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Thread: Emotion in Joyce

  1. #1
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    May 2012

    Emotion in Joyce

    I'm a huge Joyce lover, but after reading a lot of critical work/exploration on him, I wonder if I'm missing the pieces that discuss the emotion in his work. Specifically Ulysses.

    I would love any recs! My favorite part of Joyce's work is the emotion in Ulysses, ie. when Stephen and Bloom connect at the end, when Bloom 'sees' Rudy, when Molly recalls Bloom's proposal, etc. I am always deeply moved by these types of scenes, but I haven't seen/read any critical commentary on the 'emotive power' of Joyce.

    Maybe this sounds too nebulous! I wonder if anyone else felt this way. Don't get me wrong, I love reading critical pieces on Joyce and have a lot of books on him -- it's just that emotion between the humans in the work strikes me the strongest (after being a dedicated Joycean for many years.)

    Just personally, I love how after the sadness/pain that Stephen feels in Portrait & Ulysses -- and after the disconnect/regret Bloom sometimes experiences -- the two talk. The fact that they talk about academic and almost random subjects makes sense (to me) in a way. It's almost as if they have a moment of relaxed connection despite the fact that they don't talk about anything 'important' (ie. the problems they have, or their pasts etc.)

    I'd love to hear any opinions on emotion in Joyce!

    (Also, I don't know if this is allowed, but I have a framed Joyce picture/portrait with quote that I inherited and am trying to pass on, it's here:

  2. #2
    In the fog Charles Darnay's Avatar
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    Dec 2005
    trapped in a prologue.
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    If the critical approach does not exist...write it yourself

    Although to be honest, "emotion in Ulysses" is a bit vague. I find the entire book emotionally charged and so really any analysis/criticism on the novel is an analysis of "Emotion in Joyce." But if you are able to narrow this down a bit and pinpoint exactly how emotion plays into the text in key moments - then you might have a solid essay on your hands.

    For example, the scene you pointed out between Daedalus and Bloom - one of my favourite parts - is great because it is such a calm in the midst of a storm.
    I wrote a poem on a leaf and it blew away...

  3. #3
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    May 2012
    Haha you're right! I just was thinking about this topic, I wouldn't want to try to write something on it : )

    I actually have always heard that the book is more 'cold' and unemotional; most of the analytic books on Joyce I've read focus on the technical, academic or Derridean style connections -- for myself, I think long parts of Ulysses roll on without intense emotional moments. I guess I kind of agree with the 'cold' leaning opinions, I would say 75% of the book doesn't produce/create intense emotional moments.

    (Of course anything could prompt emotion in a reader, I just mean in my opinion, ie. perhaps when a human thinks or deals with another human while feeling strong emotion.)

    While I would have enjoyed more (and of course this is insanely subjective, haha) I think the relatively non-heavy emotion passages/scenes serve to highlight the intensity of the emotive ones. I really love that end Bloom & Stephen scene, how moving : )!

    Actually, come to think of it, the end Bloom & Stephen scene reminds me of the Bloom & Rudy scene a little in the sense that they both end abruptly (in my opinion.) There's no lingering over interaction or feelings at all, and I think that almost 'brusque' or 'cold' treatment of it makes it even more moving. Joyce is amazing haha : )

    >>If the critical approach does not exist...

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