19 July 2007

Joyce's Odyssean trilogy

we know joyce determined in 1907
to rewrite 'stephen hero' as the prequel to ulysses
because he needed stephen dedalus
to reach the end of that book
in just the right shape
to serve as bloom's telemachus

and in fact
joyce couldn't finish 'portrait' in 1914
until he'd drafted the opening of ulysses
so the intervening gap would be minimal

(if scylla and charybdis really was conceived
as chapter two
and not relocated until after 'portrait'
had gone to press
that original plan may have left
discernible footprints
in the last chapters of the earlier book)

but if, now, finnegans wake
is really the key to ulysses
with bloom the dreaming everyman

then these three works
are a true trilogy