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James Joyce
Onno Kosters
"BELLA POETRIA!" (U 16.346):
REREADING THE POETIC IN JOYCE'S PROSE AND THE PROSAIC IN HIS POETRY

The reason for the relative lack of appreciation of Joyce’s verse, other than of his often highly ‘poetic’ prose, might be that it seems to be of a rather traditional kind. It is of course difficult to pinpoint exactly what we mean by “traditional,” since Joyce, as a number of critics have suggested, uses various “traditions” as sources for his own poetry, and manipulates them in ways not unlike those he followed in processing the sources he used in his prose. It is safe to say, however, that in spite of this he was no great admirer of modernist, avant-garde poetry. This is surprising to learn, perhaps, since the new poetry written and promoted by contemporaries such Ezra Pound, T.S. Eliot, and Wyndham Lewis, or created by avant-gardists like André Breton and Tristan Tzara, was as ground breaking as Joyce’s own prose and used many of the same techniques. But in his other artistic tastes too, particularly music and the plastic arts, Joyce was rather conservative, a “Kitschmensch” even.(1) The author’s artistic preferences, in fact, may be seen as reflected in Bloom’s, who echoes, apparently with approval, the magazine’s own qualification of the photo print “The Bath of the Nymph” included in the Easter 1904 number of Photo Bits as a “splendid masterpiece in art colours” (U 4.369-70).

Although no-one, as far as I have been able to establish, has disqualified Joyce’s work because of his conservatism as an art consumer, it might be suggested that the author’s implicit insistence on what Eugene Jolas labelled, after Rimbaud, “the Hallucination of the word,”(2) was restricted to his prose and allowed only for what he himself might bring to it. After all, Joyce stayed mostly well away from reading or openly appreciating the work of fellow Modernists such as Pound, Eliot, Lewis, Franz Kafka or Marcel Proust. In fact, his attitude towards these fellow writers can be considered rather cant. In Proust Joyce could not “see any special talent,” adding, both ingeniously and disingenuously, “but I am a bad critic.”(3) The meeting of Joyce and Proust in May 1922 is stuff for Beckettian comedy;(4) in a notebook we have Joyce’s brief dismissal of Proust’s works as “‘analytic still life. Reader ends sentence before him’,” and Ellmann adds: “What he envied Proust were his material circumstances.”(5) Eliot and Lewis struggled in their friendship with Joyce with what they felt, despite Joyce always being “most polite,” as “condescension towards the work of contemporaries, including [Lewis] himself.”(6) Joyce was apparently genuinely surprised when he discovered, on having read The Waste Land, that “Eliot was a poet,” later objecting to the notes appended to that work and parodying it both as a poem in itself (the opening lines of this certainly well-wrought satire reading “Rouen is the rainiest place getting / Inside all impermeables, wetting / Damp marrow in drenched bones,” (7) and in Finnegans Wake.(8) Of Kafka, in 1927, Joyce had never heard, and (as corroborated by Samuel Beckett) he was “perplexed and bothered by this new aspirant to literary pre-eminence.”(9) There are no records of Joyce admiring or even recognizing the Dada movement, surrealism, Pound’s Cantos, etc. (of the Cantos the best Joyce could manage to say was that it was “a most magnificent thing in gold and scarlet at prices ranging from 5 to 50 pounds;”(10) Joyce himself resented Pound’s criticism  of Pomes Penyeach).(11)

Joyce’s consistent dismissal of most of his fellow writers makes, one might argue, his own efforts entirely self-centred - which is perhaps one of the most important reasons for their lasting success. Joyce famously made a myth of himself, aiming for a body of work that would keep the professors busy for centuries and thereby insuring his immortality and all that(12) but to do so many of his contemporaries, not necessarily because they were producing less significant or revolutionary works, had to be rendered harmless by keeping them out of his own circle. “[O]f modern writers in general [Joyce] remarked, ‘If you took a characteristic obscure passage of one of these people and asked him what it meant, he couldn’t tell you; whereas I can justify every line of my book’.”(13) I suppose we have to take his (or the Joyce industry’s) word for it.

Joyce was surprised to learn that Eliot was a poet, as we have seen; similarly, it would surprise many to learn that Joyce himself was a poet too. Be that as it may, where Eliot reshaped the face of poetry much as Joyce revolutionised modern fiction, in his poetry Joyce did not, at first glance, re-do much at all. Both Chamber Music, with its roots on the whole firmly in the Elizabethan tradition, and Pomes Penyeach, even while taking its cue from a more contemporary, “imagist” approach, are fairly traditional collections of verse. To put it bluntly, they are almost unrecognizable as products of early twentieth-century poetry compared to what Eliot came up with in Prufrock and Other Observations or The Waste Land. They are relevant in their own right because written by Joyce and so part of the grand tapestry of letters that he rolled out over the first decades of the twentieth century, but hardly as revolutionary as the prose works.

I leave it to my fellow critics here and elsewhere to assess the extent to which the above observations can (and perhaps must) be nuanced and shall limit myself here to, first of all, a reading of a number of passages from Joyce’s prose in terms of their assumed ‘poetic’ quality. Secondly, I shall analyse one particular poem from Pomes Penyeach, “Flood,” in terms of the obvious prosodic and musical effort Joyce put into it in trying to give it the lyrical power and psychological substance he wanted.(14) Finally, working on this poem and rereading Joyce’s collection as a whole has almost naturally generated my “Wordlist to Pomes Penyeach,” published for the first time in this issue of Hypermedia Joyce Studies. It will help future critics of the work to take into account the full verbal range of the collection.

the beauty of poetry, so sad in its transient loveliness (U 13.647-48)

One of the most “poetic” passages from Joyce that will always come to a reader’s mind first, I would assume, is the ending of “The Dead,” with its snow ponderously, chiastically “falling softly, softly falling” (D 176). Here, for instance, is Sebastian Knowles, who, in his generous and frankly personal foreword to Marc Conner’s collection of critical essays The Poetry of James Joyce Reconsidered (2012), underscores the musical quality of the final paragraph of “The Dead.” It is “bowed,” says Knowles,

as a piece of music for a stringed instrument requires bowing: a downward stroke “falling on every part of the dark central plain,” upbow “on the treeless hills,” downbow “falling softly upon the Bog of Allen,” upbow “and, farther westward, softly falling” and then sweeping sonorously down to the tip of the bow “into the dark mutinous Shannon waves.”(15)

Knowles’s reading of the passage in terms of its musical subdivision is most convincing, particularly when he connects it to “Bach’s Sarabande from the second cello suite: the mirroring of words and music was exact.”(16)

Knowles quite explicitly reads the final paragraph of “The Dead” in terms of its musical impact; it is an impact generated by the deceptively simple, highly effective pattern of sounds and rhythms the fragment pivots on:

The way the passage is marked is intended to help ‘hearing’ how Joyce created the desired effect. Apart from the chiastic structure of “falling faintly/falling faintly” noted earlier and the more obvious forms of alliteration (e.g., “crooked crosses,” “soul swooned slowly”) and assonance (“It ... thickly drifted,” “descent ... end”), repetitions and parallelisms abound. Most striking perhaps is the sonorous quality of the passage generated by Joyce’s specific application of both consonants and vowels:

Voiced and voiceless nasals (/n/, /m/, /ŋ/ [i.e., the present participles “falling” and “living”] as well as the predominance of voiced labial-velar approximant /w/ give the passage a low sound, which is furthermore enhanced by

the dominance of rounded vowels ɔ: and ɒ (e.g., “f/ɔ:/lling s/ɒ/ftly /ɒ/n the B/ɔ:/g of Allen,”
/ɒ/n the crooked cr/ɒ/sses”), by

alveolar and post-alveolar fricatives /z/, /s/, and /ʃ/ (28 on a total of 483 characters of this passage, including the /ʃ/ of the “Shannon waves” silencing every flake touching it), by

labio-dental fricatives /f/ and /v/ (18 on 483 ), and by

lateral approximant coronal /l/ (a rather remarkable 41 on 483 - suggesting the idea that Gabriel, and as a side-effect of his free indirect discourse the reader, too, is being lulled to sleep...).(17)

Together, the consonants under the last three points are responsible for a total of 87 of the 483 characters (many of which of course cannot separated as single sounds at all, such as the S-h [/ʃ/] in Shannon or the schwa in Michael). In short, the totality of the phonemes as used in this passage help create a tonal effect greatly intensifying the sad and transient quality Joyce was after.

theres real beauty and poetry for you (U 18.1351)

Naturally, endings are the sites in Joyce’s prose at which the author often weaves voices both heard and unheard and themes and motifs into the pattern that suggest the reader to return to the beginning(18) or trigger (or is it trick?) him into rereading the very passage or chapter he has just finished. The poetic quality of those endings, as we have seen above, is often very special, serving that specific point of tempting the reader to begin, and fin, again. The ending of Molly’s monologue in Ulysses, for instance, with its increasingly ecstatic yesses celebrating the union then and the reunion now with Bloom, is another case in point:

...and then I asked him with my eyes to ask again yes and then he asked me would I yes to say yes my mountain flower and first I put my arms around him yes and drew him down to me so he could feel my breasts all perfume yes and his heart was going like mad and yes I said yes I will Yes. (U 18.1605-09)

There is a great deal of sensuality here (and of course, the quotation might have started many lines earlier), particularly striking if the reader can be persuaded to read the text out loud - and much of the appealing quality of Joyce’s texts lies in doing exactly that: persuading the reader to read them out loud. Mellifluously dripping from Molly’s inner mouth are the simple words increasingly showing, as the final fragment evolves, lyrical qualities such as parallelism and repetition (“and then I asked him,” “and then he asked me;” the yeses), assonance (“I,” “my,” “eyes;” “then,” “yes,” “breasts;” “mountain flower,” “around,” “down;” “to,” “could,” “perfume”), alliteration (“my mountain;” “flower,” “first;” “drew [him] down”) and even metred rhythm (e.g., the dactylic two feet, closed, appropriately since ‘Poldeanly’, by the one strong masculine syllable, of “yes I said / yes I will / Yes;” or, alternatively, cast in a metrical string connecting the dactyl of “yes I said,” the amphimacer of “yes I will,” and then once again the affirmative single syllable “Yes”).(19)

If Molly’s last words are indeed informed by a pattern of dactyls, this would of course offer yet another relevant connection in a novel that comes full circle in all sorts of ways: after all, the opening sentence of Ulysses was composed as an homage to the metre informing Homer’s Odyssey: the dactylic hexameter. Joyce’s sentence may not be strictly dactylic, but there is definitely a double hexameter at work in it: “Stately, plump Buck Mulligan came from the stairhead / bearing a bowl of lather on which a mirror and a razor lay crossed” (U 1.1-2). Endings in Joyce always seem to connect, in both more and less subtle and certainly both more an less “poetic” ways, with their (or other) beginnings, a systemic element in Joyce’s works that I have explored elsewhere.(20) Most famous (or notorious) of course is how the “last end” (D 176) of Finnegans Wake runs on into its opening words. Looking at ALP’s last words in terms of their poetic quality, one will notice how her feminine ending, her unstressed (in this respect very different from Molly’s), voiceless “the,” a mere rubbing of ridge of teeth with tip of tongue, is preceded by the neat iambic pentameter “a way a lone a lost a loved a long” (FW 628.15-16), which helps buoy ALP towards her freshet, her “riverrun” (FW 3.1).

Poetry. Well educated. Pity (U 15.4935)

I also need to mention Portrait here, the ending of which, through its diary form, seems quite prosaic, but even there Joyce colours the prose with a “touch of the artist” (U 10.582) as a young man: Stephen’s ambitious “I  go to encounter for the millionth time the reality of experience and to forge in the smithy of my soul the uncreated conscience of my race” (P 213) has the rhetorical qualities needed to persuade an audience - necessarily himself, here, most of all: the diary form is essentially (and so, here, ironically) a private form. The powerful image (“the smithy of my soul”); the blatantly ridiculous pathos of the number of times Stephen will go to encounter (“I go to encounter for the millionth time” - his millionth time? if not, who does he have in mind?); the cliché character and, frankly, meaninglessness of what exactly he has in mind (“the reality of experience”) and what he seeks to get out of that encounter (forging “the uncreated conscience of my race,” a phrase that sounds wonderful and wonderfully ambitious; yet we are entitled if not forced to ask: what race, the human race, the Irish race, both races?; and what exactly does he mean by an “uncreated conscience”?): all of these flourishes combine to create a battle cry the true implications of which Stephen, young man that he is, is of course unable to grasp. Small wonder then, in the light of this rather over-the-top diary entry of intent, that in his last words he calls on his “father” (a conflation of his mythical and his biological fathers: Daedalus the artificer and Simon Daedalus, Stephen’s father) to “stand me now and ever in good stead” (P 213). Of course, this diary entry too reeks of cliché and pathos, but should, I would argue, be read as a genuine plea for support by his fathers (the biological, the mythical) on the part of the artist as a young man about to head wherever it is he will be heading (we do of course not know for certain Stephen will go to Paris until Ulysses tells us so). Both characters’ mediating, generating roles called on are underpinned by the alliteration and assonance in the parallel construction of “old father, old artificer;” the three trochees rounded by a bacchius of “stand me / now and / ever / in good stead,” fastened together, in addition, by the alliteration of “stand” and “stead” (which in itself is transferred to the “Stately” of the opening sentence of Ulysses, U 1.1) create a firm poetic quality in these last words, affirming the serious intent of Stephen’s plea.

jerks of verse (U 2.62)

Many of the poetic effects we can trace in the passages from the prose I have discussed above (which can be endlessly expanded) are also essential to Joyce’s poetry. They are often highly effective in terms of their aesthetic quality, offering “Bella Poetria” (U 16.346: Bloom’s Eumaeun, that is to say, wonky Italian for ‘beautiful poetry’) - by catering to tastes such as Bloom’s and Joyce’s, but not to those of more adventurous poetic taste (let alone poets) such as Pound or Eliot - Samuel Beckett, perhaps, being the exception.

In “Recent Irish Poetry” (1934), Beckett discussed the quality of a number of Irish poets (James Stephens, Austin Clarke, John McGreevy and others). He did not discuss Joyce in his article, for reasons we may guess at - but his friendship with and admiration for Joyce might be one of them; another that Joyce, 52 years old in 1934, for Beckett had ceased to be ‘recent’. Despite his professed admiration of Joyce’s poem “Ecce Puer,”(21) one might assume that Beckett would have assigned Joyce’s poems to the “antiquarian” school he so disparagingly wrote about in his review.(22) But what also seems to save Joyce from young Beckett’s scorn is probably that there is no hint of the “twilighters” (Beckett 71; supporters of the Irish Literary Revival) to be detected in his work; in that sense, it is entirely independent. In fact, as James Knowlson tells us in his biography of Beckett, the future author of Whoroscope (1930)and Echo’s Bones and other Precipitates (1935), both far less “antiquarian” works of poetry than Joyce’s, “felt sufficiently enthusiastic about Joyce’s poems to give his golfing partner, Bill Cunningham, a copy of Pomes Penyeach signed ‘Yours ever, Sam Beckett July 1927’.”(23) It may also be of some relevance, to be explored in a future investigation, that Echo’s Bones, like Pomes Penyeach, comprises thirteen poems (twelve plus a tilly) and that in both collections moon imagery seems to play a crucial role.

In their seminal article “The Wandering Gentile: Joyce’s Emotional Odyssey in Pomes Penyeach” Ruud Hisgen and Adriaan van der Weel argue that early in the second decade of the twentieth century “Joyce no longer held his verse in quite the same esteem he did before 1904.”(24) Nevertheless, Joyce did start writing poetry again from 1913 on, triggered by the affair (of sorts) he had with Amalia Propper in Trieste. Whereas Joyce’s own main criticism of Chamber Music was that it was not “true,” since “based on nothing more than an imagined experience of love,”(25) the heartfelt emotions he experienced as a result of his infatuation with Amalia Propper was apparently substantial enough to be rendered into poetry. However, as Hisgen and Van der Weel note, Joyce’s experience as represented in Pomes Penyeach “is a heavily fictionalized version, with some aspects dramatized to receive greater weight and others expurgated for public consumption.”(26) The work, as the title of their article suggests, of course, is read by Hisgen and Van der Weel as semi-autobiographical reflection of Joyce’s state of mind, in the end bringing him back to the straight and narrow of Nora: “If ‘Tilly’ provides the point of departure, the last poem of the collection, ‘A Prayer,’ provides the point of return, if not to the Ithaca of Dublin at least to Nora, his Penelope.”(27)

a poem in itself (U 15.1802)

Convincing as I think their foray into the composition and narrative consistency of Pomes Penyeach is, Hisgen and Van der Weel hardly touch on the poetic quality of the poems. I would argue that Joyce’s “dramatization” and “expurgation,” as Hisgen and Van der Weel call it, of some aspects of the autobiographical is brought about, partly, by prosodic means that are geared essentially towards romanticizing the heartfelt experience into a number of aesthetically pleasing, easily readable units. Below, I shall show how Joyce creates one such unit by using many of the same techniques we discovered earlier when we looked at some of the poetic passages from the prose.

“Flood,” the eighth poem in the collection, is, as a technical exercise in effective poetry, highly successful. Read it out loud and be swept away by its elocutionary force:

Flood

Goldbrown upon the sated flood
The rockvine clusters lift and sway,
Vast wings above the lambent waters brood
Of sullen day.

A waste of waters ruthlessly  5
Sways and uplifts its weedy mane
Where brooding day stares down upon the sea
in dull disdain.

Uplift and sway, O golden vine,
Your clustered fruits to love's full flood,   10
Lambent and vast and ruthless as is thine
Incertitude!

Trieste, 1915(28)

Four quatrains, twelve regular lines of, for every stanza, 8, 8, 10, and 4 syllables, imitating the very “sway” of the flood. The regular meter, too, gently guides the reader through scene and contemplation: the iambic pattern is even and nowhere disturbed by anything more adventurous than that one enjambment that seems to stand out from the other run-on lines that follow a smoother course, “thine / Incertitude!” (ll. 11-12).(29)

Immediately striking, of course, are the many identical or semi-identical words Joyce uses. Below, I have marked the words that are the same or have the same root meaning (“Goldbrown” and “golden,” “rockvine “ and “vine,” “lift” and  “uplifts” and “uplift;” “flood,” “waters,” “sea,” “flood”):

Arguably, Joyce makes the verbal pattern of this poem coincide with what it is describing: the interweaving of the seaweeds, the “rockvine clusters” (l. 2), the “weedy mane” (l. 6), the “clustered fruits to love’s full flood” (l. 10). Some of Joyce’s individual word choices are remarkable, too. [W]aste in “waste of waters,” which in itself is too close for comfort to the periphrasis “watery waste,” also, I would argue, denotes the quality of the water as waste (like the land, of course in Eliot’s The Waste Land), barren; after all, the love sung here is not to be, due to the beloved’s blasted “[i]ncertitude!”! The two occurrences of “lambent,” too, are interesting. The surface meaning of “emitting, or suffused with, a soft clear light; softly radiant”(30) in a poem which has such clear erotic undertones, is heightened by the secondary meaning of the word: “licking.”(31) In combination with the “waters” of line 3 the word works really well - however, one might argue that as one of the adjectives marking “[i]ncertitude,” in either of the two meanings the term is hardly le mot juste.

Unlike the final paragraph of “The Dead,” the particular aural quality of the poem is not that remarkable. Of course, a number of alliterations and assonances can be detected (“above the lambent waters brood,” “waste of waters,” “dull disdain,” etc.; “Goldbrown upon ... rockvine,” “Sways ... mane ... day ... disdain,” etc.), but the emphasis on the theme of interweaving as reflected in the poem’s imagery remains a surface emphasis, serving ornamental description, not a deepening significance.

As a whole, “Flood” lacks the narrative kick it needs to make a successful “leap from the lexical to the fictional level,” to use Eva Müller-Zettelmann’s highly informative approach to reading lyric poetry.(32) Close-reading Christina Rossetti’s “An End” through a number of lenses focusing on its narrative intricacies, Müller-Zettelmann argues that in many cases including Rossetti’s poem, “a single (prototypical) trigger will - and must - suffice to activate a network of related facts and associated ideas replete with kinaesthetic stimuli, emotion and evaluative assessment.”(33) What is missing from “Flood” is a sufficient narrative dynamic to create a “‘tellability’ (Labov 1972)...elsewhere” the foregrounding of which is “crucial to lyric poetry.”(34) The “tellabiltity” is firmly contained within the poem itself (“thine / Incertitude!”) but fails to suggest an extra-textual reverberation that would make it as powerful an expression of the sorrow of love as Rossetti’s “post-love love poem”(35) “An End.”

To fill the ear of a cow elephant (U 16.350)

What gives the poetic prose fragments highlighted in this article their striking quality, in Pomes Penyeach does not suffice to give most of the single poems a value that brings them beyond the poetic field and ‘feel’ they are part of. The prose narratives are enriched by the poetic effect so as to provide them with a flywheel effect and, thus, invite the reader time and again to contemplate their thematic as well as poetic significance. In the poems, however, the poetic effect helps embellish the imagery and illustrate the point of view that is being explored, but both illustration and point of view remain stuck between the narrow bounds of the personal and take on only rarely a broader, more public, ‘universal’ significance. Joyce’s prose is poetic in the right places and for the right reasons. “Making a Lot out of Very Little,” to quote Fritz Senn in this issue of HJS, the poems, despite the poet’s best efforts to make them as lyrical as possible, remain, on the whole, rather prosaic.

1 See Peter de Voogd, “Kitschmensch: James Joyce tussen kunst en kitsch,” in Onno Kosters, ed., Bzzlletin 219 (1994), 30-34.
2 Transition Manifesto. http://sites.davidson.edu/
littlemagazines/transition-manifesto/
, retrieved 12 September 2013.
3 Richard Ellmann, James Joyce. 2nd rev. ed. (Oxford: Oxford UP, 1982), 488. Hereafter JJ.
4 See JJ 508-09.
5 JJ509.
6 Ibid.
7 James Joyce, Poems and Shorter Writings, ed. Richard Ellmann and John Whittier Ferguson (London: Faber and Faber, 1991), 134.
8 JJ 494-95.
9 JJ 702.
10 JJ 606.
11 See JJ 591.
12 JJ 521.
13 JJ 702.
14 I shall only address Joyce’s “serious” (“dreamy creamy,” U 8.778) verse here, and of that only Pomes Penyeach. Obviously, Joyce was a master of light verse, but for the present discussion those particular genres aim at such different goals that inclusion here would not make sense. For a discussion of Joyce’s limericks, see Tim Conley’s contribution to this issue of HJS.(14a)
14a The occasional/light (but by no means inconsequential) verse offers parody and pastiche (e.g., mentioned earlier, “Rouen is the rainiest place,” Joyce’s variation on The Waste Land, see Joyce 1991, 134), satire (“The Holy Office” and “Gas from a Burner,” annotated versions of which are to be found in Joyce 1991), but also reflections on (the limericks about Stephen Daedalus, for instance; see Joyce 1991, 117) and characterization of protagonists (e.g., Bloom’s “first piece of original verse,” U 17.392, “An ambition to squint,” U 17.396; or his creation as a “kinetic poet,” the acrostic aimed at wooing Molly: “Poets of have sung in rhyme / Of music sweet their praise divine. / Let them hymn it nine times nine. / Dearer far than song or wine. / You are mine. The world is mine,” U 17.410-16).
15 Marc C. Conner, ed., The Poetry of James Joyce Reconsidered (UP of Florida, 2012), ix.
16 Ibid.
17 I am grateful to my colleague Dr. Koen Sebregts, who checked and tweaked my use of the phonetic terms in the discussion of the ending of “The Dead.”
18 Here, in simple terms of course, the snow dominating landscape and outlook on the last page of “The Dead” is “foreshadowed” on the first page, where Lily has to deal with the snow sticking to the visitors’ “goloshes” (D 139).
19 It is a rhythm and sound complex Joyce is offering here that seems, if we are indeed so unabashed as to recite the words out loud, not far away from the “sexual moan” response cry Erving Goffmann has identified as the “subvocal tracking of the course of sexually climatic experience [which] is a display available to both sexes, but said to be increasingly fashionable for females - amongst whom, of course, the sound tracing can be strategically employed to delineate an ideal development in the marked absence of anything like the real thing” (Forms of Talk, Philadelphia: U of Pennsylvania P, 1981, 106).(19a)
19a Ironically, Molly’s sexual climax here, which parallels Stephen’s in Proteus and Bloom’s in Nausicaa, its whole lyrical, rhythmical, graphical if not pornographical set-up, is counterpointed by the sober dateline arriving immediately behind: “Trieste-Zurich-Paris 1914-1921” (U 18.1611-12.). That dateline is like the proverbial (or real) cigarette after the coitus; having come to the end of Ulysses, one cannot help but feel “triste” (one of the points, surely, of Finnegans Wake’s variation on Paul Verlaine’s ”O triste, triste était mon âme” as “Trieste, ah Trieste, ate I my liver!” (FW 301.17).
20 See my Ending in Progress: Final Sections in James Joyce’s Prose Fictions (1999).
21 See James Knowlson, Damned to Fame: The Life of Samuel Beckett (London: Bloomsbury, 1996), 157-58.
22 See Samuel Beckett, “Recent Irish Poetry,” in Disjecta: Miscellaneous Writings and a Dramatic Fragment, ed. with a foreword by Ruby Cohn (London: John Calder, 1983), passim.
23 Knowlson 98.
24 Ruud Hisgen, and Adriaan Van der Weel, “The Wandering Gentile: Joyce’s Emotional Odyssey in Pomes Penyeach,” in Morris Beja and David Norris, eds, Joyce in the Hibernian Metropolis (Columbus: Ohio State UP, 1996, 164-75), 167 (or https://ohiostatepress.org/Books/Complete%20PDFs/Beja%20Joyce/17.pdf, retrieved 14 October 2013).
25 Ibid. 165-66; see ibid. 166-67 for more of Joyce’s own reflections on Chamber Music.
26 Ibid. 167.
27 Ibid. 173.
28 James Joyce, Poems and Shorter Writings, 58.
29 The exclamation mark emphasising that final gesture of despair is a clear give-away of the outmodedness, even in its own time, of the poem. It underscores the supposed weight of the personal tragedy that is being expressed here, but in poetry less informed by tradition it would be highly unlikely to appear at such a critical point (unless used ironically). Most decent poets would leave it to the poem as whole to suggest the personal input and public outpouring rather than to hammer things home at the very end.
30 “Lambent.” OED, 2nd edition, retrieved 9 September 2013.
31 Ibid.
32 Eva Müller-Zettelmann, “Poetry, Narratology, Metacognition,” in Greta Olson, ed., Current Trends in Narratology (Berlin, New York: De Gruyter, 2011, 232-253), 240.
33 Ibid.
34 Ibid. 244. Müller-Zettelmann refers to William Labov’s use of the term in his Language in the Inner City: Studies in Black English Vernacular (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1972). In this work, as Monika Fludernik formulates it, Labov “introduced the terms ‘point’ and ‘reportability’ or ‘tellability’: to be effective, narratives must be ‘newsworthy’ (reportable) and have a ‘point’ (demonstrate something)” (Monika Fludernik, “Conversational Narration - Oral Narration,” in The Living Handbook of Narratology, http://wikis.sub.uni-hamburg.de/lhn/index.php/Conversational_Narration_-_Oral_Narration, retrieved 14 October 2013), par. 15.
35 Ibid. 243.