Reader's Guide: Nestor 004

[cf. Gabler 20: 11-17; 1922 24:11-17]

Cochrane has forgotten the location of the seminal Pyrrhic victory: Aesculum. For fun: here’s a computer game simulation of the battle:

He manages to remember the general’s words, or at least one variant of them. This causes Stephen to ruminate further on history: the accomplishments of a legendary general reduced to a catchphrase and a cliché.  Perhaps Stephen wonders whether he himself will suffer such a fate. The differences between history and literature might be at stake in these pages.  Homer appealed to Joyce because The Odyssey portrays a rich, multi-faceted protagonist. Joyce’s own version, Leopold Bloom, is meant to be equally “well-rounded”–a contrast with the simplifications of historical figures.

As Stephen contemplates Pyrrhus, the Greek general appears in Rob’s final panel, a brighter and more muscular rendition of Stephen.  Stephen imagines the officers waiting on Pyrrhus’s word in the midst of battle.  “They lend ear,” is Stephen’s description of Pyrrhus’s men, but it simultaneously refers to Stephen and his boys––a contrast that highlights Stephen’s own meager position as part-time teacher for children of the entitled class (some of whom would be officers in the British army by right of birth). The school caters to upper-middle class protestant families, which would have been apparent to Irish readers of Joyce’s day.

“They lend ear” all evokes Shakespeare, primarily key moments in Julius Caesar, but also perhaps Hamlet, and Othello. We’re getting to Shakespeare.

5 thoughts on “Reader's Guide: Nestor 004

  1. typos: “According Gifford’s” “Hell is” “A useful thing to remember when reading Ulysses is to keep in mind”

      • jb- Your avatar being linked is a function of wordpress and not of this particular website. No one here asked for it nor do we have any nefarious plans for its use. If you are logged in on some other wordpress blog with the same account then, well, you’ve stuck your nose in here also.

        We always appreciate the extra help on typos and such. Any thoughts on the comic or the topics mentioned? Those are welcome and encouraged too.

        • if wordpress is accessing my cookies you should warn me by displaying the avatar it intends to use and offering me the option of logging out. i would have chosen anonymity if it was allowed. i was trying to be helpful pointing out confusing grammar. the illustration project doesn’t interest me but the annotation project does.

  2. Working on the “Proteus” section now and Blake’s work continues to haunt Stephen (though many other phantoms visit him along the beach). Blake maybe the most recognizable, the most idiosyncratic author from a visual stand point that will come to represent a lot of Stephen’s highest aspirations in my adaptation. Blake was, for a lot of cartoonists of my particular age, an artist who opened our eyes to world of poetry. I’m excited to play with his work in this way.

    But something else is starting to go on in the structure of this chapter. I’d draw the readers’ attention to the pictures, maps and portraits on the wall in the classroom. The images here are meant to tumble like a collage over the action and, as we update to the iPad, will be links to numerous related teaching points from Joyceanna and Irish history. In this way they’re somewhat disjointed from the whole space and occupy an area closer to Stephen’s imagination than the depiction of the novel’s actions.

    “History is a nightmare from which I’m trying to awake,” Stephen says. Here we make it tumble around the upper part of the frame like something to crowd out everyday experience. And our navigation, the iPad’s ability to touch an image and take you elsewhere, becomes a real problem content distraction.

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