of high culture
and tells the story of the long wanderings of the hero Ulysses on his journey
back from the siege of Troy to Ithaca, his home
But the major character of Joyce’s novel
is not a warrior king or a grand hero
He is instead a very flawed
quite kindly and quite foolish man named Leopold Bloom.
He works as a minor player in the advertising industry
He’s married, but his wife is having an affair
He’s been sacked from a string of jobs
And he’s very much given to daydreaming about all the things he would love to go right in his life
but which we know won’t happen.
he farts, he likes looking at women in the street
He dreams of winning competitions in weekly magazines and of owning a cottage by the sea
Being Jewish he’s a bit of an outsider in Catholic Dublin
and there are various little humiliations which he has to put up with all the time
Bloom is very unlike a traditional hero,
but he is representative of our average unimpressive
Fragile but still rather likable everyday selves
Joyce lavish attention on Leopold Bloom
he treats him as deeply worthy of respect and immense interest
He’s someone Joyce suggests that we should learn from and try in certain ways to be like.
Just as in the ancient world
Ulysses was held up as an inspiring model of resourceful and brave conduct
We follow bloom for a whole day as he wanders around Dublin.
We see him having lunch buying a supper drinking coffee and cocoa
我们看着他吃午饭 买晚餐 喝咖啡和可可
He worries about his relationship with his wife and daughter
. He goes to work he listens to someone singing he has various conversations
他去上班 听别人唱歌 进行各种各样的交谈
eating, feeling sorry for someone, feeling sorry for oneself
putting the washing on the clothes line
these aren’t really little things at all if we look at them through the right lens
they are revealed as beautiful serious deep and Fascinating
our own lives are just as interesting as those of the traditional heroes.
It’s just we’re less good at appreciating them
the helpful lens is supplied initially by Joyce’s novel
B ut ideally we should internalize it and make it our own.
We should accept ourselves as minor legitimate heroes
of our own dignified lives
Traditionally novels like most films today
show us people speaking in well-formulated clear and revelant sentences
We tend to suppose without really think about it
that this is a fair reflection of their inner life.
they speak thoughts and feelings that they have
but this isn’t Joyce’s way at all.
Joyce takes us into our minds
and tries to show us what thinking actually sounds like.
At one point in Ulysses Leopold muses on the cycle of life
while he’s watching the tram cars and people in the street.
This is what it sounds like through Joyce’s microphone.
“Trams past one another, in going, out going,
clanging, clanging, useless words.
Things go on the same day after day
squads of police marching out back, trams in out
Those two loonies mooching about, Dignam carted off.
Minor Purefoy swollen belly on a bed
groaning to have a child tugged out of her
one born every second somewhere other dying every second
since I fed the birds five minutes
300 kicked the bucket, other 300 born washing the blood off
all I washed in the blood of the lamb bawling [maaa]
It’s strange and yet actually perhaps rather familiar muddle of high and low concerns
Bloom is thinking about birth and death
and the random shortness of life and the idea of religion
but he’s also thinking about how he fed some birds,
the ordinary rhythms of daily life
the noisy trams and the fundamental oddity of language
in which sounds we make with our mouths stand for things in the world
If we could slice the top of people’s heads and get a view into the diverse thoughts
假如我们能揭开一个人的头盖 那我们便可看到 各种念头相互交织
that Circulate and cut across one another, contradicting and confusing
从这个流向那个 这个又打断了那个 相互矛盾 混乱不堪
we have a much more accurate picture of our fellow humans
and one radically at odds with the image we typically have
that people are psychological monoliths with clear definite and fixed views
who are very certain what they believe and care about
Joyce like other modernist describers of stream of consciousness thoughts and feelings
is suggesting that if we knew more about what others in ourselves Really thought and felt.
We’d have a clearer sense of what it means to be human
and we’d perhaps also be slower to anger, quicker to forgive
we’d love more and hate less
we’d be more curious about apparently strange byways of our own and others’ minds
the more Joyce went beneath the surface of our Utterances
to reveal the cacophony of our minds
the more he felt the need to twist and remould the language itself
To capture how we sound to ourselves
in his last and truly puzzling novel Finnegan’s wake
Joyce decided to create his own version of English ”A Tower of Babel”(he called it)
By mixing together bits and pieces of more than 40 languages
sometimes the words on the page looking entirely foreign
but if you sound them out you can often find the sense
“Hereweareagain” means what it says
It’s just that the words are jammed together to reflect the speed of the mind in action
Joyce went in for many portmanteau words
two more words stuck together to create a new one
a “fun for all” is a ”fun funeral” or a “fun for all”
funferall就是fun funeral或者fun for all
a “bisexcycle” is a “bisexual” or a ”bicycle for sex”
bisexcycle就是bisexual或bicycle for sex
Joyce twisted prestigious names
so shakespeare became “shake his beard”
shakespeare变成shake his beard
and“Denti Alligator”was “Dante Alighieri”
Denti Alligator实为Dante Alighieri
The plot insofar as there is one in Finnegan’s Wake
is about a man called Tim Finnegan
who falls from a ladder dies and comes back to life
when someone spills whiskey on his face during the wake
It’s intended as a universal story about the fall of mankind
and the character of Tim Finnegan is also meant to be simultaneously
Adam, Noah, Richard the third, Napoleon
亚当 诺亚 理查三世 拿破仑
and the Irish nationalists Charles Parnell
There is indeed a plot in this book
“It’s just not one,” Joyce explained sarcastically,
“that can be rendered sensible by the use of words wide-awake language,
cut and dry grammar and go ahead plot
In attempting to be completely faithful to real life
and all its true confusion and complexity,
Joyce ended up writing a book that is fascinatingly instructively unreadable
The fourth sentence of the first chapter runs like this
“Rot a peg of pars malt had Jhem or shen
brewed by arclight and Rory end to the regan brow
was to be seen ringsome on the aquaface”
It’s a reminder of how much fiction
when it seemed logical and understandable
is always necessarily a drastic foreshortening
of what is actually going on in the world and the minds of characters
Joyce pushed one possibility of the realistic novel as far as it could possibly go
into a realm as mysterious, haunting and perplexing as the dreams of a stranger.
使其变得像野蛮人的梦境一般神秘 诡异 令人困惑
Joyce spent the greater part of his life writing.
What was he hoping to achieve through his art?
What is art for？
In his novel The Portrait Of The Artist As A Young Man
Joyce gets his spokesman Stephen to have a go at spelling out an answer
He follows a surprisingly traditional route
using two terms from the medieval Philosopher, Saint Thomas Aquinas
The first is Intergritas
this means that an artist is someone who attempts to grasp with unusual vigor
the true integrity and identity of what is being studied
It might be a tree, a moment of history
or the life of a fictional character in 20th century Dublin
we don’t normally do this
We don’t really concentrate on what a person is saying or doing
or what objects around us really are and look like
we don’t normally isolate and study carefully
art has the job of doing this for us
and teaching us to do so habitually
The second step for an artist in Joyce’s view
is to bring Claritas or Clarity to things
which means shining the light of reason
into the murkier parts of experience and life
The Paradox is that Joyce did just this
but it is attempt to be utterly clear about what being human is actually like.
He created works which are in places utterly baffling to a reader in a hurry
That shouldn’t surprise us too long, though.
Artist Joyce sees it should be a corrective
to unnatural but dangerous blindness
and inattention to cliche and over rapid summary
if art sometimes puzzles us
We know says Joyce that it’s doing its job properly
要知道 乔伊斯说过 那正是它的本职工作
It’s real awakening us to the mysteries
we have too quickly grown blind to.