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Board of Regents of the University of Oklahoma

Joyceans Wake at a Funferal in Dublin: The First International Joyce Seminar, 1967
Author(s): David Hayman
Source: Books Abroad, Vol. 42, No. 2 (Spring, 1968), pp. 214-217
Published by: University of Oklahoma
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40122334
Accessed: 13-05-2015 03:05 UTC

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Gonzalez.It is the same problemwhich Bergson diagnosed and which plagued Machado
and Salinas,of how the poet can make words
reflect the unique rather than the collective
self. Unless the wages of politicaltyrannyare
to be silence, the poet must cleanse words.
Valente writes:
Bajo la palabra insistente
como una invitacion o una suplica
debiamos hallarnos, debiamos hallar
Una brizna de mundo.

In Brines'Palabrasa la oscuridadthereis evidence of an uncriticalreading of Cernuda's

poetry.Brines,a Valencian,a masterof lovely
diction,has takenoverCernuda'sarchnessand
his thematics,without the older poet's toughmindednessand irony that made them palatable to the reader.As a result, the Virgilian
sadnessthat permeatesthe whole book cloys.
Even so, there is originalityin his readingof
Cernuda, for Brines prefers the Andalusian
hedonistto the anti-Establishment
Rodriguez, whose Alianza y condena also
appearedin 1966,has beenconsidereda young
mastersince his first book in 1953.If Valente
sharesthemes with Salinas,and Brines with
Cernuda,this remarkablepoet from Zamora
is like no one so much as that "jubilantexistentialist,"Jorge Guillen. Like severalof the
Generationof 1927,visionis Rodriguez'smetaphor for commercewith the world. In these
poemswe learn that covetousnessis the greatest sin, and that it is more blessedto receive
than to take. Hence expectationis the password:
La misteriosajuventud constantc
de lo que existe, su maravillosa
eternidad, hoy llaman
con sus nudillos muy heridos a esta
pupila prisionera.

I have not meant, in pointing up similarities between the younger poets and those of
1927,to do more than suggest an appropriate
context in which to view the new Spanish
poetry.But there is also a lesson here for the
young poet who can see beyondsocialpoetry.
He could learn, for one thing, that the Generationof 1927found useful answersto problems of which the Generationof 1898 was

FranciscoBrines. Palabrasa la oscuridad.Madrid, Insula, 1966.

Angel Gonzalez. Tratado de urbanismo.Barcelona,El
Bardo, 1967.

Claudio Rodriguez. Alianza y condena. Madrid, Revista de Occidente, 1966.

Luis Rosales. La casa encendida. Madrid, Revista de
Occidente, 1967.
Jose Angel Valente. La memoria y los signos. Madrid,
Revistade Occidente, 1966.

JoyceansWa\e at a Funferd in Dublin:

The First International Joyce Seminar,
By David Hayman
For some time now June 16th has been a special day in Dublin, a day for organizedtours
to Glasnevin Cemetery, number 7 Eccles
Street,the MartelloTower, and to otherspots
commemoratedin JamesJoyce'sUlysses.The
tour entrepreneurshave perhapsprofitedthe
most, but Joyce buffs seem intrigued by the
idea of following no matterhow incompletely
the none-too-inspiringfictional itinerariesof
Joyce'slarger-than-lifeprotagonists.This year
was in a sense no exception,though yet anotherof the landmarks,"Bloom'shouse"at 7
Eccles Street, is in the processof being destroyed.The propertyhas been purchasedby
a Catholicorderand all that remainsstanding
is the skeletonof the outerwalls.To commemorate the date and the event, the door which
had been taken from that building was dedicatedas a permanentfixturein the Baileypub
(also mentionedin Ulysses) with much ceremony afterthe tour on this June 16th:drinks
on the house for a large group of notables.
Bloom's day was also remarkablethis year
as the second day of the First International
Joyce Seminar,an event whose title suggests
a sequel.
The Seminar, held at University College,
Joyce's Alma Mater, and at the Gresham
Hotel on O'ConnellStreet,was a spectacular
affair, part scholarly convention, part side
show, and part sentiment,but fairly continuously diverting. It was organized with a remarkableamount of care (given the spontaneity of its conceptionearly last winter) by
Bernard Benstock (Kent State University),
Fritz Senn (of the JoyceNewslitter and Zurich), and Thomas Staley (of the James
Joyce Quarterlyand the Universityof Tulsa)
and supportedby the Irish Tourist Agency
(Bord Failte) and the editorsof the Dubliner
Magazine.Things kept happeningwith very
little time out for food and rest for two solid
days of talk and trips (to the source of the
Liffey as well as aroundJoyce'sDublin) and
entertainment.Eveningswere spentpleasantly

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in a privateroom of the SilverSwan pub. Included in the entertainmentwas a dramatic
readingby three buxom Mollysin light attire
(light night attire in fact) of the "Penelope"
sequence of Ulysses, an event calculatedto
amaze the attentive Irish waiters and to interest if not to amuse the after-dinnerJoyceans. (Personally,I would have preferredto
hear a more dramaticepisode,one that is less
obviouslya set pieceand a shocker.)The reading was directedby HarryPollockwho recently producedUlyssesin Nighttown in Toronto.
Among the honoredguests at the Seminar
was GiorgioJoyce,the author'sson, who has
not beenbackto Dublin in forty-fiveyearsand
seemed at first to have come there this year
against his better judgment. As the days
passed, he thawed some, though still complaining about the excessiveattentionhe was
getting from the Irish press and television.
Accordingto one account he is planning to
write a book about his father "to help set
things straight."A fine idea, it seems to me.
More jovial and in fact quite delightful was
Joyce'slong-timefriend and confidant,Frank
Budgen,who playedthe old man and actedthe
the young.
Perhapsfor the benefit of these gendemen
Dublin turned out some ripe coincidences.
There was, for example,a man drowned off
the "Forty-footHole" (the sign reads"Fortyfoot Men Only"callingto mind the giant hero
of Finnegans Wa\e). As the tour bus approachedthe MartelloTower, we could see
the boats out in the harborlooking for the
body. The Irish poet, famed for his sharp
tongue and drinking capacity,Patrick Kavanagh (t)5 afterdedicatingthe doorto 7 Eccles
Street with appropriatetestiness and an occasionalstab at the AmericanJoyceindustry,
put on a fair imitationof Joyce'santi-Semitic
citizen-Cyclopsbefore collapsing on one of
the side benches of the pub. One of his remarks is worth repeating: "The proper inscriptionon this door . . . should be what the
dead hand wrote: 'Bloom is a cod.'" A good
postscriptfor any Joyceconference.
The Irish press of "twinsome twominds"
about Joyce and Joyceansturned on its inimitable and perhaps half-warrantedvenom
and bile (releasedby a patentedmethod and
pouredcopiouslyover all and sundry): "Well
the Dublin of Joycehas becomemore real to
foreign students than the actual Dublin of
the present. . . Joyceit must be admittedwith
a mixture of gratitude and embarrassment,
has put us on the map."The admission,on the
part of a true Shaun-the-post,no matterhow
tongue-in-cheek,representsa changefrom the


Dublin and the Irish attitude of years past

when only a handfulof enlightenedIrishmen
deigned to recognize the existence of their
greatestnovelist. This year, perhapsbecause
of the publicityreceivedby the film Ulysses,
perhapsbecauseof the Seminar,perhapsbecauseof a widening of Irish horizons,Joyce's
Ulyssesin the specialmoviedustjacketwas featured in the shop windows aroundtown! It is
recognizablya differentDublin todayif no betterthanthe one Joycedescribed(thoughthank
God the Irish have not changed), a Dublin
somewhatless grandand somewhatless squalid. There were, it should be noted, several
attentiveIrish priestsat the talks and not all
of the presscommentwas completelyunfavorable.Besides,severalof the speakersand many
in the audience of between fifty and sixty
people were Dubliners, and the first day's
talks were wittily introducedin "Djoytsch"
by ProfessorRoger McHugh of the English
Departmentof UniversityCollege.
The announcedpurposeof the Seminarwas
to give scholarsa chanceto communicateand
communein the placeand at a time appropriate to the discussionof Joyce'swork. There
were far too many talks scheduled for this
first gathering and doubtless the audience
found it tediousto listen to all of them strung
out in a line. Certainly,the committeewould
have been well advisedto select the speakers
more rigorouslyand to make the talks longer
(fifteen-minutetalks, though they inevitably
turn into thirty-minutetalks,are seldommore
than extended footnotes). Three ratherthan
six talks per sessionwould have done nicely.
This is not to downgrade the excellenceof
some of the papersand the value of the conference itself as a medium of exchange for
ideasand information.It is seldomthat a conferenceis as much fun as this one was for as
many people.
Still, the businessof the conferenceis not
dinners, after-dinners,tours, but papers and
dialogue.It is to the qualityof these that the
Seminarowes its successor failure.The papers
read ranged from the polishedand pondered
to the crude and amateurish,from the footnote to the truncated chapter, from discussionsof a detailto the definitionof mode. The
first day opened with a treatmentby Sidney
Feshback (State Universityof New York at
Stony Brook) of the early works in the light
of Renaissancerhetoricalpracticeand particularlyof the rhetoricof Joyce'savowedfavorite,
Ben Jonson. Taken from the larger context
of a book in preparation,this presentation
seemed less than convincing.The same may
well be true of my own attempt to explore

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the implicationsof Joyce'ssystematicuse of

farce conventions and clown identities in
Ulysses. On the other hand Professor Solomon's (Universityof Hawaii) paperon "The
PhallicTree in Finnegans Wa\e" seemedcalculated to amuse the audience by the very
incongruityof its presentationby a decorous
lady beforeso decorousa gatheringin so decorousa place.Her approachto the problemof
Joyce's elevated obscenity was appropriately
monolithic,but it was hardlyevidentfrom the
paper that the writer (whose book is also
forthcoming)was awareof the largerimplications of her subject,the role of sex in the total
scheme of the Wa\e and the relevance to
Joyce'smode.What arethe many reasonswhy
it was necessarythat the famous crime in
Phoenix Park be heavily and hilariouslysexual? What are the limits of that sexualityand
sexualsymbolism?If, as a readerof the Wa\e,
I was franklydismayedby the narrownessof
this particularreading,I can't help admiring
Miss Solomon's thoroughness. The other
papers,given during the first afternoon,were
less ambitiousin scope and less provocative.
One of them was a brief discussionof the
obscenecontentof Ulysses;another(by Judge
Donough MacDonough) a treatmentof the
sourcesof the ballad"The Lassof Aughrim";
a third, which shouldprobablybe passedover
in silence,was a barelycomprehensiblemusical-biographical
melangethat drewupon some
curiously inconsequential tapes and documents.
The morning of the secondday was scheduled to begin with an hour and a half of talks
over breakfastand to end with a panel discussionof Joycestudiestoday.As it happened,
the talkstook up the whole morning(an hour
was given to the panel discussionafterlunch)
and I must confess that I missed most of
them. I am indebtedto Kevin Sullivan (Columbia) who chairedthat meeting and to the
perceptiveaccount given by JacquesAubert
(in La Quinzaine, 15-31juillet) for some of
the detailsthat follow. Accordingto both accounts the best of these paperswas given by
James Atherton (Wigan, Surrey) one of the
deans of Wa\e scholarship.Beginning with
what should by this time be an obvious position (that each of us dreams the dream in
FinnegansWa\e), ProfessorAthertonshowed
with some brilliancethe depth of Joyce'sconcernfor humanity.The remainingpaperswith
the exceptionof one on the Christimageryin
Synge's Playboy of the Western World (by
StanleySultan of Clark University) all dealt
in narrowlyspecializedmatters.Norman Silverstein(QueensCollege) discussedthe manu-

script version of the "Circe"chapter,a topic

which unfortunatelydoes not lend itself to
this sort of presentation.The same may be
said for the paperby JacquesAubert(University of Lyons) which, in addition to being
given in Frenchbeforea predominantlyEnglish-speakingaudience,dealt with an obscure
problemin Joycescholarship:the questionof
Joyce'snotes in Frenchfor Finnegans Wa\e.
Ben Collins (of ParsonsCollege) gave a detailed and somewhatNew Criticalexplication
of the neglectedstory "A Mother."There are
plans to collectthese papersin a volume to be
publishedby the Dolmen Press in Dublin. I
have no doubt that some of them will make
betterreading than listening.
In additionto the paperstherewere several
moreor less off-the-cuffafter-dinnertalks and
the presentationby PadraicColumof a bronze
copy of Joyce'sdeath mask to Giorgio Joyce.
Finally there was an amusing address in
French by the spiritedItaliancritic Umberto
Eco (Milan). The topicwas a phrasefrom the
Wa\e in which JoyceconflatesMarcusMinuChristianapolocius Felix, the second-century
gist, and the comic-striphero, Mandrakethe
Magician.Eco concludedwith a plea for more
linguistic analysisof the Wa\e.
Of greater potential value than even the
talksthemselveswas the gatheringtogetherof
so many Joyce enthusiastsand scholarsfrom
so many countries (by one count fourteen).
In addition to the large Americanand Irish
contingents,therewere scholarsfrom Holland
(the translatorof Ulysses), Belgium,Switzerland, Denmark,Italy, France,Spain,Canada,
England,and Poland.Perhapsin the seminar
projectedfor 1969therewill be an even richer
samplingof nationalitiesand interests,a dearer focus for the papers,and more time given
to serious discussion of problems Joycean.
For my part, however, I had delightful conversationswith a varietyof peopleI had long
wished to meet, and particularlyand unexpectedlywith the Polish translatorof Ulysses,
MaciejSlomczynski,who is now working on
a translationof Finnegans Wa\e. Slomszynski, a gifted linguist and a most courageous
translator,believesthat Polishof all languages
is flexibleenough to accommodateJoyce'sexuberantpunning.Whatevermy reservations,I
couldnot help but be impressedby the interest
and awarenesshe demonstratedand the implicationsof a Polish version of a book that
has yet to attracta largereadershipin the English-speakingworld. More starding perhaps
were Slomczynski'ssensibleattitudestoward
the book, his insistenceon the Wage'sfundamental simplicity,and the accounthe graveof

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istryof Justice.Suchenterprises,establishedby
governmentalagenciesin relatedareasas subsidiaries,are indirecdyfinancedthroughgovernmentalfunds. The Instituteoperateswith
capitalprovidedby its threestockholders.The
stockholders are the Government Printing
House, and two of the threedaily newspapers
publishedby the governmentin Kabul, Anis
and Islah. Abdul Majid Zaliuli, an Afghan
with an interestin book publishing,has contributed a large sum to aid the burgeoning
the more tangibleby- ^i'^fl^S^
industry.Within a few years Waleh believes
the financial base of the Institute will be
productsis a new James H| ^M^^^1
and stockwill be soldto the general
in Tulsa and dedicated ~A'
to aiding and abetting @$t\\ (tf^Slk*$$%> While there are some financial aids availand
able to young book industriesof developing
Joyce scholarship
the teachingof the mas- ^^^f^^^^^^^
nationsin the form of grantsfrom othercounter's word. So be it.
tries, Waleh says that the Instituteprefersto
Universityof Iowa
attemptto gain monetaryand technicalassistance from UNEsoo."Afghanistanmaintainsa
ratherstrictprogramof neutralityin its political and other ventures.We prefer,therefore,
Boo\ Publishing Afghanistan
to seek out unesco for help and thereby to
maintainour neutralposition.This policydoes
By Paul B. Snider
not rule out seeking a loan from nationaldeWith Afghanistan'srichhistoricalbackground velopmentbanks and similarhelp from pubof literaryfigures dating from the tenth cen- lishingorganizationsfromothercountries,but
tury, it is easy to understandwhy officials unesco is not politicallyaffiliated."
At presentthe Instituteprints 3,000 copies
predict a bright future for the Afghanistan
eighteen-month-oldBook Publishing Insti- of each title and realizes a profit of 30
tute. "Perhaps,"saidAbdul Haq Waleh,presi- per cent on all sales even when selling titles
dent of the Institute,"we will introduceAf- (such as a collectionof 50 sonnets) at from
ghan authorsof the caliberof MenhajusSeraj 3 to 5 afghanis(4 to 6 cents). Dari and Pashtu,
of Taba\at-Nasiri the two officiallanguagesof Afghanistan,are
in the tenthcentury;Firdausiwho wrote Shah the major publicationlanguages; eventually
Nama for Muhammad Ghaznavi in the some titles will be publishedin English. Not
eleventhcentury;KhushalKhan Khatak,the all titles are publishedin both languages;the
authors." subjectof the book determinesthe language.
Pashtupoet of the sixteenth-century
The Institute now has 68 titles on sale.
While a recent unesco statementputs Afghanistan'sliteracyrate at only 5.4 per cent, Twenty of these titles are their own ventures
annuallymore than 50,000Afghans attainlit- and the remainderwere given them by other
eracy through the greatly expanded educa- organizationsfor distribution.The books are
tional programs of this rapidly developing promotedby newspaperand radio advertisenation.This fact, coupledwith the love of the ments and also by personallettersto ministers
and officials,calling attentionto tides which
peoplefor literaryworks- especiallypoetryand the enthusiasticsupport of government might be of specialinterestand value to a parofficials,createsan optimisticattitude in the ticulargroup or profession.
Being an "unofficialofficial organization,"
Subscribingto the unesco definition of a the Institute has quasi-governmentalstatus.
book as "a non-periodicalpublicationcontain- Office space and equipmentare furnishedby
ing 49 pages or more, not counting covers," the Ministryof Informationand Culture;disWaleh said it was economicallynot feasibleto tribution of the books is free through the
publish a tide with fewer than 50 pages. He GovernmentPrinting House salesroomsand
added that the Institute was designed to be agents. Where there is no salesroomin the
financiallyself-sufficientand to make money provinces,the provincialdirectorsof the GovernmentPrintingHousewill actas salesagents
for stockholders.
The Book Publishing Institute is a "state until the Institute has its own salesmen.In
enterprise"registeredwith the Afghan Min- someareas,specialagentswill procuretitlesfor
the book's encyclopedictexture. This sort of
attitude is rare even among Joyceans,who
tend to forgetthe largerconcernsin their preoccupationwith the minor ones.
Everything considered, the First International James Joyce Seminarwas a success
despitethe all-too-evidentflaws. For the first
time and almostin spiteof itself (though with
the connivanceof the tourist board), Dublin
was the site of a conference on Joyce. Among

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