*towards a reading of Lacan’s ‘The Mirror Stage’. … —PART II. on ‘space fear’, & the ‘ideal’: the Undivided Continuity of States. —‘analysis’, ‘duration’ & ‘intuition’ in Bergson. …

– LACAN & (THE QUESTION OF) THE “REAL” –
*(—a reading group).

Why Lacan & why the real… —? —Introduction to the reading group.

Introduction to Lacan: notes from a lecture.

Outline of a reading of ‘The Mirror Stage’.

Mirror Stage I.—the infant, the mirror, & the nature of the image.

Mirror Stage II.—‘space fear’, & the ‘ideal’. (part (i).)

Mirror Stage II..—‘space fear’, & the ‘ideal’. (part (ii).): Nietzsche on the intellect, language, the ‘I’ as fiction, and ‘intuition’.

 

*(—the following is taken from: ‘On the Undivided Continuity of States. … —on the “primal unity” &(/as)—“duration”.’ … ).

 

 

 

*the Undivided Continuity of States.
—‘analysis’, ‘duration’, & ‘intuition’ in Bergson. … 

*In An Introduction to Metaphysics (of 1903), Henri Bergson offers a clear, concise, and apt summary of the distinction between ‘analysis’ (—the conceptual) and ‘intuition’, which he had established in his earlier works (Time and Free Will,—Matter and Memory, (etc.)…)…—

By intuition is meant the kind of intellectual sympathy by which one places oneself within an object in order to coincide with what is unique in it and consequently inexpressible. Analysis, on the contrary, is the operation which reduces the object to elements already known, that is, to elements common both to it and other objects.

*(—Henri Bergson, An Introduction to Metaphysics, trans. T.E. Hulme (Cambridge: Hackett, 1999),—23-24).

 

So,…

 

—‘analysis,’ Bergson argues, breaks its object down into parts (—‘elements’) corresponding to pre-existing concepts in which it participates (is made to participate) with other objects. …

 

*—it strikes me that these terms very closely echo—perhaps in a way not dwelt upon (certainly at any length in extant work on the similarities or parallels between Nietzsche and Bergson—Nietzsche’s critique of language, the intellect, and the conceptual in ‘On Truth’, and, in particular here, Nietzsche’s critique of the formation of the ‘Platonic’ concept of the ‘leaf’, which was formed, he argued, by discarding the differences between individual leaves: the awakening of the ‘idea’ that, ‘in addition to the leaves’, there exists in ‘nature’—‘the leaf’.’ (‘OTL’, 117.—see pervious. … ).

 

—(the process of) ‘analysis’, then, reduces the thing (—its object) to these constituent elements and to their conceptual correspondences.

 

 

—by contrast, Bergson wishes to promote the method of ‘intuition,’ which—*as it did for Nietzsche in ‘On Truth’—aims to shatter the reduction of its object to pre-existing conceptual prejudices, and to place the observer back into (in closer proximity to) an original state of disinterested, non-conceptual receptivity *(—‘intellectual sympathy’). …

 

… *—beneath the hardened veneer of the fragmented and atomised spatio-temporal realm of the concepts—the ‘crust solidified on the surface’ of experience (—cf. Bergson, IM, 25)—Bergson identifies ‘one reality […] which we all seize from within, by intuition and not simply by analysis. It is our own personality in its flowing through time—our self which endures.’ (24) …

 

*—Beneath the artificially differentiated, atomistic experience of things in conceptual space, and of moments in conceptual time, Bergson argues, subsists a foundation of undifferentiated states which he calls *‘duration’ (—durée)…

beneath these sharply cut crystals and this frozen surface, a continuous flux which is not comparable to any flux I have ever seen. There is a succession of states, each of which announces that which follows and contains that which precedes it. (25)

 

*—Duration, then, constitutes ‘one reality’,—seemingly paradoxically comprised of a continual flux of successive ‘states’.

 

 

*—We are originally made aware of this flux, according to Bergson, through our consciousness of our own personality (—internal intuition) and (then, subsequently) extend the principle to the outer phenomena of perception (—external intuition).

 

—apparently autonomous, these… states nonetheless interpenetrate, containing all those states which precede them and unfolding ineluctably into all those which are to follow.

 

The ‘states’ of duration constitute neither a simple multiplicity, nor a simple unity, but, ‘instead of being distinct, as they are in any other [comparable form of] multiplicity, encroach upon one another.’ (30)—They constitute ‘a continuity of elements which prolong themselves into one another’, a continuity which ‘participates in unity as much as in multiplicity; but this moving, changing, colored, living unity has hardly anything in common with the abstract, motionless, and empty unity which the concept of pure unity circumscribes.’(30-31.—Cf. Bergson, Creative Evolution, trans. Arthur Mitchell [New York: Dover Publications Inc., 1998],—1-7. … )

 

*—the flux of duration represents an undivided continuity of states’. …

 

 

*—It’s the undivided continuity of this flux which the concepts rend asunder through the what Bergson (again,—with echoes of Nietzsche) characterises as the *imposition of—artistically projected—individuated forms … —

Pure intuition, external or internal, is that of an undivided continuity. We break up this continuity in the one case to distinct words, in the other to independent objects. But, just because we have thus broken the unity of our original intuition, we feel ourselves obliged to establish between the served terms a bond which can only be external and superadded.

*(—Bergson, Matter and Memory, trans. Nancy Margaret Paul and W. Scott Palmer [London: Swan Sonnenchein & Co., Ltd, 1911],—239)

 

—The concepts are generated through the formation and (importantly) the false hypostatisation of words *(… —an echo of Nietzsche’s account of the formation of language in ‘On Truth’), and of independent (that is —apparently discrete) objects. …

 

*—Once fragmented, for any form of discourse to be possible, it becomes necessary, Bergson argues, to artificially form bonds between these—severed entities. …

 

—and this, ultimately, is the role (—the purpose-goal) of ‘analysis’. … (—cf. CE, 4)

 

*(and, again,… —I think that this is significant for my current reading of Lacan’s ‘mirror stage’. …)

*—For Bergson, these bonds, whatever their use value (for language and for action), can in no way afford access to the underlying flux, but are, and must remain, external epiphenomena. …

*(and, again,… —this echoes Nietzsche’s critique of the conceptual quasi-Platonic prostheses to experience in-of the ‘On Truth’ essay. … ).

 

[…]

 

*(—for my attempt to elaborate my reading of Bergson on time & flux, through a reading of ‘The Slow Mo Guys’ slow motion videos, see the original blog post. … ).

 

*… —the shattering of these prejudices-conceptual (—of habit-inertia)… —is what, for Bergson, as it had been for Nietzsche, is at stake in ‘intuition’ (—vs. the concepts of the intellect)—as method. …

 

 

*on ‘intuition’, then,—as method. …

 

*Bertrand Russell very beautifully summarises what he (rightly.—why not?) calls Bergson’s ‘ingenious’ conception of the intellect and his conceptions of ‘matter’ and of ‘time’. …

Intelligence or intellect, “as it leaves the hands of nature, has for its chief object the inorganic solid”; it can only form a clear idea of the discontinuous and immobile; its concepts are outside each other like objects in space, and have the same stability. The intellect separates in space and fixes in time; it is not made to think evolution, but to represent becoming as a series of states [. …] Solid bodies, it would seem, are something which mind has created on purpose to apply the intellect to them.

[…]

The genesis of intellect and the genesis of material bodies, we are told, are correlative; both have been developed by reciprocal adaptation. “An identical process must have cut out matter and the intellect, at the same time, from a stuff that contained both.”

*(—Bertrand Russell, History of Western Philosophy [London: George Allen & Unwin Ltd., 1961],—758).

 

*—‘matter’, then (—so-called)—as a product-creation of the intellect—as that which falls away from duration—from-through its own inertia.

*(… —frozen-carved (away.—‘Solid bodies’) from duration, in order that the intellect—that the subject (as subject) be able to function at all…).

 

*(and this is the same for good ol’ Fritz, I think. …

 

*—‘matter’,—the subject (—the ‘I’-the ‘self’),—the body (as whole-discrete)… (again)—creations of the intellect—as all that which falls away (so to) from flux. …).

 

indeed.

 

 

*though, to my mind, he offers what is still by far one of the most sharp and clear readings of Bergson, Russell, I think, is mistaken in the charges of ‘irrationalism’ and the anti-intellectualism, which he lays against him. …

*(—see Russell, 756 and 762, respectively… ).

 

 

Russell is too dismissive and too reductive. …

 

—I think Russell’s charge of ‘irrationalism’ represents a fundamental misunderstanding of the terms of Bergson’s critique of the intellect, but in a way which is actually genuinely useful to me here and illuminating for my reading of Nietzsche…

 

 

*for Bergson, as for Nietzsche… —we are (all of us) trapped in language. …

 

—locked. in (within) the inadequacies—the limits—of language…

 

*—of the fragments (of things) in space,… —in the atoms (in-)of ‘time. …

 

—for both, there can be no —complacency in (with regard to) language. …

 

—there must, for both, by contrast, be always a (fundamental) wariness-mistrust

*(—of the ability-capacity to ever truly say (have said) anything).

 

 

—no,… sitting still in the arbitrary, illusory, inadequate and ineluctably failing quanta (in-) of language. …

 

language.—as something entered into,… —not (never) as something possessed. …

(—something (sic) thrust into (into which, then, we are thrust). unavoidably.—in-volun-tarily but—necessarily. …). …

 

‘analysis’ (—the intellect) rends asunder the flux of the continuity of ‘states’.

 

*—just as for Nietzsche, in his account of the origins of language in ‘On Truth’, for Bergson language emerges as a process of metaphorical transposition:

*—from the original (sense) stimulus, through the word (—the sound), in-to the abstract concept. …

 

 

*—Modernist poet and critic T.E. Hulme, in his essays-articles on Bergson’s philosophy, argues that these metaphors ‘soon run their course and die. But it is necessary to remember that when they were first used by the poets who created them they were used for the purpose of conveying over a vividly felt actual sensation.’

*(—T.E. Hulme, ‘Bergson’s Theory of Art,’ in Speculations: Essays on Humanism and the Philosophy of Art, ed. Herbert Read, with a Frontispiece and Foreword by Jacob Epstein [London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co., Ltd., 1924],—141-169 [151] ).

 

 

Just as for Nietzsche, for Hulme (—following Bergson… )—language originally emerges from a need to articulate a vividly felt sensible stimulus—an internal or external ‘intuition’.

 

 

*—When this initial stimulus and artistic projection have passed, the metaphor (the word) can then, itself pass into popular usage (—becomes, then, a concept). …

 

—It becomes hypostatised and its artistic origins are forgotten. …

 

—The metaphor reaches the end of its capacity to articulate the ‘vividly felt actual sensation’ and becomes a mere ‘counter’,—akin to the pieces in a game of chequers, to be manipulated (‘moved about’) according to the demands of practical utility.

*(—Cf. Hulme, ‘Bergson’s Theory of Art,’ 151-152, 159-162, 165-166 and ‘The Philosophy of Intensive Manifolds,’ 176. … —The metaphor is also crucial to the notes gathered together under the title of ‘Cinders’,—215-245).

 

*For Bergson, the aim of intuition as method is to ‘recover [the] contact with the real,’ severed in the formation of concepts and of ‘analysis,’ and to ‘restore intuition to its original purity’.

*(—Matter and Memory, 241. Cf. Gille Deleuze, Bergsonism, trans. Hugh Tomlinson and Barbara Habberjam [New York: Zone Books, 1988], 13-35 (—esp. 14), and Suzanne Guerlac, Thinking in Time: An Introduction to Henri Bergson [Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2006], 63-64:

‘This is what Bergson is trying to do: to bring to philosophical awareness what has been absolutely repressed by thought and is structurally inaccessible to it’. (—63) ).

 

 

*—Echoing Nietzsche’s claim for the necessity of the redemption of the intellect through ‘forbidden metaphors and in unheard-of combinations of concepts’ in ‘On Truth,’… Bergson argues that intuition is ‘only truly itself when it goes beyond the concept, or at least when it frees itself from rigid and ready-made concepts in order to create a kind very different from those which we habitually use.’ (—Bergson, Introduction to Metaphysics,—30)

 

The aim of intuition, then, is, by an ‘effort,’ to break through the artificial surface of the conceptual and regain the undivided continuity of flux (—duration), and what Bergson dubs ‘the intention of life’: … —‘the simple movement that runs through the lines, that binds them together and gives them significance.’

*(— Creative Evolution,—176-177. Cf. Introduction to Metaphysics,—21-22 and Hulme, ‘Bergson’s Theory of Art,’—144, where the passage is reproduced verbatim… ).

 

*Bergson, and Hulme following him, dub this the *‘aesthetic intuition’, and both view art as the paragon of the attempt to lacerate the conceptual and to bring back new forms (new language, new metaphors, new images and new concepts) from the flux of duration—an (ironic) re-birth and appropriation of the intellect

 

*importantly, then… —rather than a form of straightforward ‘irrationalism’ or anti-intellectualism, as Russell’s reading would suggest—intuition, then, *(as method) represents an attempt (perhaps invariably ill-fated.—inevitably fails-failing), to appropriate the process of the formation of language and the concepts—the intellect (—‘analysis’).—from in-within. *—in the laceration and return. —and to revivify. …

*(—to revivify language—the concepts of the intellect—and to turn to account. …): …

 

*—‘This intention is just what the artist tries to regain in placing himself back within the object by a kind of sympathy and breaking down by an effort of intuition the barrier that space puts between him and his model.’

*(—Creative Evolution,—177.—Cf. Hulme, 144. Hulme goes on to refer to the artist’s shattering of the conceptual and experience of flux as the ‘essentially aesthetic emotion’ [145]. Cf. also 149-150 and 161-162).

 

 

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*—towards a reading of Lacan’s ‘The Mirror Stage’. … —PART II. on ‘space fear’, & the ‘ideal’. …

 

*PART II. —on ‘space fear’ & the ‘ideal’. …

Why Lacan & why the real… —? —Introduction to the reading group.

Introduction to Lacan: brief notes from a lecture on Lacan. …

Outline of a reading of ‘The Mirror Stage’.

*Mirror Stage I.—the infant, the mirror, & the nature of the image.

*the ‘mirror stage’.
(—a brief summary of a reading so far, then). …

 

 

At a certain age, or stage of physical and psychological development (rather),… not yet having developed instrumental intelligence, or indeed physical independence,—the-an infant encounters a specular image of their own body in a mirror *(—mirrored surface. … thus—reflected.). …

 

… —the image presents the infant’s (—the subject’s) body to it in-through-as the form a total ‘outline’ (so to speak. … —a contour)… —it’s presented, then, as a gestalt: —a unity,… —more than the sum of its (manifold) parts (or—quanta). …

 

The infant becomes transfixed by-with the ‘total form’ in-of this specular image of the body, then, which mimics their own movements.

 

—The infant(/subject) recognises—(that is) validates and identifies itself with—the image.  

 

 

—It seeks to struggle free of the constraints presented by the adult (—the parent/guardian/carer), or its walker/carrier.

 

—to get closer to *(—to be alone with… —?) the image, and to try to *fix the ‘total form’ in-of image indelibly (—finally) in its mind. …

 

(That is,… )—The subject attempts to appropriate the image to itself (—to its physical and psychical life). …

 

 

*—The ‘total form’ of the image of the body in the mirror, however is a fiction.

 

 

—It’s constituted in the moment of the ‘mirror stage’, and has no existence, either prior to, or beyond (without-outwith) it. …

 

—it is a *mirage. … —(thus) an illusion (or,… —a trick of the light (so to) ),—the desire for identity with which is spurred (I’d argue at least) by a desire,… —a *need,… —an unrealistic and (ultimately-finally) unrealisable hope,—for fixity *(—for stasis). …

 

*… —The mirror stage represents an attempt to wrest (the fiction of a) fixity-stasis (—peace and security) from the chaos of an underlying (—pre-linguistic and (therefore) pre-egoistic—?) flux of movements: of and within the subject (—psychological and bodily), and in(-within) its environment (surrounds-environs).

 

 

*an—awkward gesture (perhaps). …

 

I want to move on, by way of a sort of an aside (I s’pose) here, to consider what is meant by, and what is at stake in (-within) Lacan’s referring to the ‘mirror stage’ as revealing (or,… —referring the ‘mirror stage’ to the revelation of) an *‘ontological structure’. …

 

*… —I want to look at, and to try to define, the nature of what initially at least, appears to be a pre-linguistic and pre-egoistic flux; the nature of, and relationship between the ‘illusion’-mirage and the ‘ideal’; and what, finally (if anything) might be said to precede the mirror stage and to prompt it.

 

 

… —Over on(-in) the main thread of this blog: *—The fold of the Artist, which I’m adapting from material from my doctoral thesis on artistic inspiration and the figure of the artist in the works of James Joyce and Friedrich Nietzsche *(—in an extremely pretentious and foolhardy attempt to develop my own theory of art), I’ve already posted some work-material looking at some of these questions.

 

 

*—I’ve done some (—preliminary, and really, honestly, quite crude, partial, and… dilettantish) work on subjectivity, the emergence of the ego (= “I”) from language and an underlying pre-linguistic flux, in relation to Nietzsche’s early writing, and especially The Birth of Tragedy and the ‘On Truth and Lies in a Nonmoral Sense’ essay.

 

—I’ve compared Nietzsche’s treatment of these questions in particular to the philosophy of Henri Bergson: … Bergson’s conception of language and/as the fiction of fixity in space and in-of time, the flux of ‘duration’, and ‘intuition’ (as philosophical method).

 

 

*—As I mentioned back in the more general introductory post to this reading group,… —I’ve only taught on Lacan,… —I’ve never actually engaged, directly and in-depth, with his work in my own studies – thesis. …

 

Nevertheless,—… for a long time-while now, I’ve had a… sense (sic) that Lacan *(and, in this instance, his account of ‘the mirror stage’) actually frames the problems, philosophical questions, ideas and concepts I found myself drawn to, and working on, in Nietzsche and Bergson (—as a way of framing my reading of the aesthetic theory in Joyce’s early fiction, and Modernist aesthetics and poetics more widely … ),—more clearly and in-with more depth. …

 

*… —the work I’ve already done, then, might help frame the way I want to read ‘The Mirror Stage’ (—the mirror stage) here, and, in a way,… —reading Lacan might help me (finally) to finish (or, at the very least, to address some of the issues and problems I had with) my doctoral thesis.

 

 

So,…

I want to crave you indulgence here, if you’ll allow me, fellow reading group readers, while I draw on some of the ideas I’ve already worked on (elsewhere) and some of the material I’ve already produced. …

 

 

*—in a series of shorter posts here, then,… I want to try to summarise, and to… fuse-bring together material from my doctoral thesis, and latterly the main thread (so to) on-of this blog—on Nietzsche and Bergson. …

 

*—Nietzsche on the intellect, language, the ‘I’ as fiction, and ‘intuition’:

… —examining the intellect, language, ‘intuition’, and account of the fiction of the ‘I’ in (—from early to later) Nietzsche.

 

 

* the Undivided Continuity of States.—‘analysis’, ‘duration’ & ‘intuition’ in Bergson:

… —examining ‘analysis’, language, ‘intuition’, and flux in Bergson’s philosophy.

 

 

What I’m interested in here are the… parallels (for want) in the accounts of language,… —thinghood (so to), and subjectivity (—the “I”. … ) as fictitious (—artistic, after a fashion) projections… —impositions of order on the underlying flux of an undivided continuity of ‘states’, between Nietzsche, Bergson, and Lacan.

 

 

*—More importantly (for the current reading of ‘The Mirror Stage’),…

 

—I’m interested in the question of what it is that *prompts these… impositions.

 

 

*… —I’ve been (ridiculously slowly and gingerly) working my way back through, amending and (hopefully) developing my work on and reading of Modernist poetics and aesthetics in my doctoral thesis, over on the main thread of this blog. …

 

—in what follows here,… I want to jump slightly ahead of myself (so to), and—in laying out my reading of the origins and the structure of the mirror stage (…)—to draw on a key idea from the work of the Modernist critic, poet, and aesthete T.E. Hulme,… —an idea which he himself adopts(-appropriates) from the work of Wilhelm Worringer: …

*(—and so,… —I’ll adapt-be adapting here, some material from my doctoral thesis, as well as some material which I wrote (from the point-of-view (so to) of my protagonist) for my first novel: Notes of a Vanishing Quantity *(—which I’m still trying, and failing, to publish, and which my thesis and its adaptation in this blog, are intended as a kind of a… companion piece), and which I earlier adapted for the blog for an ‘ early C20th political writing’ reading group of which I was a part under the title of: towards an Ethics of Friendship. … ).

 

*… —I want to examine the origins of the ‘mirror stage’—in-as a response to, following Hulme and Worringer, I’ll characterise here as

 

*—‘space fear’. …

 

 

—This, I hope, (in ways that I want to come back to and to clarify and develop later) will lay the groundwork for a reading of Lacan on ‘primary narcissism’ in (-of) ‘the mirror stage’.

 

*Lacan & the Question of the ‘real’ reading group: By way of a sort of an introduction to Lacan himself. … *brief notes, … —from a lecture on Lacan.

*(—follows on from *‘—notes of a dilettante attempting to read Lacan,… —an Introduction an Invitation to this Lacan & the question of the ‘real’ reading group thread. … ).

 

 

By way of a sort of an introduction to Lacan himself. …
*brief notes, …
—from a lecture on Lacan.

 

*—the following, then, is what’s left (over) from notes for lectures I gave on Lacan on the course on ‘Critical Theory’ I gave (taught) in the Drama Department at Queen Margaret University,—between 2008 and 2010. …

 

*… —the lectures were intended as a (very) basic introduction to Lacan’s thought.

 

—going back,… there’s not a great deal of substance in the notes *(—I think I riffed a great deal in delivering the actual lecture). …

 

… —a lot of what remains in the copy of the notes that I still have to hand has to do with contextualising Lacan in terms of the other thinkers and philosophers we were studying on the ol’ Crit. Theory course: Saussure and Barthes on Semiology and Structuralism, and Freud, in particular,—as well as setting up for Derrida, deconstruction, post-structuralism, (and so on… ).

 

… —I have, in the main, cut most of that material here, in the interests of clarity and brevity,—but I thought it was worth reproducing the notes here:

 

… —partly for ol’ – time’s – sake (—hell, … why ever not, ‘ey… —?),

 

and-but also—mainly—because it represents my first (—only, really) thoroughgoing (academic) engagement with Lacan, and an attempt to introduce and explain his thought clearly, and hopefully interestingly-engagingly *(though I’m not s’ sure such was the case f’ the poor fuckers I wus teachin’ ‘n’ tha- …), for-to an audience-readership new-fresh to him, and thus pulls out (so to) those things-concepts-ideas (—sic) that formed my own interest-focus at the time and the simplest, clearest… description of ‘em, of which I was capable. …

 

* … —part of what the lectures were trying to do was to set-up close-reading, and discussion workshop-seminars on ‘The Mirror Stage’,… and, since tha-s what we’re setting up to do here, it seemed sort-a… apt. …       

 

*—a curio, then, (of sorts). …

 

*—I hope that it proves useful—still—as a brief introduction to Lacan himself, and to one or two key ideas-themes. …

 

 

—In attempting to develop and refine these notes here, I owe debts, in particular, to Rob Lapsley’s introductory essay on ‘Psychoanalysis’, and to Huw Jones’s entry on Lacan in Simon Malpas and Paul Wake (eds) The Routledge Companion to Critical Theory, Routledge 2006, *—in which I also happen to have been published (with entries on ‘Northrop Frye’ and ‘Carl Jung’, those delightful maniacs … ), and which I’d recommend as a reference, study, and teaching resource: … —the essays and glossary are short, clear, and concise, and give great introductions to thinkers, concepts and areas-modes of thought. …

Routledge Companion to Crit. Theory

 

 

So, …

 

Lacan.

*Jacques Lacan (1901–1981). … —French psychoanalyst and intellectual. …

 

background:

 

Lacan has (had) a number of important historical and (often) personal overlaps with the most significant intellectual and artistic movements and figures of the early C20th. …

 

*(For example… )—During (what we now think of-characterise as) the inter-war period, Lacan associated with important artistic and intellectual figures such as: André Breton, Georges Bataille, Salvador Dalí, and Pablo Picasso. …

 

—He published in the Surrealist journal Minotaure, and attended the first public reading of James Joyce’s Ulysses.

 

*—Importance, then of a formative influence of, and relation to, Modernism *(—plastic and literary arts), and esp. to Surrealism. …

*(… —seen to colour his thought (so to). … ).

 

*—Early interest in the philosophies of Karl Jaspers and Martin Heidegger and attended the incredibly influential seminars on Hegel’s philosophy given by Alexandre Kojève.

 

—Lacan’s (awareness of, and relationship to) contemporary emergence of Existentialism, and Existentialist philosophy *(—esp. Bataille, with whom he had a… troubled personal relationship), Sartre, and de Beauvoir. …

 

—Also,… —importance of revolutionary politics in ‘60s France.

*(—Lacan encouraged students to participate—and, indeed, facilitated this participation—but was careful to distinguish his own ‘revolt’ (so to) from mainstream politics. …)

 

*—Lacan as Parisian intellectual.

(—Paris as artistic and intellectual centre-focal point in early C20th. … ).

 

*—It’s from this important time, and this… nexus of artistic and cultural influences that Lacan’s thought emerged and developed.

 

 

… whilst (of course… ) best-known for his work in(-on) psychoanalysis, and as an analyst (himself),… Lacan’s intellectual influence extends well beyond *clinical psychoanalytic practice, to the study of (amongst other things-subjects): philosophy, literature, politics & ideology, and (… —of course,… —and very usefully for our current purposes) to *Critical Theory (—there it is. … … ).

 

*—inf. of thought (esp. on language) on ‘poststructuralism’: Derrida, Foucault, and (also) on feminism: (most notably, perhaps,) Julia Kristeva. …

 

 

—In his own (—idiosyncratic) practice of psychoanalysis, Lacan lay emphasis on its primary purpose being that of the treatment of a patient’s suffering.

*(… —a practical purpose, that is,… —with philosophical, literary, critical, political, artistic (… —&c.) ends or purposes, therefore having a secondary status. … ).

 

(…) —As different forms of suffering are seen to arise according to the influence—the particular conditions—of time and place (space), Lacan argued that psychoanalysis had to constantly evolve *[/—be evolving], in order to address these, continually changing, and therefore [always] new circumstances and developments *(—in the conditions of the suffering of patients). …

 

—He emphasised the singularity, then, and the individuality of each patient [/—the conditions of each patient’s suffering], and of each session of treatment with the patient. …

 

*—In this sense [/—for this reason] there is no [/—we cannot properly talk of there being] a *“Lacanian system”:

 

…rather,… each of his seminars was different *(—i.e.: … —not intended to—add up to a total work or comprehensive/total (philosophical/psychoanalytic) system. … ).

 

As such (/As a result … ),—It’s important to note that, in his career/-lifetime, Lacan published no actual books or finished (whole-entire,—concrete) works. …

 

*—Such work(s) as now bear his name (—in print) are, in fact, comprised of *transcriptions of seminars which he delivered (between 1948 and 1980). …

*(… —tie back to Saussure [—Course in General Linguistics]?, and bring up problem of authorship, and of a remove from authorship and *authority. … (—?): ‘d be useful when we get on to Derrida. …

 

—?).

 

*Lacan’s most important-significant and influential ‘works’ (so to speak/sic), then,… are… gathered together (—better way of saying that? … —collated. … —?) in *Écrits *(… —first published in 1966, and available in English translation in a reduced-edited-selected (and therefore selective) form in Écrits: A Selection *(available from Routledge),—first published in 1977, but now in a complete edition, translated (and annotated) by Lacan scholar Bruce Fink: *Jacques Lacan, Écrits, trans. Bruce Fink (London: W.W. Norton & Company, Ltd., 2006)… *(—wave the bloody book at ‘em. … ). … ), and especially the opening essay of the volume:

*—‘The Mirror Stage as formative of the function of the I as revealed in psychoanalytic experience’

(or,… —‘The Mirror Stage’, for (merciful) brevity. … ), which will be the focus of our own reading-study here. …

 

 

Lacan viewed his (idiosyncratic, psychoanalytic) work as a *return to the tradition in or of psychoanalytic criticism and practice, begun by (none other than) Sigmund Freud (and… —there he is ol’ Ziggy,—whom we’ve already read-studied-looked at-considered. … ).

 

And Freud is the most important and profound influence on Lacan and Lacanian thought.

 

—Lacan saw this tradition as having (essentially) been corrupted by Freud’s’’Freudian’,—North American, exponents-accolytes, after his influence spread-crossed the Atlantic.

*(…

 

—there’s an interesting historical-fictional take on Freud’s own visit to the States in E. L. Doctorow’s Ragtime *(—a brilliant novel), for any interested (in such things). … —?).

 

—In his influential seminars (—begun, privately, in 1951, becoming public in ’53, and continuing for 27 years) Lacan ‘returned’ to, and re-read Freud’s works,—in relation to contemporary philosophy, linguistics, ethnology, biology, and topology. …

 

*—So,… whilst I won’t dwell (here—for our current purposes) on the nature and details of the adoption (or, in Lacan’s terms,—expropriation (perhaps) of Freud over in the ol’ States (there),… —it’s worth bearing in mind the details of our own reading-study of Freud, as we go along here…

*[—briefly recap. … ]. …

 

 

*(N.B. … *—I’m being selective and offering a summary here for our current study, but it is fair to say, I think, that: … ) Lacan can be seen, in the main, to have made two crucial contributions to psychoanalysis *(in particular), and (—more widely) to the theory of human subjectivity:

 

 

*key ideas-concepts:

 

I.—‘the mirror stage’. …

 

—The first is the concept of ‘the mirror stage’ itself (—hence our focus … ), in which he put forward his account of the original formation of the ego *(— = “I” …). *[—ref. Freud.—? … ].

 

 

(in short. … )

—A child (—an infant. *—prior to development of instrumental intelligence-engagement-activity) recognises itself as(-in) the image it sees in a mirror.

*[—ref. debate over when (exactly) this: … ‘event’ takes place (… —around six months, is it… —?), and the efficacy of Lacan’s reading. … —?].

 

*… —Lacan argues that the child, in[/within] this moment or instance, *—misrecognises itself as the unified, coherent, singular, mirror image. …

 

 

—He argues that physical (—i.e. bodily) and psychical/(or)psychological unity, then,… are dependent upon the resulting, and fundamental, error in the child’s (—the subject’s) perspective. …

 

—Following ol’ Ziggy Freud—and particularly Freud’s early conception of ego-formation *(—especially up to point-time of the ‘Narcissism’ essay),… —Lacan saw ‘the mirror stage’ (and, consequently,—the formation of the ego itself) as a moment of (essentially) narcissistic self-misrecognition, founded(/-grounded) in a self-idealisation *(—and the term Ideal/ideal (—idealisation) which prove crucial to us in our own discussion of Lacan. … ).

 

*—The child(-infant), then,—identifies itself with an image of unity and of completeness [finality… —?]—an ideal which it anticipates, but which it will—and cannot—ever hope to (properly) embody. …

 

*—(As with Freud, and this will prove important in-to our study of Derrida: … ) No human being (that is) can ever hope to fully coincide with an(—the) ideal. …

 

 

Self-understanding (/self-comprehension), in this sense, then,… is seen as/—is revealed to be  … —a form of misunderstanding,… —ironically undermining or undercutting (so to) any claims to self-identity or self-knowledge. …

*(… —link to, and recapit., study of Nietzsche and Freud in particular, and to both Marx and Barthes,… particularly in-through L.’s influence on the study of *ideology… *—projection of ideals onto subject—forming-informing the subject, then,—from without. … ).

 

 

II.—language. …

The second of Lacan’s key contributions to the theory of subjectivity was (in) his *(later) adoption of the terms of Saussure’s critique of language: … —Semiology/(or) Semiotics.

*[and, again,… —(briefly) recapit. reading-study of Saussure (—to refresh). … ].

 

Language, Lacan argues,—building on elements of his theory of ‘the mirror stage’, both *joins subjects together—as it allows them to communicateand yet also (and, importantly,—at the same time … ) serves to *separate them: —communication is never complete. …

 

… —Just as we saw in-for Saussure, and his account of the ‘denaturalising’ of language and its arbitrary or shifting nature (—as coincidence of thought and sound… —of signifier and signified … )… Lacan argues that meaning is shifting, and is only constructed through a system of differences. …

 

(—in (roughly) psychoanalytic terms… )

—At different stages of in-of analysis, patients ascribe entirely different meanings to earlier episodes or utterances. …

 

This is where Lacan becomes an influence on the study of art (specifically literature) (and hence drama—?)

 

 

—If reinterpretation is always possible ((that is)—if the event or text itself is—can never be—finished, self-identical,—complete … ), then there can be no (such thing as a)—final reading.

 

—In different contexts, and at-in different times and/or places, that is, artworks can assume entirely different meanings. …

 

*—For Lacan, then,… —the meaning of an artwork (always) comes from the future. …

 

 

For Lacan, the speaking subject can never put everything into words. … —They, at once, (always) say, on the one hand, more than they intend to

*[—this is tied to Freud’s conception of the inevitable return of the repressed, and compensation structures: … —jokes, verbal slips, etc. … ].

and (and—at the same time) … less than they intend to say *(—there is always something missing, something that it is impossible to put into words-to say. … ).

 

—The unconscious can never be fully verbalised, and, as result, psychoanalytic treatment/analysis is always endless-interminable. …

 

There is always something that it’s impossible to say… —some form of remainder or unspoken. …

 

—The subject is always between signifiers, and cannot attain self-identity.

*(—This element of Lacan’s thought most of all is a profound influence on the thought which will follow him: poststructuralism—especially the work of Jacques Derrida, and that of Michel Foucault, as well as Feminism—such as in the work of Julia Kristeva, as well as Gender and Queer Theory, each of which we will be studying next semester. … ).

 

The results of this are two other key Lacanian concepts. …

 

I.—*Alienation.

 

—To be a subject, the subject must (try to) identify themselves with a  signifier, even though it is impossible for them to ever fully coincide with it.

 

Prior to its birth, the human infant is spoken of with hopes, fears, and desires, and is assigned an identity: … —is given a (proper) name. …

 

—This name acts as a summons to the child to adopt an identity not of its own making or choosing, and which, then, embodies an—ideal. …

 

This summons,… —the impossibility of its fulfilment, and the sensed imposition of an ideal… give rise to Alienation. … —Although there is no (sense of) ‘self’ prior to the assignment of a name, the subject revolts (on some level—so to speak … ): … rebels, then, against the assignment-imposition of the ideal as betrayal, or a loss, of their ‘true self’. …

 

 

II.—*Separation.

 

The sense of something having been lost gives rise, for Lacan,—to desire. …

 

—The child’s (—the infant’s) existence(-experience) is delimited by its entrance into signification, and a feeling is born that there must be more to existence than the role assigned to them (—to the subject) by society and by signification.

 

… —From the moment of their entrance into society and the chain of signification, the subject is in search of something they feel themselves to be lacking. …

 

Lacan argues,—pessimistically, that this search is (—will always have been)—in vain. …

 

—The ‘object’ (so-called) of the search never truly existed, nor could ever truly exist. …

 

 

*—There will be (-have been) a perpetual gap,—between the enjoyment of whatever the subject finds (will have found) to fill the place of the ‘lost object’, and the enjoyment that they will have anticipated. …

 

—Existence falls short (inevitably) (—of imagination). …

 

 

*—The most common form of this kind of fantasising (—of coinciding, or of identity, with the ‘lost object’) is romance. …

 

*—Lovers imagine that the other embodies the ‘lost object’, and will (—can) make good the feeling of a lack.

 

Lovers, Lacan argues, bring to each other not what will make good the lack, but (in fact) the lack itself.

 

*Hence one of Lacan’s key axioms: *—there is no sexual relation.

 

*Rather than accept or confront this (nonetheless unavoidable) reality, Lacan argues,—we take refuge in fantasy.

 

 

*—The concepts, then,—of the imposition of the ideal, alienation, and the lack and (in) the Other, will prove crucial in-to our study of Critical Theory, and, more particularly (for our current purposes), to our reading of Lacan’s ‘The Mirror Stage’. …

 

 

*Introduction to a new reading group on the work of Jacques Lacan & the question of the ‘real’. …

The Thinker (oil on canvas, 135cm x 90cm) Nov. 14 2014

Kate Brinkworth, The Thinker (oil on canvas), Nov. 2014

 

*the ‘real’ reading group.
(so to).
– LACAN & (THE QUESTION OF) THE “REAL” –

I.

By way of a sort of an introduction. …

—Why Lacan (as the subject for an on-line reading group),
—& why the question of the ‘real’… —? …
*—notes of a dilettante (attempting to read Lacan). …

 

*… —In early July of this year, I had a conversation with Kate Brinkworth,—a brilliant artist (as well as being a lecturer for Winsor & Newton on colour and pigment), over on-via Twitter (—@katebrinkworth). …

—Kate and I have been following each other for a while now, after I’d discovered her work on-over Twitter, shared-re-posted it. and commented on how much I admired (—admire) it.

 

*—Kate paints fantastic photorealist work that focusses particularly on close-up still lifes of (seemingly) mundane-everyday objects.

 

 

I was drawn in particular, I think, to the sheer craft in-of her work… —the sharp, clear… cleanliness of her style,… her (extremely close-exhaustive) attention to detail and the… almost uncanny precision or accuracy of the scale and detail of her rendition of objects and conditions of light and shade, and the illusion of… naturalness (for want) and spontaneity-chance, in her, in fact, very carefully staged compositions

*(—as if each painting—the subject of each of her paintings—is, simply,  a… caught moment (so to),… —incidentally happened upon, and recorded, unsentimentally and without judgment, with a ‘photographic’-encyclopaedic faithfulness in-to each-and-all of its (depth of) details. …

 

… —a—to me—near-perfect rendition of objects,—of light and time (—of time picked out and evoked in-through light), and of a (clean, compelling) sense of space. … ).

*(—see The Thinker, above. … ).

 

 

*—Our correspondence was triggered by Kate’s having tweeted an image from her most recent work: a series of images depicting cast die and gambling chips. …

 

*—. There’s a… (characteristic) sharpness (—cleanness), clarity, and precision in Kate’s rendering of the die, coupled, in these works, with their kind of borderline tacky plastic glamour—captured in the rich, sharp, almost neon colour palette, the texture of the surface on which they rest, and the subdued, ‘mood’-lighting (and shadow). …

 

 

… —It’s the… care,… —precision, clarity and exactness of observation, scale, space, and perspective that I admire in Kate’s work.

 

*—I find that it… chimes (so to—sic) with the commitment-fidelity to lived-experience-the everyday, and the focus on… unpacking everyday psychological experience, capturing it in-within the ‘image’, and thus being able to fully incorporate it, that I see as being at stake in Nietzsche’s writing on art (in light of, and in relation to the development of his philosophy), and in the aesthetic theories, manifestoes, prose, and poetry of the self-styled neo-classical Modernists (—James Joyce, T.E. Hulme, Ezra Pound, and the Imagist poets in particular).

*(which I’m (still, yes,… still) in the midst of trying to unpack for myself,—over on the main thread of this BLOG/writing project. … ).

 

*Also. … —these are the…  (what?… ) qualities (?),… values, (sic) I feel, to which I’m trying  aspire in my own, semi-autobiographical, psychologically realist, experimental prose-poetry *(which I’m still in the midst of trying to get published, and at least one example of-from which can be found elsewhere on this blog).

 

 

I asked Kate what the influences of-behind her photo-realism were (are). …

 

She replied, posting a link to her (artist’s) website, and to her commentary on the emergence and development of her style. …

*(—the full text can be found here: http://katebrinkworth.com/about-us/ *[as accessed on 22-07-2015]. … ).

 

 

*in her artist’s bio, Kate talks about the origins of her work in her study of ‘the construction of […] film’ in a way, I think, that illuminates the qualities I most admire in her work: …

*—‘How do light, shadow, camera angle, focus, objects and location play a part in intriguing and capturing your imagination, enabling the viewer to pick up on the essence of an idea and sparking off their imagination so they themselves bring something to the viewing experience’?

 

*… —light, shadow, angle (—both geometric, and the occupying of a particular perspective), (the intensity, or clarity of) focus, then, as (both) capturing, and evoking (—evocative of) a broader, narrative context. …

 

*… —that a careful selection, and arrangement in a space, of the right (—the correct) things, with the correct lighting conditions and (thus) tone and atmosphere—pathos (—an absolute—rigorous—artistic economy, then, posing (-posed), so to, somehow as (as if) found—naturally,—arbitrarily. …) can fulfil the function—realise what it would take the full unfolding—of a film (—the full revelation or exposition of a broader narrative-narrative context) to create: in a single, pure, carefully-rigorously constructed, clean, economic *image. …

 

 

Golden Dollar (oil on canvas, 150cm x 100cm) April 28, 2014

Kate Brinkworth, Golden Dollar (oil on canvas, 150cm x 100cm) April 28, 2014

 

… —Kate writes that she began, then, to ‘set up my own stills, engage in my own ideas’…

 

*(and I like the idea of the transformation or evolution of film stills into still lifes-paintings (phtotorealism). …)

 

… —‘I began to collect objects that would enable me to do this, dice, insects, cameras, letters, papers, anything I could find that had a sense of intrigue about it. I then played around with setting up small still lifes, lighting them differently, changing the focal point to emphasise a certain item and then working these into paintings. I became more involved in the process of this, enjoying the translation of light into paint, the properties of pigments and the challenge of photorealism’. (my emph, M.D.B.)

 

And what’s important here, I’d argue (at least—for me), is the idea-concept of translating light—of transposing experience into a still image, through the capturing of light states. …

 

Interestingly, Kate writes that she: ‘can get more detail into a painting than I can from a photograph, I can enhance and play around with oversaturated colour and light.’ …

 

 

*—Photorealism, then, … passes over, seemingly at the exact moment of its perfect realisation, into a sort-a form of hyperrealism. …

 

*(that is…) —at the moment of its perfect self-becoming, or—self-realisation,… photorealism collapses (out of itself)—forward (outward),… —into a portrayal or transposition that becomes more ‘real’ than the ‘real’ (itself). …

*(—the perfect transposition of the ‘real’ in (—into-within) the image becomes more—becomes (the) hyperreal. …

 

—the image—the artistic model—shorn of its tethers in-to the ‘real’, … and becomes something more (more than the) ‘real’. … —? … ).

 

 

—This notion-idea of the clean, definite, image,… —able to evoke, through its portrayal (capturing) of light (states), and perspective, a broader narrative than its composition might immediately suggest,… —more, richer (—sharper) detail than is possible in a film-the photograph—developed in Kate’s work…

*—‘I began to bring the story more to the forefront with the use of black and white imagery, stripping away colour, leaving objects or locations as the central element but at the same time introducing a person. Who is the character behind the card game? Who is ‘The Thinker’ exploring the material world under a magnifying glass? Who wrote the letter? Or as the image is often a point-of-view shot, is it actually you the viewer?’

 

—At the point at which the image becomes more than (the) ‘real’, the emphasis shifts from the composition of the image itself to the image’s viewer or reader. …

 

*—ultimately, the ‘photoreal’-become hyperreal, brings the (figure of the) ‘viewer’ (themselves) into question:

 

*—the relationship, then,—of the viewer to the ‘real’. …

 

So, …

 

As I say (said). …

 

—I was fascinated, in a way in which I’ve only just begun to fully work out or through in drafting-writing (typing. down) all this here, in what Kate wrote about how her photorealism’s *turn into hyperrealism *(—at the point-the moment of its self-becoming—capturing of the ‘real’), —and I said so to her (over Twitter)

(hell.—why ever not, hmm? … ).

 

 

She replied, saying that, in some new-prospective work that she was (—is) planning, she wants to investigate the concept of the ‘real’, … *—especially through the work of Jacques Lacan. …

 

 

(hmm)

 

—. Though my background (academic.—under- and postgraduate, and published) is in (what-is-referred to-as) ‘Theory’ (—Critical Theory, to give it its full, & somewhat dubious (I think) name) and in Philosophy & Literature, including reading-studying and writing on psychoanalysis … I’ve never had the opportunity to study Lacan in any ongoing,—thoroughgoing, formal academic way-sense, but have spent a long time reading him (independently-autonomously), and, indeed, I lectured on his thought on some honours degree courses in Contemporary Theatre, Drama, and Critical Theory, which I wrote and ran at Queen Margaret University, between 2008 and 2010.

*(JE-SUS.—I hadn’t realised that it was quite as long ago as 5-7 years already. …

 

Jesus. … … ).

 

 

* … —There’s something in Lacan: … —something in (the development) of his account of the formation of the ego (—the “I”. … ) and its being… mired (so to) in the subject’s being thrust into (pre-existing,… —pre-egoistical) language), his return to Freud, and fusion of his insights on-concerning Freud with his reading of Saussure’s Semiology and its account of language, …

 

—something that, I think, might serve to bring together, and to clarify (—to help perfect, for want) all the ideas that are at stake in Nietzsche, Joyce, Bergson, and Hulme (—in neo-classical Modernism) (at least, in the way I’ve read-been reading them, in my doctoral thesis, and over on the main thread of the blog project: The Fold of the Artist). …

 

—something that, now, I feel, it would be extremely useful for me to commit myself (however casually-occasionally) to unpacking and setting down (—attempting, at least provisionally, to articulate). …

 

 

 

*Intrigued, I asked Kate if she would like someone to read over Lacan with,—with a view to understanding (the question of) the ‘real’ in Lacan’s work, and to helping her develop her (future) work. …

 

*(…

 

—recently, I’ve been commissioned by Charioteer Theatre *[link], as a freelance writer, to produce two education packs for their forthcoming production of two adaptations of Shakespeare’s Coriolanus (—to be staged in the Piccolo Theatre, Milan in 2016, and then, subsequently, touring Italy and Scotland). …

 

I also had an (in the end abortive) meeting-interview with a successful Scottish theatre company to work, as a freelance Content Editor/Researcher, on a project collating, editing, and uploading the history of their productions (notes, audience figures and feedback, press and promotional materials, flyers, programs, &c.) to an online archive. …

 

—and I think, at the moment, having failed to find the kind of community and welcome reception of… more idiosyncratic work-research (so to) in academia, that this is the kind of work-project that I want to be doing: … *—collaborating with artists (of whatever hue-persuasion) on philosophical and intellectual, as well as practical, research and writing, with a view to fostering and bolstering new artistic work. …

 

For me, it’s also a throw-back to the… edifying spirit (so to) of the reading group on-of Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit in which I participated as an undergraduate (back at ol’ Manchester Metropolitan University), and to the communal reading-writing and research presentation culture, which I shared with friends on the MA in Philosophy & Literature during my time at The University of Warwick, … —the spirit of both of which I failed (sadly, and frustratingly) to find-rekindle (despite many—(what felt like) fevered—attempts) during my doctoral studies in-at Edinburgh. …

 

… —by hook, or by fuckin’ crook,… —I will  forge the kind of intellectual artistic community I’ve been looking for. … (&c.) ).

 

 

Kate said yes.

 

 

—the reading group, then. …

 

And so, …

 

—this current (—this new) project was born: … *—The ‘real’ reading group. (so to).

 

 

*I also managed, shortly thereafter, to rope in another of my Twitter-made friends: Emma Paulet (@Emmahgerd), who I met when she liked and followed the main thread of the blog project here.

 

*—Emma’s own smart, self-deprecating(-lacerating) and beautiful experimental poetry, prose, and photography can be found over on her own blog: www.emmapaulet.wordpress.com

 

 

*—The(…) ‘aim’ (—in so far as there is any kind of an aim) here, then, I think, is to work, in quite an informal way, through various lectures-essays-pieces and concepts in-from the work of Lacan,—corresponding, electronically, mainly across Twitter, email, and this blog thread.

 

 

*—I’m going to take the liberty (having sought Kate and Emma’s permission(s)) to make use of this new thread on the blog to post my own notes-readings-thoughts-responses (—so that I’m obliged to at least try to formalise and to explain them, as clearly as I’m able. …), in the hopes that a-this string-thread on the Fold can form a kind of a… hub, for (—to collect) the readings-responses-thoughts-notes (&c.) of the others-others, and (thus)—a kind of running (and perhaps alarmingly cavalier and free-form) resource (I s’pose). …

 

—This will have been the first reading group I’ve participated in to be conducted over-through-from social media. …

 

 

*—We’re beginning (going to begin) at the beginning (or, perhaps rather,—the source, in Lacanian terms)—with ‘The Mirror Stage as Formative of the I Function as Revealed in Psychoanalytic Experience’,—in-from *Jacques Lacan, Écrits, trans. Bruce Fink (London: W.W. Norton & Company, Ltd., 2006), *—pp. 75-81.

*(—at the start—the heart, really, I s’pose—of Lacan’s seminars. …. ).

Ecrits - The First Complete Edition in English (cover art).

 

—The rest, I think, we’ll decide (democratically, ‘n’ tha-) amongst ourselves, as a group, as we go along, keeping to the theme (and the concept) of the ‘real’. …

 

 

And so, (and so,—again)…

 

*—What follows-will follow here *(—my future post-posts in this thread), then, will form an attempt to go back over my lecture and notes on ol’ Jacques, and to try to salvage-rescue (—to pick out) any potentially useful notes-trivia-fragments that might remain (—whatever might prove useful as a (re-?)introduction, or a refresher on-to Lacan), and my own, faltering (yes… —inadequate) attempt to read through, and to make sense of, *—‘The Mirror Stage’.

 

 

*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).