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Showing posts from June 10, 2018

Getting Inside All Impermeables -- James Joyce and the Purposes of Parody.

A paper given by Philip Harvey at the Bloomsday in Melbourne annual seminar, held upstairs in the Imperial Hotel, Melbourne, on the morning of the 16 th of June 2018. I. “Introibo ad altare Dei” We are alerted to parody from the very start in Ulysses. When stately, plump Buck Mulligan intones the introit words of the Latin Mass while shaving in the open air, high above Dublin Bay, we are reminded instantly of how words can have a straight meaning or a not-straight meaning, depending on the context. Mulligan’s delivery is word perfect, only this is happening in a bohemian Martello Tower, not in the Catholic church down the road, where the words would be delivered with a different kind of reverence. Is Mulligan being blasphemous? Or is Joyce simply indicating to his readers that this character is irreverent and to expect more? It sets the scene for a novel alive with parodic playfulness, a novel reliant on the assumption that very little is just as it seems.