English Literature

Belief (Cultural Memory in the Present) by Gianni Vattimo

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By Gianni Vattimo

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Joyce’s writings are inferential and highly sensory. ” From this earthy Caliban, a literary Ariel arises, transposing Dublin into a “mechanized and diabolical cosmos” and elevating Joyce’s achievement above anything yet produced by American modernism: “No one up to the present time has given us an impressionistic study of misshapen American cities” (Bottom Dogs, etc. 131). No American writer, in other words, has created such a Caliban, or realized such purely “poetic motives” in a minutely detailed portrait of modern urban life (132).

His own foul desires” (Truth 54). However much he was surrounded by Irish friends, as he conceded to Kay Boyle in a 1967 letter, Dahlberg could no longer muster a scintilla of admiration for Joyce. His philo-Hibernianism could not extend that far.  Farrell’s Young Lonigan, the first installment of the Studs Lonigan trilogy (1932–35), albeit in a less literary and academic fashion.  . His long nose was too large for his other features, almost a sheeny’s nose” (5). In case a casual reader might have skimmed over this detail, it is repeated later when Studs admires his face in the mirror: “He took a close-up squint at his mug and decided that it was, after all, a pretty good mug, even if he almost had a sheeny’s nose” (61).

Sure, ’tis enough to make a saint chrazy [sic]” (272). Entering the living room, she complains, “Bad luck to me, if iver I take sarvice again with haythen Jews” and threatens to give her employers a one-week notice (273). Yet, by the end, this comic antipathy has been transformed into an affectionate Irish Jewishness. Kathleen speaks broken Yiddish with a brogue, dotes on her employer, who after the performance of David’s symphony is momentarily lost, and embarks upon a search for her with a line reflective of her new identity in the great American melting pot: “Begorra, we Jews never know our way” (355).

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