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Thanks! -- Arnie Perlstein, Portland, OR

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Jane Austen's and James Joyce's Webs of Allusion

I just read the following passage about James Joyce's allusive modus
operandi as a writer in a 1998 article in the James Joyce Quarterly by a
scholar named Jean Kimball, which could just as easily describe what I
have found a thousand times in Jane Austen's novels:

"...'mere' is a tricky word to use with Joyce, whose seemingly inconsequent allusions often turn out to be connected through intricate interweavings with major themes in Ulysses....Curtius described this characteristic Joycean process as an 'enchainment of associations,' which, though 'superficially senseless,' may lead a reader patient enough to follow the chain through all its links to a 'symbolism full of meaning.' ....[Joyce scholar] Margot Norris identifies her own 'critical procedure' as a 'raveling' and 'reknitting' of the web of Joyce's texts. Thus,
whether we think of an allusion as a link in a chain or a strand in a web, what may at first glance seem an isolated grace note often has thematic significance of one degree or another, especially when it can be associated with another seemingly isolated allusion and even more when the allusion has its own history, as many Joycean allusions do...."


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