Category Archives: Portrait of the Artist

Lightbulb #4

That which we call a rose by any other word...

This is one of my favorite Joyce quotes: “I desire to press into my arms a loveliness that has not yet come into this world.” It has come to define my ideas on art and literature, my work, my life… everything. Why am I writing about this again?

Having roses in my room has made me stop and appreciate loveliness every morning.  And this loveliness is already in the world.   I have so many pictures of these roses, which are beautiful even as they die and wilt.  What is the point of longing for that other kind of loveliness if I cannot appreciate what is right in front of me?  These two things are not mutually exclusive and should not be.

Lovely.

I love Stephen Dedalus dearly.  I identify with him on so many different things — but I think that one of his big flaws is that he has a very hard time appreciating the loveliness before him at any given moment.  While I totally relate to his striving for something greater and looking ahead, I think it would be a mistake to follow his lead.  I wonder now what Joyce’s thoughts on the matter are.  I know from Ulysses that he wrote about very immediate pleasures — eating liver, lemon soap, things like that.  And then there’s his love letters to Nora.  My instinct is saying that he saw the immediate and future loveliness.  Even if he didn’t. I will.

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Joyce, Lightbulbs, Portrait of the Artist, Stephen Dedalus, Ulysses

Estrangement

I have made myself a book. More correctly, a journal.

"I desire to press into my arms a loveliness that has not yet come into this world."

On the cover, my current favorite quote. I got the typewriter in my hall to work long enough to, literally, bang it out.  “I desire to press into my arms a loveliness that has not yet come into this world.”  How beautiful is that?  It stops me every time I read it.  In the last few days of the term, I re-read and re-read the final scene from Portrait. So much of that feel like my life right now.

Stephen’s fears, his desires, all feel so familiar.  Well, his fears about God and his desire to write.  He tells Cranly “what he does not fear.”  — That is exactly what I fear.  Being alone.  More than that, I fear mistakes.

I’ve written about this before, and recently, but it’s just what’s been on my mind.  Portrait and Persuasion.  Granted, these are the two books I have been reading/referencing most frequently.  But they feel particularly apt.  In six years, I will be Anne’s age.  Though I am  past Stephen’s, I feel I am right in his mental space.  I always wonder how and why books worm their way into my life.  These two most certainly. have.

I have been thinking a lot about this quote from Persuasion:

…there could have been no two hearts so open, no tastes so similar, no feelings so in unison, no countenances so beloved. Now they were as strangers; nay, worse than strangers, for they could never become acquainted. It was a perpetual estrangement.

How sad, to be perpetually estranged.  And yet, how much I feel it, even in — actually, especially in — my own home.  I feel like I am a stranger to those around me, and even to myself.  Strange to those who once knew me intimately, who I trusted beyond belief, who I let know me.  Now, I’m not even sure I know me.  I feel so far away from acquaintance, so far away from most things formerly familiar, that I don’t even know what to do with myself.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Jane Austen, Joyce, Persuasion, Portrait of the Artist, Self, Stephen Dedalus

Lightbulb #3

In relation to Stephen and Portrait

The girl Stephen sees on the beach seems to him to be a hybrid between a girl and a bird.  Icarus and Daedalus, when they donned their wings, morphed into the same sorts of hybrids.  It is upon witnessing a form that speaks to his mythical counterpart is the gateway for this moment of clarity and inspiration and revelation.

Why, only now, have I seen and been able to truly recognize these connections?

Leave a comment

Filed under Joyce, Lightbulbs, Portrait of the Artist, Stephen Dedalus