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FRITZ SENN

Abstract

Joyce was one of the first writers to show that errors (mistakes, misunderstandings, fumbles, sin, rumour, etc.) of any kind may be the norm rather than the exception. In his writings, factual truth is mainly out of reach, leaving spurious phenomena and untrustworthy reports. Errors also suffuse and distort the narrative presentation. As well as implementing such generalities, pointing out the prevalence of errors in Joyce’s writing and adducing some that may not have been noticed, this essay is most concerned with style and linguistic minutiae. From Dubliners to Ulysses I show how, narratively, mistakes are an economic device since their tacit rectification is implied: they are portals of condensation as well as portals of discovery.

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Fritz Senn

Abstract

James Joyce uses a technique that will here be referred to as “superimposition”. A suitable instance to elucidate this is provided by “Aeolus”. As the newspaper episode, it gathers the complete infrastructure of communication and transmission of news, but at the same time incorporates the notion of incomplete and erroneous information. The prime example is Miles Crawford’s detailed, although hardly clear or even reliable, account of the report about the code used to encrypt the escape-route on which Skin-the-Goat supposedly drove the car for the Invincibles, that is, an advertisement superimposed on a map of Dublin. Technically the device hinges on a superimposition by which elements of one system of reference point to that of another – in this case, a prominent letter in an advertisement to a specific place on a map. This device can be considered one possible formula for the makeup of Ulysses as a whole: the book can be read as an arrangement of multiple overlays and stratifications in which everything tends to point towards something else. Finnegans Wake compounds the device even further.

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Fritz Senn

This contribution exemplifies in detail the fact that sequential language can imitate events in time, step by step (nacheinander) but not simultaneous ones (nebeneinander), for these can only be stated or lined up, one after the other. The thesis is that Joyce realized this dilemma and drew attention to it; it inevitably affects many habitual narrative statements. The essay shows techniques and variations of suggesting simultaneity, especially in “Sirens,” “Wandering Rocks,” and “Nausicaa.” On occasion the temporal order is inverted in the reading experience so that echoes can precede the events themselves and the effect is revealed before the cause.