Category Archives: Lightbulbs

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.


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.


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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?

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Lightbulbs #1 and 2

In relation to Portrait and Stephen:

In picking apart a bit of the Daedalus/Dedalus relation, I realized the following: Stephen, in name, is related to Daedalus, and in essence his child.  Icarus was actually Daedalus’s son.  He drowned in the ocean because he flew too close to the sun.  Stephen is very afraid of the ocean.

Icarus’s drowning… Stephen’s phobia… {LIGHTBULB}

I’m sure it’s in the notes, and I am not the first one to make this connection.  BUT, I realized it without the notes.

(a few days ago) In relation to Ulysses and Portrait via Stephen/Mulligan/Cranly

In the opening episode of Ulysses, Stephen and Mulligan are talking about Stephen’s mother and his refusal to kneel and ask for forgiveness at her deathbed.  Stephen first spoke of this in Portrait during their final conversation, hence why “Cranly’s arm…” flashes through his mind when Mulligan grabs his arm in THIS conversation versus others.

Again, this has been noted by scholars — I’ve read that particular note in the annotation many many times.  It only just clicked now.

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