29 July 2007

50+ Joycean conjectures annotated

[original post]

Percentages in parenthese are my estimates of probability (100% = certainty).

  1. Joyce never, in fact, protested pandying to Conmee. (70%)

    Nobody remembered it happening, they did remember a comparable incident where Joyce protested not getting a pass to an exhibition, and while it would have fit nicely into the Turpin Hero paradigm, page 245 of Stephen Hero makes it clear it hadn't been used.
  2. The girl in 'Araby' was Hanna Sheehy. (80%)

    We know when the Fair was held, and the Joyces at that time were living around the corner from the Sheehys, so Joyce may have been able to spy on them as in 'Araby'. Further, an epiphany that must date to Hanna's wedding seems to specify her as an old flame.
  3. Yeats planted the seed of a modern Ulysses when Joyce was 16. (90%)

  4. Joyce propositioned E.M. Cleary by postcard in 1902. (50%)

  5. Also in 1902 he had an intense infatuation for Maud Gonne. (40%)

  6. His vision of the birdgirl happened on 15 Aug 1902. (30%)

    The date is hard to fix, but if we assume the experience was liberating, it might have set him free to approach AE and/or Maud.
  7. His intent that evening was to visit Maud Gonne, not AE. (30%)

    AE assumed the latter, but they were neighbors and Joyce's interest in AE was ambiguous.
  8. His book of epiphanies was arranged in autobiographical order. (50%)

    He writes Stannie from Paris that he's added some at the end, some in the middle, suggesting that some were current, some from memory.
  9. Richard Best took the National Library job that Joyce wanted in 1903. (50%)

    It might explain the hostility in Ulysses.
  10. Joyce's poems were dropped from "New Songs" because he demanded payment from AE. (75%)

    There's a letter of AE's that makes it clear he had planned to include them.
  11. Stannie's Dublin Diary is a forgery. (99%)

  12. Joyce never worked at Clifton School. (30%)

    Again, no one remembers it, and you'd think someone would.
  13. Gogarty was still at Oxford on 16 June 1904. (60%)

    He seems from his letters to have arrived back after Joyce was in the St Stephens fracas.
  14. The "man of Tone" in 'Holy Office' was Arthur Griffith. (90%)

  15. The two men Joyce offended on 15 August 1904 were Gogarty and Griffith. (50%)

  16. Nora's handjob was on 27 Aug 1904. (70%)

  17. 'Eveline' was explicitly written to persuade Nora to go to Europe. (95%)

    Ellmann never connects the dots, including an undated note Nora saved.
  18. Gogarty threw Joyce out of the Tower for masturbating. (25%)

  19. Lucia was named after the birdgirl Lucy. (50%)

    The name 'Lucy' appears in letters to Stannie.
  20. The manuscript Joyce burned in 1912 was "Portait" not "Stephen Hero". (90%)

    SH had been abandoned six years earlier, PoA was the manuscript that was giving him fits.

  21. He drafted the last two chapters of Ulysses in 1914 while writing Exiles. (75%)

    A letter seems to assert this date. [details]
  22. He also drafted the first chapters of Ulysses before finishing Portrait. (85%)

    Another letter seems to assert this date. [details]
  23. Mulligan's shavingbrush is chryselephantine. (99%)

    His autobiography admits this. (Trench later stole it.)
  24. Stephen in Proteus overhears his father's rant (in Hades) via ESP. (90%)

  25. Bloom's twelve adventures form six concentric pairs. (95%)

  26. The library chapter (Scylla and Charybdis) was first conceived as chapter two. (40%)

    The Telemachia was planned as four chapters, to correspond to Homer. When Gogarty threw Joyce out, he in fact went and waited for the library to open, then told Eglinton the story. The Homeric correspondence demands that Telemachus address the Ithacans.
  27. Eglinton is Scylla, AE Charybdis, Lyster both, and Best neither. (80%)

  28. Bloom telepathically intercepts the lust between Boylan and Molly when he's standing midway between them (in Wandering Rocks). (60%)

  29. The monetary value Boylan mentions to Miss Dunne is non-coincidentally identical to Bloom's Freeman pay. (60%)

    Maybe implying Bloom is pimping Molly. [details]
  30. Mina Kennedy is avoiding Boylan. (75%)

  31. Gerty is closer to 13 than 20. (50%)

  32. Gerty never really leans back. (40%)

    Female exhibitionism is approximately a billion times more common in male fantasy than in real life.
  33. Bloom was fired from Hely's for flirting with a nun. (40%)

    In 'Oxen' when Bloom's past is haunting him, Mulligan mentions a similar case.
  34. Bloom unwittingly gives his condom to Bannon. (85%)

  35. Macintosh set the fire in Beggar's Bush. (75%)

    His path fits, and in Circe he distracts attention by accusing Bloom.
  36. Bloom's lucky potato is 57 years old. (40%)

    Lucky because it recalls the Famine.
  37. Stephen hits Mulligan for sniggering about Bloom and the condom. (35%)

    Based entirely on the theory that the Berkeley vignette in FW echoes this scene. [more]
  38. Bloom never knew his mother. (20%)

    His scant memories of her are entirely cliched. (Molly didn't know hers either.)
  39. The Circe episode embodies an inventory of rhetorical defense-strategies. (95%)

    Obvious when you look.
  40. Stephen's feet lead Bloom across Temple street, following the path Stephen used to take to Belvedere in 1894. (90%)

  41. Bloom awakens Stephen's altruism, while Stephen symmetrically heals an old injury to Bloom's egoism. (85%)

    Scribbledehobble (a Finnegans Wake notebook) makes much of characters swapping roles in midbook. This would fit, with Joyce's corresponding altruism awoken c1906 (leading to the kinder last stories of Dubliners), and Bloom's wound paralleling Shakespeare's in Scylla.
  42. The furniture was rearranged by the piano deliverymen. (90%)

    The wording very subtly implies the piano is new, and the livingroom is now ridiculously overcrowded. [details]
  43. Bloom had hidden the key to his bottom drawer among his books. (70%)

    Bella refers to the drawer, he freaks when he sees the books are re-arranged.
  44. He contemplates suicide before going to bed. (80%)

    The mention of 'carbon monoxide' is otherwise inaccountable.
  45. He misremembers the year of Rudy's birth. (90%)

    Rudy was born at the end of December, and survived into the new year. The Ithaca chapter systematically misses numerical values by one. [details]
  46. Molly's menstruation parallels the bloodied walls in Homer. (99%)

    Clear from a note. [details]
  47. Gabler's edition strips off Joyce's last layer of French polish. (90%)

    His method was to omit changes that weren't in Joyce's hand, which is way too radical. [details]

    Finnegans Wake
  48. ROC in the 1st-written vignette was a figure of Bloom-the-dreamer, rehashing Ithaca, so T&I must Bannon and Milly, and Berkeley is probably Mulligan. (60%) [more]
  49. The seven not-yets in paragraph 2 are in reverse order. (60%)

    It makes sense that they would be, since they haven't happened yet, and their themes make a more more coherent 'story' in reverse order.
  50. 1132 refers to the four cardinal vignettes: Roderick O'Connor and St Kevin are opposites (1-1), Berkeley betrays Leary to Patrick (3), Isolde kisses Tristan (2). (25%)

    Just a guess.
  51. Joyce's own encounter with a cad took place on 1 February 1922. (99%)

  52. The sin in the park depicted in III.iv took place in 1908, with one-year-old Lucia seeing Joyce's erection. (60%)

    An FW note makes no sense otherwise. [details]
  53. Joyce planned a short simple book about the sea as a symmetrical fourth member of the Portrait/Ulysses/FW/x tetralogy. (50%) [more]


[originally posted 29 June 2007]