By clothing-bag, 23/06/2022

The celebration of an eternal day discuss our democracy

Ulises es una catástrofe memorable, inmensa en su osadía, terrible en su desastre.La celebración de un día eterno Discutir nuestra democracia La celebración de un día eterno Discutir nuestra democracia

Virginia Woolf, The Common Reader

Muy temprano, el 2 de febrero de 1922 (cien años atrás), recibió James Joyce (1882-1941) el mejor regalo de cumpleaños: la copia número uno de su novela Ulises. La editora, la estadunidense Sylvia Beach, dueña de la librería Shakespeare & Company, ubicada en el número 12 de la Rue de L’Odéon, en París, había sido informada el día anterior por parte del impresor que en el expreso de Dijon, con arribo programado a las siete de la mañana, vendrían los dos primeros ejemplares de la novela. Debía contactar al revisor del tren para que le entregara el paquete. De la estación Sylvia Beach corrió a llevar a su autor (quien vivía en el número 71 de la Rue du Cardinal Lemoine, en un departamento prestado por Valery Larbaud) ese tomo de tapa azul con tipografía blanca (los colores de la bandera griega, como tributo homérico), un tabique de 732 páginas que pesaba, exactamente, un kilo con cincuenta gramos. De ahí se fue a la librería, donde dio un sitio de honor en el escaparate a la copia número dos... pero esto generó la idea, entre los curiosos, de que ya podía ser adquirida, por lo que se formó pronto una fila, y luego de dar algunas explicaciones prefirió poner a buen resguardo el ejemplar. Todo esto lo cuenta Sylvia Beach en sus memorias (Shakespeare and Company, Ediciones de Nuevo Arte Thor, Barcelona, s/f).

How did this conjunction of an Irish author already with some renown, a voluminous novel in the English language that was to be completed and at the same time already subjected to censorship, and a US beginner?

James Joyce arrived there with his family (on July 9, 1920) on the advice of Ezra Pound, who assured the Irishman that Paris was at that time the main cultural center of Europe and settle there would help the dissemination of his work. He had published, with a very good critical reception, the Dublines Story Book (Dubliners, 1914), the novel Portrait of the teenage artist (A Portrait of the Artist As a Young Man, 1916) and the theatrical piece exiled (Exiles, 1918). From his project, Ulysses appeared chapters in the magazines The Egoist (London) and Little Review (Chicago), generating at the same time expectation and critical and judicial reactions, for the crudeness of the situations described. This was making the novel become something expected but also impublicable, at least in its two natural areas: Great Britain and the United States. In the first case, both printers and editors were responsible before the law of what they published, and the sanctions were severe; In the second, there was a very active society for the suppression of vice that monitored printed and visual content. That context is explored by Kevin Birmingham in a recent title: The Most Dangerous Book: The Battle For James Joyce’s Ulysses (Head of Zeus, London, 2015).

Ante este panorama Sylvia Beach propuso a Joyce que la Shakespeare & Company, pequeña librería parisina de venta y préstamo de material en lengua inglesa, se encargara de editar Ulises. Joyce aceptó de inmediato la oferta.

Por intermedio de su amiga Adrienne Monnier, con una famosa librería (La Maison des Amis des Livres) justo enfrente de la Shakespeare & Company en la misma Rue de L’Odéon, Sylvia Beach se puso en contacto con el impresor Maurice Darantière, de Dijon. Cuenta ella:

Darantière was very interested in what I explained about the prohibition that Ulysses had suffered in all English -speaking countries.I announced that he intended to publish this work in France and asked him if he wanted to print it.At the same time I exposed my financial situation and preferred that perhaps I could not pay him until he received the money from the subscriptions, if he ever arrived.Those were the conditions in which he had to do the job (p. 58).

The overwhelming response of George Bernard Shaw arrived, which began: I have read fragments of Ulysses ... They constitute an disgusting sample of a disgusting moment of our civilization, but they are certainly real

Darantière agreed.Joyce said that perhaps a dozen books would be enough, and that some would remain.Sylvia Beach decided to print a thousand: one hundred on Dutch paper, signed by the author, with a price of 350 francs;One hundred and fifty on wire paper 250 francs, and the remaining 750 on ordinary paper to 150 francs.She announced it in an advertising booklet when the subscription campaign started.

One of the first to go to the call was André Gide.Ezra Pound achieved the adhesion of W. B. Yeats.Ernest Heingway separated several copies ... When reviewing the list, the editor lamented the absence of George Bernard Shaw, another great Irish author, and thought about sending the subscription sheet.

La celebración de un día eterno Discutir nuestra democracia

"He will never subscribe," Joyce assured him.

"Yes, he will," he replied without hesitation.

"What do you bet?"

They bet a voltiguers box, some small cigars of those liked by Joyce, against a silk handkerchief.

Soon, Bernard Shaw's blunt response arrived, which began:

I have read some fragments of the Ulysses published in a serial form.They constitute a disgusting sample of a disgusting moment of our civilization, but they are undoubtedly real;I would like to surround Dublin with a security barrier, and also to all men between 15 and 30 years;force them to read all that stink and indecent mockery and mental obscenity (pp. 62-63).

Later, in the letter, he remembered that in Ireland they usually clean the cats rubbing their snout in their own dirt, and it seemed to him that it was the system used by Mr. Joyce with the human being ... and assured that no Irish knight, much less if it was mature, would pay 150 francs for a book like that.

This is how Joyce won the bet.

Translation and smuggling

With that editorial destination already established since before his appearance, Joyce had to finish the novel.She wrote by hand, with black and colored pencils.His wife Nora Barnacle complained that she was in bed all day.Then she had to have someone who passed the machine texts (a typing had a domestic incident with some pages of the "Circe" chapter, which angered her husband).And send that to the printer.Sylvia Beach gave the indication that all the printing tests he wanted, and not only marked errata, but made countless additions, of new paragraphs or even pages.According to the editor, "Joyce himself said that he had written a third of the Ulysses during the correction of the galleries" (p. 70).

The effort brought consequences in Joyce's eyes and had an ryitis attack, which led him to a clinic, where they relieved his ocular congestion with leeches.

Two months before the novel appeared there was a public reading, on Wednesday, December 7, 1921, at the Adrienne Monnier bookstore, with translations by Valery Larbaud and Jacques Benoit-Méchin and the English version by Jimmy Light.In the hand program this was read: "We warn the public that some of the pages that will be read are of raw rawness and can legitimately hurt their sensitivity."Joyce hid in a corner to listen to everything, and in the end he was called by Larbaud to receive the applause.

The calendar advances until February 2, 1922, Joyce's forty birthday, when Sylvia Beach gives to its author the first copy of the novel (as already said).She will write to her in the afternoon a note of thanks and improvise some verses, which so start:

Who is Sylvia?How is she that all writers praise her?She young Yankee and brave she was she arrived from the west and she has got all books to be published (p. 98).

The difficulties did not end there, because the shipments had to be made.Joyce asked to start with those who were going to Ireland, to anticipate the possible blockages.Then it was learned that the specimens sent to the United States were retained in customs.Hemingway proposed that a friend of his from Chicago, known as Bernard B., would receive them in Toronto, Canada, and pass them on foot, one by one, hidden in the clothes.This was done.Hundreds of specimens crossed the border with that method.It acted as if the cargo were really dangerous or harmful to health.

There was soon a second edition, paid by Harriet Shaw Weaver (Joyce Mecenas), of two thousand copies.A part came by boat to Dover, where she was seized;The books were burned in what was known as "the King's fireplace."Then the novel continued to be reprinted in Dijon, given the demand, two, three, four, five times ... in the seventh the typography was refused and errata were suppressed, although not all.

The laws of hospitality

And to all this, what is Ulysses about?There are two personal sources.The first is the accidental encounter that Joyce had in Dublin with Alfred H. Hunter, one of the few Jews in the city.This is why he caught his attention and it was also known that his wife put his horns.According to Richard Ellmann (James Joyce, Anagrama, Barcelona, 1991, pp. 184-185), Hunter helped the young Joyce when he approached a woman in St. Stephen's Green without realizing that he was accompanied, so aAltercation in which Joyce received a tunda;Hunter helped him recover and escorted him to his house ... as Leopold Bloom willartist to his domains, to know him his wife), and a triangle may be configured.

In a letter to his brother Stanislaus (from Rome, written on September 30, 1906), he informs him: “I have a new story for Dublines.It is about Mr. Hunter ”(Chosen Letters, Vol. I, Lumen, Barcelona, p. 222).The story would be called "Ulysses."The equation is this: Hunter is Bloom, his wife is Molly and Joyce is Dealus, the protagonists of the novel.

What is narrated, finally, is how two people with different interests and ages (the twenty years of Stephen, poet's apprentice, and the forty of Leopold, advertising seller, an intellectual and the other a common man) becomes friends tofrom a series of fortuitous coincidences.This makes everything quixotic, because the plot is similar, at this point, to Quijote Cervantino, also the story of a friendship between the gentleman of the sad figure (someone educated in the letters) and his squire Sancho Panza (a rustic being).Or Flaubertiano, in addition, because something similar happens (the rare encounter of two souls that are discovered related) in Bouvard and Pécuchet, Gustave Flaubert's unfinished novel.

The other source is the one that gives an exact date to the story, because what is lived in Dublin is told on June 16, 1904 for a huge distribution of characters (some taken from the stories of Dublines and the portrait of the teenage artist).Why just that day?The answer is simple: it is when James Joyce and Nora Barnacle had their first date.

Joyce commented: I have put so many enigmas that you will keep teachers busy for centuries arguing what I really wanted to say;There is no other way to ensure immortality

Joyce makes a fictitious reconstruction of that day, and uses maps, newspapers, books or brochures, or frequent consultations by mail to those who lived or still lived in the city, a city that could be remade, in case of disappearing, he saidJoyce, from his book.

In addition, of course, the episodes of Homer's Odyssey, and converts Leopold Bloom into Ulises, Molly to an unfaithful Penelope (who enjoys that day his lover's company, Blazes Boylan) and Didalus in Telemaco.

When Aunt Josephine Murray has difficulty following the plot, Joyce (in a letter of November 12, 1922) the scolding: "I told you to read the Odyssey first!" ... and to gain time I recommend not the bookOriginal, but the adventures of Ulysses, of Charles Lamb (chosen letters, Vol. II, Lumen, Barcelona, 1982, p. 130), and then returns to his novel.

As if that were not enough, Joyce goes to all the resources available in the narrative of his time (such as capturing the development of English prose, in a chapter, from his embryonic condition to maturity) and innovates when presenting the flow of consciousness or monologueInterior, actually (as he reported it) taken from a nineteenth -century French novel: they have cut the laurels (Les Lauriers Sont Coupés, 1887), by Édouard Dujardin.This technique is taken to its extremes in chapters 3 (with derealus walking through the bay of Dublin) and 18 (in the grand finale, the master closing, with Molly in the sleep).

Joyce commented: “I have put so many enigmas and puzzles that you will keep teachers busy for centuries arguing what I really wanted to say;And there is no other way to ensure immortality ”(Richard Ellmann, p. 580).

Pecuchet and the mythical method

All this seemed too much in 1922, and it still sounds excessive one hundred years later.The critical reception was numerous, and not always positive.It is known, for example, that the novel was not liked by Virginia Woolf, who nevertheless tried a few years later something similar, because Mrs. Dalloway (Mrs. Dalloway, 1925) also concentrates in one day (in London, in hercase) the destinations of several characters (who do not go to the toilet or masturbate, as in Joyce).

The readings with which Ezra Pound accompanied James Joyce in his explorations until Finnegans Wake (1939), and of T. S. Eliot, who that same year (in December) would publish his great poem La Tierra Baldía (The Waste Land).

Throughout 1922 Pound he dedicated two broad texts to Ulises: one in his letter column from Paris (in the American magazine The Dial, in the May number) and the other was an essay written in French that titled “James Joyce and Pécuchet"(Mercure de France, June 1, 1922), and that Pound himself considered" the first French criticism would be about Mr. Joyce. "These and other Pound materials can be consulted in Joyce (edition and comments of Forrest Read, Barral Editores, Barcelona, 1971).

In both cases, his starting point is Gustave Flaubert, whose birth centenary had just been held in France in December 1921. Pound explains in the first essay:

Joyce has taken the art of writing where Flaubert left him.In Dublines and portrait he had not yet exceeded the three stories or sentimental education;In Ulysses he has overcome a process that began with Bouvard and Pécuchet;It has led it to a more effective and more compact degree;He has swallowed all the temptation of San Antonio, useful to be compared to a single episode of the Ulysses (pp. 276-277).

And about the same will say in the second essay that as "Encyclopedia in Farsa", Bouvard and Pécuchet inaugurates a new form;Pound believes that the great writers, including Joyce in Dublines and portrait of the teenage artist, have exploited Flaubert instead of developing his art ... to Ulysses.I quote:

In Bovary there are incomparable pages, in Bouvard and Pecuchet incomparably condensed paragraphs [...].There are Flaubert pages that expose his theme as quickly as Joyce's pages, but Joyce has completed the great invention of idiocy.In a single chapter he has downloaded all the clichés of the English language, as an uninterrupted flood.In another chapter he contains the entire history of the English verbal expression, from the first altered verses (in the chapter of the hospital where the childbirth of Mrs. Purefoy is expected).In another we have the “hats” of Freeman’s Journal since 1760, that is, the history of journalism;And he does all this without interrupting the flow of the book (p. 292).

And sentence:

Ulysses is not a book that will be admired by everyone, and not everyone admires Bouvard and Pecuchet, but it is a book that every serious writer needs to read, which will be forced to read, in order to have an ideaclear of the goal of our art within our trade of writers (p. 296).

The essay of T. S. Eliot is of late appearance;"Ulysses, Order and Myth" was published in The Dial in November 1923. There the poet considers as essential the relationship with the odyssey, something that Pound had in a certain way disdain (when considering it “a matter of cooking, which does not restrict theaction").For Eliot, on the other hand, "it is equivalent to the importance of a great scientific discovery."He explains:

No one else has built a novel about such foundations: it had never been necessary before.[...] When using myth, with the continuous management of a parallel between the contemporary and the old, Joyce adopted a method that others should assume.[...] It is simply a way of controlling, ordering, of shaping and meaning to the enormous scenario of futility and anarchy that constitutes contemporary history.[...] Instead of the narrative method, today we can go to the mythical method ”(I quote a dossier dedicated to Joyce from Casa del Tiempo, UAM, Mexico, June 2006, p. 59, available in digital consultation).

When in mid -1922 Harriet Shaw Weaver asked Joyce what he planned to write now that the Ulysses had finished (Richard Ellmann, p. 597), he replied:

"I think I will write a history of the world."

He already had a mental sketch of what was provisionally called Work in Progress and that was published, seventeen years later, under the title of Finnegans Wake.