Lawrence, Karen / The odyssey of style in Ulysses
"Wandering rocks" and "Sirens": the breakdown of narrative, pp. 80-100
8oIv "Wandering Rocks" and "Sirens": The Breakdown of Narrative In a letter to John Quinn, Joyce pointed out that "Scylla and Chanybdis" was the ninth chapter of eighteen, the last chapter of the book's first half.' Indeed, this division has more than numerical significance, for both "Lestrygonians" and "Scylla and Charybdis" concern themselves primarily with developing our knowledge of the two main characters, the kind of novelistic enterprise paramount in the first six chapters. After the strange intrusive headings in "Aeolus," the return to the narrative mode in these chapters restores a comforting novelistic convention. Although rhetorical play continues in both chapters, and even some typographical play in "Scylla and Charybdis," it is not until "Wandering Rocks" and "Sirens" that we witness the breakdown of the initial style and a departure from the novelistic form of the book's first half. "Lestrygonians" and "Scylla and Charybdis," then, are less relevant to our discussion of style than the succeeding chapters. However, before proceeding to "Wandering Rocks" and "Sirens," I would like to comment briefly on a specific aspect of the literary self-consciousness in "Scylla and Chanybdis," namely, Stephen's public display of his theory on Shakespeare. In its own way, Stephen's verbal fancywonk is as showy and attention-getting as the headings of "Aeolus," and, with his literary theory, as with the headings, the book ' 3 September 1920, Letters of James Joyce, Vol. 1, ed. Stuart Gilbert (New York: The Viking Press, 1957), p. 145.
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