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The Fashions of Joyce’s Last Mode

The Vestimentivorous Chlamydophagian Text
  • Jean-Michel Rabaté

Abstract

My aim in this chapter is to trace two series of interconnected metaphors revolving around food and clothes, so as to reach the juncture at which the Wake allegorises its signifying process. Finnegans Wake keeps veiling itself, as we have seen, but also keeps ingesting what it uses as a cover. It is a machine which feeds on everything, provided the food can be used as a lure for the eye and the ear. Such a machine can be described as being like Alphonse Daudet’s famous Tartarin de Tarascon to whom the text alludes in II.1, and who is seen as eating clothes through both Latin and Greek etymologies, ‘a Tartaran tastarin toothsome tarrascone tour-toun, vestimentivorous chlamydophagian’ (227. 35–6). This seemingly paradoxical activity obeys, in fact, semiological logic which the entire drift of Joyce’s corpus seems to authorise.

Keywords

Oedipus Complex Sexual Guilt True Friend Naked Body Personal Touch 
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Notes

  1. 1.
    Stanislaus Joyce, My Brother’s Keeper, ed. R. Ellmann (London: Faber and Faber, 1958) p. 134.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Richard Ellmann, James Joyce (London: Oxford University Press, 1966) p. 541; cf. rev. edn, p. 527.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Jacques Mercanton, Les Heures de James Joyce (Lausanne: L’Age d’Homme, 1967) p. 24. Trans. in Willard Potts (ed.), Portraits of the Artist in Exile: Recollections of James Joyce by Europeans (Seattle: Wolfhound Press, 1979) p. 213.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    William T. Noon, Joyce and Aquinas (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1957) p. 152.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Frank Budgen James Joyce and the Making of Ulysses and Other Writings, (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1972) p. 75.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    See Jean-Thierry Maertens, Dans la peau des autres. Ritologiques 4 (Paris: Aubier, 1978) p. 18.Google Scholar
  7. 8.
    See Adaline Glasheen, Third Census of Finnegans Wake (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1977) pp. 140–1.Google Scholar
  8. 10.
    See Don Gifford and Robert J. Seidman, Notes for Joyce (New York: Dutton, 1974) p. 420. They explain that British propaganda had attempted to slander Napoleon after his death by insisting on his ‘womanly’ body and his overdeveloped breasts.Google Scholar
  9. 12.
    Cuffs ‘se font voir nues’ (Stéphane Mallarmé, Oeuvres complètes (Paris: Gallimard, 1961) p. 727.Google Scholar
  10. 13.
    Jacques Lacan, ‘Le Sinthome’ (séminaire of 10 February 1976), text established by J. A. Miller, Ornicar, no. 8 (1977) p. 10.Google Scholar
  11. 14.
    See above all John B. Vickery, ‘Finnegans Wake and Sexual Metamorphosis’, Contemporary Literature, vol. 13, no. 2 (Spring 1972) pp. 213–42.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 16.
    See Stanley Sultan, Eliot, Joyce & Company (New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1987) pp. 197–8.Google Scholar
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    See Etienne Gilson, La Philosophie au Moyen-Age (Paris: Payot, 1962) pp. 347–9.Google Scholar
  14. 19.
    Stéphane Mallarmé, La Dernière Mode: Gazette du monde et de la famille, facsimile edn (Paris: Ramsay, 1978). See also Oeuvres complète, pp. 705–847.Google Scholar
  15. 21.
    Jean-François Lyotard, Le Post-moderne expliqué aux enfants (Paris: Galilée, 1986) pp. 30–1, with an allusion to Joyce. See also Lyotard’s article, The Sublime and the Avant-garde’, trans. L. Liebman, G. Bennington and M. Hobson, Paragraph, vol. 6 (Oct. 1985) pp. 1–18.Google Scholar
  16. 22.
    Jacques Derrida, translation and introduction to Edmund Husserl, L’Origine de la géométrie (Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 1962) p. 104.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Jean-Michel Rabaté 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jean-Michel Rabaté
    • 1
  1. 1.University of DijonFrance

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