*from the epiphany to the ‘esthetic image’… *—the evolution of the aesthetic theory in Joyce’s early fiction. …

*(follows on from *‘the fold in the self-creation of the artist’.).

 

*on ‘Art and Life’. …
*—the evolution of the aesthetic theory in Joyce’s writing.

*(by way of introduction…)

 

In the first… chapter (?)—string-thread of fragments here,… I contextualised Nietzsche’s ironic ‘Schopenhauerian’–anti-Schopenhauerianism in The Birth of Tragedy through reference to the ‘On Truth’ essay which followed it and to the ‘On Schopenhauer’ fragment which preceded it. …

 

*—I argued that the text’s being book-ended by these two explicitcritiques of Schopenhauer, underpins the latent anti-metaphysics in-of the text. …

 

 

*—Through a comparison of the ‘primal unity’ (Ur-Eine) of Birth with Bergson’s notion of *duration as the flux of the undivided continuity of (interpenetrating) states, I argued that the ‘primal unity’ far more closely approximates Nietzsche’s own later formulation of *‘the will to power’, understood here as the differential element (—‘sense’) defining the hierarchy of forces vying for dominance of a given quantum of reality (—the ‘essence’ of any one quantum naming the ‘sense’ with which it is most sympathetic) than it does the metaphysical unity of Schopenhauer’s ‘will’. …

*(—see esp. … on *‘Intution, Flux, and anti-metaphysics’., & *‘the will to power’. …).

 

 

*—In what follows here (now), then, —I want to examine what I’ll argue represents the analogous ironic appropriation of the terms of Aquinas’s philosophy of art and theory of ‘beauty’ in Stephen’s aesthetic theory between Joyce’s Stephen Hero *(ed. Theodore Spencer [London: Paladin, 1991,—SH) and A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (—[London: Penguin, 1992].—Portrait). …

 

 

—In this first part-fragment, I want to turn to the context of the early critical reception of the aesthetic theory of Stephen Hero and in particular of the concept of the ‘epiphany’ and to revive the terms of the early debate around the concept. …

 

 

*—There are two antithetical positions at stake in this reception, which still bear a strong influence on contemporary critical treatment of the development of Stephen’s aesthetic and its relationship to Joyce’s larger corpus. …

 

—The first is that the concept of the ‘epiphany’ applies only to Joyce’s own early—fragmented—compositions and can’t (—ought not to) be applied beyond these, to name a literary technique at stake in Joyce’s mature writing. …

 

The second is that the ‘epiphany’ can be used to name all and any of the structures of revelation at play in Joyce’s writing.

 

 

*… And so. … —I’ll argue here for an alternative—third—critical position through a reassessment of Stephen’s ironic appropriation of Aquinas’s conception of ‘beauty’ in the exposition of his aesthetic theory between Stephen Hero and Portrait. …

 

 

*—I’ll argue that the concept of the ‘epiphany’ is, in fact, refined into that of the ‘esthetic image’ in-of Portrait, which retains-maintains and—draws out *(—clarifies)what is at stake within *(—the fundamental shape of) the ‘epiphany’,—shorn of the religious and metaphysical… baggage which still clung to the earlier term. …

 

*—an ironic appropriation, then, of Aquinas’s philosophy,—to an intrinsically anti-metaphysical theory of art. …

 

 

This will allow me, in the second section here, to go on to argue that the aesthetic theory as it appear in Portrait… incorporates both the concept of the ‘epiphany’ and also (and as importantly) the account of the opposition between the ‘classical’ and ‘romantic’ artistic ‘tempers’ (presented elsewhere) in Stephen Hero (—and in Joyce’s own early critical writing). …

 

*—I’ll argue that this material is reconfigured in Portrait to form, in particular, an implicit rejection of what I’ll call late-Romantic Platonic metaphysics, and, more specifically, of W.B. Yeats’s definition-coinage-formulation of *transcendental Symbolism.

(and, I confess,… —I’ll be using Yeats, I suppose, as a kind of a straw man (sic) here. …)

 

 

*…—By highlighting the parallel between Stephen’s account of the opposition of the ‘classical’ to the ‘romantic’, and privileging of the former, and those of Nietzsche and T.E. Hulme (—on artistic inspiration and creation, Modern art and Bergson’s philosophy), I’ll thus seek to link Stephen’s aesthetic theory to neo-classical Modernist aesthetics more broadly considered… *—and especially Ezra Pound’s work *(—on the ‘image’ and (on) the ‘vortex’), and Imagism. …

 

 

*… —I’ll read Stephen’s allusion to Percy Bysshe Shelley’s account of artistic inspiration in A Defence of Poetry as an ironic appropriation of the terms of Shelley’s Romanticism to an implicitly anti-Romantic, anti-metaphysical, ‘classical’ aesthetic. …

 

 

*—I’ll conclude my reading of Stephen Hero, Portrait and (in the light of)neo-classical Modernism by drawing a parallel between the anti-metaphysics in-of the ‘esthetic image’ and the terms of Nietzsche’s doctrine of the will to power, as I examined these in the first chapter-string-thread of fragments here *(and, again,—see *[links]).

 

 

*—I’ll then move on to read the ‘Shakespeare theory’ in-of the ‘Scylla and Charybdis’ episode of Joyce’s Ulysses. …

 

—I’ll argue that the both the (concept of the) image and the ‘classical’ in-of the aesthetic theory are refined again,—in(to) Stephen’s concept *—the image of the artist’.

 

*… —and this is where I want to draw what I feel is the most significant parallel between the evolution of the terms of Stephen’s aesthetic theory in Joyce’s fiction and those of Nietzsche’s account of artistic creation in The Birth of Tragedy, as I’ve attempted to close-read, interpret and lay these out in the previous string-thread. …

 

*—I’ll argue that Stephen’s account of the creation of the ‘image of the artist’ in Ulysses presents the process of an attempt to record and to articulate an intensely undergone experience in which the (assumed) empirical self of the artist is lacerated (so to), and a sort of bathetic revelation—ironic inversion—takes place, in which the artist’s ‘self’ is shown to be the opposite of what it had been taken to be. …

 

*This… process, then, I’ll argue, can be articulated through a comparison with the shape of ol’ Friz’s account of artistic creation in Birth, as(-through)…

*—the fold in the ironic self-(re-)creation of the artist. …

 

 

*—‘applied Aquinas’. …
*—on the use & abuse of Thomism, & the *evolution of the ‘epiphany’ into the ‘image’ in the developing aesthetic theory between Joyce’s Stephen Hero & A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man…

*—the ‘Epiphany’ *(-the—epiphanic. …). …

 

*— In Stephen Hero, Stephen’s interpretation of Aquinas’s conception of ‘beauty’ follows on directly from his definition of the ‘epiphany’… —

By an epiphany he meant a sudden spiritual manifestation, whether in the vulgarity of speech or of gesture or in a memorable phase of the mind itself. He believed it was for the man of letters to record these epiphanies with extreme care, seeing that they themselves are the most delicate and evanescent of moments. (Joyce, SH, 216)

In this initial definition, then,—Stephen identifies an ‘epiphany’ as a ‘manifestation’. …

 

*(That is,…)—It is a revelation. …*—A sudden(-suddenly) becoming visible, or sensible,—of something which had existed prior to the experience of its revelation, and yet which had remained (somehow) insensible, and only latent.

 

 

*The (a-hem)—‘spiritual’ (—sic) quality of the ‘epiphany’ alludes here, I’d argue, to the relationship of consciousness to itself,—implicit in this notion of revelation. …

 

 

*—The ‘epiphany’, then, represents a bathetic structure of ironic inversion,—suddenly and spontaneously revealing previously repressed psychic (—psychological) content, and thus bringing about a fundamental change in consciousness. …

 

…—This is brought about either by the observer’s relationship to some vulgar detail of quotidian discourse (—‘speech or gesture’), or, by a revealing, detached psychological event (‘a memorable phase of the mind’). …

*(…

 —Oliver St. John Gogarty argues that it was ‘Probably Fr. Darlington had taught him, as an aside in his Latin class—for Joyce knew no Greek—that “Epiphany” meant a “showing forth”’. (—As I was Going down Sackville Street [New York: Reynal and Hitchcock, 1937],—293-295.—See also, Robert Scholes and Richard M. Kain, eds., The Workshop of Daedalus: James Joyce and the Raw Materials for Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, [Evanston, Illinois: Northwestern University Press, 1965],—7-8)

—William T. Noon, meanwhile, puts forward the contention that in using the term ‘epiphany’ Joyce is ‘playing on the French ‘épiphénomène (that which at certain times attaches itself as if inevitably, though momentarily, to some other phenomenon)’. (Joyce and Aquinas [New Haven, London: Yale University Press, 1957], 71)… (hmm. …)

*—Florence L. Walzl provides the best summation of the term epiphany itself,—building on Gogarty’s observation of Joyce’s having learnt the etymology and the meaning of the Greek term, and arguing that… —

What Joyce meant by the term epiphany may be deduced etymologically. The basic meaning in Greek of έπιφάυεια is appearance or manifestation, and the word is related to a verb meaning to display or show forth and in the passive and middle voice to shine forth. In the early Christian period epiphaneia developed a religious denotation as a “visible manifestation of hidden divinity either in the form of a personal appearance, or by some deed of power by which its presence is made known.” (‘The Liturgy of the Epiphany Season and the Epiphanies of Joyce’, PMLA, 80 [1965],—436-450 *[436])

*(—Walzl cites William F. Arndt and F. Wilbur Gingrich, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature (Chicago, 1957).

*—The key terms here, I would suggest, are ‘manifestation’ and to ‘show forth’. …

*—The ‘epiphany’, then, is the becoming visible or sensible (—a form of becoming aware…) of something which had previously remained (for whatever reason or sets of reasons)—‘hidden’ (—obscured). …)…).

 

The ‘epiphany’ can take one of two potential forms. …

 

*—These correspond to the forms of Joyce’s own ‘Epiphanies’: a selection of short prose fragments composed between 1901/2 and 1904.[1] …

 

—The first is that in which what is revealed is done so through a ‘vulgarity of speech or of gesture’: a quotidian turn of phrase or expression through body language that captures something essential in both the agent and the observer. This is the sense in which Joyce’s brother Stanislaus described the ‘“Epiphanies”—manifestations or revelations’:

Jim had always had a contempt for secrecy, and these notes were in the beginning ironical observations of slips, and little errors and gestures—mere straws in the wind—by which people betrayed the very things they were most careful to conceal. “Epiphanies” were always brief sketches, hardly ever more than some dozen lines in length, but always very accurately observed and noted, the matter being so slight. This collection served him as a sketchbook serves an artist.[2]

 

The first form of the ‘epiphany’, then, concerns small and, seemingly, unimportant errors, through which can be observed a *betrayal of something that the agent had been at pains to conceal. …

 

Stanislaus’ description lays an emphasis on the ironic disposition of the observer. … —The ‘epiphany’ is ‘ironical’ in terms of the cynical detachment and distance of the observer from the observed. …

 

 

*—In their commentary on the prose fragments, Litz and Whittier-Ferguson dub this form of ‘epiphany’ the—‘dramatic’. (Shorter Writings, 158.—See also Scholes and Kain, The Workshop of Daedalus,—3-6. …) …

 

*—The ‘dramatic’ epiphanies rely on the contexts of social relationships and situations and, in particular, on the failure of a social and-or emotional performance. …

 

 

—The repressed ‘essence’ (sic) thus revealed,… —the motivation for its repression,—the act of its repression, as well as the failure of this performance,… —allconspire, then, here to form an *ironic betrayal. …

*(—Gogarty: …—‘So he recorded under “Epiphany” any showing forth by which one gave oneself away’. *[293-295]…).

 

 

*By contrast to the ‘dramatic’,… —the second form of the ‘epiphany’ concerns what Stephen refers to as a ‘memorable phase of the mind itself’. …

 

—This form of ‘manifestation’, rather than concerning a revelation through the quotidian, involves an ironic betrayal of the… —inward state (so to) of the observer.

 

For this reason—the focus on the inner (inward) state of the artist-observer themselves—Litz and Whittier-Ferguson dub this form the ‘lyrical epiphany’. (Shorter Writings, 158)

 

The form of distance involved in the observation here lacks the cynicism of the ‘dramatic’ form. …

 

—It’s more vulnerable, and more affective, and, hence, more painful to the observer (however ironic it may nonetheless be). …

 

 

*—The ‘lyrical’ epiphanies take the form of ‘records’ of dreams or moments of solitude. …

 

—Stephen defines the ‘phase of the mind’ as ‘memorable’ because, through the disruptive nature of the revelation, it is lifted beyond (—outwith) the continuum of quotidian experience.

 

 

*—In effect, then,… —it’s a moment of involuntary self-intuition, resulting in a fundamental change in self-knowledge-perception, which serves to illuminate—to render – manifest—that which had been lost within the complacency of that continuum. …

 

 

*… —In a move that will prove useful to my own reading of the original debate in the critical reception of the ‘epiphany’, I’m going to go ahead and make the claim (and why not? … —treat y’self, it’s nearly Christmas, etc. …) that Litz and Whittier-Ferguson make what I believe to be a misguided and fundamental critical error in reducing the artistic and critical significance of the ‘Epiphanies’ to autobiographical context.

 

 

—They argue that the ‘Epiphanies’ have no real artistic value beyond their later incorporation into broader dramatic contexts in Joyce’s longer fiction *(—and this is a point I’ll return to later…), and that, as such, their value lies solely in what they can tell us about Joyce’s (—the historical figure-personality) early life *(—as a form of historical record, if you will…). …

 

… —and this in fact renders them guilty of the intentional fallacy… *—the (mistaken) belief that it is (ever) possible to read back from an artwork simply-straightforwardly (in)to the life, mind, or intentions of the artist-author…

 

 

*By contrast,—I want to argue that the ‘Epiphanies’ represent complete,—self-contained dramatic-artistic units… *—fragments that, through precisely the kind of devices, techniques, and stratagems that Litz and Whittier-Ferguson otherwise so clearly define—‘place indications’ and ‘stage directions’, subtly, and negativelyevoke (—indicate) the contexts, absent in substance, into which they themselves form a dramatic insight, and to which, *Joyce: the historical figure’s life and *Joyce: the artist’s intentions are wholly irrelevant. …

 

*So,…

 

—I’m want to furnish (and to read)one example from the ‘Epiphanies’ here (appropriately enough)—epiphany #1. … …

 

—This is ‘dramatic’ epiphany (under Litz and Whittier-Ferguson’s useful rubric), but it’ll serve, I believe, to demonstrate my point *(but it’s also an example of some beautiful typographical experimentation, as Litz and Whittier-Ferguson present it, and I’ll attempt to recreate that presentation here…). …

pull out his eyes

 

*—Despite acknowledging its ‘arresting’ quality,… Litz and Whittier Ferguson seek to deny any real artistic value to this fragment-epiphany, outside of its later incorporation into the first chapter of A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man,—arguing that it couldn’t be ‘radiant’ (—? hmm) outside of this larger textual-dramatic context, except to Joyce himself. (—158-159.—See P., 4.) …

 

 

*… —There’s a mocking-patronising tone in Mr Vance’s performance of admonishment *(—and there’s a quality of a certain—forced—condescending theatricality…). …

 

—What is an ostensible, formal, address to the mother here (—Mrs Joyce), is nonetheless, obviously intended as a direct address-admonishment to ‘Joyce’, reduced here to the status of the third person, framed indirectly through the mother. …

 

—Framed as an indirect address (admonishment.—the detail of the stick…), appealing to the mother, so that Mr Vance can administer discipline-punishment without violating the—unwritten-unspoken—social code, prohibiting disciplining someone else’s child (and thereby adopting the parental role and relegating the parent to the status of a by-stander. … *—an assumption of knowing better how to discipline another’s child… and it’s important, in this regard, that the fragment is framed at the outset in-through the domestic, social context of the parlour of the house…),—the mother thus made complicit in an open secret.

 

 

*—What may seem a fairly obvious *(—innocuous? … —forgettable-inconsequential,… —trivial) moment-exchange, then, in-point-of-fact, reveals the nature, and the inner-workings (sic) of what is actually a quite complexly coded, socially fraught performance… *—the awkward and perpetual negotiation—of social roles *(—for complicity… —for validation and compliance in-of ‘authority’)—rendering all the actors here complicit in an unspoken yet (painfully) present open secret. …

 

*The striking element is the child’s burgeoning awareness-consciousness (—the revelation-manifestation)of the nature and stakes of this performance here… —Mr Vance’s appeal to, and reliance upon, the open secret, as well as the mother’s (necessary) voluntary complicity, in establishing (—performing)the authority to admonish and threaten retribution-punishment… *(—coupled to the child’s intimidation, resentment, and yet powerlessness in the face of the admonishment (—that is,—his inability to step outside the bounds of social and filial propriety implied by the performance, whilst painfully aware of the tenuousness and provisionality of its legitimacy)… *—‘under the table’. …).

 

 

*—… —‘Joyce’s’ attempt to appropriate of the language of (performed) authority,—in-through the accidental-incidental rhyme, and through repetition, in the composition of the short poem, forms an attempt—reveals a cpacity—to challenge-confront (irresistible) authority, and to control *(to—master) experience (—‘to himself’. …)  *—through the artwork. …

(and hence the dramatic use to which the fragment could then be put in Portrait, where, in fact, I’d argue (at least), very little is actually added (or—needs to be added) by way of exposition to expand the context, and where (in fact) it could be argued that the fragment is reduced, almost, to the status of a thematic precursor… (—?)).

 

 

*… —The ‘epiphany’, then, is a highly complex, self-contained fragment,—(negatively) pointing out to (—outward toward.—evoking) a larger social-political-linguistic context that informs its structure and the nature of the revelation it represents…

 

…—There need be no more exposition than a few, choice, place indications and ‘stage directions’ *(—the fragment plays out as a ‘scene’ … *—the record of an impression. …).—The effectiveness of the ‘epiphany’ (—as fragment), indeed, relies upon the sparseness, brevity, and cleanliness (—clarity) of this—strict—artistic economy…

 

 

*—What Stephen describes as the delicacy and the—evanescence of the epiphanies—both ‘dramatic’ and ‘lyrical’—which otherwise appear as sharp, clean, and violentin their sarcasm *(—both toward the inanity of social performance and to any prior sense of self-certainty or self-identity in the observer), derives from the difficulties associated with the attempt to accurately record them. …

 

 

(hmm).

 

 

*… —In committing them to paper, the artist risks omission or distortion of the many (crucial) details and nuances of which the ‘epiphany’ is comprised. …

 

—Through such omission or distortion, the artist would potentially compromise the significance which marks these moments out precisely as epiphanies…

 

*For this reason, particularly in regard to the dramatic ‘Epiphanies’, Joyce himself takes (took) ‘extreme care’ when appending what Litz and Whittier-Ferguson describe as ‘place indications and stage directions’… (that is,)*—important signs or pieces of information and context (—often records of significant tone or gesture) of which both the writer and the reader must be conscious in order for the effect of the ‘epiphany’ to be achieved. (—See Joyce, SW,—158)

 

*The ‘Epiphanies’, then, are divided between the two forms of ‘dramatic scenes’ and ‘rhythmical prose-poems’. …

*(and Litz and Whittier-Ferguson rightly (in my opinion) argue that Joyce’s later prose (fiction) writing attains its ‘moments of highest achievement’ when these two forms are conjoined and made to comment upon and to ‘reinforce’ one another (each the other)… *[—158].).

 

(hmm)

 

So. …

 

*—. By way of contextualising my own comparative reading of the presentations of Stephen’s aesthetic theory and interpretation of Aquinas in Stephen Hero and Portrait, I want to briefly revisit the terms of the debate waged over the use of the term ‘epiphany’ between Florence L. Walzl and Robert Scholes in the late nineteen sixties.

 

—Walzl and Scholes represent two polar-antithetical possibilities for assessing the legacy of the concept of the ‘epiphany’ in Joyce’s larger corpus…

 

On the one hand, Walzl argues that the ‘epiphany’ should be used as a critical tool in analysing Joyce’s works. She argues that the Dubliners stories represent ‘epiphanies’ and allusions to the liturgy of the Epiphany season, ironically inverting the nine manifestations of the Epiphany cycle.

*(…—‘Jesus is revered as a babe by the Magi, marvelled at as a boy by the doctors on the Temple, blessed as a youth by the Holy Spirit at his baptism, and confirmed in the eyes of his disciples at Cana’.—Walzl, ‘The Liturgy of the Epiphany Season and the Epiphanies of Joyce’, 450.—See also ‘Symbolism in Joyce’s “Two Gallants”’, James Joyce Quarterly, 2 [1965],—73-81… ).

 

In response to Walzl (and on the other hand), Scholes, by contrast, argues that the term ‘Epiphany’ should be used only as Joyce himself had used it—to name the prose fragments of 1901/2-1904. …

 

—Scholes argues that the term ‘Epiphany’ specifically designates, then, what he dubs a—*‘prose genre’ in which Joyce worked,… —comparable to, and yet distinct from, the novel genre of Portrait of the Artist, Ulysses, and Finnegans Wake, and the short story genre at stake within Dubliners.[3]

 

—For Scholes, the arrangement of the fragments themselves is ‘fixed,’ and although he is not explicit on this point, his argument suggests that this order is strictly chronological. *(—Scholes, Walzl, ‘The Epiphanies of Joyce’, 152…

—‘From 1901 to 1904 […] beginning with the famous “Pull out his eyes” Epiphany which appears early in Portrait.’…)

 

He does allow for Joyce’s having structured the narrative of Stephen Hero using the ‘Epiphany’ fragments, and also for their later inclusion throughout Portrait and Ulysses. …

 

—His objection focuses on the use of the term ‘Epiphany’ outside of this narrowed context:

*—‘Joyce never used the word Epiphany in connection with Dubliners, or as a term for a structural device in longer fiction.’ (Ibid.)

 

 

*—The ‘Epiphanies’, then, Scholes argues, constitute a complete and a separate work in-of Joyce’s early career, as well as a specific prose genre, and should not be understood critically either as an abstract concept or as a literary structural technique with wider application to Joyce’s works. …

 

*He argues that those critics who adopt the ‘Epiphany’ as an interpretive tool and as an abstract concept do an injustice to the specificities of the texts themselves and spuriously elevate much incidental material *(—‘many a tenuous aperçu’…) to the level of a false significance, to which they could lay no claim without the term. …

 

 

*—Walzl and Scholes’s positions, I’d argue, continue to represent the two possible polar extremes for the relationship of criticism to the ‘epiphany’ concept. …

 

*… —Either the critic, following Walzl’s example, accepts *all instances of revelation or of… reversal in Joyce’s works as ‘epiphanies’, or, following Scholes, abandons the concept altogether. …

 

However,… —both Walzl and Scholes elide the relationship of Stephen Hero to Portrait and the development of the aesthetic theory,… —in particular (I’d argue) the interpretation of Aquinas. …

 

 

*—In opposition to both Walzl’s argument for the simple, straightforward adoption of the concept of the ‘epiphany’ and to Scholes argument for its outright critical abandonment,… —through a comparative close reading of the presentation of the aesthetic theory in both  Stephen Hero and Portrait, I’ll argue here that the relationship between the two texts, and the growing sophistication and qualification of the interpretation of Aquinas, constitutes the evolution of the concept of the ‘epiphany’ into that of the ‘esthetic image’. …

 

 

*the qualities of ‘beauty’ / —the phases of ‘artistic apprehension’. …
*—the shape of the ‘esthetic image’. …

 

*As far as I’m aware (that is,—as far as I’ve been able to discover…),… —no extant criticism of Stephen’s interpretation of Aquinas’s theory of beauty in Stephen Hero and Portrait has yet presented the pertinent sections of these texts side-by-side

*(… — In The Classical Temper, S.L. Goldberg presents both the Stephen Hero and Portrait ‘versions’ of Stephen’s definition of the Thomist consonantia together, but argues that the latter merely restates the central argument of the former, without providing a detailed comparison of the terms of both extracts. (—The Classical Temper: a study of James Joyce’s Ulysses [London: Chatto & Windus, 1961], 53)

 Irene Hendry briefly discusses all three stages but offers no sustained analysis or comparison of the two texts, other than to suggest that the passage on the Scholastic quidditias in Stephen Hero is ‘more revealing’ than its later counterpart in Portrait (—?). (—‘Joyce’s Epiphanies’ The Sewanee Review [New York: Kraus Reprint Corp., 1965], 449-467 [449-450])

 —In ‘Artistic Theory in James Joyce’ (in Thomas E. Connolly, ed., Joyce’s Portrait: Critiques and Criticisms [London: Peter Owen, 1964], 221-230), Geddes MacGregor refers to all three stages but with reference only to Stephen Hero. (—See Life and Letters, 65 [1947], 18-27)

 *—See also Herbert M. McLuhan, ‘Joyce, Aquinas, and the Poetic Process’, Renascence: A Critical Journal of Letters, 4 (1951), 3-11 (repr. in Connolly, ed., Joyce’s Portrait, 249-265),—esp. 249-250, 253; Thomas E. Connolly, ‘Joyce’s Aesthetic Theory’, University of Kansas City Review, 23 (1956), 47-50 (repr. in Connolly, ed., Joyce’s Portrait, 266-271.—esp. 269-270…); Richard Ellmann, James Joyce : New and Revised Edition (New York/Oxford/Toronto: Oxford University Press, 1982 [1959]), 83-84; Walzl, ‘The Liturgy of the Epiphany Season and the Epiphanies of Joyce’,—442, and (finally) Umberto Eco, The Middle Ages of Joyce: The Aesthetics of Chaosmos, trans. Ellen Esrock (London: Hutchinson Radius, 1989),—22-23. … ).

 

*(…) —To do so, however, can, I believe, far better illuminate the parallels and contrasts between the two passages and the evolution of the former into the latter… —

SH - P

 

*—In both texts, Stephen’s ostensible purpose is to interpret Aquinas’s definition of the conditions which it is necessary for a phenomenon to fulfil in order for it to be considered beautiful.

 

There are, however (—nonetheless), significant differences between them. … —

 

 

*—The Stephen Hero extract comprises a simple paraphrasing of Aquinas’s definition…

 

—The first quality requisite for beauty is vaguely defined here as ‘integrity’,—suggestive of the persisting self-identity of the phenomenon.

 

Stephen also defines it as ‘wholeness’ which suggests that the object does not lack any essential elements, that it is complete.

*(—See Umberto Eco, The Aesthetics of Thomas Aquinas, trans. Hugh Bredin (London: Hutchinson Radius, 1988),—64, and Kevin O’Reilly, Aesthetic Perception: A Thomist Perspective (Dublin: Four Courts Press Ltd., 2007), *—esp. 18, 22. … ).

 

 

—In Stephen’s phrasing, integrity precedes wholeness in the definition of the first quality and this lends his definition an indistinctness, as it remains unclear if he means by that that the phenomenon must posses a wholeness, a completeness which persists—which is integralthrough time. …

 

 

*—The second quality, Stephen defines as ‘symmetry’. …

 

—That is, in order to be considered beautiful the object must be symmetrical. …

(and this is relatively straightforward…).

 

 

*The final quality Stephen defines as ‘radiance’. …

 

*… —The object must be radiant—must be *illuminating—in order to be considered beautiful,… though at this stage Stephen offers no definition of this ‘radiance’ or how it is achieved. …

 

 

In Stephen Hero Stephen provides no specific context for his definition of beauty.

 

—He refers to no specific type of experience, but to all sensible experience.

 

 

*In (the far more substantial) Portrait extract,—by contrast, Stephen’s later textual incarnation seeks to define ‘beauty’, not simply as an experience of general quotidian consciousness, but, instead, as it realised through the *‘phases’—of ‘artistic apprehension’…

 

 

(That is,…)—Portrait develops and refines the definition of ‘beauty’ offered in the earlier Stephen Hero

 

 

—It qualifies the earlier general definition of beauty by making it conditional upon a knowledge of how an object of quotidian experience is (essentially) transformed by-through a specific type of experience—into the subject matter of-for (—into) *art.

 

 

—The ultimate aims, then, in Portrait,are to define both the ‘beautiful’, and the nature of the experience which forms the condition necessary for the creation of the work of art.

*(…

— In his discussion of the Thomism/non-Thomism of Stephen’s definition of ‘beauty’ in both texts, Noon argues against what he defines as A.D. Hope’s ‘attempts to save the Thomism of Stephen’s discussion’, but actually misquotes Hope’s article… —‘Joyce here is speaking of the “esthetic image,” that is to say, not the butcher’s boy’s basket at which he and Lynch are looking *[—See Portrait, 230], but the artist’s image of it which, when reproduced in the medium of words or paint, will be the work of art’. (—Joyce and Aquinas,—45)

—Noon overlooks the distinction, which Hope is actually careful to draw, between Joyce and Stephen: ‘Joyce’s hero is speaking of the “esthetic image”’. … *(—See Hope, ‘The Esthetic Theory of James Joyce’, Australasian Journal of Philosophy, 21 [1943], 93-114 [—108.—Emphasis added here]. … )

 

 

—Noon argues that Stephen’s focus is the actual and ‘very particular basket’ and not the image of it, and that only at the end of his discussion of the three ‘phases of artistic apprehension’ does he—obliquely—cite Shelley by way of extending his argument to poetry. …

 

Noon maintains that Stephen is not applying his discussion/theory in this way, and that even if he were he would be in contravention of a strictly Thomistic reading of Aquinas. (Ibid.—See Hope,—108-109…)

 

In his attempt to assess Stephen’s ‘Thomism’, Noon overlooks the shift in emphasis from general quotidian experience in Stephen Hero to ‘artistic apprehension’ in Portrait, as well as Hope’s own careful distinction between the ‘esthetic image’ and the ‘actual basket’. (109)

 

—Stephen’s focus is the transformation of the apprehension of the basket into ‘artistic apprehension’. However, in arguing that Stephen’s argument isThomist, Hope refers, not to the passage on ‘beauty’ (—as an attribute of a member of the Holy Trinity), but to Aquinas’s ‘theory of “imagination”’ *(—108-109), although Noon doesn’t seem to take this into account. [—Cf. 45]… )

 

*The development in Portrait of the earlier definition of ‘beauty’ takes the form not only of the qualification of the definition by that of ‘artistic apprehension’ but by a refinement in the translation of Aquinas. …

 

—In Stephen Hero, Stephen is content to provide only an allusive paraphrase of Aquinas *(‘—You know what Aquinas says’…). …

 

*In Portrait, by contrast,he provides Lynch with a bastardised translation of the specific passage from the Summa Theologica:

*—‘Aquinas says: ad pulcritudinem tria requiruntur, integritas, consonantia, claritas. I translate it so: Three things are needed for beauty, wholeness, harmony and radiance.’ *(—229) …

 

 

*Maurice Beebe argues that Stephen simplifies and misquotes the original Latin, providing a full citation… —

*—‘Actually, Aquinas wrote: “Nam ad pulchritudinem tria requiruntur: primo quidem integritas sive perfectio; quae enim diminuta sunt, turpia sunt; et debita proportio sive consonantia; et iterum claritas, unde, quae habent colorem nitidum, pulchra esse dicunter.”’

*(—‘Joyce and Aquinas: The Theory of Aesthetics,’ Philological Quarterly, XXXVI, Jan., 1957, —repr. in Connolly, ed., Joyce’s Portrait,—272-289.

*See Aquinas, Thomas, Summa Theologica, trans. Fathers of the English Dominican Province, revised by Daniel J. Sullivan,—II vols [Chicago,: William Benton, 1952], vol. I, I, 39, 8c.—See also, Eco, The Aesthetics of Thomas Aquinas,—65. …)

 

…—Beebe follows the Dominican Fathers’ translation of Aquinas:

*—‘For Beauty includes three conditions, integrity or perfection, for those things which are impaired are by the very fact ugly; and then due proportion or harmony is required; and lastly, brightness or clarity, whence things are called beautiful which have a bright colour.’ (—Beebe, 283-284)

 

Integritas indicates the completeness of the object. *(See—O’Reilly, Aesthetic Perception, 22-24)

 

—Consonantia is defined as the ‘due proportion’ both of the object itself and of its parts and thus the relationship of these parts to one another: their ‘harmony’.

 

 

*In both texts,—Stephen’s translation and interpretation of claritas as ‘radiance’ omits the qualification given in the full extract from Aquinas, translated by the Dominican fathers, as ‘brightness or clarity, whence things are called beautiful which have a bright colour’. …

 

—Here, claritas means that for an object to be considered beautiful its colour and lustre must be bright, sharp and clean.

 

Stephen’s translation of claritas as ‘radiance’, however, elides all reference to the brightness or colour of the object. …

 

—For him, then, ‘radiance’ is to have a more abstract meaning…

 

 

Although Beebe is right to assert that the ‘translation’ Stephen offers is a simplified version of Aquinas’s original Latin, and that it omits the qualifying comments of the original text, he overlooks the dramatic context in which Stephen cites the text.

 

—Stephen is, in effect, reducing the textual citation to its key elements in order to put forward his own interpretation. …

 

This reading itself takes place in the dramatic context of the conversation with Lynch and represents a gloss of what is presented as Stephen’s own much more expansive theorising on art. *(—221-235) …

 

*—That Joyce chose to offer this theorising in such a distilled form is for the benefit of the reader as much as it is for the benefit of Stephen in articulating his thoughts, and the benefit of Lynch as reluctant listener within the dramatic context of the exposition.

 

 

Beebe argues that Stephen’s translation of integritas in Portrait as ‘wholeness’ ‘is probably even closer to the Latin text’ than that provided by the Dominican fathers. (Beebe, 284)

 

—It resolves the confusion of the suggestion in Stephen Hero that ‘integrity’ and ‘a wholeness’ are one (and the same) quality. …

 

*… —It also serves to divest integritas of the notion of persisting self-identity suggested by ‘integrity’,… emphasising, by contrast, the notion of the object as whole and independent (—without (inadvertently) suggesting its persistence—in-through time, and-or its resistance to dissolution. …). …

 

*In Portrait,Stephen dubs the second phase ‘harmony,’ arguing that each individual part must be necessary to the object, and have a necessary place within it, corresponding to that of all other parts. …

 

—This accords with the Dominican fathers’ translation of Aquinas’s emphasis upon the necessity of the ‘due proportion’ of the object and of its parts. …

 

—The enigmatic ‘radiance’ (and concurrent elision of all reference to the brightness or colour of the object) of Stephen Hero is retained…

 

 

*… —Having identified, in outline, the qualities of beauty/‘phases of artistic apprehension’, in both texts Stephen then moves on to define the first quality or ‘phase’… —

SH - P first quality

 

—The terms of the Stephen Hero extract are deceptive…

 

*—To suggest that the ‘synthesis’ of or within the ‘faculty which apprehends’ (which he will go on in his incarnation in Portrait to qualify as the faculties of the ‘audible’ and ‘visible’…) is in any way ‘simple’, overlooks the complexity of the extract’s own central claim that the object is only apprehended when it is extracted from the sensuous continuum in which it is otherwise lost…

*—‘you must lift it away from everything else’. …

 

*—This… —sensory extraction is accomplished—spontaneously. …

 

—It is involuntary.

 

… —It constitutes, then, a chance coincidence in apprehension,… *—a sudden, unexpected alteration in the relationship of the subject and-to the object… *—an alteration that precipitates the division of the ‘entire [apprehended] universe’ into, on the one hand,—‘the object,’ and, on the other,—‘the void’ of all else that is ‘not the object’. …

 

(hmm).

 

 

*—A chance relation—a coincidence—brings the object into stark relief with its surroundings-environs,—foregrounding it and allowing the observer—for the first time—to become (in effect) *—defamiliarised with the object, and to (truly) see the object—as object.

(and not, then, as merely another, undifferentiated, piece of the complacency inducing tableau that is the world of quotidian consciousness. …). …

 

 

*—The ‘first quality of beauty’ constitutes, then,—the revelation of the object… *—its extraction from the invisibility that it was subject to in the complacency of quotidian apprehension.

 

 

*—In Portrait, Stephen goes on to elucidate this… moment (and, again,… —the terms are essentially a more refined articulation of the same idea here… —) as the drawing of a ‘boundary line’ in consciousness around the object. …

 

*—a ‘boundary line’.
(—around the object. …).

 

 

*… —This serves to emphasise the nature of separation and foregrounding in the first ‘phase of artistic apprehension’, and the differentiation of the object being apprehended from ‘everything else’… *(that is,)—‘the immeasurable background of space or time which it is not’. …

 

The first phase—in both texts, then—defines the object *—negatively. …

 

 

*—This reveals the object, bringing it into a stark relief, and serves to push-to propel all else in perception into an indistinguishable—and ‘immeasurable’—… —background. …

 

It’s this which accounts for what, in both his textual incarnations, Stephen is at pains to stress is the illuminating or luminousquality of this first moment, and, further (and why not?) accounts for the appearance of the object’s ‘wholeness’ (of ‘integritas’). …

 

*—The object is no longer subsumed under or within the—conventional complacency in-of quotidian consciousness, but is isolated and illuminated as object. …

 

 

Noon argues that this translation of integritas is inaccurate, and that it ‘has for Aquinas a perfectly definite and different meaning which Stephen appears not to have noticed in his breezy citation’. (—?) *(—Joyce and Aquinas, *47…) …

 

 

—Comparing the Thomist meaning of integritas to Aristotle’s statement in the Poetics that a drama, in order to be considered a drama, must have a beginning, a middle, and an end, Noon argues that ‘[Aquinas] has in mind the completeness or perfection which a being possesses when it is all that it ought to be.’ … (Ibid.—See Eco, The Aesthetics of Thomas Aquinas,—*64…)

 

This accords with the translation furnished by the Dominican fathers of integritas as ‘integrity or perfection’. …

 

However, Noon is wrong, I’d argue, in accusing Stephen of having not noticed this meaning. …

 

Instead,… —Stephen’s definition of integritas as the extraction of the object from the oblivion in-of the quotidian, and its (concurrent) illumination, is precisely what shows the object as it ‘ought to be’ (sic): … *—as a discrete object, rather than as an inconsequential and fleeting detail in-of the consciousness-quotidian…

 

*—Stephen’s, then, is an idiosyncratic interpretation of the Thomist notion of ‘perfection’. …

 

 

*—Otherwise rendered insensible or invisible within quotidian consciousness, the object is extracted and seen—for the first time—as a discrete, solid, and self-identical object, and it’s this which justifies Stephen’s appropriation of the orthodox Thomistic definition of the ‘completeness or perfection’ of the object. …

*(—Cf. Eco, 99n. *(—248-249). … —Citing Noon’s argument, Eco argues that Joyce strips integritas of its ‘ontological character’ (—concerning the truth of the object, broadly and crudely stated), and renders it epistemological—concerned with how the object comes to be known. …)

 

 

*… —Having defined ‘integritas’,Stephen now (—then) moves on, in both texts, to define the second ‘quality of beauty’ or ‘phase’ of ‘artistic apprehension,’ which results from the revelation of this ‘integrity’ or ‘wholeness’ in-of the object… —

consonantia

 

In both texts, Stephen dubs this phase of consonantia ‘Analysis’—the ‘analysis of apprehension’.

*(—it’s only at this point—in his definition of the second phase of ‘artistic apprehension’ in Portrait—that he refers to the first phase as the ‘synthesis’ defined earlier in Stephen Hero…).

 

 

*—The revelation of the object (as object), and its differentiation from everything else in the continuum of sensory perception in its ‘synthesis’, allows its, previously unheeded, structure to be examined for the first time… *—both the object as a whole, and its manifold parts… —passing from ‘point to point’—with a care and attention never possible prior to this revelation—as object. …

 

*—The second stage of revelation, proceeding from the negative differentiation of the object from its surroundings, to an identification and analysis of the positive content or qualities of the object as ‘a thing,’ creates (perhaps unsurprisingly) an ‘impression’ on the apprehending subject. …

 

*—The subject now becomes aware of the object’s complexity and its internal harmony. …

 

 

*—The, frankly awkward, ‘symmetry’ of Stephen Hero becomes the more accurate ‘harmony’ of Portrait, and yet, in both texts,—the first and second ‘qualities of beauty’ or ‘phases’ of ‘artistic apprehension’ constitute ‘synthesis’ and ‘analysis,’ respectively…

 

 

… —Noon and Beebe are in (broad) agreement that Stephen’s interpretation of consonantia accords with that of strict Thomism… *—‘Stephen’s interpretation of consonantia accords generally with that “due proportion” Aquinas noted as characteristic of beauty’. (—Beebe, 284)

 

Noon agrees that Stephen’s ‘description’ of consonantia is—*‘Thomistically accurate’, … but argues that he ‘speaks for himself and not for Aquinas’ when he defines consonantia as a ‘phase’ of ‘artistic apprehension’ rather than as a quality which inheres in the object. *(—Joyce and Aquinas,—48.—And, again,—note the marked differentiation between the ontological and epistemological here. …)

 

 

Noon’s qualification highlights what might be (usefully) termed here the—psychological bias of Stephen’s interpretation of Aquinas in Portrait. …

 

*(That is,)—His definition of the Thomist terms emphasises the process of ‘artistic apprehension’ as one taking place solely within-and for the apprehending subject *(—the artist). …

 

 

Noon goes on to relate Stephen’s definition of consonantia to that of integritas:

—‘Having first felt that it is one thing you now feel it is a thing.’(Ibid.) …

 

*—This definition, it seems to me (at least), fits with the reading I’ve offered of both extracts,… and yet Noon then proceeds to argue that, in fact, according to Stephen’s interpretation, the terms ought to be reversed… *—that first the object is seen as a thing (integritas) and then as one thing (consonantia). …

 

—Whilst this reversal may indeed be more ‘Thomistically accurate’ (—according to Noon’s own definition (—?)), it doesn’t accord with Stephen’s definition of the process of artistic apprehension.

 

 

*—According to Stephen’s interpretation, the object is first extracted from quotidian experience and is revealed for the first time to be one thing.

 

—The object’s having been revealed as onething, distinct against the background or ‘void’ of all else in quotidian consciousness, allows, secondly, for the revelation of its properties and of their relationship to each other.

 

For the first time the object is experienced as a thing,—a complex, organised and harmonious whole, comprised of its parts.

 

 

*—Though this may very well be—‘Thomistically inaccurate’ (—in strictly Thomist terms) as Noon seeks to claim,… I’d maintain that Stephen is right (—is correct) according to his own terms, in defining the progression from integritas to consonantia. …

 

*—In its ‘synthesis’,—the object is distinguished negatively(—from-against all that which it is not…). …

 

—This differentiation allows the observer to analyse the object for the first time as ‘a thing’,—extracted from quotidian experience. …

 

 

*Having thus been revealed in isolation and (then, subsequently) examined,… —the object must now fulfil the criterion of the ‘third quality’ of beauty, or, in the terms of Portrait, both the object and the artist are enabled to pass into the third phase of ‘artistic apprehension,’ which Stephen, in both texts, following Aquinas’s terminology identifies as ‘claritas’…

claritas

 

In Stephen Hero,—Stephen argues that, following the stages of ‘synthesis’ and ‘analysis’, the apprehending subject now proceeds to make ‘the only logically possible synthesis’…

 

 

*—Having revealed the object as one thing, and subsequently as a complex whole comprised of various qualities and parts in a harmonious relation, ‘the mind’ of the apprehending subject now takes the, for Stephen, necessary step of ‘synthesising’ these two stages. …

 

 

*—This occurs when the ‘parts’ of the object ‘are adjusted to the special point’ which he dubs *—‘exquisite’. …

 

 

—Combining the consciousness of the object as one thing and as (a) complex, Stephen argues,… —allows the apprehending subject for the first time to ‘recognise’ the object. …

 

 

*—In the synthesis of these two stages the parts of the object are adjusted in-within consciousness to reveal an uncommon completeness and high degree of perfection, previously repressed or overlooked in-within quotidian experience.

 

 

*… —By interpreting Aquinas’s claritas as ‘radiance,’ and omitting the qualification in the Summa Theologica of the application of this term to the object’s brightness or colour, Stephen aims to express, I would argue, the concept of the object’s becoming a lens—a medium (of sorts)… —through which its ‘essence’, then, (sic)—*shines forth. …

 

 

*—The interpretation of claritas as ‘radiance’ only goes so far as to identify the fact of the shining forth, however, and can’t name, or describe, what is shown forth within (or, rather—through) this—‘radiance’. …

 

 

*—Stephen solves this problem by identifying claritas with quidditas

*—‘we recognise that it is that thing which it is. Its soul, its whatness, leaps to us from the vestment of its appearance’.

 

 

*—In claritas, the… —‘whatness’ (the—quidditas-quiddity) of the object is revealed.[4]

 

 

*—For Stephen, quidditas is the content of claritas and claritas, in turn, is the means by which the quidditas of the object is revealed. …

 

*—This is the moment that Stephen, in Stephen Hero, names-dubs—‘epiphany’. …

 

 

*… —The object is extracted from quotidian consciousness and its previously repressed or overlooked quiddity—‘that thing which it is’—‘leaps’ from the ‘vestment’ of this (former) appearance, in which it had been shrouded, and the object ‘achieves’ its epiphany. …

 

 

*—The ‘epiphany’, then, constitutes the revelation of the quiddity of the object, precipitated by a chance coincidence of a change or exquisite arrangement in the disposition of the object with a concomitant change in the disposition of the observer. That is—it is an objective as well as a psychological event. …

 

And this same process, I’d argue, is at stake within Portrait. … —

 

 

*—Furnishing Lynch with the example of the butcher’s boy’s basket, Stephen summarises the first two phases of ‘artistic apprehension’:

*—‘When you have apprehended the basket as one thing and have then analysed it according to its form and apprehended it as a thing you make the only synthesis which logically and esthetically permissible.’ (231)

 

 

First, the object is extracted from quotidian experience and apprehended as ‘one thing’ (integritas).

 

Just as in Stephen’s interpretation in Stephen Hero,this revelation of the object as one thing allows the subject to apprehend the object as ‘a thing’—‘complex, multiple, divisible, separable’. …

 

*Stephen dubs this the ‘analysis’ of the object,… *—‘according to its form’. …

 

 

*—The object is now seen to be the result of the harmonious relationship of its parts (consonantia).

 

 

—Just as in Stephen Hero, in Portrait, Stephen argues that the apprehending subject completes the process of ‘artistic apprehension’ by synthesising the ‘phases’ of integritas and consonantia. …

 

*—The revelation of the object as one thing through the drawing of a boundary line extracting it from quotidian consciousness is now synthesised with the revelation of the object as a thing constituted by the harmonious proportion and relationship of its parts to which, for Stephen, this first revelation inevitably gave rise.

 

*—The synthesis of these two ‘phases’ precipitates the revelation of the quiddity of the object:

*—‘You see that it is that thing which it is and no other thing’. *(—Cf. SH [—218]… *—‘it is that thing which it is’. …).

 

 

Again, for Stephen, the meaning of Aquinas’s claritas is quidditas… *—‘The radiance of which he speaks is the scholastic quidditas, the whatness of a thing’. …

 

*—The ‘radiance’ of the object is the *becoming visible of the quiddity of the object. …

 

*(and, as a side note and an interesting foil, I’d argue here that the *recognition of the object in Stephen’s aesthetic theory, stands in stark contrast to other accounts of defamiliarisation to which it might, otherwise, be (simply-straightforwardly) compared. …

 

*An example. … —

 

—At least according to Benjamin Sher’s recent translation, Viktor Shklovsky’s account of art’s purpose to ‘estrange’ the reader/observer from objects (—to defamiliarise objects,—the better to see them, as if for the first time) *(—Shklovsky’s Formalism exerted a significant influence on Brecht and his concept of ‘alienation’…), distinguishes *(at least, seems to distinguish) between this new (form of) seeing and the (mere) ‘recognition’ of the object *(—its having been lost in-to the complacency—the familiarity—of quotidian consciousness, according to the terms of Stephen’s account, which I’ve attempted to outline here…). …

*(—See Viktor Shklovsky,—‘Art as Device’, in Theory of Prose, trans. Sher, [—Introduction Gerald L. Bruns] [Illinois: Dalkey Archive Press, 1991], 1-14 *[—esp. 10]. …)

 

*By contrast, I’d argue that, in Stephen’s account, the… new seeing *(—new, epistemological, act-form) represents, precisely, the recognition of the object.—(as if) for the first time…

 

 

—the object’s having been lost constitutes, not a simple-straightforward ‘recognition’ (as Sher’s translation of Shklovsky explicitly states), but, in fact, the revelation of a previous *inattention to the object… —an assumed recognition of the object (if you will) as simply (—a having taken for)another, easily dismissed fragment of the furniture in-of the quotidian. …

 

*—recognition of the object (—as object), pulls-tears it from the oblivion of this complacency-assumed recognition. … *—defamiliarises (—in Shklovsky’s terms—‘estranges’) the object (—the observer from the object), and inaugurates a new seeing (—epistemology)… ).

 

 

*In both texts, the definition of the third ‘quality’ of beauty or ‘phase of artistic apprehension’, then, revolves, for Stephen, around the problem of interpreting Aquinas’s ‘figurative’ and, according to Stephen, ‘inexact’ term, claritas. …

 

 

*—Noon argues that ‘Stephen is correct in describing it as a synthesis of integritas and consonantia.’ (Noon, Joyce and Aquinas, 51)

 

He does, however, offer a qualification of his confirmation of Stephen’s conformity to orthodox Thomist interpretation:

With the usual reminder that Aquinas presents this third quality of the beautiful as an existential property in the object rather than as a “stage” or “phase” of the mind’s own act of knowing, most Thomists would probably agree that in the main Stephen gives at this point the most satisfactory interpretation of Aquinas’ thought. (49)

 

Noon is wrong, I think, to reduce—to limit—Stephen’s interpretation of claritas to a ‘“phase” of the mind’s own act of knowing’. …

 

*—In line with my own reading of the ‘epiphany’ in Stephen Hero,… —whilst the process of ‘artistic apprehension’ outlined in Portrait doesn’t incur any change in (—within) the object itself,… it still relies, nevertheless, upon an initial and fundamental change in the disposition of the object, coinciding with a change in the disposition of the apprehending subject. …

 

—Just as was the case with the ‘epiphany’ in Stephen Hero, ‘artistic apprehension,’ constitutes botha psychological andan ‘objective’ process. …

*(—a coincidence which initiates a new epistemological act… (—?). …).

 

 

Nevertheless, it’s important to take Noon’s claim that Stephen’s interpretation of claritas as the synthesis of integritas and consonantia conforms to orthodox Thomism into account in assessing the relationship of the aesthetic theory to Thomism. …

 

—In contrast to Noon, Beebe argues that, in both texts (—with an especial focus on the latter), Stephen’s interpretation ‘sharply diverges from the orthodox interpretations’ of claritas. (—Beebe, ‘Joyce and Aquinas: The Theory of Aesthetics’, 284)

 

He cites the neo-Thomist ‘attitude’ of Herbert Ellsworth Cory…

—‘Just what claritas meant to St. Thomas we may gather from his account of what the glorified human body will be after its resurrection. The glory of the soul, already in heaven, will glow through its restored body and make it splendid.’

*(—Herbert Ellsworth Cory, The Significance of Beauty in Nature and Art [Milwaukee: Bruce Publishing Co, 1948], 227. Beebe, 285-286.

*—See Eco, The Aesthetics of Thomas Aquinas, 104, where he refers claritas to Christ’s transfigured body, and to—‘objects when they are renewed at the end of time.’ (Emph added.—Cf. 117…).) …

 

*—For Beebe, following Cory, the meaning of claritas can be ascertained by reference to Aquinas’s account of how the glory of the redeemed human soul will radiate from its resurrected body at the end of history.

 

Beebe joins Cory in rejecting what Cory argues is Joyce’s reduction of claritas ‘to a sort of metaphorical materialistic sentimentality’, in its application to objects of quotidian experience. (Cf. Cory, 227)

 

 

*In fact, I want to argue, this supposed ‘reduction’, constitutes Joyce’s *ironic appropriation of the orthodox meaning of claritas as the radiance of the resurrected body. …

 

 

*—The coincidence which wrenches the object from being (its having been) lost in-to the complacency of quotidian consciousness, and which reveals its previously repressed quiddity, constitutes its ‘glorification’ after its… —‘resurrection’ in-for consciousness: *—the object’s… glowing (‘radiance’) through its ‘restored body’. … *(… —Cf. Portrait,—whereStephen describes the role of the artist as that of ‘a priest of the eternal imagination, transmuting the daily bread of life into the radiant body of everliving life.’ *[—240]…)

 

—This is ironic and not ‘metaphorical’. …

 

Still less is it—‘sentimental’. …

 

… —It’s ‘objective’, insofar as it concerns an event within quotidian consciousness, but is in no sense—‘materialistic’

*(—no ontological priority is granted to matter here, it seems to me…). …

 

 

*—Though the apparently simple terms of this radiant clarity thus, in line with Noon’s assertion, can be seen correspond to an ‘orthodox Thomism’,… —the irony with which Stephen appropriates claritas, I’d argue,precludes any attempt at an orthodox redemption of his interpretation. …

(hmm).

 

 

—Crucial to an understanding of this ironic appropriation of claritas is Stephen’s equation of it with quidditas.[5]

 

Whilst Beebe is right, I think, to argue that through this equation Joyce sought to ‘avoid the spiritual connotation’ of claritas,… *—the invocation of quidditas doesn’t form, as Beebe claims, a substitution for claritas but, rather,—a qualification. (Beebe, ‘Joyce and Aquinas: The Theory of Aesthetics,’ 285) …

 

Beebe, I’d argue, fails to register the implicit irony of Stephen’s appropriation of Aquinas, and this failure serves to undermine his subsequent claim that Joyce ‘confuses’ quidditas (—‘which in scholastic philosophy means specific essence’) with the scholastic ‘haecœitas, individual thisness’. …

 

*This represents, not the ‘confusion’ of quidditas with haecœitas, but a deliberate conflation on the part of Stephen of his conception of radiance as revelation with the ‘scholastic haecœitas’… —‘individual thisness’. …

 

 

Noon also argues that Stephen’s equation of claritas and quidditas, would have been better rendered as ‘haecceitas’ referring specifically to the philosophy of Duns Scotus. (—Cf. Joyce and Aquinas, 51, 72)

 

Both Beebe’s and Noon’s respective criticisms of Stephen’s aesthetic theory, however, assess only the—orthodoxy of the Thomism of Stephen’s interpretation. …

 

*Neither essentially assesses it according to its own criteria. …

 

—To do so reveals the ironic, subversive relationship of the aesthetic theory of Stephen Hero and Portrait to their (mutual) Thomist source.

 

 

*—For Noon,… —the use of quidditas in Portrait is tied to the development therein of a realist aesthetic, concerned specifically with the nature of the poem and of the poetic, developed in relation to (and, he argues, as a stark rejection of) Romantic and Symbolist poetry. …

 

Noon argues that Aquinas employed the concepts of integritas, consonantia, and claritas to refer to existential qualities of the object rather than to moments or ‘phases’ of the (poet’s) psychological experience of the object.

 

—As a direct result of this qualification he proceeds to argue that Stephen’s equation of claritas and quidditas is ‘questionable’. …

 

 

*From the perspective of orthodox Thomist interpretation, quidditas, Noon argues, is dependent upon a ‘“real” (or actual)’ distinctionbetween the existence of the object itself and that of its essence, rather than, as Noon argues is the case for Stephen, a purely ‘“rational” (or notional)’ distinction. (49) …

 

*The difference between an object and its essence, for orthodox Thomists, then (from a… Noonian point of view) is a real, existential difference. …

 

—For Stephen, on the contrary, according to Noon, the difference is merely a psychological one concerning the experience of the object. …

 

 

—If his objection to Stephen’s interpretation of quidditas is understood to rest on the conclusion that the interpretation of quidditas is purely psychological and precludes its application to the qualities of the object, then Noon can be shown to be mistaken.

 

He himself argues that Stephen ‘places his emphasis on the quiddity or essence as actuated, as “existential”’. (Ibid.)

 

Although he may indeed be right that Stephen’s equation of claritas and quidditas deviates from orthodox Thomism, in Stephen’s exposition of the ‘phases of artistic apprehension,’ just as in the earlier definition of the qualities of beauty and the ‘epiphany’ in Stephen Hero,—the process of the revelation of the quiddity of the object requires not only a notional or psychological change in the observer, but also a corresponding change in the disposition of the object. …

 

In Portrait the ‘“real” (or actual)’ and the ‘“rational (or notional)’ are fundamentally intertwined. ‘Artistic apprehension’ is an objective as well as a psychological process. *(—Stephen Hero… *—‘the object achieves its epiphany’. … —‘achieves its epiphany’… ).

 

*Stephen’s proposed syntheses of claritas and quidditas in the revelation of the quiddity of the object in both Stephen Hero and Portrait are identical.

 

 

*—In Stephen Hero, Stephen’s statement of his equation of claritas and quidditas is made in a short, sharp exclamatory ejaculation and then, apparently (—to all intents and purposes),—dropped

 

*Or, rather, the equation of claritas and quidditas is subsumed by-into the definition of the ‘epiphany’. …

 

*… —In that Stephen’s definition of the qualities – of – beauty follows directly on from his first reference to the epiphany as a… *‘spiritual manifestation’ (—sic), it’s clear that his interpretation of Aquinas paves the way for the definition of ‘epiphany’. (216-219) …

 

Indeed, I’d say that the definition of the ‘epiphany’ remains vague until Stephen provides his exegesis of Aquinas. …

 

… —This follows so hard upon the first reference to epiphany that in the space of a paragraph Stephen is transported suddenly through space and time south through the city from Eccles Street to the Ballast Office in order to expound his theory to Cranly.

*(SH, 216.—On this, see Ian Crump,—‘Refining Himself out of Existence: The Evolution of Joyce’s Eesthetic Theory and the Drafts of Portrait’, in Cheng and Martin, eds., Joyce in Context [Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992], 223-240 *[—233]… ).

 

 

The most significant difference between the two texts is that in Portrait the ‘synthesis’ is not solely that which is ‘logically possible,’ as it was in Stephen Hero,but becomes ‘the only synthesis which is logically and esthetically permissible’. …

 

*—The synthesis of claritas and quidditas in Portrait concerns *the process of the creation of a work of art

quidditas

 

*—The ‘exquisite’ relation of the parts of the object is replaced by the artist’s—‘feeling’. …

 

The ‘recognition’ of the apprehending subject (… —the (awkward) ‘we’ of Stephen Hero…), is supplanted by the experience of inspiration of (or for) the artist. …

 

*That is,… —The… —*intuition (to… borrow the term in its Nietzschean-Bergsonian sense) of the quiddity of the object and the ‘supreme quality’ of beauty becomes the inspiration for the creation of art. …

 

*—The ‘leap’ of the essence of the object (—in-of Stephen Hero)becomes (—is incorporated into)the formation of the (—‘esthetic’) image in the artist’s imagination in Portrait. …

 

 

*The ‘esthetic image’, then, represents the refining of the earlier ‘epiphany’, from a concept applied to general experience and still explicitly loaded with religious (and metaphysical) —baggage,… to one concerned specifically with artistic inspiration and creation *(—with art). …

 

*—This in stark contrast to Sam Slote’s argument in ‘Epiphanic “Proteus”’ (—in his review of the Joyce manuscripts acquired by the National Library of Ireland in 2002)—that, in Portrait,…

*—‘Stephen’s argument elides the key-word “epiphany” and, instead replaces it with the more redoubtably Thomistic term claritas.’ (—hmm…)

(—Sam Slote, ‘Epiphanic “Proteus”’, Genetic Joyce Studies, 5 [2005], *[—accessed 10th March, 2014]… ).

 

*Claritas is already obviously a crucial (and unavoidable) element of Stephen’s ironic appropriation of Aquinas in Stephen Hero, and I’d argue that it’s the case that it’s the (‘esthetic’) image that takes the place of the ‘epiphany’. …

 

 

*Portrait is not, then, as Hugh Kenner argues, simply ‘drastically pruned’ of ‘key doctrines’ (—sic), such as the ‘epiphany’.

(—‘The Portrait in Perspective’, in Seon Givens, ed., James Joyce: Two Decades of Criticism [New York: Vanguard, 1948], 132-174 *[—154].—See Noon, 65) …

 

Neither is it ‘curious,’ as Noon argues, that the term disappears in the later text, when he misreads the ‘esthetic image’ as being solely bound to integritas. (—Noon, 65, 44.)

 

 

*—The (‘esthetic’) image, then, retains the structure—the *shape—of the ‘epiphany’,… —developing from a foundation in an ironic appropriation of Aquinas’s concept of beauty. …

 

*… —The coincidence *(—co-incidence) of a change in the disposition of the observer—the artist—with a (concomitant) change in the disposition of the object-thing *(become, here, *—model), in which what-the-object-had-been-taken-to-be (that is,… —the apparent object-complacent), is undone… and the artist’s consciousness-perception of the object, as well as their own ‘self’-perception *(—the ‘self’ as-had-taken-it-to-be) undergo an ironic inversion (—bathetic.—bathos),—suddenly, spontaneously, and involuntarily revealing a, previously repressed (/latent), psychic (—psychological) content, and thus bringing about a fundamental change in consciousness. …

 

*—the quiddity (quidditas) of the object (—for the artist) is illuminated-revealed (—claritas. …

 

*—the shape of the (‘esthetic’) image. …

 

 

*—In Portrait, the experience of ‘beauty’ in general consciousness of Stephen Hero is refined, and focussed into an analysis of the conditions of ‘artistic apprehension’, *—artistic inspiration and the creation of the artwork. …

 

 

—Building on my argument for an appreciation (sic) of the Romantic–anti-Romanticism in-of Nietzsche’s Birth,—I want to move on, in the second part of this (particular) string-thread of fragments here, to argue that, in its final stage in Portrait,Stephen’s analysis constitutes an ironic appropriation of the terms of Romantic accounts of artistic inspiration,—specifically that of Percy Bysshe Shelley in A Defence of Poetry

 

—I’ll argue that this final stage represents the incorporation and refinement of the earlier opposition between the ‘classical’ and the ‘romantic’ artistic ‘tempers’, and privileging of the ‘classical’ in the ‘Art and Life’ paper in Stephen Hero.

(—For the paper, see SH, 44 and 81-85 *(—for Stephen’s comments on the ‘artistic process’,… —see 175-176). …)

 

The (‘esthetic’) ‘image’ here, then, represents an attempt to forge a new trajectory for the legacy of Romanticism through a rejection of the aesthetics and metaphysics of late-Romanticism, in particular that of W.B. Yeats.

 

*—I’ll argue that Stephen’s ironic appropriation of the terms of Romantic aesthetics and metaphysics lies at the heart of an attempt to forge an anti-Romantic ‘classical’ aesthetic.

 

 

[1] Of the original seventy fragments that Joyce recorded during this period, forty survive. …

—Twenty-two are housed in a collection at the Lockwood Memorial Library at the University of Buffalo. —These were published by O. A. Silverman in 1956, in a limited run of five hundred and fifty, of which five hundred were sold. *—James Joyce, Epiphanies, Introduction and Notes O. A. Silverman (New York: University of Buffalo, 1956). …

—A further eighteen are held in the Cornell University Joyce Collection (—see Robert Scholes, Florence L. Walzl, ‘The Epiphanies of Joyce,’ 152).

 

 

—In 1965 Robert Scholes and Richard M. Kain reproduced all forty extant epiphanies, along with notes in Robert Scholes, Richard M. Kain, ed., The Workshop of Daedalus: James Joyce and the Raw Materials for Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, (Evanston Illinois: Northwestern University Press, 1965), 11-51, and again with an introduction by A. Walton Litz, and John Whittier-Ferguson in James Joyce, Poems and Shorter Writings, ed. Richard Ellmann, A. Walton Litz, and John Whittier-Ferguson, (London: Faber and Faber, 1991), 155-200. *(hereafter: Shorter WritingsSW).

[2] Stanislaus Joyce, My Brother’s Keeper, ed. Richard Ellmann, ‘Preface’ by T.S. Eliot (London: Faber and Faber, 1982), 134-135 (see also, 144-145, 226-227, 231, 247, 251).—See also Scholes and Kain, The Workshop of Daedalus, 8-9.

[3] Robert Scholes and Florence L. Walzl, ‘The Epiphanies of Joyce’, PMLA, 82 (1967), 152-154 (152). See also, Scholes, Scholes, Robert, ‘Joyce and the Epiphany: The Key to the Labyrinth?’, Sewanee Review, 72 (1964), 65-77. repr. in Philip Brady and James F. Carens, eds., Critical Essays on James Joyce’s Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. (London: Prentice Hall International, 1998) 27-35.

[4] On quidditas as ‘whatness’, see Eleonore Stump, Aquinas (London: Routledge, 2003), 261.

 

—Stump argues that, for Aquinas, quiddity is linked to sense and the intellect.

 

The proper objects of sense—‘proper sensibles’—are ‘non-propositional objects apprehended by one or another sense faculty.’ Insofar as sense is related to its proper objects it is not deceived. (232-233)

 

In the same way the quiddity of the material thing forms the proper object of the intellect: ‘The proper object of the intellect is the quiddity of a thing. And so as regards the quiddity of a thing, considered just as such, the intellect is not mistaken.’ (Aquinas, ST Ia.85.6. Stump, 233)

 

Stump argues that the intellect arrives at knowledge of the quiddity of the material thing through a process of abstraction from phantasms: ‘The process of abstraction is a matter of removing or ignoring the many material accidents of a thing as preserved in the phantasm and focussing instead just on the thing’s quiddity.’ (264)

 

For Aquinas, according to Stump, quiddity means ‘that form of a thing that put it into one rather than another species or genus, its nature or essence.’ (Ibid.) Natures ‘do not exist in the world on their own; in the world they exist only as incorporated into the things that have natures’. (Ibid.) See also, 270-271.

[5] Eco quotes the passage from Portrait and argues that Stephen’s identification of claritas and quidditas is ‘felicitous’ (?) in its paying credence both to the interpretation of claritas as ‘the appearance of universal value embodied in the individual’ (—‘an organism signifies the universal which gives it life’), to the organism’s (the individual’s) signifying ‘itself, in its combination of universality with contingency, in the reality of its concrete form’, and to Eco’s own definition of quidditas as ‘substance’, to which I wish to return at the close of the current chapter-thread. … *—Cf. The Aesthetics of Thomas Aquinas, 120n (252-253).

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