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Jackson skims over a few of the poems, but quickly concludes that “not many of the poems will bear any very thorough-going examination in the light of the literary tradition, as they express nothing more than a moment of private emotion, the larger significance of which is to be seen against the background of Joyce’s life and work” (18). ” This emphasis on changing perspective, what he describes as Joyce’s “cubist sort of multi-perspectival maneuvering of vantage points, viewing the story from all sides simultaneously” (39–40), suggests the poems’ similarities to Joyce’s bold narrative techniques in his fiction, and also hints at their affinity with high modernist poetry.

550–51 I take the epigraph for this essay from the wire that Stephen Dedalus sent to Buck Mulligan at The Ship pub in Lower Abbey Street. Mulligan had been waiting there with Haines, his English visitor, for Stephen to appear, flush with his salary for teaching at Mr. Deasy’s school, to buy them drinks. Reading the telegram aloud to the Dublin cognoscenti, assembled in an office off the Reading Room of the National Library to listen to Stephen recount his Shakespeare theory, Mulligan’s first reaction seems effusive in its appreciation of Stephen’s wit: “O, you peerless mummer!

Stephen’s fragment revealed in “Aeolus” again foretells his failure as a poet: On swift sail flaming From storm and south He comes, pale vampire, Mouth to my mouth. ” Joyce thus uses his own poetic work to emphasize how Stephen is caught within the webs of the narrow revival sentiment that Joyce himself rejects (74–75). Finnegans Wake presents a host of issues involving the ways in which Joyce uses his own poetry in the many workings of the book. Jackson notes that the “prose” of the Wake can hardly be easily separated from the “poetry”—indeed, the less obviously poetic parts of the book often seem to have greater poetic effect than do the more obvious poems themselves (130)—but he does ultimately conclude that while “each of the poems has a self-consistent form,” they “do not share common forms”; nevertheless, “what they all have in common is the fact of having a discernible form,” and “it is this that distinguishes the poems from the prose in FW” (145).

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Century Series

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