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James Joyce
Steven F. Walker
"ART THOU REAL, MY IDEAL?"
JUNG'S ANIMUS IN JOYCE'S "NAUSICAA"

In his classic study of Joyce (1941), Harry Levin wrote that “the international psychoanalytic movement, under the direction of Jung, had its headquarters in Zurich during the war years while Joyce was writing Ulysses, and he could scarcely have resisted its influence.” (1) Levin leaves it at that—no examples. And that is where matters have been left ever since. No doubt, Richard Ellmann, in The Consciousness of Joyce (1977), noted that in Trieste Joyce owned “three small pamphlets in German, published in the years 1909,” one by Freud, one by Ernest Jones, and the third being Jung’s The Significance of the Father in the Destiny of the Individual—“just the subject that Stephen explores,” he notes. (2) Ellmann concludes from this that the influence of Freud and Jung predated Joyce’s wartime years in Zurich from end of Jung 1915 until he left again for Trieste in mid-October 1919. But for the next five pages Ellmann refers to Freud and to Jones only. Similarly, in Ulysses scholarship and commentary Jung has seemed worth only casual mention at best, in spite of the fact that Jung published in 1932 a review of the German translation of Ulysses, wrote a letter to Joyce (3) that he is said to have appreciated, and was to take care of his daughter Lucia in a private sanatorium from September 1934 until January 1935. Given this long association of Joyce with Jung and his psychology, one would expect something more specific in the way of influence to be locatable at some point or another.  Nevertheless, although the editor’s introduction to the issue of Comparative Literature Studies commemorating the centenary of Joyce’s birth puts Carl Jung at the head of the list of an “endless parade” of those who deserve to be celebrated with him as part of the “legion of contemporaries” associated with him and his work, the essay by Jean Kimball (“A Jungian Scenario for Ulysses”) states from at the start that she does “not assume any influence of Jung on Joyce.” (4) Kimball has gone on to discuss the relation between Joyce’s writings and Jung’s psychology in terms of traces and parallels and most recently in terms of patterns (5), but not of influence properly speaking. So to return to Levin’s original supposition: is there influence? or no influence?

In spite of the critical consensus, I believe that a case can be made for influence at least as regards Nausicaa—indirect influence, in that it was probably transmitted via a third party, but influence all the same. I will point to the possible presence in Nausicaa of a Jungian subtext: Jung’s theory of the contrasexual other, which in men expresses itself through the figure of the anima, and in women through the figure of the animus. These two designate the feminine subpersonality of a man and the masculine subpersonality of a woman. Both are considered by Jungians to be of major importance for the psyche. For instance, the psychic predisposition to bond sexually and romantically involves the involuntary and unconscious projection of anima or animus onto someone, who then appears as an object of fascination.(6) Gerty MacDowell’s fantasies concerning “her dreamhusband”(7) and “her beau ideal” (6a), correspond quite nicely to Jung’s theory, as I shall demonstrate later, and in a way that seems more than coincidental, although, as I shall admit by way of conclusion, Homer’s Odyssey certainly provided some stimulus as well as regards a young girl’s dreams of marriage.

Now to the crux of the issue: is it possible that Joyce could have been inspired by Jung’s anima/animus theory during the period when he composed Nausicaa in Trieste in the period November 1919 through March 1920, that is, immediately after his departure from Zurich? The first question is obviously whether Jung had originated his animus/anima theory by the time Joyce would have left Zurich in November 1919. And this is a bit troublesome. Jung’s first major essay on the subject (“Anima and Animus”) was not published until 1928.(8) We do have, however, substantial notebook entries made after conversations with Jung in July, 1922 by his student Esther Harding, and these demonstrate that Jung’s theory by then was fully evolved.(9) 1922 is still not early enough for our argument, however. The earliest published mention of Jung’s anima/animus theory at an early stage of development is to be found in Psychologische Typen (Psychological Types), published by Rascher Verlag in Zurich in 1921.(10) So we can go as far back as Psychological Types in 1921, which is not quiteearly enough, but I should add that the foreword to Psychological Types was written in the spring of 1920, about the time when Joyce first published Nausicaa, so we are back almost as far as we need to go.

Almost far back enough, but, again, not quite. So we need to consider the possibility of some prior oral transmission (to speak almost Homerically) of Jung’s anima/animus idea to Joyce, since there was nothing he could have read of Jung’s that would have influenced him. So let us imagine we are sitting with Joyce at a café on the banks of the Limmat, sipping some white wine, and waiting to see who shows up to join him. Possibly it is Mrs. Edith Rockefeller McCormick, as well as other fans of the great local hero Jung. Starting in February 1918 Mrs.McCormick had become Joyce’s much needed patroness, at a time when she was already fulfilling that role for C.G. Jung as well. She was very enthused about Jung, and had even urged Joyce to undergo analysis with the great local hero. Joyce refused. Writing in June, 1921 to Harriet Shaw Weaver concerning the legends that had grown up about him, this is what Joyce had to say it:

A batch of people in Zurich persuaded themselves that I was gradually going mad and actually endeavoured to induce me to enter a sanatorium where a certain Doctor Jung (the Swiss Tweedledum who is not to be confused with the Viennese Tweedledee, Dr. Freud) amuses himself at the expense (in every sense of the word) of ladies and gentlemen who are troubled with bees in their bonnet.(11)

Mrs. McCormick was eventually to withdraw her financial support in October 1919; Ellmann is not sure whether that was a reaction to Joyce’s refusal to go to Jung or not.(12) One way or another, one can make the assumption that she and were talking with Joyce about the great Dr. Jung and his marvelous new theories, and one can assume that Joyce took it all in—with a large grain of salt. In a letter to Frank Budgen dated December 1919, i.e. during the period when he was writing Nausicaa, he complains that someone had not sent him, as he had requested,

DOCTOR JUNG’S (prolonged general universal applause) Wandlungen der LIBIDO (shouts Hear! Hear! from a raughty tinker and an Irishman in the gallery).(13)

So what have we established so far? That Joyce very likely had Jung on his mind from 1918 to late 1919, i.e. just before he composed Nausicaa, and that Jung probably had developed his theory of the anima/animus by that time and had shared it with his patroness Mrs. McCormick and others in his circle, who then spoke with Joyce about it. But how people might have talked about this new theory must be guessed at from the pages of Psychologische Typen published over a year later in 1921. I will quote from the 1923 English translation of the section at the end concerning definition of terms (“soul” and “soul-image”), in order to show what Joyce might have heard from his hypothetical Jungian informants in Zurich about anima and animus, which Jung first named in the published text “the inner attitude” or “the soul”(14):

The inner personality is the manner of one’s behaviour towards the inner psychic processes; it is the inner attitude, the character, that is turned towards the unconscious.(15)

So far, so good, although this is a bit mushy compared to Jung’s later formulations of the theory. The next quote is a bit better, at least for our purposes:

that the  complementary character of the soul is also concerned with the sex-character is a fact which can no longer be doubted. A very feminine woman has a masculine soul, and a very manly man has a feminine soul. (16)

Speaking of these masculine traits of the woman’s soul, Jung goes on to characterize them in these words:

it is often just the most womanly women who, in respect to certain inner things, have an extreme intractableness, obstinacy, and willfulness; which qualities are found in such intensity only in the outer attitude of men.(17)

These “manly traits,” wrote Jung, are what is meant by “the animus of a woman, if we are to give to the soul of a woman its right name.”(18) This sounds perhaps still a bit abstract. But the next step in Jung’s somewhat turgid presentation leads directly to Joyce’s Nausicaa: in a state of normal unconsciousness, Jung wrote,

The soul is always projected into [onto] a corresponding, real object, with which a relation of almost absolute dependency exists. Every reaction proceeding from this object has an immediate, inwardly arresting effect upon the subject. Tragic ties are frequently formed in this way.(19)

If Leopold Bloom and Gerty MacDowell suddenly see each other as objects of passionate fascination (fortunately, with no tragic consequences), it is because, according to Jung,

the soul, the inner attitude of the unconscious, is … represented by actual persons whose particular qualities correspond with those of the soul. . . . With men the soul, i.e. the anima, is usually figured by the unconscious in the person of a woman; with women it is a man.(20)

Already existing as a contrasexual psychic image (the “soul-image”) in the unconscious of each, Gerty’s animus is projected onto Bloom, who then becomes the man she has always been waiting for; and Bloom projects his anima onto Gerty, who becomes, at least for a while, a fascinating seaside girl, who gives him “relief” and a sense of feeling young again:

In all those cases in which an identity with the persona [the conscious, public personality and idealized self-image] is present, and the soul accordingly is unconscious, the soul image is transferred onto a real person. This person is the object of an intense love. (21)

This transference is what Jung also called “projection”: “whenever the soul-image is projected, an unconditional, affective tie to the object appears” (22)—certainly a clear description of what  happens between Gerty and Bloom. But for Jung as well as for Joyce this process of projection makes for a fantasy relationship only, since, “when the subject is unconscious,” “a real conscious adaptation to the object who represents the soul image is impossible.” And so “the libido gets damned up and explodes in a release of affect.(23)

The preceding quotations from Psychological Types represent more or less what Joyce could have absorbed from Edith McCormick’s and others’ enthusiastic accounts of  “DOCTOR JUNG’S (prolonged general universal applause)” new theory in 1919 in Zurich of the animus in women and the anima in men. And we can find it all in Nausicaa: from descriptions of Gerty’s soul image itself to the “projection of the soul image” to the “explosion of libido” and its accompanying fireworks. But all this has been shifted in Nausicaa to an ironic and comic mode, and this shift in mode from high German-Swiss seriousness to Irish comedy is consistent with the tone of Joyce’s allusion to “Doctor Jung” in the December 1919 letter to Frank Budgen just quoted, with Joyce presumably playing the role of the “Irishman in the gallery” shouting “Hear! Hear!”

Now for a more detailed look at Joyce’s text. In lines 645-6 Bloom is looking back on the tryst-at-a-distance he has just had with Gerty MacDowell: “Saw something in me. Wonder what.” In Jungian terms, he is asking “what soul-image, what kind of image of her animus, did she project on me?” Earlier in the text Joyce has provided the reader with an initial thumbnail image of Gerty’s inner soul-image, of her Jungian animus with its specific “manly traits:

a manly man with a strong quiet face who had not found his ideal, perhaps his hair slightly flecked with grey, and who would understand, take her in his sheltering arms, strain her to him in all the strength of his deep passionate nature and comfort her with a long long kiss.(24)

Once Gerty catches sight of “the gentleman in black (25) (Bloom has come from Paddy Dignam’s funeral earlier in the day), the projection of her soul-image occurs immediately: “the face that met her gaze there in the twilight, wan and strangely drawn, seemed to her the saddest she had ever seen. (26) Her imagination quickly fills in the details of this projected image: “she could see at once by his dark eyes that he was a foreigner,”  “he was in deep mourning . . . and the story of a haunting sorrow was written on his face. (27) And then “the unconditional affective tie” is made:

here it was of which she had so often dreamed. It was he who mattered and there was joy on her face because she wanted him because she felt instinctively that he was like no-one else. The very heart of the girlwoman went out to him, her dreamhusband, because she knew on the instant that it was him. (28)

As her climax approaches “she knew that he could be trusted to the death, steadfast, a sterling man, a man of inflexible honour to his fingertips (29)—definitely some phallic humor here for the reader, although the metonymy presumably is unconscious for Gerty. And so on to the fireworks (30), a transparently symbolic representation for both Gerty’s and Leopold’s libido that “explodes in a  release of affect,” if you will.

Regardless of how complete or incomplete an exposition he would have heard, Joyce must have intuited that Jung’s theory of the contrasexual other, of the anima and the animus, had the potential for generating comedy in its description of the disparity between the psychic image and the real person outside, and he made wonderful use of this potential for comic misapprehension in Nausicaa. For Bloom is not what Gerty imagines him to be, although she is not entirely wrong about him. He is in dressed in black for the funeral of Paddy Dignam, but that is not exactly the “deep” mourning Gerty imagines. Gerty sees “the story of a haunting sorrow . . . written on his face.” This is a mysterious sorrow for Gerty, but not for the reader, who knows exactly why Bloom is blue: he has suffered at the hands of the citizen/Cyclops that afternoon, and his watch stopped at the very moment when, he supposes, Molly had committed adultery with Blazes Boylan. In short, Gerty’s relationship with Bloom is mainly based on erotic fantasy, and so “a real conscious adaptation to the object who represents the soul image is impossible,” as Doctor Jung would have added ponderously.

In conclusion: could Joyce have written Nausicaa without the inspiration of “DOCTOR JUNG’S” theory of the animus as the basis for a woman’s soul-image?  Certainly, but without Jung’s theory Joyce’s trenchant comedy might not have been so sharply delineated. The comic misapprehension of a person (Bloom) through the projection of a soul-image (Gerty’s “dreamhusband”) would not have been as finely developed. Joyce plays with Jung’s animus theory in Nausicaa, and uses it for comic purposes. This handling of Jung’s theory parallels his attitude towards the good doctor himself: in Zurich, we know that Joyce resisted taking DOCTOR JUNG , the “Swiss Tweedledum,” too seriously.
But might Homer’s Odyssey might have been enough of an inspiration for Joyce to have dispensed him of any need for inspiration from the theories of Dr. Jung? Possibly—and here I recognize the limits of how plausible my argument concerning Jung’s influence on Joyce in Nausicaa may ultimately appear—since Homer’s tale of a tryst-at-a-distance between Nausicaa and Odysseus (31) is also generated by the search for a “dreamhusband” as well as by accompanying sexual fantasies. At the opening of book vi of the Odyssey, Athena, taking the form of one of Nausicaa’s girlfriends, speaks to the princess in a dream (I quote from Samuel Butler’s translation of the Odyssey, which may be the one with which Joyce was most familiar):

Nausicaa, what can your mother have been about, to have such a lazy daughter? Here are your clothes all lying in disorder [although a Phaeacian princess, Nausicaa resembles a typical modern teenage girl who fails to keep her room in order and do her own laundry], yet you are going to be married almost immediately, and should not only be well dressed yourself, but should find good clothes for those who attend you…you are nor going to remain a maid much longer.(32)

This goddess-sent dream is enough to get Nausicaa to go down to the beach with her maidservants to do the washing, her head presumably full of visions of the bridegroom who will soon be hers. She meets Odysseus, and the rest of the episode in Homer contains insinuations that Odysseus may indeed be the handsome stranger who will become her husband. After their encounter, she urges him to go by himself into the city, since people might gossip if they saw the two of them together, and say such things as:

Who is this fine-looking stranger that is going about with Nausicaa? Where did she find him? I suppose she is going to marry him. Perhaps he is a vagabond sailor whom she has taken from some foreign vessel, for we have no neighbors; or some god who has come down from heaven in answer to her prayers, and she is going to live with him for the rest of her life. It would be a good thing if she would take herself off and find a husband somewhere else, for she will not look at one of the excellent young Phaeacians who are in love with her. (33)

Although Nausicaa attributes these words to gossipy Phaeacians, it is clear, at least to readers coming from Joyce’s Ulysses, that this is for her a full blown sexual fantasy, a rich thumbnail sketch of her animus: the “vagabond sailor”—or is he “a god”?—and so on. Joyce could have built on this, with or without the help of Jung. It is also noteworthy that, like Gerty, Nausicaa is indulging herself in a fantasy that turns out to have no basis in reality, since in point of fact she will not be able to marry her “dreamhusband” Odysseus (like Bloom, he has a wife and child at home), and her “projection of soul-image” does not result in a “real conscious adaptation to the object.”  Homer got it right, long before Jung. So perhaps Joyce needed Jung no more than Homer did. But I suspect that Jung’s anima/animus theory did help Joyce sharpen his focus in Nausicaa on two things that make the episode so satisfying a performance. First of all, on what in Homer’s text  was barely suggested and never made explicit, namely, that desire is as much concerned with subjective fantasy and its inner object as it is with the outer object of desire; and secondly, and most importantly, on the comic discrepancy between the two.

1 Harry Levin, James Joyce: A Critical Introduction. New Directions, New York, 1940; p. 89.
2 Richard Ellmann, The Consciousness of Joyce. Oxford University Press, New York, 1977; p. 54.
3 For this letter, see Richard Ellmann, James Joyce: New and Revised Edition. Oxford University Press, New York, 1982; p. 629.
4 Cf. Bernard Benstock’s “introduction to the “Special Issue: James Joyce and His Contemporaries” of Comparative Literature Studies, 19.2 (Summer 1982), v-vi. See Jean Kimball, “A Jungian Scenario for Ulysses” in the same issue, 195-207.
5 See Jean Kimball, Odyssey of the Psyche: Jungian Patterns in Joyce’s Ulysses. Southern Illinois University Press, Carbondale and Edwardville, 1997. See also her essay “Eros and Logos in Ulysses: A Jungian Pattern,” in Gender in Joyce, University Press of Florida, Gainesville, 1997; pp. 112-132. ED. Jolanta W. Wawrzyka and Marlena G. Corcoran. Nowhere in her otherwise excellent Jungian interpretations of Ulysses (including her recently published Joyce and the Early Freudians: A Synchronic Dialogue of Texts, University Press of Florida, 2003) does Kimball touch on the possibility of a Jungian animus subtext for Nausicaa.
6 For a short but thorough discussion of the Jungian concepts of anima and animus, see Steven F. Walker, Jung and the Jungians on Myth: an Introduction. Routledge, New York, 2003 (revised edition); pp. 45-62.
7 James Joyce, Ulysses. Vintage, New York, 1986. ED. Hans Walter Gabler, with Wolfgang Steppe and Claus Melchior; p. 293, line 431.
8 Ibid. p. 288, line 209.
9 Carl Gustav Jung, “Anima and Animus” (1928), in Two Essays in Analytical Psychology, Collected Works, vol. vii, pp. 186-203.
10 See “From Esther Harding’s Notebooks: 1922, 1925 in: C.G. Jung Speaking: Interviews and Encounters. Princeton University Press, Princeton, 1977; pp. 25-31.
11 My thanks to Dr John Beebe, a distinguished Jungian therapist and writer in San Francisco, for this and other helpful details. It is possible that there are earlier pen written occurrences of the theory; but they cannot be dated precisely, for, as Beebe indicates, “Jung had a tendency to add to his manuscripts, always written by hand, with addenda and interlinear notes written at a later date” (email communication, June 9, 2001).
12 In: Letters of James Joyce, Volume I. Viking Press, New York, 1966; ED. Stuart Gilbert. P. 166.
13 Ellmann, James Joyce, pp. 468-9.
14 Joyce, Letters I, p. 131. The “raughty tinker” probably designates Frank Budgen, who is the dedicatee of Joyce’s 1918 poem “To Budgen, Raughty Tinker” (see Ellmann, Joyce, p. 433), with Joyce left with the role of the “Irishman in the gallery.
15 C.G. Jung, Psychological Types or The Psychology of Individuation, Harcourt, Brace & Company, New York and London, 1923. TR. H. Godwin Baynes. PP. 591-2. My thanks to Prof. Matthew Spano for first locating these quotations.
16 Ibid, p. 593.
17 Ibid., p. 594.
18 Ibid., pp. 594-5.
19 Ibid., p. 595.
20 Ibid., p. 596.
21 Ibid., pp. 596-7.
22 Ibid., p. 598.
23 Ibid., p. 597.
24 Ulysses, p. 288, lines 210-4.
25 Ibid., p. 292, line 349.
26 Ibid., p. 292, lines 369-70.
27 Ibid., p, 293, lines 416, 421-2.
28 Ibid., p. 293, lines 427-31.
29 Ibid., p. 299, lines 693-4.
30 Ibid., p. 300, lines 735-740.
31 A non-masturbatory tryst, it goes without saying, since the Odyssey is an epic, not a mock epic.
32 The Odyssey of Homer, translated by Samuel Butler. Walter J. Black, New York, 1944. p. 71. Butler’s translation first appeared in 1900, and was reprinted many times.
33 Ibid., p. 77.