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Thread: Portrait of the Artist and Pink Floyd

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    Portrait of the Artist and Pink Floyd

    Hi there, thought I'd post a reasonably fun question about A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. When I first read this book I couldn't help but be struck by certain aspects that resemble certain Pink Floyd songs (or rather, vice versa).

    For example, the lyrics to Comfortably Numb: 'A distant ships smoke on the horizon.
    You are only coming through in waves.
    Your lips move but I cant hear what youre sayin.
    When I was a child I had a fever.
    My hands felt just like two balloons'

    This verse seems to me to resemble the passage in Portrait: 'The fire rose and fell on the wall. It was like waves...They were talking. It was the noise of the waves. Or the waves talking among themselves as they rose and fell...A tiny light twinkled at the pierhead where the ship was entering: and he saw a multitude of people gathered by the waters' edge to see the ship that was entering their harbour.'

    Similarily, the childlike opening of the novel resembles some of the earlier songs of Pinkfloyd ('I've got a bike, you can ride it if you like...', etc). And of course the concern with religious/private education is a reaccurring theme in both Portrait and the songs of Pink Floyd (think 'I don't need no education' etc).

    So, I was wondering, how many links between James Joyce and Pink Floyd can you find? Be creative, be original, and have some fun!

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    Vincit Qui Se Vincit Virgil's Avatar
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    I think you've been listening to too many Pink Floyd songs. Joyce loved opera and if you said Portrait reminded you of opera i would have entertained the thought. But Pink Floyd tells me you've been smoking sothing.
    LET THERE BE LIGHT

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    Pièce de Résistance Scheherazade's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Virgil View Post
    But Pink Floyd tells me you've been smoking sothing.
    So has the writer of the above sentence by the look of his typing tonight.

    ~
    "It is not that I am mad; it is only that my head is different from yours.”
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    Vincit Qui Se Vincit Virgil's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scheherazade View Post
    So has the writer of the above sentence by the look of his typing tonight.

    No I haven't. Just terrible typist.
    LET THERE BE LIGHT

    "Love follows knowledge." – St. Catherine of Siena

    My literature blog: http://ashesfromburntroses.blogspot.com/

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    A ist der Affe NickAdams's Avatar
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    I guess this was as good of place as any to create this thread. Unfortunately, for this thread , Animals is the only Pink Floyd album I've actually gotten into.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jojapo View Post
    ... (or rather, vice versa).
    I've notice similarities between Finnegans Wake and the album Frances the Mute (from the circular structure to the song titled L'Via L'Viaquez which reminds me of Anna Livia Plurabelle).

    This has little to do with Pink Floyd, but it's interesting to know if Joyce is being embraced by musicians.

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    Our wee Olympic swimmer Janine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NickAdams View Post
    This has little to do with Pink Floyd, but it's interesting to know if Joyce is being embraced by musicians.
    In what way, Nick?....hummm, he might be Heaven (or the other place) right now surrounded by infamous musicians who OD'd.

    Jopapo, I actually do find your similarities interesting but I think one could do what with just about any author and come up with similar references. Harbours and waves are used often in novels and poetry. The education theme is also often explored but especially in the Pink Floyd music; I am sure those guys were no dummies, nor unaware of good literature. Everything can influence an artist.
    Last edited by Janine; 08-29-2009 at 10:23 PM.
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    Ok, granted you could read similarities into virtually anything. However I would argue that the imagery of a ship in the distance as witnessed through a childhood fever and representing a death is pretty specific. I'm not saying this is hugely significant to anything, I just thought it was an interesting link and thought it would be interesting to see what other links people could come up with. Granted if people aren't familiar with Pink Floyd then this becomes somewhat pointless.

    Just as a side note, has anyone here read any Dante? Because if you wanted to read influences into Joyce then that would be an excellent place to start. Not least with 'a multitude of people gathered by the waters' edge'.

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    A ist der Affe NickAdams's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Janine View Post
    In what way, Nick?....hummm, he might be Heaven (or the other place) right now surrounded by infamous musicians who OD'd.
    Joyce seems more discussed than read in the literary circles I'm familiar with, Lit-net not included of course, so it would be interesting to know if it's musicians who are continuing his legacy. I know there has been a musical based on Finnegans Wake.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jojapo View Post
    Just as a side note, has anyone here read any Dante? Because if you wanted to read influences into Joyce then that would be an excellent place to start. Not least with 'a multitude of people gathered by the waters' edge'.
    I'm reading Inferno now.

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    Vincit Qui Se Vincit Virgil's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jojapo View Post
    Just as a side note, has anyone here read any Dante? Because if you wanted to read influences into Joyce then that would be an excellent place to start. Not least with 'a multitude of people gathered by the waters' edge'.
    Yes absolutely. Now you are on solid ground.
    LET THERE BE LIGHT

    "Love follows knowledge." – St. Catherine of Siena

    My literature blog: http://ashesfromburntroses.blogspot.com/

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    Same as you

    I can actually see some similarities between The Wall and A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man.
    Pink and young Dedalus share these very specific artistic personalities. They live alienated from others and spend their time within their own minds. Both of them come from broken families. Their time at school is somewhat traumatic; Dedalus is bullied by students while Pink is constantly bullied by teachers.
    Pink becomes a famous musician and builds an imaginary wall that separates him from others.
    In Ulysses, Dedalus has become a poet, but he is unable to come to terms with his family, specially his father. That is why he resembles Telemachus, he needs to find his father Odysseus (Bloom). Once he is able to empathize and leave his past behind, Dedalus will finally step out of the walls that he created in A Portrait.

    Just some thoughts.
    Last edited by BlHE; 06-10-2018 at 09:25 PM.

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