Modernism combines a lot of literary directions and styles. It was rooted in literature with a new treatment of human being and it was focused on something atypical and personal. Besides, its main feature is to depict reality as a kind of absurdity and chaos. Personality is represented in the context of isolation from society. Society, in turn, has irrational and alogical rules, which are difficult to comply.
The stream of consciousness belongs to one of the most prominent ways of modernism. The stream of consciousness in fiction is an extreme form of the inner monologue, which makes and imitates immediate transmission of the chaotic process of a person’s inner speech. It often occurs with the help of the literary editing. The most vibrant representer of such a style in the literature of the twentieth century is James Joyce.
James Joyce has become a part of history known as the writer who has changed the traditional views about the structure of the novel. He always looked for new forms of narrations, which would lead them to the aesthetic acme of perfection.
James Joyce turned the novel by itself as a preferable genre to its epic rounds. By creating the epos of his contemporary life, he started the artistic competition with such forerunners as Homer, Dante, and Cervantes. The foundation of the novel is Homer’s myth about Odyssey’s adventures. It consists of three parts: “The Telemachiad”, “The Odyssey” and “The Nostos”. Every single chapter in each part is contrasted (compared) with the specific episode of the character’s travelling from “The Odyssey”. That is why, critics gave them the names such as “Odyssey”, “Telemachus”, “Nestor”, “Proteus”, “Calypso”, “Penelope” and others. I want to add that the name Ulysses is the Latinised form of Odysseus (Facstaff.bucknell.edu).
“Ulysses” is known to be a labyrinth which tells us about the events of one day (16.06.1904). It is Stephen Dedalus who roams streets and squares of Dublin and at a time he has conversations and a lot of things happen to him. His trip ends up with meeting Leopold Bloom. He works as an advertising agent, who, on the contrary to Dedalus, is married to a nymph called Calypso. Besides, Dedalus has dedicated his life to Ireland. He is convinced that his home is this country and he belongs here. I would like to say that the author is in love with Dublin. He even depicts streets, shops, restaurants, libraries, cemeteries, hospitals, squares and mansions, churches and other local facilities of Dublin very precisely and with great love. Besides, the characters acquire Dublin as a sensual and materialistic environment but differently. An ancient capital of one of the oldest European countries has lost its genuine beauty since it became as well as whole Ireland and European province. The sense of the vivid town is shown through the everyday life full of routine and duties of the Irish society. The author turns to politics too. Political views of people and their passion to politics are mentioned in the work. The most interesting thing is that ordinary clerk Bloom who is not famous for his braveness just travels through the town and tries to deal with his problems and find calmness. I think the modernist uses the paradigm of the Odyssey to materialize the mythologem of the route which is the key part of the whole novel.
I must admit that the society of that time was packed with such people.
What is more, all the heroes have the analogues of Homer’s prototypes. Let us give some examples: Bloom - Odysseus, Stephen - Telemachus. The events of the novel are framed by time and space (Facstaff.bucknell.edu).
Each episode is connected with a certain hour and forms timing of one day from one person’s life. In contrast to the structure, the last time is indefinite and coincides with the eighteenth episode. It is shown in such a way because the author wanted to confirm that the real current of the time is running into endlessness.
The most interesting thing is that the myth is reinterpreted by the author. The trick is that he managed to write a text in the way that Stephen’s critical mind takes the myth out on the world culture and history of literature. Moreover, the epos falls into simpler mythologems and meanwhile it picks up the pieces and creates a new picture all over again. Mind helps to evoke associations from which Stephen is closer to some Shakespear’s characters.
As a result, it makes us think that the text of the novel is the example of the twisted language. What’s the reason? So, it means to interpret a new kind of sense.
I would like to mention the perspective of well-known plots on modernity has drawn Homer nearer to Vergilius, who confessed the fact that slyness and braveness can win over enemies (Internet Archive).
The method of transforming ordinary meanings is connected with the principle of modality, or the language quality which can reflect the link between thought, expression and reality or other expressions. The opposite moving Stephen and Bloom from different parts of Dublin, their meetings and departures are written according to the law of parallels, which are crossed in the cultural space. For example, one character, Stephen, is thinking about Shakespeare, Ireland, continuing an argument with Mulligan while another character, Bloom, is reading an advertisement and thinking about Avraam, who was abandoned by his son Natan. What is more, they both repeat one phrase: “Why have I left the Catholic church?”
James Joyce, by the way, created the philosophical novel in which through the unusual form and style he tried to understand the ways of developing world culture, history and the process of searching personality in the context of literature and history. The poetics of the novel is boundless and with the help of a great variety of artistic means and methods of literal techniques a great attempt to create spiritual history of mankind through the history of native Ireland is hidden.
Baruch.cuny.edu,. '20Th_Century Prose & Poetry: The European Modernist As Exile: James Joyce'. N.p., 2015. Web. 29 June 2015.
Facstaff.bucknell.edu,. 'Synopsis Of Ulysses'. N.p., 2015. Web. 29 June 2015.
The Guardian,. 'Ulysses, Modernism's Most Sociable Masterpiece'. N.p., 2009. Web. 29 June 2015.
Internet Archive,. 'Ulysses : James Joyce : Free Download & Streaming : Internet Archive'. N.p., 2015. Web. 29 June 2015.