Re: Joyce, Episode 103: Cost Accountants and Cornet Players

may 31, 2012

Re: Joyce, Episode 103: Cost Accountants and Cornet Players 

“His pace slackened. Here. Am I going to aunt Sara’s or not? My consubstantial father’s
voice. Did you see anything of your artist brother Stephen lately? No? Sure he’s not down
in Strasburg terrace with his aunt

Sally? Couldn’t he fly a bit higher than that, eh? And and and and tell us, Stephen, how is
uncle Si? O, weeping God, the things I married into! De boys up in de hayloft. The
drunken little costdrawer and his brother, the cornet player. Highly respectable gondoliers!
And skeweyed Walter sirring his father, no less! Sir. Yes, sir. No, sir. Jesus wept: and no
wonder, by Christ!

I pull the wheezy bell of their shuttered cottage: and wait. They take me for a dun, peer out
from a coign of vantage.

―It’s Stephen, sir.

―Let him in. Let Stephen in.

A bolt drawn back and Walter welcomes me.

―We thought you were someone else.

I pull the wheezy bell of their shuttered cottage: and wait. They take me for a dun, peer out from a coign of vantage.

―It’s Stephen, sir.
―Let him in. Let Stephen in.
A bolt drawn back and Walter welcomes me.
―We thought you were someone else.”

Sandymount Strand. Stephen’s thoughts: his father’s voice editorializes on his mother’s family. To illuminate, Frank calls on the Iliad, and Thersites’s rant against Agamemnon.

What seems like endless digression is great exposition.  Joyce handles the opening Telemachiad as if it contains the opening theme of a symphony or sonata.  The only difference we find here is that, rather than a symphony driving the themes according to regular beats, we must become the symphony.

Years ago, I heard, on the Metropolitan Opera broadcast a joke of jokes.  All of the major themes of Beethoven’s scherzi from his symphonies were played, in order and in the same key, in succession on recorders and penny whistles.  I felt that this was inspired!  I could hear the maturing of Beethoven’s jauntiest tunes and detect motifs repeating that I would never have known in regular playing.

Ulysses may resemble all of Beethoven’s symphonies played ordinal movement by ordinal movement.  Here in the Telemachiad are all the first movements.

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