6. Oxen of the Sun

“The radical force of Joyce’s writing has not fully registered in the literary studies (and practice) of the Anglophone world …”

– Derek Attridge

Language is usually an adequate vehicle for expression. With perseverance, you can find the right words to explain events and feelings; albeit with some loss of energy over time’s mass. There was a whole lot of hype about bricolage and sign systems and the redundancy of history in the late twentieth century but all the parenthesised polysemous terms in Semiotexte multiplied by the ‘escape velocity’ of every computer link drilling down the internet ad infinitum hasn’t stopped people talking, writing and reading with the dopey defiance of Doctor Johnson’s decisive foot-strike. Tonight, my daughter Rachel was sitting on my lap in the bath. She leaned backwards into my legs and flipped her head straight at the strip light for a few seconds then pushed herself towards me, shaped her mouth into a kiss and blew warm sweet breath in my face. After that, she drew her body back up to its full height, sucked in more air and unleashed a pure high scream. Its volume surprised her. She looked startled then sat down smiling. We finished the bath. I deposited her on the tiled floor on a towel with a soft rubber starfish and dried myself quickly. Rachel inhabits space with the same blank power as Nature. She held out her arms so I would pick her up and we looked at ourselves in the misty mirror. I strained to discern my features in her mint condition face. I wondered whether she got any sense of identity from my face, smell or touch. She pulled at a brass handle on the cupboard. It sprang back revealing a cluster of medicines and cosmetics. I drew her away. We went into her bedroom. I closed the door, collected her singlet, nappy and jumpsuit then followed her across the bare floorboards as she folded her body into ingenious positions to avoid dressing. I withdrew each hand in turn from the toy she was chewing and worked the sleeves over her doughty arms and legs. Her fingers and toes popped through blue elastic. O entered with her bottle. I left them together, went into the backyard and looked up at the airplanes whistling towards the third runway leaving trails of silver mist in the repressed summer sky. The sun was lowering. It was late February. I got a telephone call to say Tom died. Mechanically I went back into Rachel’s bedroom. I collected her from my wife and buried my face in her body. We started the bedtime ritual. First, we visited a wall poster to count all different types of Teddy Bears wearing different national costumes. Then we examined her mobiles. There was a diving green and red papier-mache fish that her mother made. A school of bright wooden fish from Thailand. Finally, phosphorescent stars orbiting her cot. Next, I took her to the stuffed koala on the dresser. This had been my toy when I was a child. It’s pretty ragged now. Dirty grey stuffing seeps out of burst stitching in its rump and paw-stumps. It has a metal ring in its navel which can be wound to release the melody of “Waltzing Matilda.” I gave it a few turns and the decelerating melody followed us twirling around the bedroom. I switched on her night light. It is an electric globe. Bronze light illuminated the trails of famous explorers across the eastern oceans. I hope she will become an explorer herself someday. We blew out the lightbulb. I flicked the OFF switch simultaneously. We both laughed at that trick. She knew it was a charade by now. I placed her in the cot and raised the metal bar. Good night, I said softly. I kissed her cheek and left. I could hear her bouncing on the mattress as I receded. I went to the porch and loitered uselessly. Stationary leaves shuffled suddenly before belated vespers. Skinny zephyrs. Sun-drops stoked my face. Birds were passaging the deft season. The moon up-cranked. Duskdown. Venus was posted, alone and faintly ruddy, on the fine leg boundary. Later that night, my Muse visited. She’s not entirely welcomed nowadays. There are certain ideas and activities that you’ve just got to suppress so you can go about your job in peace. It’s all very well to talk about inspiration. I don’t have time to get lost like that. Writing is like driving a car through a Radburn suburb at night. I love back-tracking through half-remembered novels, embarrassing myself with my lack of recollection while savouring beautiful clauses again that I will soon re-forget. You’ve got to live with a book like a blood relation. One must hover over the text like a dragonfly scanning the surface of a still pool for motion. I have spent most of my adult life with the same works, breathing in the sameness and unsameness of their deep forms, reacquainting myself with their landmark images, getting inside the guts of what Barthes calls Readerly Texts, wondering how much they were controlled by the author and how much was organic, growing cranky at their lapses and exhilarated at their paranormal sublimes, never baulking at recognition of their banalities [he sighs] until they became like the family I had that never knew me. Great books possess punishing architectonics that suspend you like a bird above the plot line. The reasons why one abandons a book are never as interesting as why it sticks. I could never read Ulysses until I became a father. I used to sit on the sofa with my daughter bundled-up in my lap while O got some sleep before we swapped for the 1 am feed. Channel Nine was playing Star Trek repeats every night until 11 pm. At the end of the episode, I still had time to kill. One evening I just began reading Ulysses again. Rachel had sunk hot and wet on my ribs. I was getting bronchitis. I got to the end of Chapter One. Something clicked. Next weekend, I borrowed Clive Hart’s monograph and Don Gifford’s Notes from Fisher Library and sank into its dense references like Stephen Hero immersed in Skeat’s etymological dictionary. Obscure images got fitted into form. Structure as a chassis for meaning became my apotheosis. I am now part way through my reply. Wandering Rocks was a masterpiece of humanism. Oxen of the Sun is its foil. C5 moved a lot. C6 almost does not move at all. Neither of them progressed the plot much. You could bypass C6 with information in the ToC. But that was not Joyce’s point. He was moving fast inside slow motion like someone on drugs. In the end, Tom Hallem couldn’t hold all the fragments together. It’s hard to fault his logic really. His death was a definitive statement. Oxen is a birth episode in Ulysses. This is a death chapter. Its plot motif is aligned with Homer. All of Odysseus’ crew are killed on Thrinacia. Thus, it is a mirror (see NACAL). It was Joyce who flipped Oxen not I. Tom’s daughter will have to learn the truth one day. And his death will change the way she perceives her father. It didn’t shock me when it happened. The fading loop of smack culture had been hanging around Tom like a vulture drawing tighter each day. Metaphors like the ones in the last sentence represent image-association in the cause of clarity. They produce an abundance of repercussions that amplify meaning if you pick them apart like say Barthes or Derrida. The facets of metaphor have been termed Tenor and Vehicle by I.A. Richards – meaning the subject and its rendering respectively. I went onto the balcony overlooking the compound and lit a mosquito coil. This could all be imbued with great symbolism. There are 4 types of metaphor. Plain metaphor (1) is a straight transfer. Implied Metaphor (2) infers Tenor rather than states things outright. It’s a Protean form like a mask or puzzle. All nouns were originally metaphors. They explained appearance to a third party. The first nouns were designed to draw attention to an object. It was probably approaching predators. Later, they evoked the beauty of sunset as a manifestation of some primitive Deity. Eventually, metaphor became enshrined as the title of the ‘thing itself’ – The Word. This is Dead Metaphor (3). My favourite form of metaphor is still Simile (4). It rolls off the tongue without contrivance, making life seem bigger and brighter than before. It’s also great for humour. Australians love simile. That and litotes. It suits our deflected Muse. One might almost say that we are reticent like Calliope. It also enables us to stay one step removed from any direct statement of feeling.


The Oxen of the Sun episode is one of the most notoriously difficult passages in literature. Joyce himself said it was the hardest episode to execute and interpret (Weaver, Letters, Vol 1, 137). The subject matter is childbirth and sex. The Organ is Womb, according to the Linati schedule composed in 1920. Its Science is Medicine. Joyce’s goal was to disclose “the crime committed against fecundity by sterilising the act of coition.” Chidley would have applauded that sentence. It begins in the National Maternity Hospital, known locally as Holles Street Hospital, around 10 pm where Missus Mina Purefoy, former paramour of Leopold Bloom, is engaged in protracted labour. It ends at Burke’s pub at closing time around midnight. It employs consecutive prose styles that correspond to the gestation and evolution of the English language. This is also a metaphor for the development of language in the individual from birth to maturity. In terms of Joyce’s self-constructed cosmos, it harks all the way back to the start of Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man with its opening lines about “baby tucco.” The Oxen episode is a brilliant concept which has been universally admired for its originality and scope. But it is also a totally artificial achievement in aesthetics with limited relevance to plot. Its very conceptual framework necessitated the creation of the densest, most complex literature ever written. It resembles a scientific or medical text more than fiction. It is a prime example of the Hieratic sensibility in English. It epitomises what Barthes called Writerly Text. Lacan would term it “Big T Text.” Critics have struggled to accurately demarcate the styles of different periods and/or authors mobilised by Joyce. Joyce himself wrote of his intentions:

Technique: a nineparted episode without divisions introduced by a Sallustian-Tacitean prelude (the unfertilized ovum), then by way of earliest English alliterative and monosyllabic and Anglo-Saxon … then by way of Mandeville … then Malory’s Morte d-Arthur … then the Elizabethan ‘chronicle style … then a passage solemn, as of Milton, Taylor, Hooker, followed by a choppy Latin-gossipy bit, style of Burton-Browne … then a passage Bunyanesque … after a diarystyle by Pepys-Evelyn … and so on through Defoe-Swift and Steele-Addison-Sterne and Landor-Pater-Newman until it ends in a frightful jumble of Pidgin English, nigger English, Cockney, Irish, Bowery slang and broken doggerel. (Bugden, Letters, Vol 1, 139–140)

This free-wheeling definition, as loose as the executed form in the novel, claims nine parts corresponding to the periodicity of pregnancy, lists twelve different styles and names twenty authors either individually or in groups. Joyce may also have added additional elements as he drafted the episode. Most critics calculate thirty to thirty-five authors in total (see Carlin & Evans, Johnson, Killeen). Of course, any attempt at strict classification acts against the very spirit of evolution which sees styles and authors intervolved in a continuum of language (‘everflow’) that transcends arbitrary notions of periodicity or a restricted Canon. Robert Janusko identified nearly eight hundred different sources in the episode including seventy-five entries from Saintsbury’s A History of English Prose Rhythm (1912). Stanislaus Joyce advised Richard Ellmann that AHEPR was a key reference point for his brother. A coloured chart of the episode is the most logical method of delineating sub-sections (see Sarah Davidson, Genetic Joyce Studies, 2009). INSERT TABLE

Table 2. Cavalcade of styles in Oxen of the Sun






Arval Brotherhood of Rome

Invocation (3 x 3). Fertility chant. Location is established. Also authority (Horne).


Latinate prose

Sallust, Tacitus

Sex in society. Hyper-civilised style. No punctuation. Juxtaposition with Primitive style above. Note – opening two sections act as poles/extremes invoking Vico’s concept of historical cycles (see also Foucault opening of DP)


Medieval Latin chronicles

William of Malmesbury

Irish medical tradition on childbirth.




English Alliterative. Enter Bloom. It is ~90 minutes since he masturbated in Nausicaa.


Middle English


Blooms asks after Mrs Purefoy. Nurse Callan.


C15 Prose


Bloom meets Dixon then enters the room where a group of drunken men are eating sardines and bread.


Medieval Romance


A nurse requests silence. The group is identified as Drs Dixon, Lynch and Madden; medical student Punch Costello; and Lenehan and Stephen Dedalus. Mulligan is expected. They discuss the ethics of baby taking precedence over mother in event of life risk. Bloom as a married man is asked what he would choose. Stephen rants about the church. Crotters tells one of Mulligan’s jokes. They all laugh except Bloom and Stephen. Bloom feels sad about Rudy and pities Stephen.






Elizabethan prose chronicles


Stephen pours drinks. Blasphemy of religious ceremony. He pretends that his teaching salary is the proceeds from a song. More ranting about Mary’s pregnancy with Jesus. They are again warned to be quiet. Bloom sits quietly.


C16–17 Latin prose

Milton etc.

Thunderclap. Stephen’s terror.




Terror continues. Stephen recalls a prostitute.


C17 diarists

Pepys, Evelyn

Shift to external scene. Dublin in rain. Mulligan meets Bannon. Gossip about girls (Milly).


Allegory (a)


Lenehan and Costello characterisation.


Allegory (b)


Foot and mouth disease (see Deasy). Papal bulls. Oppression by English Kings named Henry.



Addison & Steele

Arrival of Mulligan with Bannon. His jokes about sexual prowess (proposed Omphalos clinic). His pregnant gut.


Learned Wit


Bannon and Crotthers on prophylactics (purchase for use with Milly). See Musgrave on Menippean Satire. A bell tolls.


C18 man of letters


Nurse Callan advises Dixon of childbirth.


C18 Political


Bloom’s acceptance of being mocked. His relief at childbirth.


C18 comedy of manners


Ribald toasts. Bloom shocked at baseness of doctors.




Hypocrisy of Bloom’s self-righteousness is critiqued savagely.




Various topics relating to childbirth. Stephen as deacon.




Mulligan’s ghost story (Haines as Black Panther). He steals Stephen’s bon mots repeatedly. Parody of Hamlet theory.




Bloom’s pathetic recollections of Stephen as youth. Realisation that he is a father figure amongst these younger men.







De Quincey

Bloom’s pessimism as drunkenness holds sway. Vision of Martha Clifford.




Stephen’s atrophied career as a poet. Insult of his mother. Ascot Gold Cup discussed. Throwaway’s victory revealed.


19th century historical


Detailed character descriptions.




Bloom wonders how gender is determined. On infant mortality. Mulligan blames sanitation and lifestyle. Crotters blames trauma of work. Lynch suggests a mathematical formula.


Sentimental fiction


Mrs Purefoy as joyful mother. She thinks of her husband and children.


Catholic conversion


Past sins omnipresent.


Aesthetic / Euphuism


Bloom recollects Stephen as a gloomy child (Like Flaubert, Pater invariably opens his works with a symbolic childhood event).




Comparison of assembly with Jesus’ childbirth.


C19 man of letters


Stephen’s spontaneous suggestion to go to pub. Exeunt. Virility of Mr Purefoy hailed. Also fertility of his wife.


C20 dialect and slang


Burke’s pub. Stephen drinks absinthe. MIM. Fire brigade. Pub closure. Vomit. Stephen to brothel district with Lynch. Bloom follows.




Poster advertising visiting American preacher.

Oxen of the Sun evolves into Joyce’s own High Modernist Pidgin at closure (Row 32 above). This style acts as a precursor to the form of Finnegans Wake. This nexus was turned into a backwards-segue by Joyce, casting a revisionist glance across the subjects of Oxen and elevating his own status. In this formulation, his style becomes the apogee of the English language. It was an act of (self) daemonization that converted Joyce into his own precursor. This is consistent with all of Joyce’s writings, which were successive, interlinked quasi-autobiographies. In Anxiety of Influence, Harold Bloom outlines six revisionary ratios that govern relations with the precursor: Clinamen, Tessera, Kenosis, Daemonization, Askesis and Apophrades. Clinamen is wilful misreading that swerves from the original in a corrective movement. Tessera completes a truncated work. Kenosis is breaking with the precursor from a pose of humility. Daemonization goes back to a Sublime origin and creates a new counter-Sublime. Askesis is self-purgation to achieve a sense of solitude. Apophrades is return of the dead. In this chapter, each of these ratios will become relevant at different points. We can assign a category to each French Thinker in terms of their response to Joyce’s influence. It would have driven them crazy to be divided into reductive structuralist slots. Each of them tried to break out of existing models to unlock independent space. Often this took the form of cannibalising structure to leave only style at the end of their tomes. The ultimate challenge for any writer struggling with the Oxen episode is to find a format which can stand alongside the precursor. There are a limited range of options open to the contestant who is willing to embark on a mission to build an inheritance-text to Oxen of the Sun (insert references to quest tropes). Option One would involve proceeding forwards from the endpoint of Oxen on new linguistic adventures. This would be an example of Tessera. Some of this option was attempted by Joyce himself in F(W)ake. Bakhtin would have called his approach heteroglossic. Joyce’s innovations in F(W)ake largely related to language and myth (rather than theory) which he blended across races and cultures to create new word amalgams, neologisms and a composite spirituality, perhaps even the stuff of a new religion. It took him twenty years to end-up with what many critics believe is a mess. A more theoretical approach would incorporate later forms of discourse such as Structuralism, Post-Structuralism and Ecriture Feminine as well as Post-Colonialism and new verbal styles like Rasta, Punk and Hip-Hop. Option Two would reverse the temporal progression of Oxen. This would be an instance of Daemonization. The text would regress until it reached Joyce’s linguistic starting point. It would essentially unravel his chronology just as Penelope unstitched Laertes’ funeral shroud each night. Such an approach might enable Joyce’s method to be explained. However, it would not ADVANCE a study of Ulysses – merely invert it. Any inheritance-text based on Option Two could not really stand alongside Ulysses in the same way that Telemachus was able to stand alongside his father as an associate (rather than a subordinate) by virtue of completing the Telemachiad at the start of the Odyssey. At best, it would cancel out Ulysses. In summary, pure inversion will not create an inheritance-text. It will merely stall space. Option Three is really an extension of Option Two. It would continue backwards before the start of Oxen to study human linguistic origins as per Saussure, Levi-Strauss and Kristeva’s chora as it occurs in phallo-logocentrism et al. Oxen (like PAYM) really starts at Lacan. The best approach is probably to incorporate all three options into a deconstructive campaign that reverses backwards past Joyce’s STARTPOINT in Oxen, drives forwards beyond his ENDPOINT, plays in the GAP between Ulysses and F(W)ake (ergo Scylla/Charybdis) then makes its way AROUND F(W)ake to extrinsic space (this is the post-Place of the inheritance-text). This is an act of Kenosis. Obviously, it can’t be represented as a single sequential journey. You can’t go backwards and forwards simultaneously. For example, Odysseus does travel east from Ithaca (START OXEN) to Troy (END OXEN) then goes back to Ithaca (RETURN TO START OXEN) but this trope only works if you successfully argue that the slaughter of the suitors is a CANCELLATION DEVICE that rescinds the whole experience of OXEN AS TROY (itself problematic) and leaves his cosmos tabula rasa. This trope is eventually blocked anyway by the lack of significant PRE-OXENISATION murmurs. We would have to explore Odysseus’ genealogy for them, but it is a threadbare curtain of rumours and gaps that goes all the way back to his alleged great-grandfather Hermes. We can, however, take this trope forwards fairly easily. Joyce begins at Ithaca (all writing up to PAYM), proceeds on a return ticket to Troy (this is the process of composing Ulysses), gets back to Ithaca (end of Ulysses) then leaves for Gibraltar [F(W)ake] entering extrinsic space without defined closure (the inheritance-text also emerges here). Most criticism considers that Joyce used the Oxen episode as a means of getting Leoplod (Sic) Bloom to become a substitute parental figure for Stephen Dedalus with the episode’s style brilliantly paralleling the plot. In fact, Bloom becomes Stephen’s mother; not his father. Nobody could usurp the role of John Joyce. Bloom’s maternal role becomes much clearer in Circe, when Joyce shifts to the psychoanalytic symbolism of his dreams. It is a difficult labour for Bloom like that of the character giving birth in Oxen, Mina Purefoy. Initially, he enters the hospital where Stephen is being ‘treated’ by a crack team of medical practitioners. They are all trying to wrench Stephen out of the corpus violently. This is an end-in-itself for them. They don’t care where or how the foetus leaves the womb. Just so long as it goes. They have no interest in its subsequent human development. Like Tom Finnegan in the ballad that named Joyce’s final work, Stephen is being (re)birthed by alcohol. Finnegan revives to the smell of whisky. Stephen is INDUCED by consumption of liquor. This is an example of Apophrades. He is natalised when he leaves Holles Street. He literally pours onto the footpath in a parody of birth. This is the point at which Bloom starts guiding and raising Stephen. Over the rest of the novel, Bloom blunts Stephen’s existential agony with empathetic blandness. Stephen’s pain subsides into boredom. Bloom dulls his wits with pedantry and bourgeois niceties. He becomes the reincarnation of Stephen’s dead mother with her idiotic religiosity and forbearance. This MIMICRY enables Stephen to expiate his guilt and move on. Critics have never been able to reconcile the theory that a grandiose new father–son bond is created between Stephen and Bloom with the fact that Stephen chooses to leave Bloom as soon as practicable to go back towards his real father’s home at the end of the night. He exits with alacrity into a narrative void. This act is completely consistent with the author’s own feelings about his father, as evidenced in Richard Ellmann’s definitive biography. James was totally faithful to John Joyce. He relished his ebullience, wildness, humour and voice. Ulysses is the father of Finnegans Wake. But also its son. It mimics Stephen’s Shakespeare theory. One is a birth book. The other one of death (insert Oedipal theory). Likewise, Oxen is a BIRTH episode. This is a DEATH chapter. This approach is actually consistent with the Odyssey, which contains NO BIRTHS but numerous DEATHS. It is also consistent with the BOOK itself as signifier. All texts mimic the procession from birth to death. This is not a factor of plot. It is a PHYSICAL quotient. Books always drop off a cliff when you finish. They are immediately forgotten. Only manuals might be excluded from this definition, although they are mostly ordered alphabetically (or information sourced through an alphabetical index). The abecedary format is thus just another trope of chronology. Barthes talked about the author’s death. Death of text is also a DESIGN. Joyce spoke of putting language to sleep in F(W)ake. This was an act of Euthanasia. In fact, Joyce did exactly the opposite. He kept language awake so long that it went into a state of mania. Joyce hated English. He tortured it. But he had no other linguistic option. There is no word to describe what was done. Only an antonym. It was the OPPOSITE OF AMPUTATION. Maybe it can be termed a RE-PUTATION. It was a GRAFTING UPON. An act of “gra(f)tification” then. Like Lacan said, every word in F(W)ake is an elongated pun. This was the primary method used by Joyce to achieve his aim that any person should be able to open any page of F(W)ake and know it was written by HIM. Such vanities of scale in this statement. Every page, thus, had to become a FIXED IMAGE like a painting. It must be branded with HIS STYLE like a slave. Just like any viewer can always identify any work of Picasso. Content MUST end up subordinate in such an equation. All text aspires to the condition of painting would be Joyce’s retort to Pater. Joyce curated critical work about his writing in the same way that a contemporary artist uses essays to explain the meaning of their art. Joyce kept a picture of Cork in a cork frame on his wall. It was a ‘found object’ worthy of Marcel Duchamp. Joyce had a readymade temperament like his great contemporary. They never met. I could write another book about Duchamp’s writings. They are extraordinary examples of faux manufacturing. He invented the parody manual. The key mental traits of such a thinker are liveliness of spirit, ingenuity and humour. Mallarme was his direct antecedent. Much more than any artist. MD was the next step in poetics. All poets are tricksters. Note Ginsberg on Shaman. See Duchamp’s notes to a mariée mise à nu par ses célibataires, même. Today, his work is almost forgotten. Google Search ‘bride stripped bare’ and you get a sequence of links to a soft BDSM novel. The reader also experiences death each time a book ends. The end of text is a definitive severance. Black gives way to blank. The back cover is closed like a VAULT. Officially, we realise that it is already spiralling towards closure long before the conclusion as pagination yields thickness to time from right to left like the brittle skin on the back of my ageing hand (I scratch at the fading freckles, the bulging veins). At that point, it is good to get it over and done with. That is why we always rush to the end of a novel. How many times do you go back to check what really happened to the Bovary family or Frederic Moreau. The French were the great proponents of the speed-rush ending. English writers preferred Pater’s slow extinguishment (see the death of Little Nell). Our grasp of any person’s life is similarly incomplete. The death of the mother that I loved. The death of the father I hated. We tally their allotted time. We might feel contentment at a life well-lived, loathing their flaws or a life cut short. But we never feel true severance. They always hang on messily. The ghost of Hamlet’s father might have been real or not real but either way he was an accurate representation of the mood of the living towards the dead. We always fall into an interval between DEATH/LIFE. Death is the only collective sublime. My strategy now is to let gaps speak. It’s a new slogan. So, it would be better now if we turned backwards in time; backwards in time, which is ironic, because it is only by going forward again, beyond this point at which we are now stationed, that we will reach the close. TIME. See Chapter One definition. We know where to begin this story: with Joyce. We know where to end: with Joyce dis/closed. We need to learn how to advance in the meantime. Beckett showed us this trope over and over again. Insert step-by-step instructions:

(1) Generate new insights about Ulysses through a matrix of Joyce’s heirs all put to the service of narrative.

(2) Extend F(W)ake via Lacan.

(3) Apply a prosenchymatic dome (see Appendix C).

(4) Employ the notion of Technical Fiction (Baudrillard called his work “theory fictions” because theory must compete on an imaginative level).

(5) Bring forth the unpresentable onto the page (see epigraphs).

(6) Make the unintelligible frankly fabulous in all its senses.

(7) Interrogate but do not necessarily resolve the Telemachus myth.

(8) By not chronological sequence; neutering suspense; unmimicking keystone tropes; not stable naming (note partial anagrams and word play: Hallem as He all me; ANA/EVE et cetera; unreceiving language see F(W)ake.

(9) Accept that readers might give up (see Browning for sop).

Let us start then at the point at which Joyce ended. It is impossible to find genuine successors to Joyce in English fiction. The whole chinless aristocracy pretty much opted out of the Modernist project. Children’s authors like Dahl and Seuss are probably the only relevant candidates. Exclude also the author of Crash. Yet Crash itself is an interesting idea that should have remained forever an aphorism (i.e. “write a novel about car-crash paraphilia with a film star as bait”). It is dull and repetitive in execution. The influence of Joyce is most strongly discernible in French Structuralist and Post-Structuralist theoreticians after the Second World War. This is a key sentence. Like Joyce, their writing epitomised what Lyotard terms “our human drive to complexification.” They deployed key Joycean tropes – gestation, desire and individuation – that predated modern linguistics (see Tadie, Cypherjugglers) and which subsequently become central mythemes in modern French theory. As Barthes said in Writing Degree Zero, “linguistics is the skeleton of all signifying systems.” Elucidating the influence of Joyce on these thinkers will be the focus of this chapter. Joyce ends Oxen of the Sun with an image of a religious poster containing text that appears to be a prophecy of God dispensing bootleg salvation to his adherents: “He’s got a coughmixture with a punch costello in it for you, my friend, in his back pocket. Just you try it on.” Why does the episode end thus? What do these sentences mean? Why do we revert to God at this endpoint of the Canon? At face value, this is an underwhelming closure to a virtuoso display of Joyce’s creative prowess. However, structural analysis (see S/Z) discloses a jumping-off moment and challenge in this short passage. Let us break it down into linguistic units to disclose meaning:

a) He’s got – God in literal terms. Actually, Joyce as artist. Possessive. It becomes clear in the next few words that this whole section involves Stephen Dedalus spruiking his creator, James Joyce, and Ulysses to prospective readers. It is an advertising slogan for Shakespeare and Company, 12, Rue de l’Odeon, 12, PARIS, 1922.

b) a coughmixture – an elixir. Heaven as such. But Ulysses really. A hallucinatory beverage and cure. Stephen has been drinking absinthe, which is a compatible dream liquid. Perhaps this is a kind of Delphic divination of his subsequent performance in Nighttown. He is playing the role of deacon to the revellers, acting out the way that the poster ‘speaks’ to its readers. He is clearly still vulnerable to the message of religion. A new compound word is created by Joyce to signify Ulysses. It is oddly dissonant. Two distinct words are run together with no apparent gain in terms of verbal confluence or flow. In fact, the syllabic resonance is soft then hard (‘ff” to “mix”). This is an awkward combination. Perhaps it is an anti-lyrical act. HeGod (Joyce) is presented as a travelling showman promoting fake patent medicine (Ulysses). This is consistent with the sermons on Dowie and Vaughan which incorporate phrases like “rush your order and play a slick ace” and “score a buck joyride to heaven.” This word, coughmixture, becomes a synecdoche for Ulysses. It acts upon the voice. It is ‘of’ the voice. It is each of sedative, relaxant, stimulant and narcotic. We can split the compound like a nut shell and yield further meaning (a polysemous sausage). Cough means to exhale with noise (see Attali); expel germs (soul-fixer); attain provisional relief yet create the conditions for compulsive repetition by irritating the larynx; and share infection. It is a sub-signifier of breath/breathe. Its signified is not ocular. It is a vesper. A whisper. Air then. Mixture denotes assemblage, soup, conglomeration et al. It is a symbol for this novel. This is embodied in the neologism itself which literally jams words together.

c) With a punch costello in it – a character in this episode. A popular phrase in boxing denoting exponential force (i.e. ‘to pack a punch’) that is also used to refer to liquor with high alcohol volume. Punch is a mild alcoholic drink that blends spirits, carbonated water and fruit. The nickname of Francis Costello, a medical student prominent in Oxen. He is presented mildly. There is no other reference to Costello in Joyce’s writing (aside from related intrusions in the dream sequences of Circe). Castlecostello in F(W)ake does not refer to this person. It is an alternative name for Castlemore in County Mayo. There is an element of free association in this linguistic unit. The nickname suggests the pantomime puppet show, Punch and Judy. It was first recorded by Samuel Pepys in 1662. Pulcinella and Judy are warring spouses. Various characters fall victim to beatings from the slapstick (club) of Mister Punch. It is a traditional form of entertainment in English culture. He is an emblem of British Imperialism for Joyce. The puppeteer in P&J is known as the Professor. He is assisted by a “bottler” who spruiks the show to the audience outside the booth, acts as master of ceremonies, collects donations (“the bottle”) and plays accompanying music on a drum or pan pipes. Stephen is acting as the ‘bottler’ for Joyce as Professor (‘HeGod’). Ulysses is literally the novel with a “Punch Costello in it.” This unit clearly relates to Joyce and Ulysses.

d) for you, my friend – a direct statement to the reader containing false intimacy. Insincere. Who is speaking these lines? The narrator? A wired-up Stephen Dedalus? Joyce himself? Almost certainly it is not L. Bloom (unless this is internal monologue where he can be strident on occasion).

e) in his backpocket – a term used to describe an object (usually advantageous) held in reserve. Related to ‘up his sleeve.’ Location of the male wallet in trousers. Potential homosexual allusion. Often the whereabouts of a hip flask. A saying that describes effective control by one individual over another. It usually relates to criminal power over public officials. Emblematic of Joyce as author. He always has another device, image or character available for sudden use. He is always exerting control over his reader et cetera. It could also refer to a pocket-sized edition of Ulysses (note problems of scale).

f) Just you try it on – an offer to assume God’s raiment. Rag-trade spruiking to the reader of the come along (x2) just-feel-the-width variety. Spruiker is an Australian English term first recorded in 1915. To ‘try it on’ also means to attempt to gull another party. Finally, it can also be used as a threat. In this instance, it is a threat to any party contemplating an inheritance-text to Oxen.

How is the Gold Cup used as a symbol by Joyce?

There are regular references to the Ascot Gold Cup throughout Ulysses. It forms an essential part of the plot. The name of this horse race alone evokes an image of Classical heroes toasting each other with draughts of wine poured into gold cups by comely maids at torch-lit feasts. Whenever Homer wants to exemplify xenia, he uses this formula. Gold is always associated with wealth in human culture. A ‘brick’ (see below) evokes the imagery of a gold bar but it actually refers to a package of currency banded with steel straps in Australian English. It signposts Imperial London (see Eleni Loukopoulou, “London, Language and Empire in ‘Oxen of the Sun’”). Initially, Joyce’s references to the Gold Cup are confined to linguistic slapstick. Bloom offers Bantam Lyons a copy of a religious pamphlet, which he terms a “throwaway” when he enters the pub. Lyons misinterprets it as a hot tip (AKA “London to a Brick On” in Australian slang), although Bloom isn’t even aware that a horse named Throwaway is competing in the race. Later references to the Gold Cup become highly symbolic. In Oxen of the Sun, it is revealed that the rank outsider, Throwaway, now associated with Bloom, has won the Gold Cup beating Sceptre, the hot favourite, backed by Hugh Blazes Boylan. Joyce’s symbolistic equation becomes: “Throwaway (paper) = Elijah (subject) = Bloom (‘bloody dark horse’) = black horse (Throwaway) then REVERSE.” Boylan corresponds to the fallen favourite (Chagemar). His physicality is symbolised by the sceptre in Ulysses. It corresponds to the cane which he wields so brazenly. It is a phallic object. Molly comments on Boylan’s prodigious endowment and copulatory strength in Penelope. Finally, the sceptre acts an emblem of Imperial authority. Ireland (Bloom) will ultimately defeat England (Boylan). This victory is cleverly insinuated by Joyce. The first sign of Boylan that Bloom sees when he returns home in Ithaca is torn up betting tickets in the kitchen. England has torn up its false mandate and gone. Later, we learn from Molly that Boylan was very upset about his horse losing the race. Bloom is sanguine. He did not bet on the race. Therefore, we can deduce that Bloom has come from a long way back in the field to NOT LOSE. Molly ends the novel reflecting positively about her husband. It is the only moment of pure sentimentality – in the sense of meta-pathos – in the entire novel. Other potential competitive references – such as the dead Rudies (son and father) – are dehumanised by Joyce’s cold pursuit of Modernist High Style. “Let’s get whacked,” murmured Willy the Pimp poised over Tom Hallem’s bursting bloodlines. Need him; don’t trust him. Or any man. Wish I had his cock in my mouth. False father figures. No friends just users. And just using people myself. No proximity. No hold. Impermanence maybe. But some respite nonetheless. Dead-out all feelings. Don’t try to dredge sentiment out of the heavy mud of text. That was Joyce’s motto. In The Order of Discourse, Michel Foucault creates a Post-Structuralist Intentional Fallacy. All commentary must be carried out in exile. It must operate outside the text. It must feign precedence. “You’ve been in there a long time,” inquired a dub voice. That’s the first thing I remember. Willy was wrong to leave me. But who can blame him? I’d have done the same thing myself. He also stole the last coins out of my pockets. Business is business, I guess. Wealth for toil. Rat up a drainpipe where junk is concerned. Fare the well ole England. See you when your worms are straighter! My new island home. Golden brown. Girt by semen. Low father feeling + strong mother = liminality. Wandering Rocks was a Hermes chapter. Gobby green gem in a grave. Paterian fathernoster. Wilde the de-fatherer. Olympic metropolis. Neon No Vacancy sign. Molly takes the sign out of the window at Eccles Street. Messages withheld and delivered. Inconstant wind wishes lackspray. A drowned man. End of Chapter 2. Search party. Oars in murky reeds. Argonauts. Conrad-style coal steamers. Carcass swinging on a rope at the entrance to the Governor’s residence. Overturned vehicle. People hanging upside down like socks. Release the seatbelts. Plop. Bill Henson’s Leda. Exeunt all making their way through oh yea cats and dogs. It’s all about beings-in-motion en route to observe pure speed. Distance Form Closure over 3200 m at Flemington. “Black Knight gets the money.” No rank outsider this year. Time’s sup, gentlemen! Crumple and tear up your inutile chits and throwaway them. Discard. Bless my soul! I pulled my fix from the woodpecker’s hole. Woody-the-Peck opened the washroom door and came beak-to-beak with Tyro Power. Beige drag. Insert slang term for “excuse me.” What o’clock be it, Sir Frangible? he asked. Three the answer. Damn I missed the Cup. Who won? More disappointment. Woody could have made the following single or multiple bets on the M.Cup to meet the symbolic fancies of this character:

Table 3. Melbourne Cup 1984 – An unreliable form guide


Horses (in order of finish)

Rationale for character and/or plot decision to bet on this horse


Black Knight

Self-perception as rebel figure



Highest chance of profit if backed for WIN (race favourite)


Mapperley Height



Rose & Thistle

Potential tattoo image on atrophied bicep (Later DNA analysis disclosed 97.3% British ancestry with the balance assumed to be anonymous Spanish/Italian waiter in London during Empire period).








Rocky Rullah

N/A. Woody appears in C5, S-E7 leaving his girlfriend (ambiguously P.Girl?). There should be multiple analogies to King Lear in this S-E.



Outside chance of flutter if he was amused by this simple pun on the famed English Knight and popular numbered-ball gambling game across Australia.


Pass the Baton

Ironic syringe-sharing metaphor might have tickled his fancy.



WtP is the active character in S-E10. Alternate name for toilet where W/TH shot-up. Ironic label for methadone clinic.


Forward Charge

N/A. Woody commutes from university to brothel in S-E11. This sub-episode scrambles chronology, playing ironically on the horse name ‘forward charge.’


Secured Deposit

Allusion to his dream of consistent supply of narcotics.



Love of English ’60s rock (R.Stones, Kinks, Faces, Mott).



Self-deprecating link to his role as rent boy


Bounty Hawk



Hussar’s Command

N/A. Willy at brothel in S-E16. Devonshire tea scene in Ulysses. Note analogy to junkies’ consuming cream buns on bus (C4).


Martian’s Son

Love of ’60s US TV series. Self-identification as son of Uncle Martin (Tim O’Hara?).







The most reasonable conclusion to be drawn from this suite of potential gambling options is that it is most likely that Woody the Pimp would have made a NET LOSS on the M.Cup in 1984. The only single or combination bets which could have yielded GROSS profit are: Win/Place on Black Knight, Place on Chagemar and/or Quinella on Black Knight and Chagemar. These options would have yielded relatively low profits due to short odds. Any profit in this column needs to be balanced against losses on other horses upon which Woody “chanced his arm” (note extended heroin injection imagery). All of the eight other horses cited in the table above failed to place. Broke skint insolvent zonam perdidit. Wolf gnawing at my door. Lady Lightpurse hast come and throttled Job’s turkey. Father Con-me (an invocation to the RCC). I’d kill for a durry a mystery bag covered in dead horse and a wet silver bullet right now. Or sheets of bronze toast topped with lashings of gold butter and Polonius [(L.) pressed meat]. I can tell a wank from a wandsaw make no mistake. Maybe exorcise the old five finger discount. Score some Jubilee Mutton. I’ll dob him into the Filth. End up spending Friday night eternity off Sydney Heads chained to a Coolgardie safe. Bubbles and fishes. Flat loaves dispensed with. Shave my scone go live on runes up the side of Mt Mantra embrace air diet. Dice toll in a marble vault. Every fuck is a new lifeline. Deal some coke make enough dosh to bail out to Baal-ee or Phuck-it. Rip-off McCann. Or Leer. I know his combination. Lift away the pantry floorboards. Slide down the Batpole. Medical Dick and Medical Davy were on duty. “Inner West Drug Wars!” Keep on the headgear. Leer is a dunny rat Odysseus. A college cricket match belied the elements at Williams Oval. The smoke of barbequed meat arose from the pavilion. Tom Hallem passed from swerve of Main Oval to bend of Ward Gymnasium by aery paces clawing through Gidgee and mashed up murph, a defiant swaggerman sliding down a riverbank then shimmering o’er bongpuddle potholes past RPA symbolically walking alongside this hospital gazing in on the Oxen not going WITHIN symbolic of how this text is always outside Ulysses he felt in his pockets for nothing still half-blasted and friendless (not even a Costello) ill-fitting Leo’s old suit [symbolism] don’t try to compete with Joyce’s ending (emulate) BECKETT Sadosanct staggered autochthonously, mud clucking under his soles, KGV ill-looming out of lo thunderclubs, his crisscross feetures marred by a plooming cyst, one bare manifestation of all-rottenness within, heightening his crippled gait, whose severity had already been exasperated by still-gloaming leather boots that he was instructed to wear by his erstwhile mistress, in some perverse inheritance from her husband, an act of munificence, or was it cruelty, nobody could explain the variance, which Sado accepted mildly, even dutifully, making him a base vowel, albeit 2-blistered, in their Severinesque ablaut. There is no need for textual spacing between Joyce and Beckett in any lineage. They make a natural segue like the border between Ulster and Eire. Beckett purges Joyce’s style of all wordplay. We can see linguistic experiments dwindle in the changeover passage above. SS crunched at the bubbly gravel which weeped under weighed atmos. His eyes observed the shuffling figurines of Detox. A bewildered elder rested in his steel walking frame. Could have been any man’s father. Just as I could ebb as any man’s son, reasoned Sado. The old cocksucker parsed the scene. Too weak to raise the belt these days. He lifted and clacked, scraped and redirected his ironic chariot. If only I still had Chrysippus chained to its bars, he mused, with his arsehole weeping off the end of my cock in faux Pisan airstream. Beckett can be crude like that. He rejected all full tropes and mythology. He had seen the outcome of Joyce bolting together such an abomination in F(W)ake. Blend war imagery, Beckett, Classical allusions, sport and personal experience into a parody. All I need is some salt and a plough to escape war-service. Odysseus was a great hater on a delayed-action fuse. He was always going to reimburse Palamedes for throwing Telemachus in front of his tank. Literature was his art. Fake letter purportedly from Priam. Dear Palamedes, please get your Greek friends to leave. Enclosed is a small token of our affection. Yours, P. Lemon-scented stationery. Gold bars planted in a footlocker. Enjoy half his revenue forever. Odysseus cashed-in his immense prestige amongst the Greeks to execute this revenge motif. Everyone turned a blind eye. Palamedes is not even mentioned in the Iliad. Ody gets air-brushed by Homer. Tom Hallem walked towards the compound. “Hail Mary, sinkhole of God! It’s dry Laius,” he exclaimed hauling his guts to the wire. The old man lurched. A bit more choke and he would have started. He sucked up some more chocolate milk. No point now in futile gestures. I knew what kind of man you’d become, Don Cane stated baiting his hook. Insert pent pause. A turncoat, he added conclusively. The last words I remember being uttered by my father. He turned adrift. I stabbed him at the three-way crossroads. Tom Hallem withdrew. Act Five, Scene Three begins with Lear’s delusion about what would constitute a pleasant place of escape for Cordelia. His idea is to entomb them in an incestuous box together. Sounds like fun. A greater meaning gets hauled into view when you re-set these trifling motions in Telemark, Norway. That’s where Ibsen was born and his dramatic cosmos ploughed seed. I told the registered nurse to administer Diazepam freely. Anything to stupefy hate. Beckett was the first writer to breed off a mean, senile culture. They called it Existentialism at first. But it was almost the opposite because there was no freedom, no choice, no conclusion, not even death. Don Cane was propped up on a foam mattress at the foot of the stage by the time of my final entrance. We two alone at last sat like birds in his antiseptic cage. The stench of reheated roasts pined the dim room. I pressured him to sing his last lines. The audience was waiting to get back to the car park. How are you feeling? I asked. What do you fuck-ing think? he husked. Wardell’s jigsaw seminary squatted o’er grassy lowland verge into which had been sliced lush playing fields. Churchill’s uplands remained unsunlit. A distant clock dong-dinged. In English, it is possible to derive the past tense of strong verbs by substituting the base vowel with another vowel. This is a metaphor for Beckett’s relationship to Joyce. He was Telemachus for a time. He learned alongside to Joyce like an apprentice. The real Telemachus learned by absence and gaps. Posters pasted the wall in a crucifix-symbol. Was Jesus a Sun Myth? they asked. This is a direct lift from Ulysses. More Catholic Club flim-flam. Stations of the Cross. Insert Molloy’s mathematical formulas. Comfort from science. Sixteen sucking stones. Four in each pocket. Beckett was always gaming Joyce’s love of numerical symbolism. There are eleven celebrants in Burke’s pub at the end of the Oxen episode. Eleven members of the Denzille Lane Boys. Eleven disciples at stumps at the Last Supper. Plus the bloke carrying towels and wine. There were twelve celebrants in Burke’s pub. List of the twelve worst books in history. Bloom makes thirteen. Cricket was the first data sport. Samuel Beckett played for Dublin University against Northamptonshire in 1925 and 1926. He was a left-hand batsman and left-arm medium fast bowler, according to Wisden. He scored 35 runs at an average of 8.75 and went wicketless. Willow on red leather rapped like an index-knuckle on my skull. Sweet silence after. Applause for the bowler. I faddle-fiddled with my pads. You’re up next, Private Parts, yelled Slut-Major. Bric-a-brac tumbled from my pockets. A charmed red handkerchief, for instance, got off Desdemona’s bung. Lucky was loitering at the gate like a fresh fart. He was blind or deaf this time I really can’t remember which or why. Beckett is always reversing imagery. INSERT rotational ambigram. Circus amateur at Nutley. Newell’s PUZZLE. 180-degree rotation. Australia defeated England by eight runs at Lords in 1882. A spectator burned the bails, put them in an urn and took out a mock advertisement in The Times announcing the death of English cricket. The Ashes were oxymoronically birthed. Another crime against Helios. Phoenix-play. Father boxing son. Bosie’s leg spin. Low shot after the bell. Intergenerational trauma. Ebbs and Sutcliffe open the batting. Decimal Bradman at three. Jardine’s Bodyline reminded Australian crowds too much of trench warfare. Players and Gentlemen still use different gates. Laius got Jocasta pregnant when he was dead drunk after a gig at the Ironworkers Club. Forgot to heed the Sirens. She was an older lady like Anne Hathaway. They staked the baby by the foot to Mount Manna. This is arch-symbolism (personal). Coincidences are also symbols. Laius drove his chariot over Oedipus’ foot at Cleft Palate. Both made Filth with Jocasta. Experience limite. O sublime disgrace! Beckett eschewed linguistic games in order to steer around the Joycean impasse. Odysseus never named boats. All anonymous vessels. My father’s name does not appear on my birth certificate. False father figures abound. Don > Les > Leer. Make up your own story. Sitting in a room full of strangers in Wolverhampton who look like YOU talk like YOU and ALL breath ALIKE. Laryngeal theory. Same-shaped palettes. Moment of Abjection. See Kristeva. Insert more arbitrary numerology (parody of Joyce). Palamedes invented eleven consonants in the Greek alphabet. The order of the sub-episodes in this chapter can be changed without any impact on textual flow. They are each utterly self-contained moving towards the same endpoint. Insert arbitrary batting order: Beckett (Captain), Barthes, Levi-Strauss, Saussure, Lacan, Deleuze & Guattari, Foucault, Baudrillard, Derrida, Lyotard, Virilio, Bataille. Twelfth man to be named. INSERT AVERAGES (M, I, NO, R, AV, 50, 100, C, R, W, AV, 5I, 10M). Controversial omission of Althusser. No females. Add Kristeva and Irigaray to the squad. Chairman of Selectors, J-P Sartre, told a packed media conference [DOWNLOAD MEDIA CLIP 1]: “There are only eleven places in the Argo so someone had to miss out. Unfortunately, Louis was the man.” Sartre also defended the selection of Irishman, Beckett, as skipper [SEE CLIP 2]: “He is the only member of the team with first-class cricket experience in England. He was an obvious choice for skipper.” English will name its squad later this week. It will be led by F.R. Leavis. It is expected to include the Americans Eliot, Pound and Bloom. These Caribbean entertainers are known as the “Three Double-U’s” to linguists. This sets the stage for a decisive theoretical struggle. INSERT TITLE. THE UNBOW(E)LABLE. SHIFT TO FIRST PERSON PRESENT TENSE. I am striding to the arena (“Cock” goes up on the scoreboard) despite my shell, which impedes flowing movement, though it hardly protects … or camouflages. At the sound of the conch I come forward shamelessly regardless of the pleadings of my family and the disdain of onlookers. It has always been thus. A cheap tart for tunes. I am dressed in white like an archangel. This is ironic (did I say ‘ironic’? If only it were truly so) for I am hardly Holy; hardly holey either being wholly hard and round. Except for my limbs which make me star-shaped. And the flesh itself which is secured to the inside surface by cleats. Descending now but no not to Hades. It’s not as simple as that. If only it were merely the spatial projection “DOWN.” Part of some genial dichotomy to deconstruct Dialectical Materialism. Like Derrida did to undermine binary codes. Typically, Beckett creates a mundane style then inserts sudden incongruity – maybe an Archaism or some technical term that he can then disclaim all comprehension of; such as the use of aporia at the start of The Unnameable. My feet are crackling on the concrete steps. But not upon leaves, not brogues, not Fall. No. Spikes have been glued onto the soles of my boots … but why?! As a cadeau for to tread in the skulls of my opponents? I would do that. Yes, obey. If obeisance was possible. Which it isn’t. Why pretend? I should know. I’ve made a science of its study. No. It’s compulsion. Compulsion to accord. Without the choice to rebel or obey. Not compulsion then. PROSAIC THRALL. Without servility. Sans force. I just do it. Do it, or even more, because it’s time. I flow forward like a puddle, my weapon swinging alongside me … but not as a deterrent, no: if only it was! For it does not ward off attacks on my person. It only draws them down with still more fervor even though it is hardly able to swat the flies asunder. Or reach my a(nta)gonistes. Did I just insinuate Milton into the text? What confection! I’ll be invited to write an essay for Quadrant next. As if it were really a contest and my opponent was the giant Harapha and I could somehow link this metonymy to Samson’s moral recall. Well, he was also a blind and denuded prisoner I guess. But as for any extended metaphor … don’t make me laugh! My windpipe will seize and I will make a protracted velar nasal. It’s time to turn my attention to the pitch. Oh dark dark dark amid the blaze of noon’s new moon. There they are. It’s time for me to join them. The gate opens miraculously, of course. Why not? No?! Well in that case, it jams – or, before I reach it, it is already jammed – so that I struggle to get it open, to release the latch, while wearing such heavy mitts … though they hardly protect … my fingers all got broken. It’s almost as if they’re specifically designed to make my scratchings more awkward. And apparent. For yes, I do scratch. INSERT Beckett’s common references to psoriasis. And these gloves … do they give some added titillation? To the bureaucrats who framed the rules, designed my equipment (or should I say ‘evolved it’), organised this travesty and allowed it to be broadcast? Do they gain some added excretions from the sight of me struggling with the latch? Why not. Why wouldn’t they do that. Because it makes it look as if it’s my decision, my choice … to go. ALLEZ POILU! In that there is genuine irony (“if only it were so!” exclaimed Beckett, “it would be a construct worthy of Swift”). For I would never choose to go freely (did I say ‘free’), of my own Will (did I say ‘Will’ … my heart skips a beat at his name) and volition (cantare, oh-oh oh-oh) onto said arena (was it always designated thus or sprung from Merlin?) and this whole ‘latch manoeuvre’ is merely a literary device to effect added indignity on my person as if it were my fondest wish to go, to be gone into the RED ZONE or whatever they call it and sample Tenebrous Nature. The whistle blows. The Sergeant-Major sings. We pop Over the Top into No Man’s Land. I am wearing my gas mask. Yes, through the thick visor I can see grass. My head is enclosed in a turret. I am a panopticon branded with Michel Foucault’s special logo. It designates my acquiescence. They have secured it to my bulb with a strap like Molloy’s hat and upon its face is riveted a clear mask for to affect my observation. But of what? Will they pop out my eyeballs and leave them weeping on my cheeks to make all of me watch the PLOP below? A sum which basically amounts to Caliban’s moment before the mirror … a glimpse, painful but real … of life? More Abjection. More ellipses. It’s an epidemic. But did I actually say the word REAL? As if I could just walk out the front door of the Holles Street maternity ward one morning, enter the crowd and catch a trolley car to work without being dragged by my hair to some remote underwood where they conducted all kinds of experiments. It’s my fault. I can hardly shift the blame to another gender or pass the whole abortion off on paternity. That was the luxury of past epochs. We’ve got psychiatry these days. It forces us to TRY TO END trauma. I know only too well that no single human can be blamed for my predicament. There are so many people I should thank for this opportunity. I’d like to thank the sponsors for attaching themselves to this farce. The fans for their support (as if they too had any choice in the matter … as if they weren’t coerced under threat of becoming my proxy). Also, my parents. INSERT CANNED LAUGHTER. Lucky restates all my best lines to the audience with a wink like Mulligan. When he says them, everybody laughs. There are nodes of recognition. Perhaps it’s all in the delivery. I hop over the picket fence, abandoning the latch (this has gone beyond a joke), enjoining my gourds (I have glue), my soles tearing at the turf (how I hate Nature), looking up at the sky (as if for God) although I know that salvation can only come on earth via some magic elevator of Shelley. I grind at the spongy crust (Demeter’s scab) like an angry bucolic on a cobblestone lane in some quaint Irish village. It is all hopelessly obtuse. The turf has been baked hard and flat. My prosopon is cracking. I scrape at the earth to gouge out symbols. Dirt medallions spark. I carve skinny scars like some Druid. I remember Tolkien writing of such periods. But now it is my turn to inquire of the Soul. Does this mean it is time to take up my position? I take it without thinking. Johnny Turk is waiting. I mutter the creed. My eyes squeeze themselves shut then burst open like combustible products. But such metaphysical speculation is futile when confronted with this MOMENT. Next time,

Next …

time …

there must be a whole career of poses ahead of me as I squelch onwards (ever-onwards) an unlikeable form (an UNLIKELY form maybe) in an unlikely forum (an UNLUCKY forum perhaps) unlikely to achieve anything with my swat … I’LL DO ANYTHING THEY SAY JUST DON’T HURT ME! I am no Prometheus. Just let me down off this rock. Doctor Septisure appeared with a grommet punch and stuck his tongue up my DNA releasing facets from my entrails. I wait. The MRI test requires absolute stillness. Otherwise they get a fuzzy image of the brain. As if it is any different! My enemies are positioned to restrict me, organised from inside, behind a screen, sometimes there’s a circle to offer arbitrary constraint for the pretense of presenting A CONTEST. I’m taking up my stance. But why get technical? I bang my stick hard just to let Nature know I’m still heathen. Head at an uncomfortable angle. I am hunched, true, yet totally exposed. Naturally, they gather in places I cannot see. Some huddle in a cordon (do they think they’re unapparent?) with feelers outstretched – this is one of their techniques – and whisper sweet nothings. I threaten to report them to the prefects. Beckett was still able to invoke school practices without qualms in his day. But why pretend that such a thing is still possible? No, I can’t go, I must go on, there’s something happening. Distant movement. I wait erect and exposed. I bolster the troops on the walls of Camp Paravel. If I had fallen and crawled I could pretend to be a ground-based insect so much do I resemble one. Even Solipsism is not out of the question. Oh, to be able to report back to Berkeley and Fichte on Eschatology. It would be like the thrill of facing God. But I’m a creature of spontaneous thrall who labours under the consequences of motion as I ponder sloth and inertia. The Canker says “stay.” I can see a pallid speck on the horizon – there are timpani’s – the wooden wheels grind closer – I’ll run – I’ll not – I’ll walk – wait and see – hesitate and waver – until perhaps I will be released by indecision or death (it’s just like marriage) – we both loiter for the melee-hack – turning our backs on each other (despite our suspicions) –  retreating to the farthest permissible distance (that is the best time) – arming our muskets – but why pretend: I cannot capitulate to halt death or whatever you want to call it. Better to just keep my eyes on the spot that I have marked out in the gloom and against which I measure progress. It’s hard to explain exactly what happened next (it all took place at the speed of Evolution) but it went something like: Motion A, stasis, Motion Anti-A, stasis (reverie) then by increment Motion A, Motion B, Motion Anti-B, Motion Anti-A, Motion Negative A to the Power of One, Pause, Return to Bar Six, CHORUS. It took me this long to invest my movements with design. But I feel like they are all metaphors for a moral oscillation between evil and good. This must have been how the apes started. Everything becomes part of some causal sequence. I charge the turd running down my legs with meaning. Tom Hallem reached Missenden Road and planted his feet on the pedestrian crossing stepping onto the chiaroscuro impress of hire car tread. Hamlet’s father’s ghost. I pass over his warm grave. Look up. Birthplace balcony. High up in space like a rotten spire. Cries of a newborn press through the glass brick wall. Thick feint figures. The characters left Holles Street Maternity Hospital after Missus Mina Purefoy gave birth. Exeunt all. The widower remained. He was propped up in bed listening to a one-day international on a transistor radio thumbing a copy of Dante’s Divine Comedy in Italian. He always slumped into a stupor in the middle overs – 1 0 0 1 0 1. Binary symbols. Repetition. Occasional boundary. Ninety words per day. Write with nostalgia of a negated cosmos.

“There seems to have been a technical fault in our line from Headingley,” said the booth announcer. “We’ll return to the cricket as soon as possible. In the meantime, it’s My Word! with Denis Norden and Frank Muir.”

Samuel Beckett smiled, opened his eyes and raised the mohair wrap still higher over his white teats suckling gently on English butterscotch.


We have already sampled Barthes’ early technique of structuralist analysis in relation to our examination of the end of the Oxen episode (see “coughmixture” sentence above). This was the method made famous in his review of Balzac’s “Sarrasine” entitled S/Z (see below). OotS does not contain much plot movement. But it’s hard for the reader to keep even this limited progress in view because of continuous style shifts and numerous references – both literary and local to Dublin. This makes the text as dense as any product of French theory. It’s like those Buddhists who see a whole landscape in a bean. Basically, there’s a bunch of small events coming together in fast sequence. That is Joyce’s mode. We saw it in Wandering Rocks in terms of people, place and motion. This time the clutter is language. Broken down into its plot components, this chapter simply traces the movement of Tom Hallem towards a public bar. He passes a hospital but does not enter. This is highly symbolic against Stephen Dedalus’ schedule in Oxen. He is hungry (see contrast with his brother who eats with relish in C4 & C5). The abundance of characters in the previous chapter recedes, especially females. This was a harsh ironic device by Joyce given that Oxen is an episode about conception and childbirth. It is the most aggressive, masculine and sexist episode in the whole of Ulysses. Even the Citizen is not so bold. Professional women are denigrated. It is as if Joyce wanted to display the worst features of the male gender in the most inappropriate place conceivable as an emblem against which Bloom could subsequently pivot. The medical students become the equivalent of Homer’s privileged and self-indulgent suitors, rather than Odysseus’ starving crew. Narrative focus tightens. The main characters make but little progress. Billy Capri eats food (see Foucault S-E, also C5 S-E19). He stalls at the prospect of facing his peers and mentors (see Virilio S-E). This suggests he will not pursue an academic career. Don Cane takes a nap (LACAN | NACAL S-E) then goes on a test drive (Virilio S-E). Both father and sons are locked in fruitless orbit. Don has decided to visit the home of his eldest son first. Why he chooses Tom Hallem over Billy Capri is never explained but it is clear that there is a simple reason – he already possesses the address – as well as a more complex epistemology around gender, power and family. The eldest and legitimate son possesses preeminent rights in all cultures. Don may also feel residual rights over his wife. Finally, there is the relative weakness and anonymity of his male counterparty (Les Hallem) compared to the messy option of confronting his old friend and saviour (Bob Capri). Don Cane may also feel constrained in approaching the Capris because he had spent only limited time with Helen McFadden, principally during their intense love affair. This was a severed connection never sealed. Roland Barthes is always the Last Romantic. He was forever trying to confect positive reasons to read, write, live and love. His notion of hedonism in The Pleasure of the Text was far different to Foucault. He called the climax of reading, jouissance. His titles were always a gift of gentle reason. There are no book titles in his oeuvre containing words like PUNISH or POWER. He even critiqued his own back catalogue. This was a kind of hair shirt he assumed. He wanted to create NEUTRAL WRITING. A Lover’s Discourse (the French title is longer and better) was his written attempt at describing the fragmentary, passive beauty of falling in love badly. He wanted to write an image of erotic surface like Bonnard’s “Siesta” and deep tone like Monet’s pond. It is truly one of the worst books ever published. A mawkish text. Its appropriated prosody and cliched scenes contain none of the stylistic or imagistic ingenuity of real love. It is a stagnant pool with dead fish on top (mainly Goethe, Proust, Plato). It is actually a great advertisement for DOXA (what he called ‘loaded prose’). Barthes was a terrible selector. The book intercuts fictive scenarios with fragments of theory, set piece mummery and quotations that are designed to amplify and deconstruct: (1) our idealised visions of the beloved; and (2) those tokens of the beloved that mean nothing to anyone except the lover. Whom we cannot forget and cannot remember are equally significant. Memory bears no relation to marital status, longevity of relationship or relative physical beauty in LOVE. INSERT COMPARABLES. Penelope felt love for Les Hallem. Not Don. Certainly not Dick Stone. Odysseus held onto an iconic version of his wife. Bloom as well. Helen Capri for Bob. Also Don. Don Cane for Richie. Also Helen. Not Penelope. Bob Capri for his wife at all stages. A pang of guilt assailed him as he contemplated his journey to the warm body of his lover, where he experienced a calm grip that had never been possible with his wife. This lack made his obsession even stronger. And it got even stronger as the possibility of achieving the same tenderness withdrew with age. Elizabeth retained a sentimental image of her husband. Body images had begun to infest her. Leon recalled the weak fertility they shared. Chaim. Elizabeth looked vacant and exhausted at his death bed. Stan retained a strong token of his visit with Elizabeth to Greece. It was hard to tell if it was the person, place or both things. The Sublime will be examined in the Virilio sub-episode. Billy always held onto O. Even her basic smell that he did not like. Even that was beloved. Shanghai Dog and Judy. Also, Xiao Fang. Tom Hallem never managed to summon such morsels. Maybe he felt it for WtP. It could have been suppressed homoeroticism or maybe not. Love of this kind can be uncoupled from sex. Stephen Dedalus was too young to feeling anything external to his own senses. Penelope Hallem parked the car on George Street. The Queen Victoria Building was shrouded in scaffolding and fabric. When the wind blew, loose hessian sheets lifted revealing a dusty sheen on its sandstone torso and lightless stained-glass cloaks. Low-level construction work reverberated through the hollowed interior. A hoarding proclaimed that HKG was restoring this palace to its original glory. She crossed the dead road. The exterior of the Hilton Hotel exhibited the grubby pall of Brutalist architecture even though it was relatively new. Dun concrete façade and brown panels. She descended a blank staircase and followed its sharp turn. History sunk under the pavement in layers. The Marble Bar was a relic of the nineteenth century gold rush. Penelope remembered the place from the old days when it was located on Pitt Street in the old Tattersall’s Hotel above a maze of old alleys. She held tight onto a walnut staircase. A cardboard sign rested crookedly on an easel. Pentel Australia Tenth Anniversary, it said. Thick ink calligraphy. She went to the entrance of the packed saloon. A tarnished plaque caught her attention. She paused. George Adams Marble Bar was designed by Varney Parkes in the ornate tradition of the Italian Renaissance, it read. Cost of 32,000 pounds. Each column decorated with solid bronze capitals. One hundred tonnes of the world’s best Belgian and African marble. Cedar joinery. Stained pictorial glass frames. Cavernous fireplaces inlaid with marble. Fourteen Edwardian paintings. When Tattersall’s Hotel was demolished, the entire structure was dismantled, refurbished and rebuilt inside the new Hilton Hotel. Grand re-opening 1973. Settle back, share a drink, and bask in the reflected ambience of a fully restored Australian icon. Involuntarily, Penelope Hallem retrieved an unwanted vision of her husband topless on the edge of a bed in Cremorne. He rolled to his feet and stretched his torso. Smooth light held the bulging pallor of Les Hallem’s rolled hind where it was pulled into thick culverts of scarred flesh. Penelope Hallem entered the bar. Shanghai Dog watched dawn come low-glowing through the kaleidoscope of a scratched plane hatch. Below massed clouds. Above only casing. Occasional gaps revealed dry riverbeds writhing through the desert. The Odysseus myth is broken from beneath. Talos is propelled off ramparts to the ground. Lester Byron dropping through space. No time to reflect. Smash landing. Crafty Dedalus high as a kite. Flight paths to Australia converge over Mindanao and track the Arafura Sea to landfall. Shiny milk coated Lake Yamma Yamma. Don Cane would have seen exactly the same scene when he looked down over what was then called Lake Mackillop in 1984. A crosscut in space/time then. What lies behind the eyeballs is the prevailing factor not shared eye colour or the same nose. List the presiding mythemes of Telemachus:

1. Father and mother in fruitful union (c.1960).

2. Father commits abomination against Nature (family relation or plough).

3. Father in exile at war.

4. Son(s) born.

5. Mothers’ mild deceptions (see also Circe, Calypso).

6. Normalised childhoods (insert false father figures).

7. Father returns (C2).

8. Truth revealed belatedly (C4).

9. Sons break with paternal trope (post-novel): one is destroyed; the other survives.

10. Living brother writes of dead brother (“In Memoriam”).

We have reached the threshold of number nine in this sequence.

Barthes & L-S Combine in a One-hundred Run Stand for the Eighth Wicket

In the course of a myth anything can happen. There is no logic, no continuity. Any characteristic can be attributed to any subject; every conceivable relation can be found. Link with the arbitrary character of linguistic signs. Parole is the statistical aspect of language. Past, present and future are embodied in myth. Bundles produce meaning. Buy index cards. Inscribe hermeneutical code (HER). Things must be rewritten a dozen times in keeping with Levi-Strauss’ concept that repetition is necessary to reveal the underlying structure of myth (821b). This is the mode of oral history. How can a story bear such repetition? It is invested with such deep underlying symbols that it constantly stimulates continuous reimagining. It is ‘slated’ in overlapping layers (AKA Prosenchymatic tiles). Demented elders recite the same story over and over again until it’s lodged in your head. The core precept of the Telemachus sub-myth is that the son must repeat or break the journey of the father. This is its fork. In this instance, I-as-narrator is in the same position apropos James Joyce (note – Joyce is already his own SHAKESPEARIBSEN). As well, Sydney is an illegitimate son of London (c.1788 onwards). It is also Dublin B in narrative terms. Hence, the splintered main characters. Tommy is Dublin and Bill is London or vice versa. Barthes would step back to the source and ask the following questions. Is the Telemachus story no myth at all? Does it have the ‘tenor’ of myth? Can a secondary character in one myth become the central element in another myth? Or subset of a myth maybe. A minor myth, as D&G would have it. Second-class legends like the Newtown Jets. Barthes would commence any analysis with the title. Titling is the portal to the system. It creates a ROCK. Both of Homer’s classics become monuments as soon as their titles are spoken or seen. The subsequent text is a tunnel boring machine back to the light of the title. Joyce used long and short titles. He used classical and colloquial terms. The aesthetic and mundane. Place and person. Songs. They are all sincere and ironic simultaneously. The best books have the best titles. The greatest writers are always great titlers as well. Women are invariably excellent titlers excluding Mrs Gaskell. I won’t speculate on the reasons. Note Woolf, Behn, Stein, Eliot, Austen, Bronte (plural), Schreiner, Franklin, Richardson, Stead, McCullers, Mary Shelley, de Beauvoir, Nin, even Ayn Rand, Roy, Weldon, Greer, Atwood, O’Connor, Walker, Morrison etcetera. Not a single dud in the list. Naomi Wolf by contrast is a cold-blooded titler. She always tries to create clever brand identity with titles. The Russians are the best at titling amongst men followed by the French. Germans are good. The English male capability at titling is spasmodic. Dickens’ titles were fun. He was mainly interested in The Joke. Bleak House is great. Hardy had good titles. Pater was the best titler in nineteenth-century English prose. Wilde inherited this faculty. Lawrence created an explosive title in Lady Chatterley’s Lover. Kangaroo is perhaps the worst offering in English. It serves no purpose to the plot. Hemingway invariably made bad titles. The Sun Also Rises is that rare book where a bad title is countermanded by a great work of art. In fact, it possesses two bad titles. It was renamed Fiesta for the UK by Jonathan Cape. Colonial literature generally produces worse titles than the true machine. Such Is Life is the greatest title in Australian literature and it is therefore the greatest book. It came during the period of individuation in Australian culture just prior to Federation. We have never replicated that wild thinking except in painting during WW2. Patrick White had imperfect titles with wide variance in quality. Voss is good. Better than the novel. The Aunt’s Story is barely okay. Everything else is too fruity, nasty or forced. He tried mysticism with Tree of Man, Riders on the Chariot and Solid Mandala. He resorted to cliché in Eye of the Storm. Imagine telling your friends at a dinner party that this was the title of your next book! He probably called it “the Hunter book.” The Twyborn Affair is a clever parody. Bad books always have bad titles. There is no such thing as a great book with a truly crap title. Gravity’s Rainbow must be a bad book. So too Illywhacker. But not Oscar and Lucinda. It is neutral of significance. True History of the Kelly Gang is a very weak joke. Bliss is another meaningless title. Both Gibson and Ballard make great titles. That is why their titles are used for band names and songs. Their names produce quite different effects. Ballard is a great name for a writer. It contains the anagram ALL BARD. Everyone subconsciously unscrambles this anagram at the moment of cognition, giving him an instant headstart. The same applies in reverse for someone whose name was an anagram of Unbard or Bardno (Brando). Initials always work to the benefit of an author. On the other hand, Gibson is no good until you add his first name. A gravestone is another type of title page. It is full of undisclosed and implied text. I placed my father’s ashes in his family plot at Woronora Cemetery with his two dead children, Susan (two days) and Robert (3.5 years). They both died of Spina Bifida. It isn’t my plot. All great poets have great names. Thomas Eliot and E.W. Loomis Pound. John Ashbery. Christopher J. Brennan. Charles Mangan. The aptly named Wordsworth. Shelley and Byron. Names that roll off the tongue are what create great literary movements. It has nothing to do with style. There are NO BOOKS only titles. This can be back-calculated by reader experience, which was paramount to Barthes. Nobody has ever re-evaluated a title after reading the text. Nobody has gone back and said, “A Lover’s Discourse is actually a really good title now I’ve read the book.” This never happens. What makes a great title? A statement of final intent without alternatives. One-word titles are best. Extremely long titles are usually good too. They can be abbreviated into something great as well. But titles never survive translation. This even applies to Beckett who considered his texts in English and French to be separate works. He often looked like a character from Thunderbirds with his hollow blue eyes and pert expression. Bowie impersonated him well on the cover of HEROES. Titles translated into English are always worse than the original. They lack HATE. Titles of bourgeois length produce the most mediocrity. Orwell wrote great titles, he had a great pseudonym and he even had a great name in real life. The most painterly element of any piece of writing is the title. Pater should have submitted titles to the Royal Academy. Here, we have been presented with the title TELEMACHUS* It raises a threshold question for Barthes: What is Telemachus? A person, place or thing? The response to these questions depends on the reader’s habit of education. In the nineteenth century, urbane authors deliberately cultivated rare images and allusions to appeal to a like-minded Hieratic readership. It was all wink-wink to the in-crowd. In contemporary terms, this title asks a frank question about our selection processes for valuing the past. In the proliferation of information now entrenched in our lives through technology, what do we pick (and what is picked for us) as useful, archivable data? Most people perusing this title today might not be aware of its meaning prior to opening the text (they have not become ‘readers’ yet). Is this a cause for concern? Not really. All the information that a reader needs to understand Telemachus is contained within these hallowed halls. Anyway, humanity still produces great art without the epic or poetic drama. Even the novel doesn’t retain much currency. Some would argue with conviction that we still use Classical topos TBH. So, who is Telemachus? All or some of the author himself (BD), the sometimes-unreliable narrator (BC1?) and/or one or both of the central characters (TH/BC1)? Is it Australia? Note that the father (DC) was a fatherless son as is the false father figure in Chapters 7–8 (L). Fathers exist as surrogates (BC2, LH, LD) to strong women (HC, PP, EA), Sometimes, I wonder what happened to all the normal families. All the tender relationships exist outside conventional structures and/or conceal a lie (EA/LD, BC/O, HC/BC2, PH/LH). Binary pairs interdict – TH/BC, PH/HC, LH/TH, DC/BC2, EA/FL, FL/O. The reader knows that Telemachus is a male Classical figure and metaphor for the main characters in this novel only because we have read to this point. TELE means ‘far off’ and MACHUS means ‘thrower or warrior’ in Greek. A cover shot of an Attic youth would help define the title, Telemachus. The best titles don’t need cover shots. Maybe some creepy film noir stairs and shadows for the Collected Works of F. Kafka but that’s it. That and anything by Edward Burne-Jones. He only painted album covers. Millais was assigned to chocolate boxes. A book called Telemachus could be about some or all of the following things:

(1) The minor mythic figure named Telemachus

(2) A proxy set against the novel Ulysses by James Joyce

(3) A default from the mythic figure of Odysseus and thus a metonymy/reductive symbol

(4) The name of a leading character who shares traits with Telemachus but NOT the figure in Dot Point 1

(5) An illustrated book about famous battles and the development of spears, with a secondary title after a colon like “Tossers of Olden Times”

(6) An arbitrary word choice or even the start of a puzzle.

This list raises a sequence of questions. Is the narrator also one of the central characters or a character-in-itself? Does ‘I-as-narrator’ complement or cross-out the Telemachus myth? Or is he a partial consumer? And, thus, a consumer even of his own product? Does the ‘author’ bypass the narrator at times with a direct representation of SELF? Ponder the depth of the writer’s obsession with this truncated mythical figure. What does the writer see in Telemachus? Why does he keep stalling the narrative to drive downwards in inspiral critical loops? What does he see in this ‘follower’ – one of Homer’s least original figures? Maybe it’s a capacity for mimesis. His ambition to defer. The way he is characterised as lack. The fact that his future life is all outside enframing – not just of the Odyssey but the ENTIRE opus of Classical literature. Pater wrote an imaginary portrait called “Denys L’Auxerrois” about the disinterment of Dionysus in medieval France. This must have been a gap of 2,000 years. You can add another 500 years to get to 1984. Telemachus exists in this crevice without crystallisation at any point. He is the first postmodern character. He is the only under-specified character in Classical literature. Everybody else is over-determined. They have all had so much written about them that there is a vast, contending discourse. His father, Odysseus, is also left hanging at the end of the Odyssey. But his status is quite different. There is a super-abundance of tales about him. We even get prophecies about what happened to him hundreds of years later. The Romans renamed him Ulysses. There is NO equivalent to TELEMACHUS in Roman literature or Latin. Telemachus becomes NOPE. He is tabula rasa. Telemachus never had an original thought in his life. His great ambition is to replicate. He just copies his father’s journey in miniature, acts as his accomplice and is ended with the text. This passive storyline begs the question – under what stimulus does the son finally break free from the will to emulate the father? This is the great cleavage in Homer’s text. He stops the Odyssey at the reunification of Odysseus and Penelope, leaving Telemachus hanging around the ante-chamber. This severance is an act of both fulfillment and demarcation. The Odyssey ended the Classical period. It was the point at which the Ancients decided they had achieved total unity of meaning. It was the last LP. They went to ground after that. You can read about it in Herodotus. They had a conference. There was a vote. It was decided that nothing could be added that would increase the yield of their law, only denude its wholeness. Their epoch had achieved self-containment. Its weft had been loomed into a funeral shroud. Their withdrawal came with a warning: do NOT modify our cosmos. Don’t try to dilute or defile the eschatology of the Gods. Like the Lapsarian apple, Telemachus was only half-consumed by the Ancients and left on the table rotten. He was cancelled out of the Ancient World to inhabit extrinsic space. He is suspended over the breakage line. He is cast out of heaven into ether. He never lands like Icarus or L. Byron. This isn’t the kind of outcome that can be written down on a postage stamp. Everything in a text about the act of writing is super-imbued with meaning. It is the content of MAXIMUM significance to the author because it comes out of the act-in-production. It is a synecdoche of the act of writing itself. That is why epistolary works are so boring to read. Anywhere a book has writing-itself-as-content always requires structural analysis with a level of persistence pioneered by Roman Jakobson, which Roland Barthes expanded in S/Z. In Chapter 5, we saw Donald Cane writing on a picture postcard. What is the significance of this simple act? For a start, he is writing. He is leaving a formal record. This alters the furtive habits of a lifetime. The corporeal hero has become a scribe. Bloom is made to do the same thing by Joyce. Any statement from Odysseus is welcome. Any act of communication is a step forward for a man who disappeared for twenty years. His selection of form is important. A postcard is a convenient short form of communication. It is image-centric. It accumulates meaning from the interplay between word and image. This occurs by flipping the card. It creates a type of primitive pixilation. The postcard is a symbol of complementarity with the creative endeavors of Don Cane’s sons – writer and image-maker. On one side possesses the picture. The other has print explaining the image as well as space for a stamp, address and a brief message. The viewer takes in the picture first. Then the card is turned. This is called the ‘back.’ This reflects the fact that the image side contains the instant ZAP of reception. The written message is never more than affiliation (AKA Telemachus). The first thing we see on the written side is a template for form. This is how all text must be ordered and structured. It is formulaic like a Trollope novel. Initially, we read the title of the image. It is always at the bottom. It contains bald facts. But these facts are brought to intimacy because our correspondent sent the card from this specific location. Therefore, it is both impersonal and intimate at the same time. There is a stamp with a postage mark in the top right corner. This is a further signifier of place. It also situates the postcard in time. Beneath, there is a space for inserting the recipient’s address. It takes up ~50 per cent of the blank white space. This always creates a feeling of waste for the recipient (Barthes would say ‘beloved’). They already know their own address. How much more we could have been told without this transmission data! It is also a reminder that we are still fixed in our normal place of residence when we read the postcard. It is a signifier of our own quotidian. But it also adds a sense of exotic experience because it places our name and place against the card image. Finally, we read the actual message from our correspondent. Hand-written communication is always formulaic and semi-spontaneous. There are always typos. The most erudite correspondent is reduced to illiteracy by the pressure of postcard space limits. There is never complete pre-meditation. Only intent. Maybe some key points are prepared. But the final product is always a let-down. It is never truly surprising. There just isn’t enough space. Even if something unexpected has occurred, we always half expect it. One may learn of a new adventure. A new love (see A Lover’s Discourse). An accident. Meteorological statistics. Mundane information about the hotel and food. But it is probably just a description of the instrument of relaxation as presented in the image. We turn back to that image once more seeking deeper meaning or solace. If it is a single image, we search the corners. If it is multiple images, we scour the smaller ones. You can never read both sides of a postcard at once. This is a critical disclosure symbol for this novel: Tom Hallem and Billy Capri are linked back-to-back yet separated. It is also a statement of the binary nature of the visual and written arts. The use of a postcard assumes a certain identity. It proclaims that the sender is a transient. Don Cane’s postcard has a more sinister purpose. He sends regards to his former mistress from his hometown. This puts a knife into the present (he has gone back to Sydney) and a line through the past (they have separated). She is only an incidental party. Only worth a postcard. He is trying to recover lost pride. It is also a type of hook that tries to pull the recipient (Barthes’ beloved) back into the relationship; not least because the luxury inherent in a postcard image of Sydney is directly aligned with languor and the intimacy of sex. This is what D&G call an “unconscious libidinal investment.” A shot of a surfer riding a wave in Hawaii, for example, directs the viewer beyond the image of hot unclothed bodies and percolating water (symbols of foreplay) to deeper associations with lust . This is the source of Ambrose E. Welles deep reverie about Elizabeth Archer. Finally, the postcard scene re-positions Don Cane in the role of mythic figure. It is an Odyssean proclamation of RETURN. His discourse is located in the most acute place in any desire-reading of place – HOME. There is a bank of received meanings to home, both in terms of personal place as well as symbology. Home can never be referred to as just another SPACE. It is always A DEFINITIVE PLACE. My objective in TMAC was to write the definitive book of Sydney without locating any scenes at icons. I wanted to fix the book in adjacent spaces where outsiders never go. Average suburbs. THE SELVEDGE OF A CITY. Also, the city itself acts as SELVEDGE for FORM. Its perimeter. These are the court walls within which Bloom and Stephen bounce. TMAC always moves towards Sydney’s jewels yet never actually reaches them. Things always get side-tracked. Destinations are a little too far. Like Odysseus stuck on Ogygia, the effort becomes too great. Don Cane surveyed the postcard text. It read, “Sydney is a modern city with a temperate climate, vibrant culture, icons such as the Opera House and Harbour Bridge and a coastline dotted with beaches led by world-famous Bondi Beach.” These words would have had a strong impact on Richie when she received the postcard in Manila. The author has deliberately exacerbated the differential in their relative prosperity by reducing her circumstances and taking Don Cane back to the first world . The metrics of life after a postcard is put through a letter box slot are irretrievably altered. You can’t go back. The repercussion for Don Cane in this postcard is that it betrays his sense of ‘foreignness’ in his homeland. This act insinuates how much he misses Richie. In summary, she lived with him for seven years. He regrets their inability to have a family. He mourns the death of their baby. He is despondent that it caused them to part. He confesses to himself that he is no longer local in Sydney. He does not relate to ANY place on earth anymore. Our hero is exhausted. He falls asleep in his hotel room. He dreams (see C7). He awakes in a stupor. He gets up. He is disoriented. His body is stiff after the long flight. He takes a shower (cleansing symbol). He slowly regains his sense of place and self. Finally, he goes to the hire car. This is an image of transience. A car makes everything temporary. In fact, it involved a capital exchange so it represented ‘acquired impermanence’ for the bearer. This makes it the equivalent of a postcard. Both express the desire for evanescence to be set in motion. They are engines of forgetting. Barthes’ structural analysis in S/Z is microscopic. Honore Balzac’s short story, Sarrasine, is divided into 561 numbered textual units called lexias; ninety-three subject headings (or divigations) marked by Roman numerals; and five codes (hermeneutic, semantic, proairetic, cultural and symbolic). This level of detail seems exhaustive to the reader. But isn’t out of the ordinary for a scholar of Joyce, who becomes used to trying to release meaning by negotiating a balance between autobiographical utterances (both accurate and apocryphal), biography (primary and secondary), whole of novel studies, individual episode analyses and examinations of specific words, images, metaphors, symbols, characters and themes (including political, economic, social, musical, sporting and numerical leitmotifs). In S/Z, Barthes looks at the division between writerly and readerly texts. He deploys the language of consumption in a parody of Marxist theory to state that “the goal of literary work (of literature as work) is to make the reader no longer a consumer, but a producer of the text.” In Writing Degree Zero, Barthes has already added “writing” to Sartre’s dualism of language (social property) and style (individual decision). Sartre really ignored form, suggesting that it was almost an organic outcome of writing. In other words, the writer really was as “stupid as a painter.” The Writerly Text instates the reader as a producer by the act of mental rewriting. This isn’t as stupid as it sounds. It is just a variant of Barthes’ “death of the author” theory. It means that the text is composed in a manner that triggers the reader’s mind to work creatively in the moment, free of any retarding system or distorting organising device (such as ideology, genus, critical lens). TITLING SHOULD THUS BE PROVISIONAL in a Writerly Text. It should be rewritable by the reader. This is just common sense. How many times does the reader think of a book by their own shorthand term rather than its FULL & GIVEN one? For example, Le Temps Perdu (itself an abbreviation and retitling) is always called ‘Proust’ by readers. I want to stick labels on the cover of every book to substitute my own titling. Heart of Darkness could become Kurtz. Or The Education of Philip Marlowe. The Great Gatsby could be renamed On East Egg. It would no longer be written by ‘F. Scott Fitzgerald’ but “F.S.K. Fitzgerald.” All books by Ernest Hemingway would be renamed “by Grant Boof, author of No Balls in Pamplona.” Yes, the name of the writer should also be replaceable in a Writerly Text. The reader should even be able to reallocate a book to another author. This would strip away plagiarism once and for all. We can invent new hybrids or even use our own names (see C10, Marion Hackett) or make up an entirely new noms de plume. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde could be retitled as The Defensible Death of Basil Allword by Edgar A. Pater or Death Painting by Smug. Ulysses could be re-titled A Meeting of Souls, One Day in Dublin, Bloom, The Reconciliation of Molly Bloom or 24 Hours in Dublin (a thriller) or any/all of the previous titles at any given point during its reading. A Writerly Text should come with a thick wad of labels for its cover to reflect its perpetual retitling. The greatness of any text should be HOW MANY RETITLINGS it stimulated. This would give a quantitative logic to the Canon. These labels need to be transparent like a visor to create a meaningless tattoo of language like Kafka’s harrow. Character naming should also be provisional in a Writerly Text. Ballard did that in Atrocity Exhibition. Stephen Hero becomes Stephen Dedalus becomes Shem the Penman and they are ALL James Joyce over the course of his corpus. Ballard used his own name in Crash. Writers are very good at making-up character names. All the great books have the best character names. Don Cane is an under-named character. I wanted the first names of Australia’s great heroes of his age – Bradman and Monash. But I could never think of a permanent family name. I tried many alternatives including Cave, Paine, Candy, Farquhar, Mal Feasance, Cestus, Dildam, Negative Ions, Pinhead McPherson et cetera. Many of these sobriquets ended up attached to incidental characters. Cane is really just a holding name. I might change it back to Paine at any point. So please call him Bloomish, Odysque, Marty Sheen or anything else you like. I should hold an online competition to RENAME DON CANE. Both readers of my blog could enter. In fact, the very weakness of a character name can be filled with meaning, especially set against strong names that are poignant or amusing. Writers usually give each character at least a first name and a family name, although they often add stuff like titles, middle names or initials. They alternate between name combinations throughout the text, usually to break up the monotony of using the same name all the time. This is particularly important as a formal device in the novel where ‘spoken word’ by characters needs to be suffixed with speech tags like “X said,” “X exclaimed,” “added X,” “X replied” and vica-versa so that the reader can comprehend who said what. Some writers like Joyce do not adhere to this convention. It becomes a little game to create ambiguity. That is a classic writerly gimmick to be sure. But characters should really blur into one mass. They should compose a single utterance. Forget POV. Forget the ingenuity of Tolstoy and Dickens using regional slang or linguistic mannerisms to demarcate voices. It’s afflatus. They are all one character. Conversely, all characters should be subject to manifold names just like the manifold selves which make up our own single sense of self. This is different to Booth’s concept of an Unreliable Narrator. This device falls into various categories like picaro, madman, clown, naif and liar as well as the current voice. Some characters are denoted by their first name only and some by just their family name. Sometimes, this is shorthand. Leopold Bloom is always referred to as ‘Bloom.’ Stephen Dedalus is always ‘Stephen.’ We never read ‘Bloom’ and think of Milly or Molly. However, we do read ‘Dedalus’ and think of Simon Dedalus (though not the sisters). This is a default setting privileging patriarchal lineage. In Ulysses, the elder male is known by his patronym [Bloom = long trousers] while the younger male remains in shorts (use Christian name). When he is called by the family name, Dedalus, it feels like Stephen is being admonished. Women remained naked in the hut because there was only one set of female clothing. Chinese naming often allocates the first name ‘Xiao’ to females, which simply means ‘small’. Barthes succumbs to his usual heroic rhetoric at the high point in S/Z: “The writerly is the novelistic without the novel, poetry without the poem, the essay without the dissertation, writing without style, production without product, structuration without structure” (II. Interpretation). This tendency in Barthes actually denudes the strength of his writing. Ironically, it is a readerly flaw. It suffocates and paralyses the text with rhetoric. Readerly Texts are almost everything, according to Barthes. They are products, not productions. The reader consumes the text passively:

This reader is thereby plunged into a kind of idleness – he is intransitive; he is, in short, serious: instead of functioning himself, instead of gaining access to the magic of the signifier, to the pleasure of writing, he is left with no more than the poor freedom either to accept or reject the text: reading is nothing more than a referendum.

The readerly cannot be rewritten (recuferl). Barthes calls the objects of such reading classic texts. This binary division is equivalent to the demarcation between hieratic and demotic literature, which I have explored in other essays in relation to nineteenth-century literature. Hieratic writers wrote for an audience that they assumed shared a common pool of literary touchpoints. Pater, Ruskin, Swinburne and Wilde are good examples of this group but so too is James Joyce. Demotic writers like Dickens wrote of everyday life for periodicals to be enjoyed in recitation by illiterate people. Joyce wrote of the quotidian but in Hieratic style. This was one of his core innovations. Let us be quite clear in summary: Telemachus is designed to be a Writerly Text.


Everything in this book relates to Structuralism. Its title alone fills me with anticipation (the false bravado of its flipside, foreboding). I open the book and look at the chapter headings then the episodes and character names. Everywhere I see adherence to myth and therefore Structuralist potency. I am even a kind of character in this novel. But why am I placed before Saussure? He is my source. I guess it’s just a matter of writerly will. To break down chronology. This is not a bad thing in itself. Myth doesn’t need to be sequential in time. Why should the text? It was Saussure’s work that gave me the basic idea to invert the paradigm in which the immediate family is seen as the basic unit and the extended family is clustered outside. I was more interested in the relationships between all these units – not just Oedipus, Odysseus and their offspring, for instance. Myths generally look ridiculous to rationalist thinkers in our technical age. We tend to downplay them as the rantings and rationalisations of savages. Yet they are similar across cultures disclosing universal laws. I want to keep it simple like Hegel. I will deal in facts. There are dialectical elements in opposition within myth. Mediators resolve these oppositions. The trickster is one example. It mediates between life and death. It is represented as either a coyote or a raven. These animals live on carrion so they are neither an agent of death (hunting/beast of prey) nor synonymous with the production of life (agriculture/herbivore). Because it hovers in the centre between such extremes, the Trickster must retain elements of that duality – thus it becomes unpredictable and ambiguous. I am such a figure. Myth is language. I love word games. That’s why I called my book, La Pensee Sauvage. In English, it is just known as The Savage Mind. That title takes all the nuance out of my work. In French, the title is a joke. It puns on the word ‘pensee’ for ‘thought,’ which also means ‘pansy’ in French. Thus, it can equally be read as ‘The Savage Pansy.’ This title creates a statement of extremes – poles within which I-as-Trickster will function. It also plays on Rousseau’s shibboleth juxtaposing the hardness of purity in the savage (positive) against the softness and opaqueness of western civilization (negative). The first edition of my book even had a dust jacket image of wild pansies. I took this word from Hamlet. It’s the speech where Ophelia gives her brother a garland. She says, “there is pansies, that’s for thoughts.” In French, it reads as “et voici des pensÈes, en guise de pensÈes.” It is almost as if Shakespeare was speaking directly to the French people with this pun. He was fluent in our language. This double-meaning probably stayed with him subconsciously waiting for the right moment to be used as a juxtaposition in his own tongue. You need to perform Structuralist analysis to disclose the full meaning of this passage (Act 4, Scene 5, ll.199–209). Shakespeare was special like that. Ophelia’s supposed to be crazy by this point but critics have noted that she dispenses the six different plants quite incisively. She has become a trickster. Her actions summarise the plot to date and even predict the final denouement. She retains Hamlet’s own ambivalence about decision-making. Claudius receives two flowers. They offer conflicting meanings and can even cancel each other out. Her numerology is not insignificant. She has six plants to allocate. There are six participants in Hamlet’s Mousetrap: himself as director, Horatio as scout (or Ophelia as receptor) plus four players on stage. Hamlet is invisible in the play, just as he is physically absent during Ophelia’s floral apportionment. Yet he is, of course, the key figure in both dramas. Some think Ophelia is just being given special insight by Shakespeare as a kind of ‘saintly savant.’ In fact, she does much more than just deconstruct a garland, allocating the contents according to symbol (flower) and signified (recipient). She is actually acting out her own interpretation of Mad Hamlet. It is psychoanalysis by performance. Guattari instituted this tactic at La Borde. Her method mimics the allegorical foundation of Mousetrap. This makes her actions a play as well as a play on a play within a play. By this mode, she can become co-author and thus ‘mate’ of Hamlet. She folds a bigger box over Hamlet’s assemblage of Russian boxes: encasing him in a prosenchymatic dome or garden (insert womb symbolism). They both become tricksters inhabiting/exploiting the median/mean of sanity/madness. This reconciles the abusive element of their relationship. Hamlet’s mistreatment becomes one pole in an oscillation between extremes of innocence and abuse. Instead of just ricocheting between these poles and making a simplistic moral judgment, the audience is refocused by Shakespeare on the balance of their shared emotional space; carving out a niche that is meaningful and real. This analysis has nothing to do with Joyce’s Hamlet theory. He was solely focused on the Male Self. By way of qualification, we should acknowledge that it is impossible for a contemporary audience to countenance the abuse of Ophelia by Hamlet (even if he is designated insane). He would need a full program of CBT. Of course, a critical element of this scene is that Shakespeare doesn’t actually designate which plant goes to which individual character in the stage directions. That is a decision of the director and players for ALL TIME. Conventions have developed despite his open-ended offer. In fact, they have become known as “fixed stage traditions.” Hamlet gets Rosemary, Laertes gets pansies et cetera. But this allocation can just as easily be altered. This is a unique postmodern element in Hamlet. It returns production to the ‘reader’ rather than impose the passive reception of a ‘classic text.’ It reiterates that Hamlet is the first Writerly Text. It is NOT didactic. In fact, it is possibly the most writerly drama ever created. It bears all the hallmarks of an Agatha Christie murder mystery. Hence, and thus, Mousetrap was so named. It is possible to INSERT this Table of Variables [ToV] as a basis for formulisation of the mythemes in Hamlet:

Table 4. Table of variables – Floral mythemes in Hamlet

Flower Units [FL1]

Meaning/Symbol [M-SYM]

Recipient Convention Allocation [RC-A]

(‘fixed stage tradition’)

Rosemary [RO]

Remembrance (as stated by Ophelia) [RE]

Imagined/absent Hamlet [H] (alternate [ALT]: Laertes)

Pansy [P]


Thoughts (as stated by Ophelia) [T]

Laertes [L]

Fennel [FE]

Flattery [FL2] – also strength, praiseworthiness [SP]

Claudius [C]

Columbine [C]

Folly, male adultery, faithlessness [FMAF] – also protection against evil [PE]

Claudius [see above]

Rue (herb of grace) [RU]

Regret, bitterness [RB] – also used for abortions [A]

Ratio – Gertrude [G] 70% with 30% kept by Ophelia [O] thus [G70:O30] ([ALT]: Laertes, Hamlet)

Daisy [D]

Innocence, cheerfulness [IC]


Laid down without allocation – i.e. Denmark is rotten [DR]

The operatives in [M-SYM] are [FE] and [C] because they can be assigned very different meanings as [FL2] or [SP] and [FMAF] or [PE] respectively. These units actually govern the Allocation [ALL] of all other flowers. They are active, dominant flowers [AD-FL1]. Causation [CAUS] springs from them. In fact, there are only two logical variants in this [CAUS] equation: [FL2] + [FMAF] or [SP] + [PE]. These combinations are consistent with the [CAUS] of Hamlet. It is not really possible to have [SP] + [FMAF] – as this would be praising the strength of a faithless man who commits adultery. Likewise, it is highly unlikely that the combination [FL2] with [PE] would occur, as this would mean you want to protect against evil someone prone to flattery. While not impossible, it is definitely anachronistic in terms of [CAUS] and unlikely to be the goal of [O] in [FL1-ALL] – which is to reveal her interpretation of [CAUS]. The other [FL1] in [ToV] which induces multiple meanings is [RU] which can be seen as either [RB] or [A]. However, this [FL1] is secondary and passive against the dominant flowers [AD-FL1] and thus can be signified as [S-FL1]. [O] doesn’t provide disclosure on who should get what flower [FL1]. She doesn’t know the answer to the murder mystery [CAUS] – or even if it is one. Shakespeare here is toying with [CAUS] and [M-SYM]. In one [CAUS], [C] could be considered strong and praiseworthy [FE-SP] with [O] giving him a charm [C-PE] against premeditated attack by [H]. Alternatively, she could be giving him [FL1] to disclose that [C] is prone to flattery [FE-FL2] and a cuckold-maker whose seizure of power is folly [C-FMAF] and ultimately invalid. The following table summarises [ALL] of flower units according to [RC-A] or the ‘fixed stage tradition’ of [CAUS]:

In this [CAUS] formula, [C] may perceive that he has been allocated [FE] and [C] for positive reasons: [SP] and [PE]. The conventional judgment however is that [O] is [ALL + FL1] as follows: [FE-FL2] and [C-FMAF]. Certainly, the non-allocation of [ALL+D] suggests a judgment by [O] as a final act of climax/closure. The option that [O] may, indeed, believe that [C] is a just ruler and needs protection from [H] would require [D] to be [ALL] to [C] – because he would be totally innocent and have every reason to be cheerful [IC] because Denmark is not be ‘rotten’ [DR]. reallocation [RE-ALL] of the floral dividend against [RC-A] gives away the reader’s decision about the core questions posed in this Writerly Text [WT]: did [C] kill Hamlet Senior and/or was [H] mad. The following table provides a simple formula for this analysis. If [H] (in absentia) was [ALL] active/operative flower units [AD-FL1] being [FE] and [C] with negative [M-SYM] of [FL2] and [FMAF], the following [CAUS] would be enacted and Claudius would, indeed, be [ALL + D] by [O]:

In this [CAUS + ALL], Hamlet’s adultery with Ophelia [FMAF], its repercussions [O=A] and his subsequent faithlessness [FMAF]are clearly disclosed. [G] receives [P] in a token of womanly empathy from [O]. [L] gets the consolation flower [R]. It is already a flexible [FL1-ALL] to him as the [ALT] in [RC-A]. [H] can be considered vulnerable to flattery [FMAF] in various ways. For a start, he is a handsome, intelligent and eligible young Prince. This gives him a privileged position in medieval society. His perception of Social Rupture in the State [SR-S] frees him from any lingering social constraints. Subsequently, he takes all sorts of licenses: he can sexually use and dispose of [O] at his whim; he can argue about his future with his ‘parents’ [STEP-C+G]; he can affect the mantle of playwright and director coercing [C+G] to witness what they see as his ludicrous, self-indulgent production; he can murder Polonius and expect no punishment; he accepts the actuality of the Ghost as soon as it offers him a sacred revenge mission etcetera. The same [ALL + FL1] with a different [M-SYM] to the operative flower units [AD–FL1] produces the following [CAUS]:

In this [CAUS] table, [H] is strong and powerful in his justified purpose of revenge. [O] is trying to offer him protection against evil by disclosing the evil activities of [C+G]. In short, she’s ‘outing them’ to try to forestall tragedy. [L] is innocent [D]. [G] is being urged to [R] of her dead husband. [O] keeps [P] because she’s all about thinking, deduction and strategy. Of course, other combinations of [ALL + CAUS] are possible. An intriguing [CAUS] focuses on [L] as the primary target [PT] of [O]. It would not be surprising if [O] focused on [L] given the circumstances. After all, [L] is the brother of [O]. He is her closest relative after the death of Polonius and her closest emotional connection after estrangement from [H]. [L] also has the issue of revenge against [H] to process. [L] as [PT] produces the following [ALL + CAUS]:

In this [CAUS], [H] is justified in his Actions [ACT]. The Ghost is considered to be Real [REAL] by [O]. [H] is thus justified in [ACT] including the death of Polonius. [O] is counselling [L] to be strong in restraint [SP] and trying to protect him [PE]. [H] gets the daisy [D=IC]. [O] gets [P] because she is disclosing her [T]. [G] must get [R] and [RU] so that she is compelled to [R] and [RB] of her actions. In this [CAUS], Claudius gets no flower [ZERO – FL1]. He is left to stand isolated and garlandless; exposing his position as the guilty party. The opposite pole is that everybody is culpable in Hamlet. This [CAUS] formula has perhaps been overlooked by critics and readers due to the rush to [ALL]. If it was brought into effect, all characters would receive ALL [FL-1] take collective responsibility for all [ALL + CAUS + ACT]. This [TofV] would be very dense so I will illustrate it with [H] and a single [FL-1] being [FE] with both [FL2 + SP]:

We must reduce these multiple meanings of flowers to single definitions as units if we are to apply definitive meaning to Hamlet. There need to be dialectics put in place to systematically reduce causation down to a single flower allocation and singular meaning. Levi-Strauss has been charged with over-rating (embellishing even manipulating) samples to support strict categorisation. Examples are contained in the Table below. I don’t expect any writer to be a saint. We are all exploiting whatever clay comes to our disposal. If it requires setting up partially false dichotomies or stretching Classical mythemes … why not? It’s not as if this is a scientific experiment where thousands of women will be exposed to a cancer-causing drug to avoid miscarriage. In the end, the text is all about STYLE and ENTERTAINMENT. We’re all trying to get through life as amateurs. I also popularised the word bricoleur. It literally means ‘one who tinkers’ in French. It refers to any improvised work. It’s like plugging a crack in the wall with metal objects like coins, screws and nails before swiping a layer of plaster over the top. These DIY jobs always needed to be repeated because the wall moves due to subterranean forces. This is a GIANTIC METAPHOR for the fight against Fascism. Vanity thy name is Handyman! The publishing company for this work, anAnnal DIY, exemplifies this concept. It is a sentiment first brought to truth by 45RPM independent singles of the Punk movement. Bloom was one of those blokes. He just went around Dublin closing down anomalies embarrassedly. But without ever fixing anything. You can see this mode most clearly at the end of Ulysses when he parts from Stephen Dedalus. He got the lad out of a brothel, sobered him up and offered him a bed for the night. But Stephen does not take up this offer. In Oxen, Bloom mediates between the noisy group of drunks and the nursing staff. He doesn’t need to do this job. There are doctors present who should take responsibility. But Bloom just has to try to fix everything. It is the same with music. He wants to set Molly up with Stephen. It isn’t a logical concept. More in the nature of just connecting whatever things are available at any given time. It is lucky that Bloom didn’t get his hands on a fuse box. This is Bloom’s “[CAUS]” throughout Ulysses. He performs a sequence of opportunistic acts of bricolage. They overlap and parallel each other like an urban rail system. The myth can be treated as an orchestra score if it is placed in a unilateral series. Our task is to re-establish the correct arrangement that will demonstrate the recurrence of leitmotifs that are universal in all versions of the myth, regardless of location and time (as opposed to a formula which contains these limiting items). Let us turn to the Oedipus myth for instruction. The groups of relations that appear in the Oedipus myth exhibit common features as disclosed in the following table (Table 5, see over). It is clear from the above table that a myth consists of binary oppositions. Hot/Cold. Raw/cooked. Animal/human. This schema can be applied to all subsequent versions of the myth. One can also identify these basic elements in all previous accounts across all cultures. For a myth is whole and total. It produces what I call ‘mythemes.’ This is another portmanteau pun. Joyce was an expert in using this device. Mythemes can accommodate all variants; however aberrant. They are even able to complete truncated retellings – for example, you could read Joyce’s Ulysses with confidence in its ultimate fidelity to the Odysseus myth from a combination of just the title on the cover and Stephen’s fractious exit from the Martello Tower in Chapter One. It already exhibits enough Odyssean DNA by this point to be produced within a normal range of narrative variables for the next 600 pages. Even divergence from the myth – such as Bloom avoiding Boylan rather than confronting the suitor – still answers to the basic template. The reorganisation of Odysseus’ experiences by Joyce makes no difference. As I noted in Structural Anthropology, the diachronic ordering of events within any myth can be ignored (211). The narrative convenience of appropriating myth has usually been employed in modern art to insinuate meaning and add depth to

Table 5. Categories of relations in the Oedipus myth (Levi-Strauss)


Levi-Strauss Samples


Over-rating of blood relations (excessive intimacy)

  • Quest by Cilix, Phoenis, Thasus and Cadmus to find Europa after she was kidnapped by Zeus (rape)
  • Oedipus/Jocasta (marriage)
  • Antigone buries Polynices against Creon’s orders
  • Quest for Europa is not pursued vigorously (exceeds accepted norms)
  • Antigone followed burial rituals (piety setting itself against authority)

Underrating of blood relations

  • Murders of Spartoi, Laius and Polynices.
  • Etiocles and Polynices are cursed for disrespecting Oedipus (Cadmus crockery; wrong beast-part).
  • Could be extended to other examples of murdering close relatives in Theban origin myth – e.g. Laius abandoning Oedipus; Zethus’ wife accidentally murders her own son; Creon entombing Antigone.
  • Suicide is a regular correlation – Haemon’s suicide; Zethus grieving himself to death.
  • Fatal women – Agave; Zethus’ wife; Amphion’s wife (boast against Leto, mother of Artemis and Apollo).

Denial of Autochthonous Origins (born of earth)

  • Monsters slain – Cadmus/dragon; Oedipus/Sphinx.
  • Man overcomes autochthonous being (symbolism of).
  • Most famous autochthons are sons of Gaea (Pontus, Uranus, Actaeus, Cecrops, Cranaus).

Affirmation of Origins

  • Shared naming -Labdacus/Laius/Oedipus.
  • All men born from earth have difficulty in walking straight & standing upright.

otherwise fragile structures. This is particularly true of cinema, which needs to concentrate narrative into blunt gestures to fit its temporal restrictions. The movies O Brother Where Art Thou? and Head On profit from alliance with the Odysseus myth, although TBH I never liked the American movie because it uses mythemes too cosmetically / cynically / simplistically [DELETE ANY NOT APPLICABLE]. A final advantage of myth is that destiny is fixed in advance. Narrative cannot shake off the mythic template. The reader can relax. There’s no suspense. One must go through the motions held in its thrall. That is what this work is trying to achieve. We already know by now that Tom and Ana are dead like Hamlet and Ophelia. We know what happens to Don Cane. We are aware that Elizabeth Archer has a baby. Let us disclose the relational groupings of Telemachus by two methods – (1) chapter-by-chapter analysis of the Telemachiad followed by (2) mythic comparison with the Odyssey. Thematic analysis can be represented by key words that epitomise mythic elements:

Table 6. Thematic development in TMAC, chapter-by-chapter

Chapter (Subject)

Themes (Functions)


Gods in Council

Immutability – power – variables itemised.


Telemachus and Athena

Mutability – false union – sexual abomination – destruction of a temple – return from Paris (humiliated).



Mutation – opportunism – re-assertion of natural order – confronting the past – family restored (false/temporary) – transitory sanctuary.


Scylla and Charybdis

Breakage of natural order – revelation of false nature of perfect family (Capri) – new family relations disclosed (Tom/Billy) – old unions broken – revelation of systematic lies by authority – inversion of previous blood relations.


Wandering Rocks

Life – place as character – episodic nature of existence –centripetal movements – false unions – individualism.


Oxen of the Sun

Language – myths/themes – stasis/dromology – surdity/utterance.



Night and dreams – sexual abomination – blasphemous union – death visits

good/evil equally INSERT NEW ESSAY CONTENT.



Hiatus – inside the hut (Leer) including stratagem entry – mockery of blood relations (hyperdermic) – revelation of false idol – flight.



Woman as home – death of Ophelia and/or goddess (Ana).



Post Odyssey time plate – Homeric order reinstated and extended – crossing point in/out – Tom Hallem exposed to suitors – Demodocus’ Song (Frenchs as Alcinous’ palace) – Sirens (Francine) – her warning – group splits between heights/ depths (Harbour Bridge and St James tunnels) – temporary sanctuary (Francine) – a father awaiting return of the son (wooden horse) – Nostos.

The above table may have changed as the author completed the work. My analysis is based on an incomplete version. Telemachus can be compared to the following relational groupings of mythemes in the Homeric narrative:

Table 7. Telemachus versus the Odyssey – Mythemes compared

Telemachus Mytheme

Odyssey Mytheme


Father and mother in fruitful union (Don, Penelope)

Odysseus/Penelope at Ithaca (1)


Son born (Thomas)



Abomination A against Nature (Helen gives birth to Billy)

Madness + War (Troy)


Father in exile (Vietnam, Manila)



Normalized childhood – sequence of false father figures and proxies (Les, Westacott, Dick Stone, Willy the Pimp, Leer)

Telemachus’ life – Siege of Suitors


Maternal deceptions (re-paternity + aliveness)

Penelope’s web, ambiguous Athena


Father returns (Sydney)

Odysseus on Ithaca


Truth revealed [Tom and Billy are half-brothers like Telemachus and Telegonus]. Kinship formula = FaMoMoBrBr.

Visit to Menelaus.


Thwarted homecomings – Tom (pub, brothel, Leer’s apartment, exhibition opening, restaurant). Contrast with Billy going home with Barry (‘REAL’ father)

Homecoming – Telemachus and Odysseus both return to Ithaca.


Rejection of social hierarchy/customs (Tom exit from art clique at restaurant – mirroring Elizabeth’s pregnancy tactics)

Disposal of suitors without proper ceremony.


Wandering son (Frenchs, Francine).

Post-Odyssey. Telegonus on Ithaca – murder of Odysseus.


Death of Ana [O + D + IC] – dromological/free female will be fixed in place by death/stasis.

Post-Odyssey. Woman as patriarchal victim (see Antigone, Ophelia et al).


Abomination B against Nature – Elizabeth bears ‘illegal’ child (see Items 3 & 10 above) [Non-A]

Post-Odyssey. Penelope marries Telegonus.


Sons struggle with father legacy (post-Ulysses): one is destroyed (Tom) while the other survives in diminished form (BC).

Post-Odyssey. Telemachus


Living brother writes of dead brother.

Post-Odyssey. Tennyson (In Memoriam).

Insert (16) Blood reunion (affirmation of origins). We can see from the above table that we depart from the core Homeric version of Odysseus myth after Point 10, although there is still alignment to later versions of the Myth in Points 11–13. Point 14 has been projected out of the myth by many authors since Homer. Point 15 is accretive. However, it is not misaligned with the myth. It is a fond wish that my niece finds me, wrote Billy Capri. She is ~23 years old. I don’t know how it will happen. I don’t have a My Space account. I am in the Sydney telephone directory but she may not know my family name (not Hallem). She might not even know that her father had a half-brother. She could look for her grandmother, who may or may not explain the family history (what I call a blockage in C1). Penelope is now classified under her maiden name, McFADDEN. The girl has access to court documents. I believe in my heart that she will find me. In this regard, I am quixotic like Barthes. We will sit at a park bench sharing mute mannerisms like two characters in a Duras novel. Telemachus must have experienced a similar sensation when he was waiting in the dark with his father prior to entering the hall to confront the suitors. He would have heard his father’s respiration. This would have been a bittersweet moment. I am sure James Joyce felt it with John Joyce. I never had that with my own father. I remember the night Barry helped Billy move home from Darlinghurst before he went to the UK. He grunted and gasped in the dark after he had stopped the car in Campsie. But it didn’t sound like a familial sound-bond. It was quite different. I will not vilify Elizabeth. The mother/child bond is sacred. In all cultures, the mother/father relationship is reciprocal with that of father/son, according to L-S. A dominant mother is formal with the father. This usually meant the father was intimate with the son. I think it’s like that with me, O and the kids. The Relational Groupings in the Odysseus myth are as follows:

The following table puts the relational groupings into cyclical sequence. The vertical axis represents temporal progress while the horizontal axis represents ethical progress (return to natural order).

Leavis said in The Great Tradition that no work can be considered great art without evincing a moral purpose. Joyce failed in comparison with Lawrence. Ulysses was a ‘cosmopolitan’ conceit, he said. Leavis completely missed the moral dimensions of Ulysses: its critique of Imperialism; its rejection of violence and war; its humanism; the transcendence of racial bullying right across Dublin by Leopold Bloom; Stephen’s guilt in the Telemachiad and wild angst after; Molly’s decision to re-commit to her marriage. He didn’t even understand the significance of its last word – YES.


Saussure is an enigma. His closest correlation in literature is the ghost of Hamlet’s father. He influenced later generations without being present. He is a famous theorist that hardly published a note in his lifetime. Even the works that were released under his name were half-summaries, notebook jottings, second-hand recollections of students who had heard his lectures, people who read his memoirs, old course notes, abandoned theoretical fragments and unfinished essays. Some material was withheld by his family until 1996. His book on Lithuanian phonetics was lifted out of Kurschat then probably streamlined by his students, Bally and Sechehaye. The “Course on General Linguistics” was offered at university only three times. The book of that title was constructed from notes. His theories are outdated and discredited. Even Laryngeal Theory started as an aside in an article about vowels in the PIE Ablaut. Today, critics can write that “Saussure hardly plays a role in current theoretical thinking” and that his concepts were “wrong on a grand scale.” Others pay lip service. He died a lonely, broken man. A retrospective of my brother’s work at the AGNSW titled, “On Some Australian Mountain Range (Imagining A Kind of Change),” has been curated by Professor Marion Hackett, Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at the University of Sydney and Head Acquisitions Adviser to the Macquarie Group Contemporary Australian Art Collection. It contains 29 works mainly from his most active period between 1980–1984 including:

• 4 x large paintings (oil on unstretched canvas with punch-holes and grommets): “Speed Painting 1,” “Tim playing guitar (Meat Puppets),” and “Justin on bar stool with ghetto blaster,” which represent his mature style. Also, a late untitled work which is derivative of Paladino’s horse sculptures (c.1987).

• 1 x landscape painting (oil on unstretched canvas): “Untitled (coastline from satellite).” This work was completed after a field trip to Stanwell Park in 1984.

• 2 x small paintings (1 x oil on canvas; 1 x acrylic on black poster paper): “Untitled Heads (Dorian Gray)” and “Untitled (Permanence).” The former is a self-portrait gazing at 2 smaller self-portrait heads (no perspective) while the latter incorporates white text in the style of Colin McCahon across the face of a nocturnal landscape featuring the then-abandoned motorway columns of Pyrmont, Sydney.

• 2 x drawings (Czech oil pastel): “Francine in West Berlin” and “(Untitled) Bulimia.” The first is his then-girlfriend, Francine Hackett, covering her mouth with elongated fingers. The second is a self-portrait in profile of Tom thrusting his fist into his mouth. It resembles the underside of an erect penis.

• 4 x drawings (black biro on butcher’s wrap): all “Untitled” using a style similar to Dale Frank. They are named by the curator in parentheses: “Skeleton Beau,” “Skeleton Gentleman with Cocktail watching Burlesque Dancers,” “Skeletons Skydiving (The Tightrope Walker Falls Alone),” and “Self-Portrait Examining Palm (Lifeline).”

• 1 x super-8 movie (5 min), “Entr’acte Redux.” This movie updates the scene in which Marcel Duchamp and Man Ray play chess in the 1924 short film Entr’acte by Rene Clair.

• 9 x drawings (pen on paper): all “Untitled” heads given titles based on their subjects. They are John Cale, Man Ray, Karl Marx, Simone de Beauvoir, James Joyce (1, 2), Martin Luther King (1, 2) and Self-Portrait respectively (I remember that these images were produced by analysing photographs for 30 seconds then executing an urgent image with his eyes shut – the result being Cubist bodily dislocation).

• 5 x cut-ups/ephemera (pre-1980):

0 1 x postcard of hollowed rock formations on the Portuguese coastline with the title, “Patriarchy as Viewed from Within”

0 1 x cartoon of slaves at a cotton gin titled “Alabama 1867: Newly emancipated negroes purchase ‘dye-pigment’ machines and ingredients from white traders” (an allusion perhaps to The Sneetches and Other Stories, which he considered the greatest ethical work of our time)

0 1 x magazine picture of New York Skyscrapers with 3 rectangles cut into the image then pasted on black card

0 1 x untitled cut-up of a photograph of a statue of a stone King on his throne with an Egyptian mummy lying across his lap called “Father” by the curator

0 1 x industrial-strength brown paper bag (70 x 40) folded into a rectangle (19.5 x 14) which could sit upright on a mantelpiece and upon the face of which had been glued a typed note reading: “PLACE OVER HEAD FOR THREE-DIMENSIONAL VIEWING”.

The consensus of critics was that the only works of residual value to Australian art were “Speed Painting 1” and “Untitled (coastline from satellite).” These works were loaned by the Macquarie Group and later acquired by the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra. They are not currently being exhibited. They are considered fine examples of the domestic Neo-Expressionist style in the period from 1978–1989. Its principal proponents were Peter Booth, John Walker, Jenny Watson, Davida Allen, Mike Parr and Imants Tillers. The remainder of the paintings came from Private Collections. As executor, I provided drawings, cut-ups and the sole print of his only movie. Since the retrospective, Tom’s larger works can sell at auction for over $40,000. There are probably less than twenty premium pieces in total. An unspecified number remain in the possession of EA2 Gallery on behalf of his daughter’s estate. Macquarie Group has recently recycled its asset portfolio. The wry humour revealed by his juvenilia was noted in reviews. This is an element of Dave that is often forgotten. He was a FUNNY GUY. An unauthorised biography was released to coincide with the show. It was written by rock journalist, Vivien Jug. It completely by-passed his spirit. Jug traded on the novelty value of Tom’s story: his affairs with his dealers; Elizabeth’s child; allegations about his role in the death of a young musician in 1984; the forgery scandal; his relocation to Melbourne; his death; and various court cases and coroner’s reports arising from the above. We know about Saussure only because his students tried to capture his theories posthumously. I am trying to put together the same accumulative picture of Tom Hallem. Saussure wanted to look at language without the static interference of real-time production. He perceived language as a structured system of signs all internal. This was called “la langue.” Utterance itself was termed “la parole.” Academics all over the world like to use these French terms when in fact they simply mean ‘language’ and ‘speaking’ in English. His most famous concept is the linguistic sign: signifier and signified. This ‘double entity’ is composed of two parts: concept (signified) and the common sound image it produces in our mind (signifier). It was Lacan who noted that signification follows the path of the signifier. There can be multiple signifiers for each signified. For example, the signified ‘cancer’ can be conveyed equally by an animation of red-colored cells moving inside the human body (internal) or an image of a denuded human (surface). Maybe we perceive them simultaneously; creating a kind of ‘split screen’ in our heads. Everything about sign connections is arbitrary. Tom’s best paintings turn the signified into a cartoon. The ‘unpresentable’ is called forth by style. Hung canvasses sag against the wall off eyelets pierced by cup hooks. There is no framing. Occasionally, he traces a gold border with a heavy house-painter brush. Brushstrokes are clearly visible. Patches and silhouettes of abandoned works are retained. Oil flows down the canvas seeping into adjacencies. A red shirt leaks into black trousers into a bar stool. A ghetto blaster melds with floorboards. Tom Hallem paused in the alcove of the sunken Modernist lecture theatre. Leaves gathered around his feet. Levi-Strauss descended into the Maginot Line. He felt in his back pocket for a torch. He had just returned to Paris. Joyce had just left. Now he was out doing fieldwork again. A broad flat roof hacked into high pines. He drew closer to a fire door seeking cover against rain spray. Drole de guerre. Hiatus. The storm sounded like a creek flowing in trees. A medical lecture was taking place. The lecturer’s dome gleamed against bright fluorescent lights. Grey halo of seedhead. Yellowing notes. A bunch of dead dandelions. Billions of filaments. Perfect sphere. Culture like nature has structural principles. Levi-Strauss took to his desk where a hive of telegrams awaited censorship. The lecturer cleared his throat (link to laryngeal theory > family palette).

“We have been studying Surgery of the Stomach this semester,” he commenced. “Today we will look at perforated ulcers. Next week, our final lecture will examine pancreatic cancer. The information in these lectures can be found in Primary Surgery: Volume One. In the event that the library has insufficient copies, a photocopied booklet of individual chapters can be purchased from the Faculty Office for two dollars each.”

The lecturer took a sip of water from a drinking glass concealed by the lectern. Insert symbolism. The death of Joyce from a perforated ulcer is the end of (t)his plot. Everything after C6 in TMAC is aftermath and revisionism. Not tragedy. He lived life to the fullest. It was a Romance trope.

“We all know how food is digested,” said the professor drolly. “It is swallowed, squeezed down the esophagus then pushed down a sphincter into the stomach, where it is mixed with gastric juices containing enzymes and hydrochloric acid. The stomach churns this mixture – called chyme – breaking it down like a washing machine. Once the food has become paste, it is forced through a second sphincter into the duodenum. The lining of the stomach is layered with folds. Ulcers occur in this lining. A perforated ulcer is caused when an untreated ulcer burns through the wall of the stomach or gastrointestinal tract. This causes digestive juices and food to leak into the abdominal cavity. Treatment requires immediate surgery. Otherwise, the patient will die quickly and painfully. The writer, James Joyce, for example died exactly 72 hours after the onset of cramps in January 1941.”

What causes a stomach ulcer?

Stomach ulcers can be caused by a variety of factors. Stomach cancer is a principal cause. Surgical intervention in this instance will need to be coordinated with an oncologist. The micro-organism, Helicobacter pylori, discovered only last year, is estimated to cause ninety per cent of duodenal ulcers. This germ lives in the stomach lining and causes related diseases like gastritis and dyspepsia. By the time a perforated duodenal ulcer is treated surgically, the causes are irrelevant.

Outline symptoms of a stomach ulcer.

Loss of appetite, concomitant weight loss, chronic indigestion and heartburn. The ulcer is still defined as ‘peptic’ at this stage. It has not yet burned through the full thickness of the stomach or duodenum wall.

How is it diagnosed?

The range of diagnostic methods includes Endoscopy, Barium meal, Biopsy and, more recently, the C14 breathe test for H. pylori. The C14 test involves swallowing radioactive carbon (C14) and testing air exhaled from lungs. It is effective because bacteria convert urea into carbon dioxide. Sound is another diagnostic tool. An ulcer can perforate almost silently in old patients such as Joyce.

What are the symptoms of a perforated ulcer?

1. Sudden, severe, sharp abdominal pains just below the ribcage. This pain is so intense that the patient will recall the exact moment of origin. Typically, maximum intensity occurs immediately and persists until surgery or death.

2. A rigid abdomen that is extremely vulnerable to touch.

3. Symptoms of shock such as excessive sweating, confusion and fainting.

4. Bright or altered blood coloration in vomit and stools as well as dark, tarry faeces.


A perforated ulcer floods the peritoneum with the acid contents of the stomach causing sudden and constant agonising pain across the entire upper abdomen. The patient is pale, sweating and hypotensive with a fast pulse but normal temperature. The stomach is NOT distended. Typically, the abdomen has a surfboard-like rigidity, unlike that in any other disease.

How does the disease progress?

After 3 or 4 hours, pain and rigidity lessen. A silent interval begins. The patient starts to feel a bit better. This is like the eye of a storm. At the sixth hour, signs of diffuse peritonitis will develop. The patient now needs an urgent laparotomy to close the hole in the stomach or duodenum and to wash out the peritoneal cavity. Remember that the fundamental rule of all emergency surgery is to only do what is absolutely necessary. Don’t waste your time on frivolities. X-rays are unnecessary if the diagnosis is clear. A fit patient who has a successful operation within 8 hours of onset has a good chance of survival. If you delay intervention until the twelfth hour, the chances of survival fall to sub-fifty per cent. Closing the perforation is not difficult but be sure to wash out the peritoneum thoroughly. For this task, you will need large volumes of warm saline.

What is the key diagnostic risk?

The main risk in diagnosis is distinguishing a perforated ulcer from appendicitis. Indicators for perforation include shoulder pain (usually on the right side), shock and production of at least one litre of stomach aspirate. As we know from lecture six, appendicitis presents quite differently with a colicky onset, fever and a small stomach aspirate of mucoid or bile-stained fluid. There is no evidence of shock in appendicitis. There is no evidence of fever in perforation. The lecturer offered this last cross-piece of information smugly.

Outline the pre-surgical procedure.

I don’t propose to go through the pre-surgical process line-by-line. You can refer to your textbook. I do want to restate, however, that surgery should only take place if pain persists or gas under the diaphragm increases. Remember there is a grace period of only 2 to 4 hours for this decision.

Outline the surgical procedure.

The surgical method is very well-established. It isn’t like spine or brain surgery. There are ten basic steps in your illustrated manual. Again, I will focus on some key points. Item 2. When you make the first midline or upper right paramedian incision then escaping gas should confirm your diagnosis. You can close-up if there’s no stink and tell them it was all a horrible mistake here’s a Chupa-chup please don’t sue. Item 3. Initial examination should show a pool of exudate under the liver with food and fluid everywhere and an inflamed peritoneum. This fluid may be odourless and colourless with yellowish flecks, or bile-stained in the case of biliary peritonitis. Patches of fat necrosis indicate acute pancreatitis. If there is no or little fluid, push a swab on a holder beside the ascending colon towards the caecum. If it is soaked with fluid when withdrawn, this suggests perforation. If there’s no fluid, go back to the end of Item 2 and hand out lollies. Item 4. We’ve diagnosed the ulcer and we’re really going for it now. Place a retractor in the wound to expose the stomach and duodenum. Place a moist abdominal pack on the greater curvature of the stomach. Draw downwards, he said making a fondling motion. Ask an assistant to hold it. At the same time, ask the assistant to hold the liver upwards with a deep retractor. Put an abdominal pack between the retractor and liver for protection. If necessary, get help from a second assistant. If there are no assistants then just jam stuff everywhere and do your best. Item 6. What we are looking for is a small circular hole from 1 to 10 millimetres in diameter on the anterior surface of the duodenum. It should look freshly drilled out. Feel it with your fingers. Don’t be afraid. You’re wearing gloves. At least I hope you remembered them. The tissue around it will be thickened, scarred and friable. If the duodenum is normal, look at the stomach especially the lesser curve. If the hole is very small, there may be more to feel than see. Persevere. We are long past Item 2 and we’ve just run out of Chupa-chups. Item 7. Sometimes gastric ulcers are sealed off by adhesions to the liver. If they are adhered then separate them. If the ulcer is BURROWING into the liver, separate the stomach or duodenum from the liver by pinching between them with your finger and thumb. If this is difficult, cut around it and leave the base fixed to liver. Do NOT put finger through the ulcer into the liver under any circumstances as it will bleed severely and may cause shock, convulsions and death. Make sure you’ve got lots of blood or plasma handy just in case. Item 8. An ulcer high up posteriorly may be difficult to find. Feel carefully. It will feel like finding the surface of an earring that your wife dropped down the s-bend when she was doing the washing up. Item 10. The closure procedure is fairly standard. There are some important points. I recommend interrupted sutures of 2/0 chromic catgut on an atraumatic needle to bring the perforation’s edges together with 1 to 3 deep stitches. Always sew omentum over the perforation by bringing up a fold of the greater omentum. A hole so plugged is unlikely to leak. There is one absolutely critical point to remember. Wash out the peritoneal cavity. Let me repeat. Wash out the peritoneal cavity. This is absolutely critical. It may be more important than closing the hole. Tip one litre of warm saline into the peritoneal cavity. Spread well. Suck it out. Repeat this procedure several times. Try to wash out every possible recess in the upper abdomen. Mop the surface of the liver. Instil tetracycline 1g in a litre of saline and leave it inside. Close the abdomen securely with non-absorbable sutures in a single layer. Do not insert drains. You’re done! You’re an expert stomach surgeon. If this is all too much blood and guts but you do like working with guts, as opposed to in them, then consider specialising in gastroenterology. Then you can sit in an office rubbing people’s bellies and smelling their eructs while you leave the surgery to the butchers in emergency.

Equipment and team required.

General set. At least ten litres of warm saline. Two assistants (if possible).

Post-operative procedure

Nurse in high Fowler’s position. Continue with nasogastic suction and intravenous fluids as per Sections 9.9 and A 15.5. Replace gastric aspirate with 0.9% saline. Continue to ‘suck and drip’ for 4 or 5 days until the abdomen is no longer tender and rigid and normal bowel sounds return. If the patient runs a FEVER in Week 2 you should suspect the development of a subphrenic abscess. If pain persists, or gas under the diaphragm increases, operate again.

Who is susceptible to a perforated ulcer?

This disease is a well-known writer killer. Kipling, Joyce and Tolkien all died in this manner. The irony in the word ‘perforation’ is noted. Joyce considered that the three writers of the nineteenth century with the greatest natural talent were Kipling, D’Annunzio and Tolstoy. They all became fanatics. The lecturer reached for his glass. Hallem set off. He ascended the driveway separating the playing fields of St Johns College from Royal Prince Alfred Hospital edging towards his birthplace, the King George the Fifth Maternity Hospital, across Missenden Road. A college cricket match was still in progress. Overhanging Jacaranda branches obscured his view of the dim summit. The sky darkened quickly like a time-lapse movie of a bruise on tanned flesh. Street lights struggled to sustain perception in the heaving breeze. Tree limbs were slung across isolated beams. Southerly coming. Dim martins wheeled above overflowing hospital skips. Hallem observed an ibis picking through garbage with its beak like Willy sorting through magic bins for dope residue in used hospital syringes and vials. The above description corresponds to the surgical procedure for ulcers. General anaesthesia with good relaxation is sufficient. Pre-medicate with intravenous morphine. It swung off the skip ledge at a sudden gust. A bird designed in advance of the garbage bin. Proof of God. How long would it take mankind to develop wings, Tom pondered. 4.6 billion years of evolution. 220 million years since mammals. 100,000 years of Homo Sapiens. 50,000 years of full behavioural modernity. Bonobo apes have already evolved skin flaps. Intelligent Design. Squash it all into the Blink of an Eye. If I start flapping my arms now it might only take one million years of continuous reinforcement by my heirs. Stalin’s ape army. Inseminate female apes with human semen. Try also injecting women with gorilla sperm. Lebensborn. The translator is the novelist’s ape, according to Simon Ley. Hitler’s purpose was the opposite of Stalin. He was seduced by perfection; not functional debasement. His henchman, Himmler, was a chicken breeder like Darwin with his pigeon fanciers and dogs. Plato believed that human reproduction should be controlled by the State through a star rating system. Catholic broods. State-sponsored infanticide in China. Invert Natural Selection. Sparta exposed feeble infants at the Apothetea. Oedipus in tundra. Rome mandated the drowning of deformed babies (Table 4 of Roman Law). Stolen Generations. They thought it would all be bred out of the nation in fifty years. Forced Resettlement. Japan murdering all Chinese. Religious rape in Sudan. One Child Policy. There were thirteen million terminations in 2008 (source – State Media). There are 119 boys born for every 100 girls in China (Hsu, Scientific American, 2008). See Chinese Book of Songs. “When a son is born, / Let him sleep on the bed, / Clothe him with fine clothes, / And give him jade to play … / When a daughter is born, / Let her sleep on the ground, / Wrap her in common wrappings, / And give broken tiles to play.” There was a knock on the peasant’s door. A female voice replied, “no one is home.” All these images are relevant to Oxen. It is about BIRTH. Like Saussure, Joyce forces the reader to an awareness of the permutations within phonetic sequences. There is increased phonetic density and heightening of phonemes (the smallest units of utterance). Joyce’s language is refracted in Saussure’s obsession with anagrams. He employs a mechanical device to frustrate the sacred ends of nature (Pure/foy, “In fishing cap and oilskin jacket”). There are four types of birthing: Natural, Mechanical, Hygienic, Hybrid. Queen Victoria was strapped into Albert the Good’s iron stirrups like some regal lab rat. Insert forceps. Mistress Purefoy on a stool. Two days past term can’t deliver queasy from slop shrewd drier up of insides heavy breathing. Nurse Callan speaking a few words in low tones. Anaesthetic intervention. Caesarean section. Low mortality rate. Churn them out. Less insurance risks. Babies can live from twenty-three weeks. Susan Richards died on Day Two. Richie’s miscarriages. Chaim. Language is just a system of differences no value judgments. Plato’s Hermogenes said that “all words of a language are formed by an agreement of people among themselves.” Language is thus a SOCIAL compact. A community generates signs. They cannot be produced in isolation. An arbitrary signification can only become formalised by consensus. Then it is made into a cultural emblem. It may even be considered the defining mark of a self-identified community. But it is in the nature of language to be overlooked. In this way, it avoids radical engagement with its own conventions. We are all responsible for language. English is a Heraclitan language. See Liffey’s riverrun (also Cratylus). Mandarin is a relatively young language. Old Chinese up to the Zhou dynasty in the 3rd century BCE and Middle Chinese up to the Song dynasty in the 10th century CE have only been partially reconstructed. Topography governed the development of Chinese languages. Mandarin was the language of the plains from Sichuan to the north-east coast. The mountainous regions of the south had greater diversity. Ok Tedi killed eighty languages alone. Most Chinese only knew their local dialectic up to the Communist revolution. Mao selected Mandarin as the national language. Hanzi characters were simplified. Some say that the Communists took the poetry out of the Chinese language. But they made literacy possible for the masses. You still need 3,000 characters to read a newspaper. Mandarin is a logical language. New compounds are created out of existing words. For example, wenxue means literature. It is formed from wenhua, meaning culture and xuexi to learn. The Chinese repeat short words to create longer ones because they can’t get clarity of expression out of monosyllabics due to tonal limitations. Thus, yi dian dian means a ‘one little-little.’ They are practical in making words. Mobile phone is shou ji – literally ‘hand machine.’ My favourite Chinese adaptation is ji wei jiu. It literally means ‘chicken tail drink.’ In English, this word is ‘cock/tail.’ If you say “I love you” in another language, it doesn’t count in China. It doesn’t sound the same as Mandarin and it doesn’t count. I say it whenever I can to prostitutes, bogus girlfriends, KTV hostesses, bored housewives at five-star hotel bars even sloppy old massage ladies. It never has any meaning. They don’t even understand it as language. What type of creature are you anyway? Your thin lips don’t look Chinese. Our mouths are swollen and dark like soft tropical fruit. Blood fills them with meaning. Lips dominate the Han face. They can make unfamiliar shapes. This gives us greater dexterity of utterance. Put your tongue behind your top teeth. Pretend you’ve got lips. Wrong. You sound like a snake now. Let’s go back to restaurant etiquette. Chinese people don’t have time to listen. They are too busy studying your face. Your profile is like a beak. A big nose is a good sign. Show me your foot. Truly you are too big for a little Chinese girl like me. Does your sister look the same? Then she would not be beautiful, they conclude sadly. I want a son who looks like you. He could even wear spectacles! We can never kiss your face because of those sharp bristles. So ticklish! It would make our skin raw. Preservation of a milky complexion is an essential feature of beauty. Chinese women cannot understand why Western people burn their skin deliberately. It is a sign of poverty and ignorance. Common people are called lao bai xin – literally “old one hundred names.” They are very perceptive. They always pay lip service to my Chinese language skills. They say my Mandarin is bu cuo. It means NOT BAD. I understand this term as an Australian. We also use a lot of litotes. They are obsessed with body hair. When a woman sees me naked for the first time, I always make a series of jokes to defuse her embarrassment. I say that I look like a monkey (wo kan qi lai hou zi). Next, I live in the zoo with my monkey friends (wo zhu zai dong wu yuan gen wo de hou zi peng you). Lastly, I say that my favourite fruit is bananas (wo de zui xi huan shui guo shi xiang jiao). Hao chi! Good eating! It’s a killer routine. All women love to laugh most. It’s more important than being handsome. Once I was at a KTV in Beijing when a drunken toll road owner asked if he could stroke my arm. I let him run his soft palm down my forearm. I had my shirt open from singing “Delilah.” He asked if he could run his hand through my chest hair. I laughed out loud and said that the pretty hostess could do it then tell him how it felt. Later, he bought me an overnight session with this woman. I told her “wo ai ni” many times. Love is also a Trickster in the binary opposition between Love and Death. Death contains no element of surprise. I am announcing Derrida’s mode of death in this section well in advance of examining the influence of Joyce (see DEARREADER). He died of pancreatic cancer. This provides a little dignity for the disintegration of what Christians call our ‘wretched form’ (Romans 7:24). Maybe I’ll stuff him down the end of the chapter like a cancer cell breaking from the top of his skull and racing all the way down his spine to metastasise in his coccyx. We should ONLY study the death-modes of philosophers, not their works (see Leavis). There is no text anymore only headstones (see Barthes). Levi-Strauss went to Brazil. Nobody knows how Saussure died. Foucault never left the academy. Barthes was hit by a laundry truck near the Sorbonne and died from complications. Rimbaud got bone cancer in his knee in Aden, had his left leg amputated and died in Marseille. James Joyce suffered ocular degeneration. These are all strong Signs. There is a song called “The Death of Ferdinand Saussure” by Magnetic Fields. It’s a good title. All signs are titles that then generate content. The title is a distillation of the Sign in relation to Love set against the fuller representation of love in pop classics by Holland Dozier Holland. Tom Hallem was always turning words like a tin pan alley lyricist. He had a gift for making slight shifts in their landscape with gentle puns. He started out ironic went anthemic then became self-deprecating as his physical powers waned. In the end, he was working on miniature scenes from Baudelaire. These works were never exhibited. They exist in demos. Tom Hallem mediated with the surface of his body after the heart transplant. He displayed the thick vertical scar running down his chest with pride, like an initiation symbol. He observed himself in the mirror with detachment (link to LACAN | NACAL). “Am I still the same person?” he asked in one of his last letters. What would Derrida have done during his illness? He had plenty of time on his hands. Ionesco would have enjoyed this surreal English idiom immensely. Perhaps he would have made a portmanteau word out of the language of disease. For example, the term ‘pan-creative’ is a good summary of Derrida’s life work. Like Pan, Derrida possessed enormous strength. He was a champion footballer back in Algeria. He became a midfield dynamo who seemed impervious to injury. Later, he learned to transform objects into different forms (AKA magic flute). He was the sworn enemy of Apollo (see Dionysus). He mastered teleportation (see AE, C10). He also loved to write of The Fuck.


Before born babe bliss had. | emac-eB ebab htrib dnoyeb. Beyond birth babe Be-came | Dah ssilb ebab nrob erofeb. Prieš gimęs baba palaima turėjo. Don Cane was slumbering in his hotel room. He experienced a dream narrative of false remembrance. He was holding his infant son in tight swaddling. This was an event he knew NEVER HAPPENED. The baby had never rested on his scales. He held it up to a MIRROR. His saw his own father. Dead on a boat in 1942. Lithuanian accents. Like Hamlet’s father, the sensation of Inhabiting Absence lifted him towards pent consciousness. He became sharply aware of his surroundings. He opened his eyes. In the reflection of the wardrobe mirror, his bloated trunk was stretched sideways along the mattress tight-twirled inside a white bed sheet. He rolled onto his back and closed his eyes to release himself from all images real and imagined. His arms fell akimbo in surrender onto the flabby pillows next to his head. Aircon blew across bare skin. CYA. A few seconds bursting with facts. Daniel Boone squad spreading Bitrex through rice bags. COCKADAU! COCKADAU! Hmong tribesmen burst a withering field of fire. Miracle I wasn’t hit. Everything else shattered. You gotta walk out of Out-Country. Take a dust-off UP. Get to the PRC-10. RTO dead. Squelch one time. Call in Medivac. Bark coordinates. 100 yards west of that BFR. Four guys zapped. Multiple GSWs. Multiple T&T s. Di di mau. Stuff them full of morphine syrettes. Guts spilling. Blasphemy of birth. Hold him together with pressure bandages. No LZ. I can hear Green Hornets. Let off some Goofy Grape. Two Snakes come first cutting up the jungle then a C-130 made an LZ Cut. Its flat bomb smashed a gap in the Triple Canopy. My mouth felt thick like chewing on a big spoonful of Choke. He took a print from his wallet of his baby son’s face gazing knowingly at the lens of a Box Brownie. His wife sent it. On the back she wrote, “Tom – 4 months.” No accompanying letter. Nobody treated him with spite. A smirk spread across the baby’s bulbous cheeks. Lacan’s face. His legs stretched. Unformed stomach muscles tightened and popped. His stiff arms reached awkwardly. Offertory. He presented himself for acclamation. The lens created a stage. Also, a mirror. Concave glass. Pregnant stomachs. Elan vital. Babies use it as clean energy to form their personalities. Like getting right up close to a radio as it transmits false messages. Don fractured his own life. Calculate Cost-Benefit Analysis. Develop some new formule for evaluating “life force.” Calculus of Qi. The last breath left the body. A gasp sometimes a gurgle this time a sigh then the bowels drop. Don had seen men die in all formats. Richie handed over Robert’s corpse. He couldn’t make it more special for the soldiers who died in his lap. A sudden need to inhale made him suck hastily. S = LF/T over PE x I x E where: S = Subject, LF = life force, T = time, PE = psychic energy, I = intent. E = experience. MAKE A DIAGRAM OF THIS EQUATION. Subject at the Eastern head. “E” at the Western tail. Thus, mouth IN nose OUT. Trauma stays with you in breathing all the rest of your life. Tom Hallem reached the summit of Missenden Road opposite the art deco oblige of King George the Fifth Hospital. Update the lost child motif in Australian art. Glue a picture of an abandoned refrigerator in the foreground of McCubbin’s idyll. Make a painting of the paddock where Pepe died. Howard Arkley bungalows. Suffocation also a metaphor. Courbet’s L’Origine du Monde enclosed by Sylvia Lacan behind a plain painted panel. Her husband liked to slide back the flap before his guests revealing the utterly apparent vagina. Lucien Freud’s template. An old cold-box cannot be opened from within. Lift-the-flap book. Inside, position the huddled child. Make it an installation. Soundtrack of air weakening until silence is too long. Another foetus dead in Richie’s womb. I have two healthy sons. Tom Hallem brushed the residue of wet leaves from his cheek. Cold not briney. The phallus is also in that painting, Lacan said. Courbet’s putative headshot indicated he had painted a corpse. Tom bowed to the earth. Unyielding but resisting. Heroin had hardened his shit into a brain trying to burst out of his gut. Constipation is a sign of good health in Pomeranians, said Molloy. Beckett suffered anal boils. Hope it’s not too thick. Bring on piles again. My grandfather squatting on a rolled-up newspaper. Bloom gazing up the arseholes of Classical statues to see if their logs winked like Bataille’s priest-eye. He only overcame constipation in Calypso due to the alleviating impact of Cascara Sagrada. Baudelaire said the French were barnyard animals. Beasts of the Latin Race. Shit did not displease them. This associates them with swine. But they could equally be equated with goats. Father Ambrose. Big cock, gown uppa. It hurts when they press through the knot then it’s easy. Stroking my shoulder-blades. Just relax. Yielding not resisting. Bloom allowed his bowels to ease as he read Beaufoy’s Tit-Bits. Explore every inch of the cave. Tom had forgotten all about Pepe. Was he even REAL? Insert psychoanalysis. Tom replayed a sequence of recent sensations [INSERT TABLE]:

Table 8. Tom Hallem – Symbolism of actions in C6



Overhanging row of natives

Distinctive Australian landscape

Looming darkness



Catharsis = wild memory (sublime 1 – nature A)

Detox Clinic

A sealed box

Pulling a coat over his head

Mother’s shroud; death shroud

Birds circling and picking at food

Death and disintegration (raven)


Lacan’s Seminar on Anxiety (1963)

Pepe’s suffocation

Homoeroticism (sublime 2 – libido/death)

Walking alone through familiar places

Lost innocence … lost certainty … reflection … isolation


Of F/W

Joyce’s “Oxen” episode

One of Birth

This chapter

One of Death (Joyce mirror)

Tom Hallem walked through the hospital maintenance yard. It was blighted with chimneys, garbage skips, corroding machinery and empty gas cylinders. He took shelter beneath a corrugated awning that wound alongside the car park. The Queen Mary Building rose off brick wings half-hidden by skirting figs (sublime 3 – nature B). Nurses Callan and Quigley emerged eating grapes. Chew up a bloke at the Prince Alfred pub after each shift. Open all hours. Callan so fertile. Luster of her own sex. Bloom’s faux pas. When will you too be pregnant? Hallem crossed Mallett Street and entered Camperdown Memorial Park. Keep the base narrative simple like watching Blow Up or Pasolini. He could see the distant Bandstand through mangled landscaping. He had fucked there after a gig. Melanie’s hand reached down his spine. Her finger penetrated his sanctum. It’s alright to cum inside me, she said (Sublime 4 – libido/orgasm). There was a plaster memorial to the Great War Dead. This had no significance for him. He felt thirst. The oval was wet with fallen pods. Grandstand toilets. Hot. Go there again. No way. He turned uphill into Australia Street and entered the corner shop opposite Bell’s Ice Cream Factory (Sublime 5). How do machines make cold? he wondered. The human when brought into existence deals first with language. This is a given. One is caught in this trap even before birth. A father puts his mouth onto the warm female pelt. He whispers sweet words. Play Bach. All distorted by the machine. Lacan might have been a loathsome character but I am not going to dwell on his life-story. He was a Trickster. A Sufi. Today, he would become a top celebrity. He liked to construct a power dynamic in all situations. Money was his locus. He swindled people out of valuable books. Acolytes delivered his favourite type of cigar at a click of the fingers. His therapeutic method was outlawed by Authority as a cynical form of fee maximisation. I respect this approach as a banker. As a patient, I applaud his candour. Sometimes you can deal with an issue of substance in the waiting room. Perhaps a brief exchange about a magazine cover is enough for one session. I hate the production pressure of the fifty-minute hour. By the time we get the niceties out of the way and talk about Doctor Pat’s epiphany in an Indonesian waterfall there is only time to re-run the skeleton of the psychic machine and grind forward by increment. He needs to draw a map of relations so I don’t have to retell the myth from origin. Lacan used algebraic formula. I would present my own case as: [M + F = fO] – [M – F] = M + S = SELF (Not-F) where M: Mother; F: father; fO: foetus (small f + Other); S: Son. There are direct transferences from unacknowledged sources in Lacan’s theoretical writing. Mirror image comes from the Communist psychologist, Henri Wallon. A/P Tuck began to transcribe Capri’s paper into his computer in MS-DOS format. White text on black. He was in a rush to get to the pub. He had a new limerick to orate. This is normal Hieratic practice. Joyce never acknowledged sources. I am not going to acknowledge Tom Dalzell. Lacan’s “Back to Freud” campaign was just a propaganda slogan. One wag claimed it meant “Go to Lacan.” Cooking with Jacques. He had bespoke uniforms tailored out of rare filaments and furs like some Fin de Siècle dandy. He revelled in his own notoriety. Performance was his favoured mode. He deployed Surrealist theatrics. This was evident from his first appearance at the IPA in 1936. Lacan was the first BRAND in the psychiatric industry. He was the Johnny Halliday of Human Personality. Cliff Richard to Freud’s Elvis. He presented mimesis as innovation deploying the self-assurance of an impenetrable style. Insert self-deprecating comment. He latched onto obscure utterances of Freud repositioning them as Thesis Central. Saussure believed that the Lithuanian pitch accent was the missing link of Indo-European linguistic history. It was the most direct living relic of the vowel *A. Lacan believed that the Unconscious had a language structure equal to that of the Conscious. This made them collide as equals. It was a direct repudiation of Freud. He had the audacity of Mao in stating sincerely that thought should bloom. He created formulae to illustrate his precepts in a parody of algebra. Psychiatry has been struggling to present itself as a quantitative science. This qualification would increase its access to government medical subsidies. He installed the mirror as his basic theoretical tool out of Narcissism. This is the same impulse as Freud with his mother. Or Joyce with his father. Ulysses is really an ode to John Joyce. He is the ABSENT CENTRE. A KEY. James Joyce never abandoned his father’s portrait. Leopold Bloom is just a sideshow. Stephen Dedalus is going home at the end of the novel. He has nowhere else to go. Nor does he desire any other place. His mother is dead so he will return to his sisters as subs. Joyce’s brothers are never mentioned in his works, although Stanislaus was a close companion and reader up to WW1 and the death of their younger brother George was a pivotal event in the collapse of the family. Perhaps this moment was too painful for Joyce, who struggled to elicit strong feelings out of his characters. Stephen was ABOVE his siblings in W. Rocks. He becomes EQUIVALENT to them by going home – perhaps even BELOW them – at the end of Ulysses. It is hard to tell if Stephen is continuing his descent into nihilism or the seeds of greatness have been sown. That is the genius of Joyce. Lacan regarded John Joyce as a “deficient father” (un père carent) because he did not instate the “Name of the Father” (“Not-F”) in his son. By this term, Lacan means that the father is meant to give the male child knowledge of what the mother desires via “paternal metaphor.” This is a masculine and linguistic version of the Oedipus complex. Not-F takes the place of the desire of the mother; balancing the male child. It is what the mother wants and what the father must transmit. Lacan calls it a “symbolic phallus” (SP). Unfortunately, James Joyce was given “Poor Phallic Bearing” (PPB) by his father. It was only his successful drive to FAME (F) that ameliorated PPB. It restored the paternal function which in turn prevented the precipitation of Schizophrenia (SCZ). Lacan uses the symbol of the Borromean knot to explain the operation of this precept. There is an argument that Joyce was conscious of Borromean signification. Something of the error in Joyce’s knotting is hinted in Finnegans Wake in the fable of the Mookse and the Gripes. In a letter to Frank Budgie, Joyce explained: “When he gets A and B on to his lap, C slips off, and when he has C and A, he loses hold of B.” Phallic Restoration (PR) amounts to a Borromean Symbol (BS) weaving three subjective registers together:

• The Real (RE) – everything outside language

• The Symbolic (SY) – language (all signifiers)

• The Imaginary (IM) – ego and body-image (signified).

Collectively, these are termed “RSI” by Lacan. He also represented it as the word “He+res+ie” for a seminar title. BS is relevant because it collapses if any link in RSI is broken. In Paranoia (P), BS-SY is at risk. In SCZ, it is BS-IM that is loose. Dalzell concludes: “this is how Lacan understands the error in Joyce’s subjective knotting because the paternal function had not been instated in him to hold the three registers firmly in place.” Joyce’s Formula (JF) can be presented thus:

Not-F transmitted to Joyce resulting in PPB/FF

• Thus, Joyce himself needed to find a “Supplementary Ring” (BS-SR) to restore the Fallen Father

• As noted, his BS-SR was F. This gave him WHOLENESS (W)

• JF can be presented thus: [(Not-F = PPB = subordinate-BS-IM = ~SCZ) + (BS-SR = PR)] = W

To remedy Not F, Joyce constructed a sinthome, his BS-SR, a paternal remedy to hold the three circles knotted together. What repaired his lapsus de noeud was creating for himself what Lacan calls an “ego in the sense of F.” Joyce experienced intense guilt for BS-IM = BIG A SCZ (full-blown schizophrenia) in his daughter, Lucia (LUC). He tried to use the prowess of JF to heal LUC through language. This can be presented as F(W)ake = LUC-W. The failure of this calculation can be attributed to “Intergenerational Trauma” (IT), which James Joyce was only able to transcend via F = W. John Joyce was the original victim of deficient fathering. His father was a horse-trader, alcoholic, gambler and bankrupt who died before his fortieth birthday. His greatest failure in Lacanian terms was that he transmitted [PPB + FF] to his son because he was too much friend (F2) and not enough father (neg-F). James Joyce was the next entrant into what became a hereditary club. Joyce had already noted in Portrait that Stephen’s father acted more like a brother. Ellmann cites the example of John Joyce as a teenager being caught smoking by his father. Rather than being reprimanded, he was offered a cigar (PPB, FF). My own father acted in the same manner (business lunches at Chinese restaurants). In this reading, I have passed PPB + FF = IT onto my son. Lacan says that Joyce’s father taught him ZERO. Clearly that is not accurate as the above formulation demonstrates. But at least he was PRESENT. Joyce was able to observe a ‘father’ figure. By contrast, Tom Hallem not father, not had (HNFNH). This raises the basic question of whether such LACK (PPB + FF + IT = Z) is better than HNFNH – raising the whole ‘nature and nurture’ (NvsN) argument. Further, it should be noted Tom Hallem had the proxy experience of a crippled step-father (CSF-PPB-OEDIPUS) which may have further mutated his PPB in Lacanian terms. Carl Jung diagnosed BIG A SCZ in Joyce’s daughter and latent or SMALL A SCZ in Joyce himself. This is also Lacan’s argument. Joyce reasoned that LUC’s mind was his own. He refused to accept any diagnosis which did not promise hope. He called her a TELEPATH. I don’t know what Elizabeth told Lucy. She was raised with no father. Perhaps she believes that her father was that dead dentist. Maybe she doesn’t know about AIDS. Joyce want to invest F(W)ake with the power to cure his daughter. Its title comes from the comic ballad, “Tim Finnegan’s Wake” (TFW). Lucia’s mind was to be the subject of Joyce’s own act of resurrection. Finnegan falls from his ladder drunk like Elpenor in the Odyssey and is presumed dead. He awakes when he is splashed with whisky. As with Finnegan, Joyce believed that Lucia was not truly gone. TFW was one of John Joyce’s favourite songs. It became one of the mainstays of his singing performances. Finnegan’s resuscitation is paralleled in the recapitulation of the river at the end of F(W)ake, when waking finally puts an end to dreaming. INSERT VICO. Ulysses was the history of a day. Finnegans Wake was about all-night. It’s a dream that takes the form of the river, winding through its course then returning to its source in Book IV at dawn. This form corresponds to Vico’s ricorso. This book must also possess circular repetition weaved into Borromean loops until closure. End on the word SPOILT. Weave it into the final soliloquy. Meaning in Finnegans Wake is constantly slipping. As such, this text presents a series of displacements and condensations where characters come and go and are transformed constantly. Everything is fluid. Names change. A name changes meaning as well. The acronym HCE stands for over fifty different linguistic units including “Howth Castle and Environs” and “haveth childers everywhere.” It’s all on a LOOP. Mine only starts if I win an award (see C11). That will be when I am recognised for technical innovation in the category of supporting artist. Theoreticians have generally downgraded Lacan’s theories. Lacan was a great literary critic (including of Freud) but he was not an original thinker. His legacy was one of incubating fright. Foucault wrote extensively about Lacan as a term never mentioning his name. He epitomised everything that Foucault feared about Scientia Sexualis. Lacan invented incarceration for profit. Guattari was once his star pupil. He paid to drive Lacan home. He was Lacan’s roadie. He formed a new band with Deleuze called The Anti-Oedipus. He was surprised when Lacan cut him from the album credits. He didn’t understand that it was just show business. There was only room for 1 x “Big A Other” per stage. Lacan wore suits of grey felt. He founded the Freudian School of Paris. He was accused by feminists of sadism. Noam Chomsky of all people said Lacan was an “amusing and perfectly self-conscious charlatan.” He needed a peek at himself in Lacan’s mirror. Lacan argued that invisible structures dictate society and culture. He was obsessed with tactile opulents. He wore pendants, brooches and bracelets made of gold and precious gems. His shirts had hard collars without flaps. Or collars twisted and turned upwards like a nineteenth century priest. He venerated ingots for their heft. They were soothing like gravity bearing him down. He would have fetishised the cool ponderousness of JADE if he had been exposed to Chinese culture. He argued that Free Will is chimeric. He wore shoes made of rare skins. He particularly loved snakes. It was a material preference invested with signification. For Freud, there is nothing literal about a dream; it’s all metaphor. The Unconscious is beautifully complex like language. The psyche is not reducible to a fixed print. There is no such thing as normalcy. Desire can never be sated. It is the fabric of OUR LACK. Link back to Dominioned Literature (C4). Lacan annexed Bataille’s wife. It enabled him to attach himself to Surrealism by the phallus. This sounds like a bad joke but they really thought like that in those days. They were blunt chauvinists. And Lacan was one of the crudest of all. I lost that book I can’t give it back, Lacan often said. I never had it, was another retort. This is a metaphor for his annihilation of all sources (see above). Lacan looks just like my father. They were both charming men. Their faces got heavy and broader with age. They had big, hang-dog eyes. The bottom lids watered slightly when they spoke, creating an artificial impression of sentiment. This only happened when they spoke of themselves. Neither registered any empathy. External events recounted to them were just HO-HUM. Lacan turned this sociopathy into a well-paid career. My father just became a parasite, using women for cashflow until he ran out of puff. They took immense pride in rich, rippled manes. Their coifs straightened in old age but they never went bald. This is another time-lapse symbol worthy of Proust. The parallels with my father make it impossible for me to evaluate Lacan. John Stanislaus Joyce (1849–1932) became what his son, Stanislaus, called, “a failed medic, actor, singer and commercial secretary.” In Ulysses, Lacan concluded that Joyce had rejected the concept of father. This is a common critical position. It is seen in numerous ways like Stephen’s Shakespeare theory or his decision to visit Bloom’s house in the first place. Stephen is father-testing. In fact, I would argue that Stephen recognises that Leopold Bloom is NOT and CAN NEVER BECOME his symbolic or substitute father. He can never instate Not-F or SP. He is too anodyne. Too methodical. Too safe. Instead, Stephen decides to return to the family home where his BIOLOGICAL father is located. Stephen places himself back in adjacency to his BIOLOGICAL FATHER in the vain prospect that he can become a REAL FATHER. I know from personal experience of this insatiable hope. It is a complete waste of spirit. Joyce maintained the illusion of fealty by not seeing his father for decades. It was the drive from this lack that Joyce used to write novels, achieve F and attain W. James Joyce never censured his father for family privations, despite episodic criticism in Ulysses. He chose instead to blame “paralytic” Irish society. This was what Harold Bloom would call Clinamen. Joyce appreciated that his father had given him the gift of Aggressive Dissolution [AD], which he regarded as the source (actually we could even use the term ‘well-spring’) of his literary genius. In this reading, Eccles Street is the outer limits of Stephen’s Telemachiad, Bloom acts as Menelaus, Stephen rejects his overtures to stay in Sparta and Telemachus starts to return home to face the suitors (John’s creditors, his sisters etc). This reading of Ulysses creates a continuum with F(W)ake. It is Portrait of the Artist as an Older Fragmented Male. An alternate reading is that Lucia’s mental condition was the spur for Joyce turning from rejection of the father figure (John Joyce) in Ulysses to renewed engagement as a father through his obsession with using language to resurrect his daughter in F(W)ake. In short, he tried to create spells to heal his daughter like Merlin. This would achieve what Harold Bloom calls Apophrades. It would enable Joyce to RE-FILL THE FATHER TROPE. John let down James but James would not admit it and anyway he was going to fix Lucia. This would pass on a feminised Not-F. Of course, the great flaw in Lacan’s whole argument about BS is that Lucia was female. IT can only be expunged by the end of a biological line – i.e. sexual barrenness as delivered to the Egyptian God Seph by castration. Spina bifida ruined my father’s line. INSERT SIMON DEDALUS TAUNTING DILLY. Stand up straight girl. You’ll get curvature of the spine. The drunk then impersonated his daughter. Stanislaus Joyce dodged IT because he saw his father with clarity and was thus able to measure him rationally and BS himself. My father was a charlatan. It took me thirty years to confess this fact. It came in a sudden utterance like epiphany. Like Lacan, my grandfather sired two families simultaneously. My mother was the third of four children. He had three children out of wedlock. My mother was his only legitimate child. Lacan sired a child with Sylvia Bataille. He concealed his daughter’s existence from his other children. My father had five wives. I was illegitimate. I am his only living child. He never told his family in England about me. I bear another man’s surname. HELL/AM. Insert ratio of autobiography. The following table [NOTE complete box-shading] supplies Total Content Ratios for Tmac (TCRT):

The assumptions in the model are:

1. TMAC = 100%

2. Theory (T) | Fiction (F) = 50:50 split

3. Within T: Interpretative Analysis (IA) = 60% | Original Thinking (OT) = 40%

4. Within F: Autobiography (A) = 30% | Facts (F) = 20% | Tropes (TR) = 40% | Invention (I) = 10%

5. Thus, [1] Received by Self (IA + TR) = 50% of Total

6. Thus also, [2] Invented by Self [(OT + I) = 25% Plus (A + F) = 25%] = 50% of Total

7. Therefore, [1] + [2] = 100%

8. Reverse engineering (proof test), where [1} = ~T & [2] = ~F

9. [1] + [2] = TMAC.

It is critical to the task at hand that I maintain an even split between technical writing and fiction. It is easy to succumb to plot. I know it makes the Readerly Text easier. I also know that it reduces the proportion of Writerly Text. This ratio is essential to Technical Fiction, although it comes with the greatest risk (of writing a boring book). There have been many novels based on famous works. Wide Sargasso Sea is a prequel of Jane Eyre. Lacan became obsessed with the writing of one of his patients. Marguerite Anzieu had been institutionalised for attacking a famous French actress with a knife. Her work became the subject of Lacan’s 1932 thesis. It was the first real piece of Structuralist analysis. She was a post office attendant. In other words, she traded in language (note link to Vietnamese post office worker in C5, S-E14). Lacan gave her the pseudonym ‘Aimee,’ after the title of her first novel. By being given this title, she also became a vinculum for Lacan’s notion of Love. His text was NOT REALLY about Miss Anzieu. He used her as a bargaining chip. He read her fiction, journals, correspondence and notes to Surrealist arbiters like Breton, Dali and Eluard. This content gained him membership of their Club. She also wrote a report about the memoirs of Becassine, the cartoon character of a Breton maid who spawned the first comic book. This was a complex conceptual frame in an apparently simple guise. Roudinesco describes Lacan as a fetishistic collector. His dog was named JUSTINE. He kept detailed lists of possessions. Obsession is ingrained in any passion especially that of the artist. It’s like having brown hair, as Delmore Schwartz said. His corpse rotted for two days in the Columbia Hotel. He was the model for Bellow’s Fleischer. Lou Reed was hanging around his sick room. He wrote a song with Schwarz’s name in parentheses as part of the title. The song had no real content alignment with Schwartz. But the title is enough (see Barthes S-E). There are a sequence of middle-aged figures dying of painful terminal illnesses in Joyce. Stephen’s mother. Nuncle Richie. Uncle Paul on Crown Street. This was just part of life back then. Lacan attended the first public reading of Work in Progress in Paris, 1937. Joyce had deployed languages that he didn’t understand to explode the English language via its strongest defence mechanism – its immigration policy towards words. The British Empire was always intervolving new words into its vocabulary. It created the world’s first big dictionary (Oxford) to contain them and provide a platform for continued English Imperialism. English turned every Signifier globally into English and even made English into a Signified in its own right. Joyce used writing as a mutiny for Ireland. This was probably the most important type of revolution that Joyce could perceive. He genuinely wanted to free Ireland. There was Fame in that achievement. But it didn’t mean harking back to the Celtic Revival. That held no interest for Joyce. He considered it atavistic. To transcend FF and achieve [F/W] he needed to establish himself as a language in his own right. Invading English was the simplest means of attack. D&G have examined this tenet (see C4). Ulysses set the standard for technical fiction. Lacan said nobody ever made literature like F(W)ake before. There has been enough history since its publication in 4 May 1939 to state categorically that nobody in fiction has extended Joyce since. Certainly, no Australian text has ever tried to compete with the English canon in this way. There is a pun in each word of F(W)ake, Lacan said. Lacan himself was addicted to punning. He like complex anagramgags like Joyce. He worked across different languages like Joyce (see Ophelia’s ‘pansy’ speech in L-S S-E). He coined the term sinthome for a seminar on Joyce emphasising the English word “sin.” It was the Latin way of spelling the Greek origin of the French word, symptome, meaning symptom in English. He related it back to Original Sin and thus back to the Courbet painting which he owned and by deductive association HIMSELF. He said that Joyce’s sinthome made up for his father’s failing. Lacan did the same thing. Joyce was Lacan’s father because he became the father of ALL words. We all suffer IT because of Joyce. Lacan is my portal to F(W)ake. It is the last book against which I must struggle (kenosis). F(W)ake is structured like BS. It is the place that Odysseus went after the end of the Odyssey. It is the place to which Stephen Dedalus walked into invisibility that night. In F(W)ake, Shaun travels East–West and Shem goes North–South. These cycles cross in two places. I will name these locations, Dublin and Australia. Opposite ends of the globe. Two sides of the same coin. A guiding metaphor. When you ignite Rachel’s globe, the routes of the great explorers are illuminated. Ulysses + F(W)ake = TMAC. Distance Form Closure [DFC].


Lacan was the last link to an older generation of thinkers like Breton and Joyce. Lyotard represents the next wave. Later theoreticians were oddly divorced from art production. They wrote of art, in particular Joyce. They associated with artists. However, they did not draw PATERNAL outputs from this nexus like Lacan. He was an anonymous young man in Paris enthralled by major artistic figures before the Second World War. He sought to impress them by divulging casebooks as art objects. This created a stage for him. He gave lectures that became Dadaist performances. He received Not-F from Breton (and others) and later gained SP. This formed part of his successful drive to F. Shanghai Dog had plenty of time on his hands while he burnt the last of the management company capital so he bought a copy of Barthes’ S/Z from a pirate book stall opposite Shanghai Library. It had been many years since he studied a theoretical text. A resonance possessed him as of OLD LOVE (jouissance). He began to accumulate relevant secondary texts. This was hard at times because of the Great Firewall. He needed VPN. He worked his way through Sarrazine while he tracked global markets DOWNWARDS on Bloomberg at Time Passage Bar. This period represented the post-Sublime. I was looking for a theoretical formula that fitted Tom Hallem’s journey from the university grounds passed his birthplace to the Shakespeare Hotel. This route was roughly equivalent to Stephen’s movement from the National Library to Holles Street Hospital and finally Burke’s pub. I selected a nocturnal journey through Venetian alleys towards an orgy (… is there such a direction as ‘towards’ an orgy?). But to make it effective I would need to put this passage on a loop so I can place Joyce’s Modernist drive in Ulysses into stark contrast with the spiraling texts of French theory (see Vico). Joyce only evolved a True Borromean Knot (TBK) formula later during F(W)ake. For now, we must solace ourselves with phallic intrusions in the form of symbols. Hypodermics enter the epidermis. Styx burrowing into Hades. Derrida’s spurs. All Burkean epics. Balance anti-Cartesian postmodernism with the repressed necessity to tell a tale and you get THIS BOOK. I’ve talked a lot about Lyotard by proxy. His definition of the postmodern is integral to this enterprise. We can see in his life, book titles, form of death, relationship to his father (NotF) and attraction to the Sublime all we need to know about Lyotard. His background is typical of a whole generation of post-War French theoreticians. He grew up outside Paris in a bourgeois household. His father was in sales. He had normal aspirations for a French child: to be a Dominican monk or an artist. He wrote a novel at the age of fifteen. It was an artistic failure, he said. He was too young THEN to realise that the novel as a format was redundant after Joyce. One could only express fictive precepts in the future through the new medium of theory-out-of-language (TOOL). Freud was the first disciple of this art. It was only later, after these academics, heirs of Joyce, or, rather, his he(i)r/etics, and hieratics, had passed into history (MET THE LOGIC OF DEATH) that it became clear that any future fict[it]ion could ONLY achieve Lacan’s F/W nexus by UPSIsing to a COMBO DEAL comprising:

1) Firmness of purpose

2) Rejection of all inlaid patterns of Readerly Text production [this means continuously asking questions like: why would I describe the appearance of characters? For example, Stan Welles has an enormous epiglottis like a turkey. He wears a false nose in all his movies. So, what is the technical advantage in using this image?]

3) Denial of good form (Lyotard 1)

4) Inscribing the unpresentable on the page (Lyotard 2)

5) Deployment of TOOL

6) Retrogressive tendencies (Proust)

7) Kenosis (SCY + CHRB)

8) Inside-outing thereby expanding the scale of meta-narrative (write a book longer than Ulysses)

This list could be called my EIGHT COMMENDMENTS. We will refer them form tiem to time. All this work needs to be done without universal theories. Commandment NINE. Terms that Lyotard rejected include: “progress of history,” “we can know everything through science” and “absolute freedom.” These are all Language Games. He would have reserved special attention for the concept that “in America, everyone has the opportunity to get rich.” This is a special sauce full of artificial flavours. We need to gaze past such icons without credulity. Not act like a savage looking at a sail. Lyotard signalled how this could be done with his concept of Little Narratives. This ‘descaling event’ or miniaturisation is already in evidence in modern social media with its slogans, memes and micro-videos. One hundred-page reports are dead. We now have full communication by symbols (EMOJI). These works are the output of what Lyotard called “information machines.” Today, this term goes by the acronym ICT. Lyotard was with Kubrick on Hal. He was uncannily aroused by Julie Christie’s impregnation by a computer in Demon Seed. Hence, he wrote The Inhuman. This is long before William Gibson or Terminator. It is now the Year 2020. We are well past the temporal boundaries of the text. The human race has been attacked by Skynet. Lyotard’s theory could be modified by the production of NEW meta-narratives out of a plethora of Little Narratives. This would be an amalgam of scenes loosely connected by some universal plotline to produce what was once termed Menippean Satire. But isn’t that Ulysses already? And if you embolden language further isn’t it F(W)ake? I’ll have to ask Musgrave, he’s the expert in that field. Joyce had a notebook full of what he called Epiphanies. They were mainly dream chronicles, which are always of limited interest. Dreams possess a spurious relationship to truth. The dullest people always spend a lot of time recounting their dreams as if they were a substitute for experience. This is one of the principal flaws in F(W)ake. F(W)AKE! was a rock album about LIFE ON THE ROAD. Joyce became a singer who spent too many years on a tour bus. Too many groupies. Living on royalty advances from Weaver and Beach. What is the difference between an Epiphany and the Sublime? Epiphany is the sudden realization of a larger essence and meaning due to observation or experience. It comes from the Greek: “manifestation.” It is used when Gods appear to mortals in Classical literature. It is also associated with the revelation of Christ as the Son of God. James Joyce popularised the term in literature. His notebook contained seventy-one samples. He was responsible for democratising the concept by triggering epiphanies from trivial events. The Sublime is the next threshold UP. It is an oxymoron combining anxiety and pleasure. It is so great and impenetrable that it exposes the limits of human perception. Longinus did the first study of the Sublime. It was one of Utterance. Only a few words need to be remembered to understand Longinus: hupsous, ekstasis, amazement, rhythm and, above all, spirit. His equation was: content + passion + flow > banality. The Sublime must also possess RISK. Longinus considered strange persons and eccentrics uniquely endowed to induce the Sublime. Errors and clichés were integral to this art. The Sublime needs a maverick and unruly force; in other words, Saussure’s Trickster. It was Addison who first responded to the Alps on his Grand Tour in 1699, delineating three basic elements of the Sublime – greatness, uncommonness and beauty. Burke separated the Sublime from Beauty. Kant tried to codify the Sublime as mathematical or dynamic. To Joyce, it was just an adjective describing lofty speech in Rhetoric. [SHIFT TENSE] For Lyotard, the Sublime is the foundation of Modernism. It releases the writer from the constraints of the human condition to shoot for the ineffable. Rather than trying to articulate universal values (such as truth and justice), Lyotard recommends that we should think of the human project in terms of the “infinite task of complexification.” He says: “maybe our task is just that of complexifying the complexity we are in charge of.” This becomes a replacement for the meta-narrative. It is the basis of TOOL. You can see it coming into the Canon in Shelley’s receding piles of metaphors which stall narrative drive and undo teleology. Pater’s dense style was its prose equivalent with its shifting linguistic units and qualifications. All questions of agency, cause, intention, authorship and history dissolve into a sublime asocial NOW. Derrida calls this space Aporia (“unpassable path”) – the moment when the self-contradictory nature of human discourse stands exposed. Foucault finds the same phenomenon in the reductive spirals of Power/Knowledge. Kristeva calls it Significance – the unravelling of the subject inside the pleasure of the text. Lacan christened it the REAL – that unsayable, unbearable space outside language where humans meet at the moment of absorption into flux (this is also a type of epiphany). All these definitions are relevant to Joyce. Lyotard argues that the postmodern is that element within the modern which “puts forward the unpresentable in presentation itself.” Joyce has become so synonymous with Ulysses that you can substitute his name for the novel and everybody knows exactly what you are talking about. He is the “unpresentable” that made itself present. But he didn’t do it bluntly with first-person narrative. He insinuated himself with autobiographical feints, allusions to aligned characters like Hamlet and extra-textual commentary by proxies. The Sublime is installed by Lyotard as the place of epiphany and terror where the inexpressible stands over/against human endeavour. It can be monstrous and unthinkable like Death Camps. It can be unbearably sweet like the breath of a newborn baby. For Lyotard, the Sublime defined the Avant-Garde project as it evolved over the course of the nineteenth century. It was the breakout mode. Pater clearly saw his own “assiduously cultivated age” positioned between Euphuism and Decadence. This is an utterly critical mode of self-conception. Wilde utilised the full range of literary forms – plays, horror stories, children’s tales, a novel, essays, his famous ballad on Reading Gaol and numerous epigrams – each acting like a different shade on the painter’s palette to create HIMSELF as the ultimate work of art. This explains his interest in self-presentation. He became a FIXED IMAGE like Dorian Gray. It also explains his vulnerability to REAL LIFE. Wilde felt impregnable – NOT as if he was above the law but because he felt like an image no longer a human. Writers like Wilde and Pater updated Shelley’s poetics for prose and positioned it to influence High Modernists like Joyce. Indeed, Modernism as a movement shares many facets with Shelley’s poetics: emphasis on subjective inner perceptions, which is both a lyric and Romantic trait; deconstruction of received literary forms, images and language to provoke new types of expression; increasing reliance on intratextuality and intertextuality for meaning; an aspiration to employ antinomian matter as an affront to literary and social convention (this was epitomised by the emerging avant-garde); and a final tendency towards despair which predicts Existentialism. Shelley would have become a theoretician if he had lived to an old age. You can see it in his last writings. He had almost done with verse. “The Triumph of Life” is a shrunken rehash. The Oxen episode was Joyce’s technical Sublime. It was a statement of what he COULD achieve through complexification of language and form. It was a simple idea delivered impenetrably by necessity. This makes it much like religious texts. Lyotard rejected Marx, Freud and the whole Enlightenment as so much theology. Nothing is universal to him. No system works. Everything is fraud for control. Sometimes it expresses political ideology. Sometimes a therapeutic fix. Lacan dressed like a priest. Lyotard believed in the ominousness of fashion. Always there was laical theory laying over dirty theory like Astroturf. Lyotard’s postmodernity is informed by Wittgenstein’s language games. The Austrian has been selected in the England XI as wicket keeper. Ludling (or argot) is a system for manipulating spoken words to make them incomprehensible to the untrained ear. It is spy-talk. Language games are used by groups attempting to conceal the content of their conversations. The Catholic Church used Latin for this purpose. The limits of my language equal the limits of my world. A misreading of Wittgenstein yields theoretical innovations. Wittgenstein was heavily influenced by The Brothers Karamazov. He was a zealot in the true sense of the term. He renounced a fortune. He sought out danger in warfare. He helped the lowest classes even though they repulsed him. He became a teacher. He wrote children’s books. He sought to dismantle his own pride. He wrote gorgeous lists of confessions like Chidley. He went back to old places to seek forgiveness from people he had wronged. He worked as a menial. He designed joinery. He had an obsession with detail. His designs for a house included heavy metal screens to shut out all external life. This is an architectural symbol of his eyelids and sentiment towards life. He behaved like a mad monk. Wittgenstein really desired a primordial life. This was what he called ‘wild life’ striving to erupt out of the skin. It’s the point he started in Tractatus. It means ‘leap’ in German. I am going to call the novel of my mother VAULT. This single word encapsulates the same meanings of sealant/darkness and airborne/light that Wittgenstein could never find in a single word. Wittgenstein confronted death many times. Three of his brothers committed suicide. Orson Welles’ father blew out his brains on his son’s sixteenth birthday. Ironic that his middle name was HEAD. He contemplated the act himself continuously. Wittgenstein was inflamed by self-loathing. Portrait of an ostensibly successful man who was still prey to childhood hits. Menschliches allzum menschliches. He believed that the fundamental problem of philosophy was the schism between what can be expressed (gesagt) by propositions (which is the same as thought) against what cannot be expressed but only shown (gezeigt). He split literature and art. They should not be considered in the same breath. The Sublime is NOT caused by external stimuli. It is latent. Its triggers are arbitrary. The Sublime creates a feeling like what C.S. Peirce called Firstness. Nothing proceeds it. It relates only to itself. It erases all pasts. There can be no metaphors using Firstness as a comparator. The most common causes of the Sublime are rhetoric/music (hearing) and monolithic Nature (sight). They are each apposite to Barthes’ notion of authorial death. What inspires one person in an auditorium leaves another audience member cold. One human’s pleasurable anxiety at lightning striking a snow-capped alpine peak is another person’s horror. James Joyce was terrified of thunderstorms. He rejected a professorship in Capetown due to its reputation for lightning. Any individual recounting any incidence of the Sublime suffers from the disconnect caused by posthumous recollection (“intranquility”). What was Sublime becomes a dead letter. Periodicity in the Sublime remains a point of conjecture. It may last a single moment, some seconds or a sustained period of time. This creates a fundamental division that has been ignored by theoreticians. The Sublime can be classified as either “Big S (Single) Sublime” or “Small S (Plural) Sublime.” The latter can also be termed a Sublime Sequence (SS) or Sublime Sequencing (also SS). Small S is the equivalent of Lyotard’s Little Narratives. It stands against the meta-narrative (Big S). One SS in total can equal or even exceed 1 x Big S. Tom Hallem entered a state of prolonged receptivity to the Sublime during his walk from university to the pub. Small S as SS ensued to a total of Big S+. Each individual Small S lasted from milli-seconds to a maximum of ten seconds. Each interval between individual Small S lasted between five and twenty seconds. After the Sublime passes out of the eminent phase, a state BENEATH DESOLATION immediately succeeds. There is no greater let-down than post-Sublime. The gap created is just too wide. The speed of descent is too fast. Human consciousness fails to apprehend this phenomenon. Saussure’s poles must be reset beyond Life/Death. No Trickster has sufficient medi[c]ative powers. This MACHFALL (machsturz) is in fact the principle characteristic of the Sublime. It is a misnomer to believe that the Sublime is experienced during APPREHENSION. In fact, it is an AFTERMATH DISEASE. We feel the DROP, not the LIFT. First the DROP cancels out the LIFT. Then the DROP exceeds the LIFT. The bottom CANNOT be fathomed. Only the Fall of Satan in P.Lost contains similar elements in human records. When Kant invokes Eternity at the end of his illustrative SS, he should really be in the thrall of Hell (DOWN) not the moon (UP). Burke said that depth is more sublime than height. Big S can be considered strong orgasm, according to Lacan. He called this state jouissance, which is a state of transgression beyond Freud’s PP to the endurance of pain leading all the way to Bataille. Barthes, of course, converted it into a term for reading. Small S in SS can be likened to multiple orgasms (MO) in the female. Sadly, Lacan confined jouissance to males until he was nearly dead. It took Cixous to make the obvious connection to MO. An SS often outlasts Big S. Small S as a single S can be repeated almost instantly without pre-set limits of frequency so that it quickly becomes SS. It is catalytic like that. Small S can be stimulated by repetition and/or variety (i.e. application of new stimuli). Multiple orifices/digits come into play. It may encompass different combinations of: touch (lips, fingerprints, toes, bellies); external observation (looking at the disembodied sex act in a mirror); external rhetoric (erotic commentary on orgies or threats of bondage); and mental imagery (memories of past sex acts and/or person-substitution). Cixous calls this tone, RAPTURE. Clearly, MO and Big O are physical versions of the Sublime in which the senses are overwhelmed by the soul. In summary, Small S is initiated by touch, speech, contemplation and/or the imagination. SS is not necessarily linear; evenly spaced through time; equivalent in duration; or equal in intensity. One could argue that SS is masculine wish fulfilment of our desire for female orgasm. This is one of the driving forces of Patriarchy (along with birthing-envy). This puts it into the category of Mania. Lacan’s Big A thus becomes the Big O. The sequencing of Small S in Chapter Six can be rendered thus (see Table):

Table 9. Sequencing the small sublime (SS) in C6

Small S (no.)




Period (Seconds)

Gap (Seconds)


Storm over birthplace

Beneath> Up


Nature (A) – panorama




Pepe’s suffocation



Libidinal – homo-erotic death




Queen Mary Building



Nature (B) – monolithic






XXX machine

Libidinal – orgasmic




Corner Shop

Within (Memory)


Maternal – childhood


Case Notes

A. Small S (1) occurred from the perspective of a low topography looking upwards at a +45º angle to an artificially high topography (eight level hospital building). This represented an east-west cardinal line. Distance was ~150 metres in total. Peripheral framing contained psychologically relevant emblems in the form of sport (evoking Hallem’s displacement from conventional culture/nation/groups) and a mental institution (representing his fear of the future). These signified north and south cardinal points respectively. Distance was ~50 metres. As Hallem rose uphill, he reached a point where he traversed the crossing of these intercardinal lines. This triggered the Sublime; initially as “proto” Big S. This cross pinned Hallem at its centre. The cardinal points corresponded to: Birth (west); Recent Time Past (east); Lost Past (north); and Future (south). The intercardinal crossing was low on the west-east axis: about 20% along Hallem’s route. It thus corresponded to the correct proportions of a Crucifix, which has a 3:1 ratio with interlocked palings crossing ~20% of the distance along the vertical axis (see Pinterest). Of course, this is an archetypical symbol of the Death of Christ (see Jung). This was the locus of Hallem’s Sublime. Tempest surrounded the apprehended birthplace above. This was the visual focus of the Sublime. The resultant scene could be likened to the initial prospect of the Tower in Browning’s “Childe Rolande.” It should be distinguished from a “downwards spatial projection” into caves, grottoes et al. as found in Novalis, Blake, Shelley et cetera. This has quite different symbolism and archetypes. It concludes as Hallem crosses Missenden Road. However, he is now receptive to further orgasms.

B. Small S (2) was prefaced by an idea to use/update the ‘lost child’ art motif. Subsequently, it ‘flips over’ onto memories of the death of Hallem’s friend Pepe. The motif is symbolic of Hallem himself as well as the literally lost Pepe. Its timeframe is governed by the chain of ideas (internal to the psyche). As long as they are sustained so is Small S. The bi-polar nature of the Sublime is clearly evidenced in the content of this sequence with excitement over the creative impulse overbalanced by remembrance of death. Indeed, the form of death in this instance is deeper than bog standard expiry. It carries the tragedy of a child’s life cut short loaded with all its symbolic meaning. The mode of death – suffocation – is highly evocative. It includes the REALISATION at some moment of death as palpable. This increases the struggle hastening the exhaustion of oxygen. Heat and sweat cause the body to expand inside the confined space. This exacerbates the horror. Small S (2) is characterised by libidinal energy brought to the level of the Sublime by death. This is an erotic nexus (see Bataille). The refrigerator box represents society. It is hard, metallic and white. Hallem associates himself as OUTSIDE this enframing looking AT society from WITHOUT. But he does not feel a sense of space. He is concentrating so hard on transportation into the box that he is mesmerised. His homo-erotic impulse is repressed inside the locked box in the form of dead desire. Small S (2) is sustained. It morphs and mutates over its course. It continues during the period under the metal awnings, which represent intestines. It starts after Hallem crosses Missenden Road and ends with the start of Small S (3).

C. Small S (3) commences with the sudden sight of the nurse’s quarters. Hallem has been sheltered from the storm. He is distracted by Small S (2). There is a gap in the canopy. He looks UPWARDS at the building from almost directly underneath. Its location is north-west from Hallem. This aspect has no background urban development. All enframing has fallen away. It is a pure prospect of the phallus in wide screen tempest. This triggers conventional Small S. It is broken almost immediately by the soft laughter of the nurses. Hallem responds with conventionalised quotidian imagery. They are eating fruit. This represents sensuality. More particularly, they are consuming grapes. This associates them with Dionysus triggering related sexual imagery. The cliched nature of Small S (3) may be a cause of its brevity. Hallem would be self-conscious about aesthetic susceptibility to this hackneyed version of the Sublime. He would subconsciously seek to truncate it. Its emblems are thus premature ejaculation and castration. The former is an act of sex cut short by singular excitement and the latter is an act of anti-sex (contra baise). They are both self-directed. Premature ejaculation is used as a standard metaphor for sudden misplaced aesthetic spurts. The ‘cutting off’ of the testicles is a bloody severance associated with truth, power and patriarchy. The thief is castrated. The man is made into a eunuch to serve the emperor. The wife castrates her husband for infidelity. Failure to generate sufficient ‘aesthetic tumescence’ in Small S (3) necessitates immediate SELF castration by Hallem. This is the most painful form. It is characteristic of madness; usually brought on by religious mania. Famous examples include William James Chidley, Rasputin and the pre-medieval Galli who castrated themselves for the fertility goddess, Cybele, who is also known as Aphrodite, Isis, Kubala, Mater Deum, Magna Mater and Caelestis. This would normally be the end of any Sublime sequence.

D. Small S (4) extends the Sublime sequence abnormally due to the sudden stimulation of a pornographic memory. Fertile ground has been prepared by viewing the nurses in Small S (3). Hallem sees himself from WITHOUT as both voyeur and participant. The bandstand represents an entertainment platform. It is the equivalent of a bar stage for strippers (see Chapter 5). The recollected moment is the urging to ejaculation (UTE) by a female combined with simultaneous insertion of her finger into his anus (IFIA). IFIA reprises the homo-erotic sensations of Small S (2). It was a new experience for Hallem. It caused a rush to orgasm. Any UTE by a female creates both anxiety and pleasure in the male. This mood corresponds directly to the twin sensations of any classic definition of the Sublime. The male both desires and fears causation of pregnancy. This is the result of a primitive urge being corrupted by modern morality. The result is disjuncture in the moment (DIM). Many sexual risk-takers are inspired to act by the prospect of this feeling. It is one of simultaneous self-realisation and self-loathing. The mouth goes dry. The loins harden. The vocalised nature of the UTE also creates a strong Sublime sensation. Hearing is one of the major stimuluses of the Sublime.

E. Small S (5) extends and concludes the Sublime sequence for Hallem. He enters a mixed business. It corresponds to his mother’s shop – his earliest memory of physical space. Small S (5) is a direct corollary of Small S (4). The child is produced by the UTE – either vocalised or tacit – between man and woman. All memories in Small S (5) evoke restriction and containment. Hallem is a firmly swaddled baby in a small pram jammed behind a shop counter in a dark constricted place. These memories blend with Small S (2). Yes, it bears a resemblance to descriptions of the womb. It ends before he meets the gaze of the shopkeeper. A loud radio set is tuned to the Vietnamese language news on 2EA. Smell is an element in Small S (5). It has not been present in any previous Small (S). But it is not a smell that Hallem recalls (like Proust and his stinking cupcake). In fact, Hallem is struck by the difference between the immediacy of odour – which can be broadly termed as that of ‘Asian cuisine’ – and the forgotten smell of his mother’s shop. To be clear, his memory of smell only exists as a GAP or LACK in Small S (5). Edmund Burke noted: “Smells and Tastes have some share too in ideas of greatness; but it is a small one, weak in its nature, and confined in its operations.” Odour is only an auxiliary aspect of Small S (5). It cannot induce Small S in its own right. Indeed, it is mainly active in this text as a point of differance. This disjuncture might be the mote that dragged Small S (5) into being. Indeed, it could cause the initial rush to Sublimity like a blast of Amyl Nitrate. But it would not have been strong enough on its own to sustain the Sublime. Burke considered that “no smells or tastes can produce a grand sensation, except excessive bitters, and intolerable stenches.” These elements are both present in Small S (5). Bitterness is present on his tongue from the residue of tasting heroin. The spot corresponds to the placement of the holy wafer on the tongue in communion. The association with the uterus in Small S (5) provides physical proximity to orifices of excrement. They are characterised as bearing stench. However, many individuals including Joyce found their aroma/outputs highly amatory.

General Inferences

— Periodicity. This is also referred to as ‘length.’ Philosophers have not considered this aspect of the Sublime sufficiently. There is a popular belief in the existence of a “Sublime moment.” This suggests a short, singular period amounting to a fraction of a second of intense subliminal shock. This Sublime By Electrocution (SBE) should not be confused with the horror of being struck by lightning and killed on a golf course. By way of contrast, Kant describes a long SS on a summer evening which commences gradually over the course of sustained lackadaisical movement as a bunch of hackneyed lyrical elements scroll past him: stars, shadows, rising moon etcetera. Kant’s emotional palette is similarly unoriginal: deep friendship, disdain for the cares of the world, musings on Eternity. Analysis of SS of Small S (1–5) above suggests that a typical Small S is executed in 0–10 seconds. The intervals between each Small S were uneven. The entire journey took approximately 5 minutes. The proportion of sublime sensation was thus ~16.66%.

— Built-Form (BF) in Time. Each SS relates in some way to BF: there are two hospital buildings, one refrigerator, one bandstand and a mixed business on a corner location. Kant selected two human constructs as possessing the Sublime combination of terror, magnitude, long duration of construction period and subsequent longevity as extant: the pyramids and St Peter’s cathedral in Rome. Scale is quite different to this SS. In Australia, the Sydney Harbor Bridge (SHB) and Sydney Opera House (SOH) in Circular Quay (CQ) are the human constructs that possess relevant BF features of the Sublime. The manner of first apprehension (SBE) can aggrandise BF traits. Many visitors first experience CQ from the heavy rail service suddenly bursting from tunnels at either end of CQ station. The presence of this rail ‘girdle,’ undulating topography of the area, tight eighteenth-century streets, and occurrence of skyscrapers also obscure any prospect of the Quay until SBE B-F.

— Subject Psyche. The mental state of the subject of the Sublime has not been explored. It is assumed that the Sublime receptor is a Hieratic male. This is exclusionary. It also sees the Sublime as a SANE experience. The length of Hallem’s Small S sequence suggests covert schizophrenic tendencies. There are five types of signs associated with schizophrenia: delusions, hallucinations, disorganised speech, disorganised behavior, and so-called “negative” symptoms such as apathy, lethargy, social withdrawal, chronic inattention, sexual impairment and anhedonia (pleasurelessness at life’s homely joys). Hallem showed evidence of hallucinations during this Small S sequence. Its prolongation is a factor in this diagnosis. All “negative symptoms” emerged in later years. NOTE – retrospective diagnostics should be avoided.

— Framing. Chronicles of the Sublime always exhibit framing. Even an incidence of Big S in thrall to panoramic Nature is fitted into a gilt frame on the wall of a museum AS IT OCCURS (AIO). In other words, a necessary feature of the Sublime is the capacity to restrict and present the experience AIO. Framing is then formalised in subsequent textualisation or visualisation. But it is an a priori act. In this specific sequence in Chapter 6, Small S (1) and (5) relate to MOTHER. They frame the sexualised Small S (2), (3) and (4). Small S (2–4) follow a chronological human development pattern: childhood homoeroticism in Small S (2); adolescent self-absorption in the phallus-icon and unattainable contemplation of older women in Small S (3); and early adult sex acts in risk-taking environs in Small S (4). Thus, infantile worship of maternity frames/pincers male sexuality. This is consistent with both Freud and Classical myths.

— Topography. Sydney’s topography has been discussed above. In general terms, Burke argues that depth can be more sublime than height, and both are more sublime than length. Kant calls them equal. Burke’s first premise is supported by Small S (1). Depth in Small S (1) initiates SS. Height in Small S (1) is made Sublime by Hallem perceiving and proceeding from depth. Small S (1) represents what Heidegger would call an UNCANNY shaft. It has a highly-constricted aperture resembling the entrance to a tunnel or cave. Yet, in fact, it ascends not descends. Further, it goes upwards and outwards TOWARDS LIGHT as opposed to inwards to darkness. It thus simulates the dimensions of a kaleidoscope barrel. Burke’s second premise can be disputed on the basis of the evidence in the analysis on Periodicity above. To repeat, length is clearly NOT a disinhibitor to Sublime experience. Hallem sustains Small S (1) for a long period along a great distance. At this point it is still a single Big S. He is able to convert S (1) into SS by virtue of continuous stimulation of sublime antennae. There is an element of chance in inducing any SS (see Mallarme). Nonetheless, total SS length in this case study can be considered at least EQUAL to depth and height if not superior. Note – the work ends with two groups travelling to Sydney CBD. One group goes underground (death of Ana) while the other climbs the SHB and views the SOH (freedom). This split is HIGHLY SYMBOLIC and should be considered carefully by the thoughtful reader.

— Intensity. Periodicity in SS can be used to measure the relative intensity of different versions of Sublime feeling. For example, Tom Hallem had his most sustained Subliminal experience when contemplating maternal/childhood experiences. This was followed by libidinal stimuli. The least evocative form of the Sublime was Nature in Small S (3).

— Lyricism. Kant wrote a stupid passage about the Sublime full of Romance cliché. He sounds like Stephen Hero. His definition of the Sublime does not approach psychological elements. It is all oppositions. The night is sublime, day is beautiful [INSERT QUOTATIONS MARKS] et cetera.

— Gender and Death. As noted above: “SS is masculine wish fulfilment of desire for female orgasm. This is one of the driving forces of Patriarchy (along with birthing-envy). This puts it into the category of Mania.” It is clear that ONLY MEN experience the Sublime. Kant, Burke and other chroniclers and theoreticians of the Sublime are all male. Hallem is male. The Sublime is a club or male bath house. The Athenaeum Club recorded numerous instances of the Sublime. By way of gender proof-testing, Ana experiences NO SUBLIME during her death throes in Chapter Ten despite a highly receptive environment as defined by Burke and Kant (darkness, depth, a cave, accelerated motion through space, a lake, pale pinprick of light above [moon substitute], drug-induced disdain for the world, musings on the nature of eternity). A supplementary question would be: “can the Sublime be experienced during death? In other words, is there such a phenomenon as ‘death rapture’?”

— The Four S’s: Surprise, Suddenness, Speed, Symbology. The achievement of a Sublime state relies on exposure to highly stylised – even passé – elements. This is, in fact, a prerequisite. In most instances, this combination of such symbols (see Kant above) will induce DISGUST in the receiver. It is the surprise of the receiver at these hackneyed symbols being elevated to pure fidelity by maximum propulsion that ignites the Sublime. A state combining cliché, speed, suddenness and surprise is thus required to ignite the Sublime.

— Mental Capacity. A moron CANNOT experience the Sublime. It MUST be an ADVANCED THINKER (alternate terms for this person include Barthes’ Reader of Writerly Texts, Lacan’s Big T Text Reader and Hieratic Cult).

— Sex. Kant wasn’t a very sophisticated thinker when it came to textualising the Sublime. He saw it only as a SEX MOMENT. Basically, the Beautiful is a euphemism in Kant for the exquisite adornment of girls; the Sublime is a paean to the bounty and mystery of mature women. The Beautiful is frigid; the Sublime raunchy. This is really a useless attempt at difference. Hallem’s SS indicates that the Sublime is definitely intervolved with erotic feelings. Small S (2–4) rely on active sex imagery. But it would be better to NOT DEFINE the Sublime than girdle it in platitudes of erotic opposition.

— Poise and Apprehension. Kant sees stunned human lumps facing the Sublime. He writes that “mien … is earnest, sometimes rigid and astonished.” The Sublime is thus a catatonic state to Kant. It is a form of bondage without bonds. Of torture in aspect. This version of the Sublime can be seen in lots of science fiction movies. It is parodied in 1984.

— Motion. The Sublime is sometimes considered a static enterprise. The above SS is generated and protracted by consistent motion. It ends when Hallem ceases to move. It terminates at a dead end. It knocks against buffers. Kant is right in the first half of the following epigraph: “The Sublime moves, the beautiful charms.” Kant wrote so much stuff on the Sublime that he had to be right part of the time.

A posteriori. We associate the Sublime with direct experience. Art has always tried to capture this moment. This is classic Wordsworth territory. But he only sees it as a positive creative mode. In relation to the Sublime, however, it is a posteriori rendition creating a metonymy. It’s like being a kid playing with a superhero figurine in the backyard after watching the franchise DVD.

— Aftermath. Hallem descends from Small S (5) by MACHFALL to AFTERMATH DISEASE. This will be the subject of the next chapter. It is written in dramatic form like Joyce’s Circe episode.

Tom Hallem stood at the counter of the mixed business. His boots ground on the scratched linoleum floor. The shop keeper was leaning against a wall of homemade shelves languidly. He roughened his presence. She made eye contact. He took in the full enmity of her gaze, framed by disappointment. She was hoping to see Barry Capri. Tom wanted food and drink. She was a small figure, largely unexpressive, but I have already stated that I will not dwell on cornering devices like character description. This is unquestionably the realm of the reader in terms of fictive realisation (see Barthes).


Jean Baudrillard’s essay, “Simulation and Simulacra,” begins with an exposition of Borges’ one paragraph story, “On Exactitude in Science.” It deals with cartographers composing a “Map of the Empire whose size was that of the Empire, and which coincided point for point with it,” followed by commentary about how it was mostly destroyed by later generations. It was credited by Borges to Travels of Prudent Men, a seventeenth-century tome by Suarez Miranda, although the story was actually based on Lewis Carroll’s Sylvie and Bruno Concluded, which described a fictional map with the scale of “a mile to the mile.” Carroll’s story actually takes this concept much further: “we now use the country itself, as its own map, and I assure you it does nearly as well.” Baudrillard is really writing about all these above stories and more. He solidifies Borges’ forgery into his own meta-forgery. He dissolves everything down cycles of false citation as well as Hieratic non-citation. Baudrillard was only too aware of Jarry’s Faustroll, sailing across the top of Paris in his pataphysical boat, which was essentially another mapping venture. His opening gambit thus amplifies, recedes, stalls and reverberates until it epitomises his notion of Simulation. This sentence with its long aside marks full disclosure of Baudrillard’s TOOL. In fact, he really should have stopped the essay at this point – like Borges – as it gains no new content from further recycling. But that is not Baudrillard’s objective. The act of complexification is in fact the goal of all French thinking. Its mode causes content to crack. It aborts form. This leaves STYLE as the last man standing. Odysseus was always cast into this role in the Odyssey. At the time Joyce finished F(W)ake, he told Laubenstein that “the value of the book is its new style” (Ellmann, 557). He had failed to create a NEW mythic template, one that matched the received myth of Ulysses. This is why F(W)ake must be considered a failure. Joyce tried to jam together every type of legend and allusion into one novel as a successor to the smooth flow of Classical tradition. He tried to move away from strict modes of emplotment. This really denied Joyce one of the principal features of Classical myth, which was catharsis and climax. Partially, Joyce took this path because of his humanism and distaste for war. After all, he had already denuded the Odyssey of violence, turning a shoving match into a climactic event in Ulysses. By contrast, contemporary literature and cinema have SOLD PLOT TO SLAUGHTER. It’s a reductive cycle that should have ended with Tarantino, but subsequent auteurs continue to compete to inflict more ‘realistic’ bloodletting on their audience. We all know this ends with murder in REAL LIFE. Pasolini used to be the benchmark with 120DoS. He has probably never been exceeded for HORROR because he started with a strong platform in Sade and rendition during the decline of Italian Fascism. Joyce tried to downgrade emplotment. We must travel down the same channel. For example, Ana Lafei’s death should constitute tragedy but she is kept at the level of a secondary character to reduce its prominence. She is not Emma Bovary or Anna Karenina. We know nothing about her life. Judgment is never made. There is no resolution. This is all done by design. It does not affect the overall thrust. For Joyce, it was hard to write off a twenty-year sales-pitch on Work in Progress (its title was jealously guarded). Joyce hystericised English in F(W)ake. It was a hostile act. His formula was to trash Imperialism with whatever he had. Baudrillard’s Theory Fiction allows theoretical writing to become more enigmatic, more fabulous. JB had few other tools at his disposal because he was such a limited thinker. This meant that he had to accelerate the equation and elevate it UPWARDS with the following subcutaneous (AKA religious) man/oeuvre:


Disappearance of history. Escape velocity reached. Vitesse de liberation? Go faster still. Everything is now going to go so fast that there’s no time for recognition. Accelerated metabolism of society. Forgetful of sequences. The Real is no longer possible. A certain slowness is displaced. All atoms of meaning are lost. Space punctured. Post Classical period. Unregulated time.


Deceleration of time (history) as it grates against matter (‘the masses’). Density increases. Mass indifference. Light dwindles. History cools. No longer able to pull away. Darkness incumbent. Cold star of the social. Brine. The end of “the end.” A space by no air taken. Bureaucratic socialism.

The Joycean equivalent is Old Finn Maccumhal watching history and time flow past him on the River Liffey as he edges towards expiration like Alastor. But like Tom Finnegan he never dies in the text. To mix history and fable in a comic setting. To turn human beings for all their flaws back into heroes. To create a new myth for the age of humans so the world can finally end. And for me to create it. That was Joyce’s conceit in F(W)ake. It was really a postmodern amalgam of all humanity’s cores and dags. He believed that the joy of comedy made it a higher art form than tragedy. Can comic novels stand the test of time? Only slapstick works across epochs, I think. It is almost impossible to sustain the joke in low voltage comedy of attrition like Oxen and F(W)ake. This isn’t the violent gagging of Artaud and Moe Howard. It is equivocal parody. Any reader of this chapter would endure similar desensitisation to THE JOKE. Yet it is one. Vico’s historical rounds were each set off by a pie in the face skit. Malignant cells passed through the lemon meringue, theocratic, aristocratic, pecan, autocratic, ~democratic and automated gland stages until cancer found mass. Of Vico, Joyce said, “I use his cycles as a trellis.” Likewise, I must climb Joyce. We will observe Telemachus scaling a vine in C10 to get close to his parent’s bedroom as they fuck as a symbol of this task as well as an allusion to Freudian theory. Tom Hallem took a cheap flight to Moscow on his way to Paris, juxtaposing authoritarian and libertarian geographies. Shanghai Dog worked in Saigon and Beijing. These ideologies represent another ricorso. They are cities where the master narrative of communism was played out. Churchill said democracy was the worst system of government ever invented, just better than anything else. Its title is MING ZHU in Mandarin. ZI YOU means FREEDOM. Three per cent of any population can induce revolution. We only need titles and slogans. Thump ideology into the hot body of the masses. Put Cyclops’ in charge. They had no concept of COMMONWEAL. Stalin’s black-market eye. Aery ideals of butchers. Promethean parodies of dystopic parodies. Simulated RE[E/A]LS. Lapse of the Soviet Union then put(-in) it back together. They wrote off Althusser after he strangled his wife. Return to Marxism. Return to Freud. They’re all just tactics to annex the power of the foundation text. Note TMAC nexus with UL. Deng legislated against Mao then some new Mao will delegislatedeng. Palindrome history. Exchange blue jeans for hard currency with the room cleaner, convert it all into Rubles on the black market then invest the whole stake in Communist badges from the GUM Department Store to sell at Camden Markets to anti-Thatcher Reds. Socialism with Chinese Characteristics. Distil polemics. Althusser saw Marx’s philosophy only becoming apparent via Lacan. Theory of the Break. Althusser’s Kenosis. IMPLICIT theory. Locations where the text can only be produced if an ideological framework is invisibly in place. Althusser called these ‘symptoms.’ LINK TO TMAC. Temper democratic, bias Australian + Whitlam coup + pro-indigenous + multi-cultural slant. Althusser approximates ideology to Lacan’s understanding of the Real. It is impossible to access REAL conditions due to the SPIEL, he concluded. A scientific approach helps disclose how we are inscribed by ideology. A British officer hailed Stephen. “Hey, you there!” he exclaimed. A shout in the street. If you turn around, you become the subject at that moment. Inscribe Lacan’s NotF upon the foetus with Kafka‘s harrow. Althusser wrote that even before a child is born, “it is certain in advance that it will bear its Father’s Name, and will therefore have an identity and be irreplaceable.” Billy Capri took his birth certificate out of the filing cabinet. He unfolded it and placed it on the desk. There was NO NAME against FATHER. Just a DASH. Real names be the truth, D Boon said. First, he was E. Bloom. Richard Hell. Joe Strummer. Good ole John Doe. History Lesson 2. Tom Hallem also wore another family name. For Althusser, naming meant a NotF given to us in the womb. People aren’t capable of self-naming. They can’t see themselves. Just a reverse image in a mirror, like NACAL said. Left-hand bias. Characters need to assume multiple names over the course of one narrative. It is the only means of destabilising the text against its propensity to become a reactionary machine. We need to put wooden parts against alloys. We must make sure that cogs are not aligned. Gouge out large indents for small teeth. Crush big teeth into small indents. Baudrillard argued that all such choices are simulated. We can buy one car or buy another model even select other transport modes and it is all false selection. A real choice would be to cut off your own legs. Objects beat subjects. Protest is fuel. Neo hid his secret code in a hollowed-out copy of Baudrillard’s [INSERT NAME OF]. They misread his work. He didn’t mind. It was all hyper-validation. They adhered to his creed: to make the unintelligible more unintelligible. Aphorisms were to Baudrillard what puns were to Lacan. He was like Wilde. The Gulf War never took place, he proclaimed. He was more Godard-68 than Godard in 1968. More L(l) anguage than Language. SHIFT TENSE> Baudrillard is always trying to turn the French fashion for street revolution into the last great European flourish. He can never disconnect from place (Europe/US) or time (1968). He talks de-historicisation but he is a MOST HISTORICAL THINKER. Another of Spinoza’s glass vassals. Janus was Baudrillard’s preferred deity. He was the god of beginnings, apertures, birth, journeys and time. He was interested in maritime commerce. He would have been the perfect Mentor for Ulysses, particularly the Oxen episode. Baudrillard didn’t believe in any of this stuff. Only cauterised wounds. Only capitulation. In the Odyssey, Mentor was put in charge of Telemachus when Odysseus went to the Trojan war. When Athena visited Telemachus, she assumed the disguise of Mentor. Janus was the most critical god to Rome. He presided over war and peace. The Janus gates were opened when war was declared and did not close until peace. This is the opposite of normal fortification tactics. Janus had no dedicated temple or priests. Rex Sacrorum himself undertook his ceremonies. Janus was everywhere. An invocation to Janus prefaced all other Gods. There is no equivalent to Janus in Greek cosmos. Otherwise he would have had bookend tasks in both the Iliad and Odyssey. Someone should write an analysis of modern French theory based on its dealignment with Janus. Baudrillard would have blinded the god’s forward-looking face with stick-embers. His past-face would have been exposed to religion and ideologies maybe in the form of comic animation. Eventually, there would have been an overtaking lane in which Baudrillard lodged in Janus’ blind spot. With Baudrillard, there are no intrinsic prophecies stretched over the top of his temporal exigencies. There is only a HUMAN SPHINX transfixed by information. This is the ultimatum rejected by HH-1970 in the ensuing Virilio S-E. Baudrillard conducted a severely circumscribed enterprise. This is ironic given that he is always talking about motion and space. He was the Des Esseintes of French theory. He loved to play the dandy. Like Faustroll and Panmurphy, he travelled the seas in a copper skiff superimposed over the streets of Paris. He was a charlatan in the best sense of the word, which comes from the seventeenth-century Italian term, ciarlatano, meaning ‘babbler’. I can’t help liking him all the same. Especially when he is suffering a giant case of the Clampetts over the role of TV in human exchange. He hovers around the PAL screen with his giant eyebrows raised like some big brown Muppet. More Language than language. He has furry palms. I love the way he ratted out his Leftist cronies by becoming a mainstream celebrity. Become what you hate was his mantra. It’s the same thing we admire in Hamlet. Jarry’s first short play Caesar Antichrist presents a parallel world in which Christ is resurrected as an agent of the Roman Empire. Ubu is introduced as a new messiah like Leopold Bloom. Baudrillard is like a Teletubbie having an adverse reaction to the screen in his guts. He needs to take some anti-rejection drugs. He had an early interest in Pataphysics. This imbued him with Jarry’s impeccable talent for parody. It became the template for ALL modern French writing. The Faustroll novel was posthumously published. Jarry was dead from tuberculosis by then. He was almost a midget. Picasso had purchased his pistol just in case. Baudrillard was never deluded by his own TOOL. He was too well-grounded in peasant ancestry to take himself seriously. He knew only too well that he had been cast in a “Carry On” movie set on a French cruise ship. Characterisation eluded him. Or was equivocal at best. He first came to prominence as a translator of German literature, in particular Peter Weiss. He willed his own life to become Marat/Sade. He envied Guattari making-it-real at La Borde. This trope infested all his subsequent self-deployments. He wanted the campus to become an insane asylum overwhelmed by chaos and madness in a time of revolutionary turmoil. Wish-fulfillment came to Baudrillard in 1968. He started out as Marat but always wanted to graduate to Sade. He was a Marxist who succumbed to evasion. His doppelganger was L. Ron Hubbard. They both shared a talent for the production of mystical psycho-babble that accumulated into quasi-religiosity by stealth. It’s cannibal alchemy. Content is irrelevant. They were both more interested in power. Style creates power for Baudrillard. His secret source of inspiration was how great it was to be sitting around on vinyl beanbags in a government-subsidised apartment listening to “White Light/White Heat” on a good hi-fi system while revolution unraveled on the boulevards below. 1968 was a football match lost by penalty shoot-out. Baudrillard was an office clerk who liked to dress-up as a biker on weekends and freewheel through the new Mexican desert at 70 km/h all night listening to tapes of Carlos Castaneda and the Doors pretending he was high on peyote. To write of Baudrillard we must always work in similes. He is Rimbaud meets Don Knotts. That was also Bob Dylan. Yet again then Baudrillard is cast into the role of belated sub-mimic. This was also the curse of Telemachus. At least he had Odyssean DNA. Baudrillard’s father was a policeman. Of course, Baudrillard knows nothing about drugs, science, mathematics, art, literature, politics, culture or history. They’re all terms from other people’s bank balance stuffed into binary opposition (a type of hip bag) as placebo theory. He’s always banging together dialectics like some handyman nailing together uneven chunks of wood. Bob Capri took Hahn into the kitchen. He picked up his tool box from under the sink. She needs that shelf fixed while I’m there. Also, the toilet seat has to be stabilised. And the hallway door chocked. The whole shop was moving. Sydney’s clay base stretched over Yellowblock. Surface cracks appeared inevitably. Marx’s philosophy was almost unseen in Baudrillard. Pataphysics passes easily from one definition to the next. It can present itself as gas, liquid or solid. For Baudrillard, the USA sped so fast on gushes of Black Gold that it hit a Gilligan-like vanishing point. It got sucked so fast through a silicone tube into its own senses that it reversed all polarities and spat out new ars erotica. Baudrillard predicted the pornographic age. But even he could never have guessed how it would be super-induced by technology. A guy on a moped picked-up Baudrillard off the footpath on Dong Koi and drove him to a short-stay hotel in the d.boon docks. SHIFT TO PRESENT TENSE. He loses the film crew. It’s a dead zone. They proceed up an angular French Colonial staircase. He is pushed into a high-ceiling room with a speed-addled prostitute wearing a pancake face and a pink qipao who claims she’s twenty-five years old. Baudrillard stands there awkwardly. Who is he to dispute her narrative after a lifetime of misrepresentation? She’ll jack him off for a hundred bucks. That’s the starting point for all negotiations. In Japan, he could get two hours in a spa with a Korean hand-model for that price. In the end, he pays fifty bucks for full service. I was too uptight to even unbutton my checked shirt, he said later. I just dropped my strides while she bent forwards over the motel desk. Baudrillard wore a gold lame suit when he read poetry in Las Vegas. He loved that strange desert city built on the dissonance between religion, gambling and sex. They visited fantastic islands in his TV series. He was accompanied by a monkey named de-Nage which died leaving Panmurphy to wonder if it had even been REAL. Baudrillard reminds me of those American garage bands which created one great semi-derivative riff like Louie (x2). As for CLOSURE, Baudrillard advised to just ask some vaguely heroic rhetorical questions, shrug your shoulders, insinuate the magic of the moment and go. I must turn this episode into binary juxtaposition. INSERT MORE ALLUSIONS TO ROAD MOVIES. All my textual clocks are set to langue. I arrived at the departure counter at Than Son Nhat on Thursday night only to find that my flight to Hong Kong had been cancelled because of the typhoon. It was stuck off the coast of Hanoi in the South China Sea right in the middle of my flight path, one hundred and fifty miles in diameter just twirling on its skates. Two hundred and fifty kilometre breeze. It was going to make landfall in Guangxi eventually. Flooding was expected. I asked when I would be able to get out of Vietnam. The steward said there might be some flights tomorrow but my flight would not be rescheduled and the corresponding flight was already full so they couldn’t guarantee a seat on Friday then it was the weekend when lots of Vietnamese people went to purchase electrical appliances in Hong Kong so they couldn’t be sure I would get out on Saturday. Sunday was better. Not certain. But I would definitely get out on Monday. He handed me a sticker to put on my bag and offered me a twin share room at the Airport Park Royal. I’m not even sure why Saigon came into existence. It certainly doesn’t have any of the distinguishing features that would warrant establishing a settlement. It was probably just a good spot to tie up a boat like Berlin. A place on a turn in a long river. A bend in the current where people formed. You can’t even get at the Saigon River these days. It’s barricaded with corrugated iron fences. They say the whole waterfront is being refurbished but there doesn’t seem to be much progress when you look from the top floor bar at the Caravelle Hotel. A week in HCMC is hard work. The local cadres park a slab of Johnny Walker Blue beside the dinner table each night. All the seafood looks like it’s been scraped out of heavy metals on the ocean floor. The oysters are big like tumours. We re-scheduled all our meetings to the hotel conference centre after spending Day One stuck in traffic jams. Scooters make it impossible to cross the street on foot. Government vans accelerate down the wrong side of the road, sirens blaring at oncoming vehicles. Baudrillard would be terrified but excited by this symbol. It becomes a Pavlovian reflex action. Our driver even pumped the horn manically while driving down an unopened four-lane boulevard in an unpopulated economic development zone. My business partner hates the madness but this is the kind of place where I feel most at home. Arthur Symons said the art in life was to sit still and watch everything move past you. I wonder if the Sublime can be experienced from a stationary pose. Sound travels I guess. You got to keep looking for the latest goldrush. It’s all about speed to market. The arc of development is going west. It’s already hit the East African coast. I’ve been hunting assets in Asia since 2004. Those were heady times. I should have put more capital aside. Now we’re trading down to zero. It’s like a rocket crash. The Singapore team hasn’t been paid this month. I can’t go back to the Shanghai office. They changed the locks and called the Foreign Enterprise Bureau last week. I can still pull enough strings to hold them at bay. But I’m really relying on Doctor Gu. It’s a dice roll in a marble vault. Nothing’s free. It’s a price I have to pay. This deal with her father is the sweetener. I’m helping her family set up a clearing warehouse across the border in Mong Cai. They’ll truck finished product from Guangxi and brand it as coming from VIETNAM. A lot of Chinese companies are using this trick to get around WTO sanctions. The Vietnamese are sanguine about it. They hate the Chinese. But they’re prepared to let it happen for some graft. Worst case, they’ll hold the warehouse as ransom. I like Vietnamese people. They’re totally different to Chinese. They’ve been fighting wars of national survival for one thousand years. They’re totally upfront. It’s not like Japan where everyone’s doing robocop kabuki. The Vietnamese are chronic opportunists. This is a product of epochal subsistence, I guess. They’re going through the motions of a Vietnamese version of Gai Ge Kai Fang. All I want is to get my hands on some industrial parks with a guaranteed base return from government. The Reserve Bank will need to provide a concessional loan because Vietnam has such a shallow debt market. The plan is to establish the Vietnam Infrastructure Fund One (VIF1). We’ll IPO in Singapore. I’ll send some juniors back here from South-West Sydney to administer the assets. They’ve got the best Australian accents. That glugging at the top of their throats is perfectly pitched for Strine. Barry introduced me to Missus NGUYEN. It’s the family name of forty per cent of Vietnamese people. Her daughter, Giang, also known as Jackie, has just finished a commerce degree. She’s done an internship at PWC. She’s keen to go back. They haven’t got any connections up North. It’s the same for all bail-outs. Hanoi still runs the show. My translator is a civil engineer who got sent here to build a Friendship Bridge across the Mekong River back in the Nineties. He married an airline hostess. Now he runs his own project management firm. He’s got a big compound next to Long Thanh Golf Club with his kids, his mother-in-law, her second husband and his drug-dealing son. It’s a poor man’s Medalist set up by a spin-off SOE out of the Ministry of Defence. Socialism is the correct type of administration for the end of History, according to Baudrillard. It produces the most incestuous hierarchy. His wife spends most of her time in the air. She’s got a bunch of Japanese boyfriends. Our business liaison, Mister Lam (pron. LUM), thinks his boss is a weakling. He’s never had trouble with women. He just cuts them loose as soon as they use the word “love.” Viet has got gender splits on the phrase, “I love you.” Woman say: Em yêu anh. Men say: Anh yêu em. Lam makes a chopping movement with his right hand into his left palm to explain what happens to them. All the top government guys have got smooth, hairless hands like torturers. Greg’s partner is a boat girl from Adelaide. Her father was an Australian serviceman. He acknowledged paternity, finished his tour in 1969, went back to North Queensland and they never heard from him again. It was a kind of reverse-Odysseus play. The family escaped in a fishing boat across the Gulf of Thailand in 1977. Got to Bidong Island, Malaysia. First, they were flown to Canada. Her father’s name on the birth certificate did the rest. Whole family got flown straight to Sydney. Her mother moved to Adelaide. She worked on the Metter’s production line until she saved enough money to open a small shop in West Adelaide. Now she owns a local supermarket. Her daughter warned me that Vietnam had the most beautiful women in the world and the world’s ugliest men. I parked this information in my head. The government officials filed into our first meeting in HCMC. My analyst turned to me innocently and said, “it looks like we’ve just walked onto the set of Monsters Inc.” They presented a spreadsheet of new projects. There were bridges, toll roads, power plants and new urban developments in outlying districts. We were competing with Kalmykian investors, said the Mayor of District Three. It was splashed across the front page of Saigon Daily. I had to rush back to my hotel room at the Park Hyatt where I could get Blackberry reception and find out what the fuck ‘Kalmykia’ was. It’s an autonomous Russian republic on the Caspian Sea with 250,000 people. It’s home to the International Chess Federation. They hold a lot of Grand Master tournaments in the capital, Elista, because President Ilyumzhinov is head of FIDE. I told the Mayor of District 3 that the Kalmyks could keep the subway project. They were a simulated nation. Baudrillard would consider a stateless state as the perfect ironic response to modernity. Ideally, it would hover above the earth (link to Chidley). They took us to a new hi-tech park in District Nine. There was an imposing entrance gate emblazoned KHU CONG NGHE CAO. It was still a field of water buffalos pulling ploughs through rice bogs inside. Apparently, Intel had committed to a new chip factory. They needed basic infrastructure with a sale and leaseback deal. I was due to meet the regional head in Hong Kong tomorrow. I studied the departure screen. There was one more flight out of Saigon. It was a QANTAS codeshare to Sydney leaving at eight forty-five. Air Vietnam is an excellent airline. They hired all the Ansett staff after it went bankrupt. Hawke could only succour his mates so long. I looked across the laminated counter. “Can you get me on that flight,” I asked the steward. “I’ll try Doctor _______,” he replied. “Please give me your billet.” I passed my crumpled ticket over the counter. He scurried across to the Air Vietnam Check-In. A queue of pissed-off tourists had started to build out of the story of my eye like a bad cataract. The TV screens flashed a picture of Jean Baudrillard. The BBC ribbon read Air Garuda plane crashes at Yogyakarta killing twenty-two. French philosopher who claimed the Gulf War never happened has died after a long illness. He was seventy-seven years old. Many of Baudrillard’s obituaries were unusually facetious, showing little respect for the corpse. He might have liked it. After all, Baudrillard concluded, “dying is pointless.” He wanted to become like the Elvis myth. “You have to know how to disappear,” he said. There’s a good Don Walker song about that. JB probably saw himself more in the guise of Jim Morrison. By his own account, Baudrillard had advanced from pataphysician at twenty years to VIRAL at age sixty. At the end of Exploits and Opinions of Dr. Faustroll, the title character expires. He sends a telepathic letter back to Lord Kelvin describing the afterlife. Goanna declared, “I’ve been to the other side and let me tell you, son, there’s f–king nothing there.” The airport intercom announced the cancellation of all flights until 2 pm Saturday. The steward came back. He had good news. I got a seat back to Australia. I would be able to surprise my wife in bed with the milkman tomorrow morning. At age seventy, Baudrillard said he was transfini like HH-1970. It was his fateful strategy to go beyond the concept to see what happened next, he pronounced lavishly. What bluster, whether it was comic or not. Death is the only moment of shared human experience. There is no way back. Did Lyotard ever ask if death was Sublime? First, language abandons you to muttering incoherently in fits and starts. Occasionally, your head tosses manically as if trying to clear concussion. My father groaned mainly with frustration at his predicament. All fear had gone. Hearing is the last sense to shut down. I spoke to him firmly. There was no point now in soft murmurings. I asked how he felt. What the fuck do you think, he replied. His rhetorical meaning was crystal clear. I told him we would get his dose of valium reduced. That should bring him back. Those were the last words I spoke to him. He died overnight. I was never close to my father. His extinguishment felt like an instance of hyper-reality. I can’t even call it ‘death.’ Just release/relief. DEATH IS THE ONLY UNIVERSAL SUBLIME, Baudrillard would have said.


Bataille died the week I was born. He is considered godfather to the incestuous clique that dominated French thinking after the War. They assumed the mantle of intellectual authority from Surrealism. Andre Breton is seen as a figure of fun today what with his antics, factions and stupidly sensuous face. But there would be NO BATAILLE and thus NO ONE ELSE if there had NOT BEEN BRETON. His comedic talents were well-suited to the inter-war years. But Dada’s splastic lapstick was rendered redundant by the Nazis. To be “Against Breton” became a la mode. Black humor was drained of the joke by Samuel Beckett. It was thus impossible to interpret Sade as Breton had done post-Hitler. Bataille’s critique of Sade by contrast possessed sufficient cruelty. It still resonates in our sexual practices today. Pasolini wrote the instruction manual for sex and politics in the modern world in 120DoS. It became a meta-comedy of sorts, because it ended in Pasolini’s own death. He was bashed to death with two table legs then run-over multiple times by his own car. Ballard was interviewed as a person of interest by Italian police in Ostia. His testicles had been crushed with an iron bar. His corpse had been partially immolated with gasoline. Pino Pelosi was convicted and spent 29 years in jail. In 2005, he recanted his confession saying that it had been made under duress because the mafia threatened his family. It was always hard to believe that a single assailant could have maintained the momentum of violence against the film director. Later, extortionists were added to the brew of suspects. The case was re-opened but the coroner could not find sufficient evidence to continue the investigation. F(W)ake failed. In fact, there has been very little joy in theoretical writing since the 1960s. It’s all trudge trudge trudge. It was the only aesthetic enterprise that proved resistant to the irresistible boyish charm of the Beatles. Bataille’s ex-wife married Lacan. This was like Steve Jobs shacking-up with Joan Baez. She was an actor who starred in Jean Renoir movies like A Day in the Country. It’s the kind of rape-consent movie that could never get made today. It ends with Henriette meeting her traducer as a married woman and reliving the experience sentimentally. Sylvie Bataille’s daughter Laurence became a psychoanalyst like her step-father. It’s a hermaphroditic name. She only lived to the age of fifty-six. As a teen, she was Balthus’ fuck-model. She went to jail for the FLN. Afterwards she studied medicine. Lacan called her “Antigone.” This is a great joke on so many planes. She died too young of liver cancer in 1986. Foucault’s death from AIDS was inevitable. He had a persistent cough since the Summer of 1983. This was back in the era before anti-viral drugs. There were no cell phones. It was June 1984 when he passed away. The Panopticon was still a primitive beast. Foucault predicted how technology would intensify its gaze. He was only fifty-seven years old. My age as I write. He was the most famous intellectual on earth. He had written a dozen books covering sex, prison, power and the mind. He died of brain disease. AIDS attacked his most prominent organ. He shaved his head when he started losing his hair as a young man. He was another self-styled dandy. He drove a white sports car in Algeria. His dome became a registered trademark like the Playboy bunny-ears. His head popped out of trademark black turtle-neck sweaters like an uncircumcised cock. Foucault died in Pitie-Salpêtrière hospital. This was an appropriate location. He wrote the love story of Salpêtrière in Madness and Civilisation. It was converted from a gunpowder factory into a hospice for poor women by Louis XIV. Thus, it was apposite to Foucault’s analysis of the shift from physical attack to the carceral. It served as a prison for prostitutes. It was also a sanitarium for women who were intellectually disabled, mentally ill or epileptic. It was notable for its bloated and unresponsive bureaucracy. Saltpeter is a key ingredient in gunpowder. Prisoners scraped it off the walls of tunnels and dungeons under medieval cities surrounded with moats. Paul-Michel Foucault was born in Poitiers, France in 1926. He was the son of a stone physician. The town was a key strategic post between mountain ranges on the Seuil du Poitou. It was also a ditch for the Charente, Loire and Sèvre basins. This made it a historic battle site. On 29 June, Foucault’s la levée du corps was held. The coffin was carried from the hospital morgue and driven to his birthplace in Vendeuvre-du-Poitou. In the end, he was LOCAL. Like Pepe, he loved to be confined forcibly. Pepe and I were playing hide and seek when it happened. Foucault would have considered the refrigerator in the paddock as another L-E (see below). His partner Daniel Defert defied Foucault’s wish for no posthumous works to be published. This meant the release of Volume 4 of HoS. It puts Foucault into the same category as Kafka and Jarry. They believed that death should mean NO FUTURE TEXTS. Foucault didn’t want to be subjected to the same sequence of lame posthumous albums as Jim Morrison. His theory is just a metaphor for SEX. Foucault manipulated his work schedule to practice his art in San Francisco. Nobody knew much about HIV then. In 1984, some people believed in an AIDS conspiracy. Others called it the gay plague. Or homosexual cancer. Daniel Defert said that Foucault went to San Francisco for the last time as a Limit-Experience (L-E). Gide’s pederasty was another L-E. This notion comes from Bataille. It claims to break the subject from itself. This was not a foreign object to French theoreticians. They constantly decried the unrealness of the REAL. What better way to challenge our consumerised format for life than by leaking our bodies with needles and pliers. Bataille invented L-E when he got pissed off with Surrealism. It was too anodyne. L-E covers rejection, abandon, fantastic assemblages, pain, lysergic visions and madness. Lacan added desire, boredom, confinement, revolt, prayer, sleeplessness and panic. But his L-E set diluted human emotions. It should be accepted that L-E disconnects sexual practice from ethics. Foucault embraced Bataille’s views on love. He saw masochism as his L-E space. Bataille went in another direction. He wrote about maternal incest. He loved orgies and violence. He had a Sublime hate for all art products. His characters are always wanking and pissing all over text and imagery. Somehow, they made a movie of Ma Mere starring Isabel Huppert. She slits her throat at the end while her son masturbates in her face. His orgasm is her death statement. It’s a belated dedication to Proust. The movie misses the religious symbolism always present in Bataille. He was a devout Catholic who studied at a seminary briefly. He wrote that the word FORMLESS made the universe seem “something like spit.” This is not necessarily a bad simile in Bataille’s cosmos. Everyone is always beautiful in L-E movies. It’s a strategy to attract viewers to the cause. But it’s always a misnomer. In REAL LIFE, these antics always involve really ugly fat stupid people. The data indicates that incest normally comprises fucking with a step-parent, cousin or half-sibling. Often, these people met as adults. So, it’s really a giant beat-up. Blue of Noon is another corpse-fucking classic. To be clear, Bataille is always a humorous writer. He has a fixed leer on his face. Anita Lane used his character “Dirty” for an album title. She is called MANHOLE in this novel. Like Troppmann, Shanghai Dog has to choose between three women: Manhole, O and Xiao Fang. They correspond to filth, ethics and expired love respectively just like Dirty, Lazare and Xenie. I had no compunction gifting Xiao Fang to a colleague. The Englishman treated her badly. S-DOG didn’t feel regret. Only relief that he had relieved himself of that burden. Like most truly ethic-less (E-L) people, Shanghai Dog started at the opposite pole. He had been an altar-boy and chorister like David Hemmings, Nick Cave and Samuel Beckett. Many people still thought of him as a man guided by a humanistic conscience. He talked a lot about being karma-positive. He had thrown himself into the worst depravity in Asia. He wore a frock-coat to a fancy-dress party at the Pudong Shangri-La as a double-sided joke. It was the narrator who named his wife “O.” This is to conceal her identity from the authorities. Like most saints, she wasn’t particularly nice to live with. Bataille is the source for all clarification in this sub-plot. Troppmann travels to Treves with Dirty. They fuck in the mud on a cliff overlooking a graveyard. This act is paralleled in Telemachus by Manhole dogging at Glamour Bar. Dirty sees a vision of war when she observes Hitler Youth. It’s a Sublime moment. Bataille spent World War Two in cycles of pensive motion. Like many Parisians, he oscillated between the comparative sanctuary of rural life and his prerequisite for the city. He met Blanchot in 1940. He hid in Balthus’ studio after his separation from Denise Rollin in 1943. He was being hunted by his lover’s husband, Kotchoubey. Bataille was diagnosed with pulmonary tuberculosis in 1942. He developed cerebral arteriosclerosis in 1955. He was not informed of the terminal nature of his illness. He died seven years later on 9 July 1962. Bataille formed a secret society called Acéphale in 1936. He organised nocturnal concerts in the forest near an oak which had been struck by lightning. Members were required to follow various rituals. They were surprisingly mundane. The coven celebrated the decapitation of Louis XVI. His headless corpse became their emblem. It was depicted in a drawing by Andre Masson for the first issue of their journal. It only continued for five editions. Such groups usually start out in all seriousness then descend into farce only to jolt themselves back to connotation with a meaningless, evil act. This was the model used by Charles Manson. Bataille planned a human sacrifice. Colette Peignot volunteered. It wasn’t much of a scenario. She was going to die of breast cancer anyway. Bataille contracted tuberculosis from her. It was voluntary L-E. Foucault attempted the same category of L-E in 1983. She had been raped by a priest as a young girl. It was the inspiration for Story of the Eye. Bataille copulated furiously as she recounted its narrative over and over. It was a type of oral history. She died in his house. He turned it into a shrine. No, that’s not true. In fact, he disposed of this residence at a tidy profit. There is a moving photographic portrait of her emaciated corpse. At the end she wore a tonsured head. This image prefaced Holocaust imagery. I like her face best when she pins her hair back displaying her strong facial features; although there is a beautiful shot of her sitting on a doorstep gripping her shins with her hair let out. She had a sensual mouth. Bataille’s mouth was a complementary shape. Their kiss would have been perfect like placing a soft lid over a smooth jar. O and I crack a chicken’s neck. Bataille went by the pseudonym LORD AUCH. It means SHITSTAIN in English. This is an anagram of Saint Shit. L-E can create physical jerkings that trigger a crypto-Sublime (Crypt-S). It is a simulation of religious mania. Don Cane was always bored by Holy Week in the Philippines. It was impossible for him to get any spiritual lift from watching peasants haul heavy crosses through the streets of the city towards church. He had observed the same scene in Vietnam denuded of religious palsy. Remnant farming families driven inside strategic hamlets. Nagoolians dragged over to ARVN interrogators. Sodden patrols straggling back inside the false safety of combat bases up near the DMZ. Radio controllers bent over the weight of their battle-packs. Bataille noted poles of divine ecstasy and extreme horror in human endeavour. They were the same thing to him. L-E stops just short of Saussure’s Life-Death polarity. L-E converts the proponent into a Trickster. It means trying to die at a moment of artificial Crypt-S. This is the same sensibility that Walter Pater chronicled in his IP, “Sebastian van Storck.” Given the above sequence, Tom Hallem would have chosen to expire at the start of SS (3), I think. He would have desired SS (1) & SS (2) to be fully formed. SS (3) represented hackneyed Sublime. He would have preferred to die before those clichés registered. You don’t need to get into BDSM to understand L-E. Anybody steeped in punk music gets it. But it was NOT ENOUGH FOR FOUCAULT to get L-E from books. He wanted to increase L-E to “Limit-Expiration” (LE) maybe. He is rumored to have engaged in sex with consenting partners after he was diagnosed with AIDS. I don’t think this means other people infected with HIV, despite what his acolytes avow. That would have been a SAFE experience, not an LE. There is zero risk in such practice. No, his LE must have involved volunteers who subjected their bodies to An Infection Wheel as a proxy for Bataille’s notion of human sacrifice. They must have been bound hard then punctured in one hundred places with needles gushing Foucault’s blood. His semen too would have been driven into their wounds. He would also have acted as BOTTOM. The TOP would thereby risk infection, albeit at a lower density than a Bottom. It was a game of chance really. Foucault thus sought to fulfil the aborted mission of Acéphale. Althusser was an influence on Foucault at ENS. He was also trained by Waiting for Godot. He decorated his room with Goya etchings. He revered Antonin Artaud, Jean Genet and Hermann Broch. He shared their obsession with suicide. It was the fascination of a voyeur. Everything pointed back to Sade for Foucault but this time in all seriousness. Bataille was the Shelley of BDSM. Foucault was Browning. He adopted Blanchot’s tactic of interviewing himself. Foucault had been suffering fever. Brain spasms complicated his septicemia. There were several areas of cerebral suppuration. Antibiotics had a “favorable effect at first,” according to the official statement. There was no question of fucking anymore. It’s too dangerous and I’m too weak, concluded Leon Daniel. I couldn’t knowingly risk anyone else. I’ve got to finish-up my current patient schedule. Take no more appointments, Miss Dunne. The end of F(W)ake marks the end of sexlife. It is a death book. I hate it, Nora Joyce confided to her sister. Joyce was a pox-addled drunk by then. He became increasingly absorbed by perverse sexual practices (Category IV). If I want to fuck, thought S-Dog, there are sixty girls at the Gold Star KTV. Master Chen keeps them in a stark concrete shell in the basement. I don’t need Xiao Fang. He brings them up the service elevator to Level 28. They are presented in the fish bowl in sets of six. They are all dressed in gold bikinis. They wear numbered tags pinned to their gilded briefs. Through the peep hole, I saw Laure forcing a black dildo into Ladyboy Tara while Blanchot sat in the corner masturbating contentedly. Laure hacked bloody consumption into the nuthole and drove the massive entrail home. Father Ambrose rose onto the bench and forced his member through the hatch. Bella preyed dutifully. Solange snorted another POPPER. The vial knocked her flat. The young priest came over and lifted her body by the hand. He escorted her to the altar. The narrator penetrated Simone while she fellated Don Arminado. Sir Edmund blessed the Eucharist and jammed some sodden excrement into the priest’s mouth. The rope ripped his throat. He expired. Molly Bloom chewed on a caramel as she read eagerly. “This is my kind of stuff Poldy,” she enthused. Sir Edmund nucleated an unlifed eye. Simone forced it up her cunt with a pop. The narrator lay down on his back and let her urine wash over him. Leer entered Hellfire with Tom Hallem. The manager welcomed them. Pasolini flicked from fuck mode to death. I am not going to re-write Story of the Eye or recycle Bataille’s retinue of spheres (eye, egg, sun, testicle) anymore for the reader. No more Fuck Writing (FW) even if it is based on FACT. No mention of the mystery gland even though it DOES antagonise our sense organs. No secret societies even if they do control the dark web. No allusions to taboo practices despite the TRUTH (see Haitian practitioners). Bataille developed Base Materialism as a vitalic Third Eye to destabilise Dialectical Materialism. Derrida appropriated it to undermine binary philosophical codes. Foucault produces simulacra of the Sublime brimming with nostalgia for the unattainable and a child’s sense of loss. On deck, I rolled a smoldering cigar in my fingertips so that pungent smoke veiled my face. The Africans were almost mutinous. Only Simone’s persistent ministrations placated them. I felt for my gun. Idle threats don’t concern me. Chinese guys always talk big. Their basic tactic is to intimidate foreigners with the threat of arrest by local government cronies on trumped-up charges then strip your business. Milky Li was a long way from his power base in Wuhan. The Shanghai mob wouldn’t budge. I had my own guanxi. Chinese people are angry about government corruption. But they are mainly furious that they did not get the chance to get rich themselves. This is the rupture in Chinese life. Young people use the term, mi shi luo. Usually, it means LOST. It means ethically vacant in this context. Only money relationships count. I am working both sides of the Gu deal. My commission will be 1% on the sell side and 2% on the buy side. This is one point five million dollars in total. Of course, there will be plenty of outgoings. I have to pay commission to my mate in Tai Yuan who knew the CEO through the local golf club. He’ll want a drink. Then there’s the guy who fixed up SASAC. Also, the bank manager in Tianjin who can still get RMB denominated deals exchanged into USD. I will probably clear a brick at the end. That’s enough wedge to get me out of China. No more dangling in front of Doctor Gu. Bataille’s prose style is very matter-of-fact as if his narrator doesn’t want to distract the reader with linguistic display cards. His narrative scenes require no illumination. There are not even adjectives except in the description of spheres. But there is a relish to his writing that is lacking in Ballard. His theoretical writing is similar. In “The Notion of Expenditure,” he draws a simple distinction in consumption between base production to conserve existence and ‘unproductive expenditure.’ The latter group represents activities which have no end beyond themselves such as luxury, mourning, cults, monuments, games, spectacles, arts and perverse sexual practices (defined by Bataille as actions “deflected from genital finality”). We regard such items as ‘disposable income’ when they relate to the individual. Disposable income is used to calculate the market for car sales in emerging markets like China. We use it to estimate traffic growth and toll road revenue. Increased domestic consumption is designed to maintain the annual GDP growth rate which underpins the Chinese economy as export prices rise and competition intensifies from cheaper new entrants like Vietnam and Bangladesh. It is supplemented by the ongoing assistance of an undervalued Yuan. Stability is the self-justification for Party rule in China. It also deploys spasmodic appeals to nationalism from artificially manufactured political crises. The logical denouement of this tactic is whether China is willing to go to war over Taiwan if the economy collapses. The President made many enemies with his crackdown on opposing factions. Bo Xilai was the golden boy growing up. Xi watched him quietly. They were like Edgar and Edmund in King Lear. Xi struck when the balance of power shifted a scintilla towards him. He didn’t have time to wait for an overwhelming position. It would never have come. A weaker man would have faltered. Bataille includes WAR in his list of unproductive expenditure. It is what he calls the Accursed Share. Bataille bemoans war although he does acknowledge its role as a trigger for events that overthrow prevailing social systems. This is all connected to the theories of Vico, Sun Tzu, Machiavelli and Clausewitz. Eventually, he incorporates the Accursed Share into a new theory which he calls “General Economy.” This bland title is ironic because Bataille is actually proposing a complete inversion of economic axioms through the “surrender of commodities without return.” His reasoning is that if wealth is destined for unproductive use then we should just surrender it as excess. This appears like Maoist collectivisation at face value. China has become the world’s leading manufacturer by undercutting Western competition. Whole industries have disappeared. Entire communities have been disenfranchised. Skills lost. Yet paradoxically we’re constipated with STUFF. Everyone has become a hoarder of CHEAP PRODUCTS. This is termed General Commodity Delirium (GCD). Our Pineal Eye has been altered by GCD causing Consumption Obesity (CO). We grow fatter each day. It is splintering the seams of our class structure. We don’t even have church anymore. We only gather at shopping malls. Baudrillard revered these places. A scholar might argue that China NEVER abandoned base ideology. Gei Ge Kei Feng will create an industrial proletariat in China for the first time. Deng Xiaoping was always a strict Marxist. In the end, he exceeded the ambitious heavy industry ratios of Da Yue Jin. He differed with Mao on approach just as Mao disagreed with Stalin. Do not change the typesetting in the next section. It is an accidental deconstructive device caused by conversion form Wordperfect 5.1 to Word 10. Use this as a symbol of progress and civilisation; its impact on extant data/people; also an update of Mallarme’s typography in “Un Coup de Des.” The content of the lecture relates to human sexual practices associated with Bataille in this sub-section.


CO(NTRI)ITION: In The History of Sexuality: Volume 1, Michel Foucault postulated an expansion in the scope of the Confession from a simple means of attaining religious absolution for sexual misdeeds to a controlling device – and noted that Sex had become tied to our visions of Utopia. Concomitant with this shift in the confessional apparatus was the appearance of a Scientia Sexualis (medico stooges for Power), who claimed to have formulated procedures for telling the hygienic Truth about Sex which superseded the art of initiation and the masterful secrets of ars e rotica. Four figures became privileged objects of Knowledge:

the hysterical woman;

the masturbating child;

the Malthusian couple;

persons of perverse pleasures.

Against this final, miscellaneous category was to be deployed a cycle of prohibition. Sex must renounce itself under threat of punishment. These ones were called to “step forward and speak, to make the difficult confession of what they were.” Yet Foucault never discloses the full extent of SEX preferring to equivocate at the pen ultimate moment of Confession so that it is “not really recorded” but must remain out side the text. He could have become the Hug h Hefner of critical theory. Or Sade. But there are always false prohibitions in his discourse. Commentators like Foucault preferred to produce Burkean epics in which the satirical and subversive use of discourse calls attention to the contriv ances of methodology. Often the notion of matter becomes elusive in such works as the author strives to balance the imperatives of an anti-Cartesian discourse with the necessity (and repressed desire) for content to propel the text towards its ambivalent and/or ironic severance. William James Chidley’s sexual theories were directed at each of these categories. He identified the stultifying oppression which drove women to stoic decline or cathartic revolt, HE HIMSELF was the auto erotic child and his ‘Answer’ proposed to change the very nature of reproductive coupling and cure perversion. In his Confessions, Chidley committed to paper sexual activities and misadventures of which he was ashamed for the cause of his Utopia. His compulsion to “speak” these lapses inextricably intertwined the act of coition, his own self disgust and a desire for absolution. Contrition was the predicate of coition; connected to it by a copula. It was against misogyny that his sexual theories and Confessions were directed. They remain a chivalric enterprise despite problematic personal insufficiencies; albeit riddled with misconceptions and errors. By gender from within Patriarchy but from Patriarchy riven, Chidley was an obscure apostle of suffragette feminism. He became obsessed with the fatal consequences of marriage for women. Romantic expectations, born of reading, contrasted with later visions of careworn, converging wrecks. A paralysed woman, wife of the school gardener, was the first of a sequence of females crippled by marriage; a theme which reached its apogee at the Female Emigrants Home in the mass physiognomical spectacle of women who “had the same look in their eyes of burnt out passions and lusts, the same ugly hands and figures.” He also chronicled the demise of his Mother and his Aunt cum stepmother both “abused to death by Father’s wooden penis.” [non conductive matter]. His final formulation of The Answer formalised this mistrust of men to offer salvation to women. “HEAD, THOREAU & ABDOMEN. A pun on the anatomy of the bee, Thoreau’s favoured metaphor for man. Face > writer > nether regions. The title outlines the perimeters of The Answer, which offered a solution to our failure to attain Utopia. Chidley proposed that the present method of coition was unnatural – based on the violation of the erect penis – and that, instead, the passive male should lie alongside a loving female until her vaginal suction, stimulated by arousal, inhaled the tip of his penis and drained it of spermatozoon (clues: strings of Alice’s dress being sucked into her vagina; Ada’s vagina inhaling his penis once ; example of ducks, drakes and horses). He ripped more paper ribbons. The release of this pressure made it splay slightly and drool. He licked the beige sauce. The HEAD of the title signifies Chidley’s obsession with physiognomy: the convergence of brows, injured eyes, corrugated foreheads, bulbous Bardolphian noses, flushed cheeks, sly, knowing smiles and clumsy hands all caused by the shocks of coition and self abuse (47). Anomalous emanations of hair on a hatcheted cranium. Deep, care less gougings in the scalp moating a funnel of stiff locks. As if a thick pipe was mounted in his skull. Language which shifted in small units, compartmentalised by punctuation, constantly qualified or extrapolated, centripetal with scientific detail, powered by alliteration. Sex, physiognomical contraction, recourse to alcohol, insanity. HEAD contains Chidley’s ideas and aesthetic. His dreams and visions. Some hint at his fear of men and his fear for girls. Others threaten annihilation. Some are tangible only in the involuntary emissions which flow from them. Molten hommos flowed over his fingers. One records “tigers in the room and large pasteboard ducks that moved their tails and eyes” (277). Others expose his martyr’s fervour for immolation: “A BACCHIC ELATION WAS WITH ME AT TIMES, yet a feeling of being normal. I dreamt I was naked in an assembly and ONE FLAME OF JOY FROM HEAD TO FOOT.” (170) His pronouncements and struggles colour others dreams. His partner Ada dreams of him dressed all in white like a saint (179). And in return he dreams of her, eternally damned “in an indecent posture” (278) suffering the humiliations of Hell. ABDOMEN. An experimental sexuality gone pestilent. From childhood, Chidley was unable to control his burgeoning sexuality so he literally punished his penis. His first childish sexual interaction with a girl ended in him cutting his penis with a knife to sever the “precocious reverie” (11). On another occasion, he knelt down and smashed it with a toilet seat at school so that it went “quite black”~= (27). It eventually evolved into his doppelganger: the separate side of a key. We find him tearing away the bedding to uncover the autonomous, sapient sexual organ as it rears up at him out of the sheets. Symbol of the snake. Capri ate. Peccant “unholy sweat.” Spinal flaccidity. Humid wet fever. Clear metaphors for his disgust with human functions and diet. Another DREAM OF Ada found her compressing human excrement onto a piece of bread, “quite naturally, as if it had been a sausage, and I ate it” (192). Bitten. Chidley longs to be repulsed and to repulse the moon – a key female symbol in Classical mythology (see Hecate, Astarte, Diana, Cynthia, Phoebe, Selene or Luna) – with his orgasm. He huddles out of sight in the hull of a boat self stimulating in front of its luminous rays (90). Or he satiates the “mad tendency” in a cave. Later metaphors availed themselves of size. Indecent photographs gave him “an unnatural orgasm that made me feel AS BIG AS A HOUSE.” If this lucid testimony of fantastic, macabre and grotesque pornographic and scatological details had fallen into Freud’s paws, Chidley may well have become as ubiquitous as Little Hans or Dora. He held out his leaking food. Sauce dripped onto the pavement. THOREAU Walden was one of a cluster of texts which permeated Chidley’s consciosuness. His “unholy sweat” and metaphorical horror of flesh were the result of unbalancing what Thoreau called our “vital heat” (12). Throughout his over-heated existence, Chidley sweated at sex like Ruskin in front of Swinburn e’s “Faustine,” which had made him feel “all hot, like pies with t he devil’s fingers in them.” Meat was associated by Chidley with lapses into mast urbation and drink. The antithesis lay in fruit and a fruit diet insp ired by Schlickeysen’s Fruit and Bread: A Scientific Diet. This echoed Thoreau’s ‘Elysian life,’ which spurned cooked food for fruit ripened by the sun and rejected clothing and shelter. A “balanced, normal and cool” brain became the foil to streaming convergence. The benefits from stimulating “natural fruit blood” would include FLOATING. This was the same glorious leap that appended a tail to the human body in Charles Fourier’s Harmony. Chidley grasped at literary ideas and incorporated them into his work. Walter Pater’s Imaginary Portrait, “Denys L’Auxerrois,” provided his central Dionysian trope of lapse and renewal . He incorporated Pater’s sacrifice of Denys to the frenzied demotic crowd into his own self-perception as martyr. He invoked Heiterkeit – a term borrowed by Pater in the essay on “Winckelmann” – from Hegel’s Aesthetik to exemplify the Hellenic ideal (137). His reading was eccentric, coherent and analytical. For example, his nickname for a lover’s ageing benefactor was SILENUS, an attendant of Bacchus who is represented as a fat jovial old man always full of liquor and riding an ass. A decrepit opium eater, is tagged FOSCO after Wilkie Collins’ Count. His tastes in literature developed down channels: like Pater > Swinburne > Blake > Baudelaire. It tracked oscillations between lapse and renewal shifting from Gay’s fables and the romances of Sir Walter Scott to “pornographic” passages in Smollett’s Roderick Random and “lewd” encounters in Shakespea re. As a young clerk he buried himself in novels like Barnaby Rudge. Dickensian realism imbued his sordid recollections of this period as “in that dingy hole I abused myself again and again” (44). The consequences of self abuse for Chidley were a startling deterioration of his physiology: “I grew stiff in the neck, my spine clogged, and I had unholy sweats. The pupils of my eyes were like pin heads so small and weak I could not look at the sun, or a healthy lad or lassie in the eyes. Even the picture of a healthy boy in the Gallery (45).” SYNTHESIS. What we must do is take the title and solder it into a ring – to bind it as O was bound through the flesh, by the shac kle and in hre mind and click shut the plastic cap like Chidley himself achieved by folding upon himself in AUTO-FELLATIO. The Mouth is the insertion orifice. Capri unravelled the sodden paper disclosing the soggy butt which he cradled like a stamen. It withered before light. He presst it out of the paper and popped it inna. It sunk. God placed genitals out of convenient reach of the lips. But self stimulating himself in what he called “the nameless way,” Chidley, unable to bear naming it, for there was no terminology invented for this act, struggled to make his head and abdomen meet for LITERAL INTERPENETRATION. Capri cleaned his palms on his trousers leaving a shiny wash. This contortionist bending of the spine unto self enclosure (as if Chidley himself had become a book whose wings were torn back unnaturally) is a paradigm of his mental anguish; an anguish alternately titillated and allayed by reading as he rotated through cycles of Dionysian energy and dissipation until his attainment of stern Apollonian serenity begat discovery of the Answer.


“TEXT POINT ALPHA.” The projector replays looped Kodachrome Super-8 road movies of FM-2030 (Star-child) and HH-1970 shooting hoops through a plastic mini-ring in seventeen (‘the least random number’) identical Five-Star hotel rooms across Central America always fully-grown never ageing totally naked except for empty tissue boxes on their feet listening to Bach minuets getting smoother and fuller across time until their shiny sealed faces tremble and split in a larval flow of skin, silicon and muscle scrapings. They were the first Fast Humans. This is the moment of the Big Accident. Strauss’ Zarathustra slows to a long flat fart. The Monolith emits a piercing howl. Everything blows. Personal assistants rush to scrape up body parts, focusing on ladling dollops of dough-like brain for Vitrification as per the Entropy Institute’s instruction manual: “place mask over mouth and gloves over hands; remove can from sealed bag; scrub exterior; wash in de-ionised water; dry in autoclave (do not overfill as it results in uneven sterilisation); remove wrapping from Cryo-Preservation Kit; press brain parts into container with downwards pressure to minimise air pockets; seal and place in freezer; call 1300 number; technicians from Alcor HQ will collect.” Link to Tom and Willy if they lived to a ripe old age. In 2001, Kubrick suggests the existence of Beings so advanced we can’t comprehend them. Junkies of pure energy and spirit. Incomprehensible except as gods. They study Dave like novelists. His life passes. He sees himself age quickly. He dies. He was only thirty-six years old. He is transfigured into the super-child returning to earth. Ubermensch blah (x3). Kubrick painted an optimistic picture. James Joyce too remained a broad humanist. In contrast, William Gibson’s enterprise is not really relevant to Joyce. A coin-shaped bulb named Alcor-3 (also known as Poseidon) has been attached to the planet by Maglev. It sucks rare earth from open-cut mines through suction hoses positioned just inside the protective shadows of The Eclipse. Photo-voltaic panels protrude into the solar line-of-sight without exposing Poseidon to the direct rays of the Sun. This has become critical since the ozone layer inverted. I could write endless passages with this type of pompous science fiction prose. It is engrained in our minds like a blanking device. Tarkovsky is filming a team of cyberneticists at work. Commence zentropy muzak. INSERT FOLLOWING IMAGE SEQUENCE: close-up of closed eyelids splitting suddenly leaving Doric columns of rheum; a flashing neon tag-line (“REFRESHSHSHD”); ECT pads shudder elephantine flesh; subliminal community service banner (“not to be attempted on minors”); alternating shots of FM-2030 and HH-1970 gazing into hand mirrors with appropriate product placement; bodily reconstitution as per infotainment channel instructions (see Special Offer); triangular silver chips inserted behind each ear lobe (Sponsored by Content Management Services!); they hover out of the laboratory to take their place in a purpose-built apartment. The choice of French neoclassical decor recalls The Enlightenment. Grammar is no longer relevant, just storyboards. Imagery is designed to reach the soul like a gut-reaction. Like a great painting. Find a new way of writing to match. Make a prosenchymatic field. Alcor-3 is the oldest and most liberal of the new colonies. Other outposts would not risk infection from FM-2030, although there were multiple offers to accept the more sanitary HH-1970. Alcor-3 is protected from micro-organisms by a Dry Heat Sterilization Field. Each individual is fitted with a programmed casing that prevents disease transmission. HH-1970 shuffles to the water cooler on Kleenex clogs, which are sponsored by Unilever. It has just received a lifetime achievement award for subsuming its last rivals (El Goog, Buy Dough, Zamaz). Children at Alcor-3 are sedated with Stillnox at Dream Academies and palsied in learning modules. There is the gentle rap of a Styrofoam Blunt on the door. Servbot is oddly inactive. The polyurethane eyes of Tiresias spring open. He starts mouthing a scroll of platitudes by Barbara Kramer. I am always happy when surrounded by smart people who also happens (sic) to be rich and powerful I was told the people here at WIG were interested in inviting in (sic) future initiatives which means A. I. which means me. Source – “THE TAKE.” Cassandra makes a prophecy by mathematical formula. Hera swoops down and pokes out her eyes. She smashes a pair of copulating snakes with a lightsaber. A spider gives birth to a plethora of star-children. FM-2030 lifts a horned conch to his lips. Ralph appears on the set holding Billy’s smashed spectacles aloft. The knock recurs louder and sharper. HH-1970 shuffles to the door. Insert ape = spacemen scenes. A mob in activewear rushes inside. They have fashioned weapons out of soft polymer. He is knocked to the ground. They stomp on his body to a soundtrack by Bizet. Insert more references to Droogs. Also, 120DoS. Max More orchestrates the crowd. FM-2030 smashes a glass of red wine. It represents the human body. Also, Christ’s blood. They smash FM-2030 with Q-bricks until his carcass ponds red-on-snow over the floor. Tom reached blindly towards the Monolith simulating the famous image of the “Creation of Adam.” HH-1970 grins. Occasionally, he applauds childlike like Warhol. He offers the crowd absorbent towels before poking out his only good eye with a long nail on the end of his right hand, which he has nicknamed The Screwdriver. The crowd flay him alive. A mound is constructed. Four monoliths appear linking epic transitions in human evolution. 2001 represents the odyssey of humankind. When they finish with Dave, he is transformed into a GOD. The crowd lifts the corpses onto a pyre using mind-magnification. Attendants rush to the scene with extinguishers. They recite statistics on trench warfare. The quantum of bombs dropped on North Vietnam exceeded the total volume delivered by the Allies on Germany by a factor of 3.5 to one. Each B-52 payload = 6 x B-17. The remnant body parts of FM-2030 and HH-1970 are spirited back to The Bubble where Tarkovsky chronicles their reconstruction so that the whole scene can be repeated ad infinitum. Nietzsche’s Eternal Recurrence of the Same. But their memories are NOT erased. This would totally defeat MEANING. INSERT SOUNDTRACK – “Daisy (Bicycle built for two).” Serenade of an IBM 704 computer to Arthur C. Clarke. Bicycles. A symbol of modernity. Bowman (Ody) unplugged Hal (Trojan Horse) to facilitate the next stage (Odyssey). Technology = violence. Kill all monstrous offspring or A. I. will take over the world. But we are long past HOPE in contemplating that battle (see C6, Arche-Text). This is TEXT POINT OMEGA. Loop back to TEXT POINT ALPHA. A loop is a reflection in a still pool. Janus was also Virilio’s God. He was all about motion. This is the Travelling that Virilio calls the Aesthetics of Disappearance (Futurism-with-Scruples). An installation titled Road Movie is being exhibited in the Left Wing. A holographic plaque reads: “Opened by M. Duchamp.” Neon slogans flash his message across curved walls: Stupid as a Painter Still as Paint. The concept of Dromology is central to Virilio’s critical enterprise. It comes from the Greek dromos for racetrack. This is apt for Joyce’s Ulysses, which is set on Gold Cup Day. Also, TMAC (Melb Cup). Virilio condenses all narratives into one hundred minutes of quick edits, flash-forwards, montages, psychedelic effects and stylised brutality. 2001 contains 140 minutes of imagery but only 40 minutes of dialogue. Impressionistic like art. This was the same goal as F(W)ake. All cinema represents road trips. It is integral to the technology. Kubrick’s style in the closing sequence was intended to kickstart the next stage of human evolution (THE REVOLUTION). But he didn’t pretend to have all the answers. Was Dave dreaming or conscious? Dead or alive? This was a new kind of end-point to VOID closure. Kubrick wanted to harness the subconscious power of the audience as an energy field. To penetrate our minds like a Bond villain. Anxiety about progress has been replaced by terror and fear, according to Virilio. Billy Capri adjusted his spectacles. Einstein’s train passed into the present tense en route to meet Bergson (see A. Uhlmann). Dusky light. This is the time of day when human activity gives way to passive observance of the televisual (Transhumanism). In Ulysses, everyone goes to the pub. One moment there is sunlight, next aftermath. The animal body of the worker becomes transparent. Technology passes not pausing. To illuminate night has always been the objective of human societies. It literally expanded the amount of time available for exploitation. Fire-heat became work-light. The speed of light became the dream measurement of Capital. That’s why space travel was pursued so fiercely. There is a manic addiction to pace. Now society has progressed to the phase of collective emotionalism. This produces what Virilio calls a ‘communism of affects.’ His father was a Marxist, originally from Italy. Sharp-rusted shadows pulse with green ticker-tape lanterns. Banks of watchful eyes form a cinema screen. Everything is over-exposed. Australia is the correct setting for Apocalypse. Communications domes bulge on the arid surface of this ancient land like herpes blisters, the voiceover says. Bikes become speed prosthetics. Trucks mimic tanks. Insert refs to Mad Max & Stone. Pseudoephedrine is a fast drug. Billy Capri worked his way through fast-food along fast-falling King Street seeping hummus juice from a sodden wrap across his second-hand jacket. He pressed hard against the city’s footpath-veterans as they leaked railway tickets, chewing stones and fading cigarette coals over plaid kerbstones into streaming stone gutters. Increase of unease seemed to make his speed increase exponentially. He paused to watch a torn strand of greaseproof paper resist shape-forming on the crest of merging rain-tides. It bashed away at a heavy stormwater grill, repelled and urged back, with no way in/away, just bobbing, backing-up and bobbing again, swelling against speed’s weight, a symbol, until the rain-flush abated and it cud rest. Billy checked the pedestrian signal and started across Missenden Road. His first footstep hit a broad puddle allowing rain to penetrate his shoe. This provoked an irrational fear that he would drop through space like spilled coffee (see C5, E1). His second step smashed into reflected shop lights. Phenomenology of darkness. Of wetness. A slimy outhouse path leading to a damp, close toilet cubicle. Faded image of Mona Lisa glued to the wall (Search ‘Giaconda’). A gale passed. His third step hit even ground. Humans always created flatness. Flat campsites. Flat fields. Flat house blocks. Flat steps. A sudden shower on step four caught him midway across Ashfield Park in his school uniform. It became inundated in seconds. He burst into tears. Step 5 – he was obliged to pause on the traffic island by a turning signal that sent a constellation of sharp vehicles rushing across his gaze. A heavy van sprayed his trousers. He looked into the dim front bar of the Marlborough Hotel. The levy of his hairline was finally breached. Water pooled in his eyebrows. A purl slid down his temple (see C2). It reached his cheek. He licked. Lion Island brine. Caravan park holidays. Bob tinkering with a gas tap. Playing hide and seek in heath. Billy hurried to the far shoreline. The pub awning sheltered him at last. He brushed his face with a damp coat sleeve. Smell of gentlemen. He was giving his apartment to O. A kind of sanctuary, he thought. Howard Hughes cared only for objects-in-transit until they sent him insane. He vanished into STATIC absence, fortified against light. Literature is caught in the oscillation of these conflicting forces. The crux of narrative teleology is decisive movement towards closure while the apprehension of language is a mood of intellectual arrest. This disjuncture is paralleled by the schism between matter and style. One is of facts; the other beauty. Facts constitute a Dromology. Feelings are immobilised narrative. Plot acts as a fusillade even when it is careering down the discursive channels of Post-Structuralism like a proletarian mob. Speed is the assault phase. It must be maintained forever or else political momentum will ebb. Mao understood this maxim. An obsession with technology and speed has made teleology pre-eminent. Everything is a matter of Story Thrust. The arrested moment is redundant. Fantastic tales accelerate the reader down an intellectual bypass. This is the map coordinates of literature TODAY. Joyce’s male characters are all trapped in Dromological progress in Ulysses. Nobody is allowed to stand still. Language must also keep morphing like Proteus. This corresponds to Virilio’s notion of a city penetrated with channels of communication, each with a separate set of regulations. Wandering Rocks is the epitome of this concept. All the characters in Ulysses are moving all day. They remain stuck in drive-mode, but according to different rules of kinesis. Only Molly Bloom remains stationary. Other females are working, giving birth, scouring the house for items to pawn, or selling their bodies on the street. The city of Paris was restructured by Haussmann after the French Revolution to facilitate swift movement by Authority to quell insurrection. Paris was thus the first urban carceral. No philosopher of Sydney could draft the same roadmap. Sydney’s urban channels have always been diverted like intermittent streams. Emancipists chipped away at its civic plan. Ridgelines dominated its transport arteries. People travel like cancer cells through carpellated streets. Veins are always cut off or tied. It has become a city of leakages. Sydney possesses NO GRID. The harbour acts as a SOFT BOUNDARY. Paris is wire mesh; Sydney, all thread. Paris is geometry; Sydney, a jerk-system. Urban deformity triggers the sublime in cities. Barricades are turned or broken to reveal awe-inspiring perspectives. Sydney is One Big S calculated from a sequence of accidental Small S moments. Sydney was the first unintentional city. That remains its urban vector in Virilio’s terms. It is a clear weather day in Ulysses. Track: FIRM. Joyce employs no meteorological symbology. Shooting stars expire as Bloom and Stephen urinate at 11 pm. The storm made King Street look like Rome 1,000 ad. Shopfronts scattered tawdry products, stagnant behind sub-lit casements. A second-hand bookshop displayed its jaundiced wafers. Rotting cereal fermented in forty-gallon drums at the health food co-op. A hippie played with a cash register. It belled insistently. Narrative as a machine-in-landscape always seems to be going downhill at a slight gradient due to the unwinding of our unconscious brain. Plot involves building or dismantling a human form. Attack from higher ground with the sun behind your shoulders (Sun Tzu). Choose the moment to engage and to disengage (Mao). Cross a dark lane. Gap between awnings. Exposed to sniper fire. Billy rushed through a puddle jabbing his toe. Grim friction. Patchouli oil stench from a crystal shop flooded my scentses. He could just make out the sky’s gunmetal scarf dying in space above ornamental facades. Decaying Victorian past. Masonry urns. Queen Victoria’s orb. The earth moves in miniscule measures. Dull thuds like footsteps. The dialectic of stasis/movement (style/narrative) is in effect a representation of the natural contrast between land:sky and/or land:sea. Movement is cancelled at the ocean horizon where all forces meet. This is where sea:sky (speed-against-speed) achieves suspended carriage. Cancellation of fluctuants. Horizon ever-receding from grasp. Symbol of Quest. Movement/Immobility. Virilio/Other. Browning’s stall. This is not an unusual dichotomy. The relentless progress of the British Empire was framed, pinned and secured by the Shibari figure of its Queen. Shelley explored this dialectic in the 1820 volume of “Prometheus Unbound” (see C4). His epic drama celebrates Olympian energy being expended against fixity. It is followed in the first edition by “The Sensitive Plant,” which represents the hopeless bondage of mutable existence. The plant acts as a fixed pivot and compulsory voyeur for the flow of elements and seasons that bring adverse change to the garden (AKA Life). It becomes an emblem for the human condition. This inverted Quest symbology was taken up by Browning in “Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came.” Billy Capri paused at the entrance to the Milton Hotel, pondering a quiet middy before joining his peers. This is a stalling device to suggest underlying disquiet about his future. Jerome McGann argued that images of stasis were a strategy in Victorian poetry to “break with the poetry of quest, effort, and personal advancement” (35). Ulysses represented a new variation on this theme. It was a quotidian quest with no significant teleological resolution at closure. Both Bloom and Stephen peregrinate across Dublin hardly making any advances over the course of a single day. This is logical given the short timeframe of the novel. Small spiritual inroads are achieved on behalf of personalised cosmoses, although they represent insinuations rather than fully disclosed narrative leaps. This intervolvement of speed and stasis was intensified in Beckett’s Trilogy, which comprises a reductive quest (Malone Dies); the discourse of apparently immutable totems (The Unnameable); and a combination of both (Molloy). The body of Beckett’s texts are always positioned so close to the end of their apparent tropes that there is hardly any narrative movement possible. Closure is always imminent. Yet, like Zeno’s paradox, resolution is never quite reached and, therefore, his characters must remain like the Sensitive Plant forever fastened and exposed at an uncomfortable juncture, enduring perpetual re-runs (ERotS) until arbitrary abandonment by the author. This logos requires the writer to engage in a post-modern revaluation of form. The end of the text is the ultimate Staticising Device. I’ve been burning capital for twelve months waiting for the GFC to end. The speed of commercial decline even seems to make the taxis go faster. Pedestrians accelerate. Sex is fast but I never seem to cum. Tom Hallem was in a hurry. He needed to find Leer to get Ana’s fix. He paid for some crisps and left the shop. The shopkeeper weighed coins in her palm. Blunt symbolism. Tom crossed Salisbury Road against oncoming traffic and proceeded up Australia Street. Same route as Chapter Three. Stuck on a smack loop. Riverrun. Vico’s cycles. Enter another Two-Up ring. Drizzle slipped out of the sky. Welterweight shelters. He turned into Federation Road. A panel beater was bashing at a crumpled side panel. Assistants bathed in golden sweat sprayed silver duco over a bull bar. *Insert air bags into Achilles’ armour. Hallem cut across the park through a row of finely woven eucalypt trees towards the sharp corner of the cemetery wall at St Stephens. Strongest point in any structure. Interlocking teeth. Shark bites. Les’ stomach was woven together with chaff-bag scars. Tom walked upon the abandoned plots. Bodies still interred down there. Rich loam. Dogrun. Don’t start burrowing. You’ll dig all the way to China. Xi Jinping is digging the other way. A dog on a leash passed. It is no coincidence that Argos is owned by the Citizen in Ulysses. Joyce loathed dogs. Yellowblock perimeter ten feet high. Church well hidden within a cage of soggy figs. Castle Keep. No vegetation can grow beneath its broad canopy. Inedible fruit and leaves. Flying fox colonies patrol at night. Released bats. A high belfry. Carillon of twenty domes installed in 1880. Whitechapel foundry. Gothic Revival. Cruciform plan. LINK TO C3. It was built from Pyrmont sandstone with a slate roof and stone traceries. Pass parallel to Lennox Street. Joshie fit the battle of. Fusillade over the Dardanelles. Probable site of Troy. Dead ANZACS still poke out of dry dirt. Jawbone of an ape. Walk in circles chanting Jehovah’s name. Fine Walker organ. One thousand pipes. Anchor of the Dunbar rests in there. Headstones propped against the internal wall blanched of colour like old teeth. Bathsheba Ghost. Go to C8. Derrida’s TOMBSTONE. Marble figurines set above. Letters and dates withworn wormdrawn drawndown. Efface Plato’s enterprise. Certainty exists only in our folly to fix determinist structures. Pater severed his texts at a moment of calm delusion. Rush to coma. All this stuff coming together so fast. Plot threads, character actions, tropes, devices, weblinks, references, images, symbols, even words, all interpenetrating. Repetition unwoven and rewoven anew. Arachne challenging Athena. Insert diary entries (C8). Make a type of living record as I go. Pepys meets Sterne. There is a deep organic form in the subconscious deeper than any received narrative structure. China has avoided recession. They pump-primed the economy with debt. Bad infrastructure got built too fast. They call it Shenzhen Speed. One skyscraper level per week. Now the central government is bailing out the banks to support non-performing local government loans. The whole damn place is grinding to a halt. Not that official statistics tell you anything. China will always register acceptable GDP growth. The locals are pouring all their cash into the Shanghai Ex. Yesterday, the global economy dropped off another ledge. They closed the Nikkei when a big life insurance company in America went bust. Banks won’t lend to banks. Greece is on the verge of default. That will trigger the fall of Italy and Spain. Investors are waiting for rock bottom. It’s going to be great if you’re still trading. Pick up good assets in impaired vehicles. Major houses like Lehmans, Merrills and Bear Sterns have already hit the wall. Babcock & Brown and Allco are the sacrificial firms in Australia. Even celestial houses like Goldman Sachs are shedding staff. Billy walked into the Shakespeare Hotel pausing on the verge to check his front foot was elevated above the frayed carpet in the doorway. He didn’t want to trip and fall. Judy always entered jade buddha temple this way. Claymore hop. She burned incense for dead relatives. There are still one million tonnes of unexploded ordinance under the surface of Vietnam. Rudd has guaranteed the big banks. ASIC banned short selling. Virilio was most worried by biogenetic bombs. Everybody is mobilised for a type of war that can never take place. Space is mapped into camps. There is a velocity to re-alliancing. We need speed to become hysterical so we can manufacture new weapons that nobody will ever use. Atomic collectibles. States like North Korea exploit the unpredictability of haste. Missiles collapsing on a launch pad or careering off course. It’s all part of their game. Technology engineers its own mistakes, according to Virilio. Every contraption carries its own hamartia. Reich’s orgone box. Wooden box of minor literature all misshapen (C4). Technology always seeks to order disorder in any extant system. An accident is just an inverted miracle. When you invent the ship, you also invent shipwreck. The technology of Ulysses contains its own fatal flaw. Joyce used up all his Intellectual Property writing Ulysses. The only place left to explore was the ultimate assault on language and plot in F(W)ake. Joyce went to the same place as Odysseus after the Odyssey. Comedy Is the only mode of emplotment for such an enterprise. It represents a POTION. The Trojan Horse turned deception into a winning tactic. But it carried the seed-fruit of Classical severance. Odysseus must go BACK INSIDE at the end of the Odyssey. He must file for Chapter Eleven. It’s also known as a “Safe Harbour” provision. He must continue beyond Ithaca. It was never going to be the LAST PLACE. He must find a landlocked location where the people have never seen the sea. That means travelling WEST like Voss (LL). By then, the Classical period will be closed. The history of the water-people of the Ionian Sea consigned to tomes. It is succeeded by fragmentation. Sites are self-selected where Dromology and Stasis can make contact in extrinsic space. Places like Afghanistan have become theatres that are “always in play.” They can never be allowed to cease fighting. There is no circus without a circle, Virilio said. EBIT graphs ALL OF HISTORY. Virilio does not believe we have entered the hyper-real yet. He thought we could still turn away from the screen. He differed from his friend, Baudrillard, in this regard. Warcraft was Virilio’s profession. Don Cane shifted easily between the frontline and clandestine missions. Don’t say his service record isn’t authentic. That’s not the point. He needs to be LARGER THAN LIFE to compete with Odysseus. North Vietnam could have been overrun in a single day if we got the order. In 1968, French thinkers prospered from unrest while intellectuals in the Eastern Bloc were jailed. This is the premise for Unbearable Lightness of Being. Lives were irreversibly altered by the events of Prague Spring. Ballard was the other driver in the head-on collision that claimed the lives of Tomas and his wife Tereza. He may have been working for the S-t-B. Tomas was survived by his only son, Simon, who composed this hateful epitaph: “He Wanted the Kingdom of God on Earth.” This was a euphemism for the fact that his father wanted to fuck all the time whenever he wanted with whoever he liked regardless of cost. Life was all L-E until he retired to the countryside with a much younger wife like an ageing rock star. Crash was a shock to contemporary readers in England but Ballard was really just channelling the grand tradition of British antinomian writers like the anonymous author of Autobiography of a Flea. English has always attacked its own shibboleths. It is not by mistake that Bataille created an English aristocrat, Lord Edmund, as the moving force in Story of the Eye or that Pauline Reage chose Sir Stephen as the master of O. “O” signifies cunt whereas “I” is penis. The best writers in English inherited deconstructive tendencies off Joyce. Virilio was nominated as a Professor by architecture students in 1968. In the last months of his life, as he lay dying of prostate cancer, Ballard finally moved-in with Ms Walsh, his partner of forty years, swapping his suburban home in Shepparton for her flat above a boarded-up shop in West London. He had been a widower since 1964. He raised three children, writing novels at home during school hours. Bataille was diagnosed with Symphorophilia. Bill Henson famously represented this type of lust in his car crash image of Leda. We have all been infected with such a psychosis to some extent. It was injected by moving pictures. It all started with viewing German concentration camp movies after the war. The first time we recoiled in disgust. Later, we became inured. Finally, they became sick supermodels of desire. Now we always want to secretly re-experience this disgust. We seek out depictions of violence. It is a Negative Sublime (MINUS-S). Virilio is still alive at the time of writing. He grew up in the port city of Nantes. He was a child during the Second World War. He observed Blitzkrieg first hand. Columns of tanks sped down the city’s narrow lanes. Fleeing in cattle trucks. Sleeping in sheep folds. Moving by night. Deploying ellipsis to extend the sentence so that it becomes a trail. This was Levi-Strauss’ mode of survival when he escaped south to Vichy. Joyce considered World War Two to be a deliberate act of subversion by Hitler to rob his new book, F(W)ake, of publicity. Incredibly, Levi-Strauss requested repatriation to Northern France where it was already known that intellectuals and Jews were being sent to camps. This could be seen as a kind of L-E. Eventually, he escaped to America on the same ship as Andre Breton in 1941. Nantes was a centre of the Resistance. Hotz was assassinated there. Many hostages were executed in public reprisals. Virilio was exposed to all the perverse logic of Nazi retribution as a child. He came to look at war as the core human endeavour. Doug Kellner believed that personal experience caused Virilio to over-determine the role of technology. Nantes endured a sequence of Allied bombings aimed at its port facilities. Inevitably, bombs strayed over the town. There is UXO to this day. The heart of Nantes was accidentally bombed by B-17s on 16th September 1943. They came straight up the Loire. Nine hundred civilians were killed. A week later, the Americans returned. Another two hundred and sixty died in morning and afternoon raids. Originally, Lyotard trained as a stained-glass maker assisting Matisse in adorning the churches of Paris. His first analytical work was a study of the Atlantic Wall. It is ironic that this fortification was completed by Rommel, who was a master of fast movement. History can be repeated but it cannot be remade. Rommel would have fought at Kursk, if Hitler sent him to the Eastern Front. It was the greatest tank battle in history. It decided the outcome of the Second World War. Rommel’s talent could have been crucial. He was wasted in Africa. A blast of dispute swamped the hockey field. Master Dedalus lowed. Mutilated language expired in a heap. The students assembled. Derrida is not really interested in speed. He prefers deferral. It creates a timeless interim. Virilio only believes in speed and things-which-impede-speed. I also believe in stasis. Speed and stasis are calibrated by technology to ensure RECURRENT CONTACT. Barry Capri dropped his wife at home before going back to close-up the shop. Missus Tran had left a message on his answering machine. Don Cane tumbled to the low point of Darlinghurst. Unknown jungle. Charlie owns night. My sons were born at the beginning of the Vietnam conflict. I was slightly younger than the average member of the AATTV. They were all officers and senior NCOs. My work in Signals got me the gig. Hacking was the first bloke who went down. His death narrative kept changing. First, he shot himself cleaning his gun. Then a sniper got him. Next, one of his mates killed him accidentally. Finally, they said he blew out his own brains. They sent his sealed coffin back to Australia. Occupant unconfirmed. Classified papers. No one ever saw his face. That is all going to change tonight. I am counting on the element of surprise like Odysseus. OUT


I am only going to focus on one element of Derrida’s writing. From this trace, all other elements will naturally spring to cont[r]act. I will not set up any artificial binary or hierarchy. I’m not going to expostulate with Derrida. There just isn’t enough love between us. I intend to treat Derrida like an enthusiast. I think he would like it that way. For, at the end of the day, as dark clouds combine with autumnal sunset on the airport overpass to create a perfect pantomime of doom, what is our love of Art but an incestuous fuckfest with first icons INSERT RHETORICAL Q-MARK. Jacques Derrida returns to James Joyce like a psychopath. He is always ‘after’ Joyce in all senses of the word. And it is usually in association with the image of Babel. Joyce had the same relation to Shelley. He did not cite him often but when he did it was manically. I am going to deal with Derrida like an after-match interview. He had no time for formal theory. He just deployed piles of inter-related terminology, updated and partially revised, aping Joyce’s renamings in F(W)ake, to create a kind of forced-field within which Theory could ricochet like Mallarme’s chance but SOFT. Derrida wanted to leave theory hanging in a vault like fuzzy dice dangling over the rear-view mirror of a fast-moving car. Theory would have had to be defined like a chemical compound if it was a hard substance. He wanted it to become outsized and plush like a charm ornament. Derrida is the natural successor to Joyce. They are bound together but backwards in time like an anthropologist tied to a tomb ceremony. One can never apply enough similes to any analysis of Derrida because his writing is so oblique that it is only by simple metaphor that his mass of words can be somewhat discombobulated. We should always write about Derrida in the style of F(W)ake. This is pandering to his BIGGEST DREAM. But who am I to deny succour to a dying man? Pater always ended his plots the same way: letting his characters expire in some misguided misapprehension of a new brand patent of divine morphine. Joyce begins F(W)ake by introducing the character, Sir Tristram. He is described as a man in love and a noble knight who lives in a castle. By Page Five, he is excised from the text. Thus, Joyce explicitly promotes then abandons a conventional Romance trope in a clear breakage. It is a statement of defiance towards the un-writerly reader. The title of this episode would be “DEARREADER” if Derrida was an incidental character in F(W)ake. TBH he would have been delighted to be cast in any role especially dull, evil Kevin (AKA Shaun the Postman, Chuff, Jaun, Yawn, Primas, Justias, the new HCE et cetera). He was an extra on the set of Apocalypse Now. Europeans were in short supply in Manila in 1974. His Algerian heritage and equestrian skills got him work as a scimitar-wielding horseman on the set of many post-war romances set in the desert. He applied the precepts of Furūsiyya to his later academic work. Derrida could have played any male or female part in Mary Ellen Bute’s movie of Ulysses (1965) except one which required wearing a boater. He would have looked fine delivering the new Irish stew speech. Derrida was a handsome man with silver bouffant and perforated lips, which were never allowed to camera-smile. This is ironic given Derrida’s pre-occupation with Joyce and laughter. He felt Joyce was laughing at him all the time as a reader. He had bad teeth. Maybe his interest in laughter was a surrogate for that sour seductive gaze. Joyce would have employed comic variants to Derrida’s name over the course of F(W)ake like “Dare Rey Duh” (farceolatteadough), Derridunbardun (a Scottish town) and “Der-riddler” (German + enigmatic wordsmith) as well as incorporating par-translations from other languages such as Dereidhur (Irshish). Like Derrida, Joyce got calibration out of partialised repetition. Material is put there to be repeated. The notion to be delineated (not defined) can thus assume its connotation-in-full because difference makes it 100% clear by default like a mandala. Blame Vico a bit but not much. Joyce re-enacts the fall-rise-fall principle. F(W)ake reverts to 1132 ad. This isn’t even a date in historiographical terms. Joyce has just created an arbitrary numerological date and given it justification as usual. This is an entirely deconstructive act that shifts History from a focus on big events to the unchronicled places that billions of humans inhabited. At best, this date alludes to the rate of physical fall of an object (32 feet per second) as a metaphor for the descent of ‘great men.’ History recurs in four arcs. We were back at the Theocratic Stage by 1940, according to Joyce. From our modern perspective, how accurate was Joyce as a seer? Certainly, the Democratic Epoch seemed to be drawing to a close at the time of F(W)ake. It hung on grimly, however, slowly expanding its scope as Communism faltered. By 1989, it appeared triumphant. There was no sense that “the centre cannot hold” in Yeats’ terms. Today, Stage One (god worship) has been skipped. We have progressed straight to Stage Two. Joyce was unable to predict the impact of technology, not being H. G. Wells or Virilio et al. This is the most important deduction in assessing Joyce’s application of Vico. Not where we are NOW but whether we followed his cycles sequentially. In that sense, Joyce was wrong. Derrida is unique in ignoring Joyce’s obsession with numerology. Joyce is rigorous in mathematical balance. The mother has 111 children and gives them 111 gifts over the course of F(W)ake. Cluff and Glugg fight in front of 29 girls of Saint Brides. Duchamp used plural ‘bachelors’ in The Large Glass. Note correspondence with Penelope and the suitors. Another interest in F(W)ake was pederasty. HCE is all over his daughter. Swift too was interested in girls. There are a lot of Freudian jokes about towers and stems. HCE built the city. ALP is its river. There is a whole tranche of puns about Bruno in the context of Irish legend, which now includes Joyce as a key figure. The whole critical edifice that Joyce composed to bolster F(W)ake became the target of internal satire-within-the-text. ALP’s letter is clawed out of a heap by Belinda the Hen and subjected to blunt hermeneutics. Anthony Burgess makes F(W)ake appear so simple. In fact, he is too successful. F(W)ake is unattainable as product. It passes Derrida’s gramophonic urge AROUND THE OUTSIDE. Burgess spends eleven pages cataloguing the narrative but only two pages on its language. This is totally upside-down. For Derrida, writing folds inwards according to a set sequence. He is the most methodical, predictable writer. But there is no overarching motto. Nothing to grasp. Aeolus blows the surface. Poseidon churns the substance of the text. Still, there is no maxim like “I am rewriting the Odyssey from the POV of the son” or “The Son must repeat the journey of the Father.” It is only in exposition that Derrida becomes penetrable. This is his rhizome of structure: form an archi-graph > DRIVE westwards out of Dublin > become gramophonic > keep south of Phoenix Park > close shapes on a page > misread Saussure somewhat > pass the Jameson’s distillery on Bow Street > let word-burroughs arrange the order of soil penetration > dig your way out of Kilmainham Gaol > compose provocative slogans like 1968 > register a motif of obstruction (what Derrida calls by many different terms like ‘specter’ and ‘differance’) > trigger recognition of the Without (exterior/lack) > track the Liffey northwards-turning > huddle under a shower-fall of exemplars and qualifications > update repetition to strengthen the mould > become a ghost writer or pharmakon > arrive at Chapelizod. You can visit the Bristol Hotel, known as the Dead Man because drunk customers stumble out of its doors at closing time straight onto the tram tracks like Barthes getting smashed by a laundry truck on the Boulevard Saint Michel. His death-site was ironic given that Saint Michael is the cleaner of souls. The landlord of the pub is Humphrey Chimpden Earwicker, father of Isobel, which means Izod in Gaelic and gave to mythology the female name for the opera composed by Richard Wagner. His sons are the speaker Shaun and the scribe Shem. It is the writer who beats time. History only immortalises artists and warriors. Great rhetoricians like Socrates were only known by written records. Today, we have recordings of Joyce reading sections of the Aeolus episode in 1924 and the Anna Livia Plurabelle episode in 1929. In the future, there will be NO TEXT only RHETORIC. This is the logographic form of Vico’s cycles. Logography for Derrida is simply Cyrano de Bergerac producing the script of Krapp’s Last Tape. It is all the sharper because Cyrano cannot understand Roxane’s speech. He fights language, attacking the air into which it is projected with his sword and dies in a verbal muddle. Joyce’s text for F(W)ake sounded better when he read it onto tape. Etymological deconstruction continued apace. This ended badly at times in intractable compound and portmanteau words. But it is much easier to understand the sound and sense of new words when they are coming out of the author’s mouth. For Derrida, speech/writing are bound together back-to-back like the outer skin of BOOK COVERS. Joyce succumbed to STYLISM in F(W)ake. He wanted to create a textual masterpiece that nobody could dilute only ever-increase. He sought to absorb all myths and words, covering their scanty bones obesely. He wanted to stuff everything into one encyclopedia. Inscription on paper is for the purpose of historical storage. F(W)ake is an archive of stuff. The cult of ‘newness’ associated with Joyce ended with F(W)ake. It was the first concept album. Like Sgt Pepper, he gave up after three songs and pulled it all together at the end with a reprise. F(W)ake made Ulysses appear antique, despite the patent failures of Joyce’s new opus. This was the defect embedded in the ‘new technology’ of F(W)ake as per Virilio’s dictum. The precursor flaw in Ulysses was that it left no alternative but to increase centripetal massing. What an arid volume F(W)ake represents. Joyce called F(W)ake a comic novel. It could not have been attempted with any other mode of emplotment. Ulysses was a romance. Joyce could never have written a tragedy or satire. He was too bureaucratic for tragedy and too humanistic for satire. He believed in harmony too longingly. He didn’t want to see good people sacrificed. And he was liberal in his concept of goodness as well. He invested too much time in myths and legends to create a word-world riddled with folly that turned on chance. Like Crash, F(W)ake should probably have remained a bon mot: “make the last novel of Modernism with a title based on a word-joke.” It’s all too clever as a slogan. To turn a slapstick ballad into a Creed, that was the impossible paradox of F(W)ake. The title of course is a pun on HCE’s awakening/coma and, missing the apostrophe in the ballad which gave the novel its name, a call to all Finnegans (Irishmen) to rise up. The resurrection of Tom Finnegan became Joyce’s swerversion of Jesus. It could have been a parodic thrust full of sacrilege and loathing. But, like Swinburne, Joyce could never tell of blasphemy outright like Bataille. It had to be refracted through so much mandible language. Derrida is wrong to see Joyce as a kind of Brave Odysseus travelling freely INSIDE a field of culture bouncing off equivocations. In fact, Joyce was strangled with excruciating slowness by this approach over seventeen years of composing Work in Progress. He got away with it in Ulysses because it concentrated on a singular myth. By the time of F(W)ake, he was consumed by hubris. Joyce increasingly referred to its comic emplotment as the critical atmosphere around its reception darkened. He also defended it as ‘music’ to try to annex the Paterian notion of a composer’s multi-layered score. Even his greatest supporters disowned it somewhat. He was forced to solicit puff-pieces from acolytes to prepare the way for publication. Joyce extolled the humour of F(W)ake with humourless harangues. It lacked the basic element of comedy: it could never go straight to DVD. There is very little of what Aristotle called mythos during any recital of Derrida. Everything is in motion in Derrida’s garden yet nothing grows UPWARDS. His work is not arborescent, as defined by D&G. He produces only ground cover. There is no technical term for WEED. Mimesis praxeos is choked. As an arid breeze blows horizontally across the scalded surface of the notorious Chapter 6, this is all we read: Tom Hallem is going to score some drugs (mainly in the Joyce & Beckett sub-episodes); his brother is going towards a pub (these are simple acts of apposition); there is imminence of convergence; their biological father is driving a hire car west across Sydney; Bob Capri is driving in an easterly direction (these are simple acts of opposition); plus various pin-pricks of plot disclosure to de-suspend C7–11. Derrida is constantly slowing the reader with deconstruction. This runs against every instinct in today’s brain. The reader gets caught in a Closing of the Gates. Always there is a moment of apprehension as the doors start to shut. Yet they never close fast enough to act as a trap. We never choose to fully withdraw either. The reader is caught in a moment of apprehension. The fridge door never fully seals. There is never absolute darkness. Never “space but by no air taken.” Never Sublime. There is no “negative pain (delight),” as Burke put it. Derrida is the least awe-inspiring writer of his contemporaries. There is no effusion in any of his scrolls. No revelations. Not even a dirty smear of sex. He is all data. He produces a surfeit of information like Lyotard’s hype-machines. That is his interdiction. Joyce assumed the same stance in F(W)ake. The humanist sensuality of language in Ulysses has been abandoned. Joyce is carefully constructing an anthropological and mathematical text. Exclude the Borromean first and last lines. Also exclude the ALP speech, which Joyce felt was the most beautiful piece of writing in the English language. Censorship’s decompression in the 1960s lifted the novelty of PROHIBITION from Joyce’s work. He lost the PORNOGRAPHIC STATUS to Miller (Sex) and Burroughs (Guns). Their dissenting narratives suited the new world’s needs for VIRTUAL EVIL once the REAL WORLD was broken. Joyce became a [parch/monu]ment. A TOURIST ATTRACTION FOR A CITY HE REJECTED. Today, you can visit the sites of a novel you will never read. There is a USER MANUAL. Its recycled paper cover contains a line drawing of a keyhole through which a gartered leg can be seen balancing a bowler hat on pointed stilettos. There are maps. It contains a ‘major character’ list. You can learn how to dress dolls in costumes of the early twentieth century. There is a temporal format for 6 June 1904. You can time plot | plot time (plotime). This timetable would have to be reordered if you wanted to make a physical tour of the sights of Ulysses in a straight-line from its south-easternmost point at Dalkey, where Stephen Dedalus taught, to Glasnevin cemetery in north-west Dublin, where Dignam’s funeral was held. It would require a combination of short train rides and walking. They put statues and plaques all over Dublin to Joyce. It is a meta-city of Joyce’s invention. He made it MODERN. They made it POST-MODERN. There is irony in this formula. For Dublin has been a backward place forever. In 2015, it reminded me of Sydney in 1984. Half de-built but as yet un-rebuilt. Sydney was a carceral. Dublin became one under British rule. Soon, every city in the world will operate under this arrangement. Alibaba founder Jack Ma said that smart cities powered by his computers and artificial-intelligence algorithms will make it possible to short-circuit security threats. “Bad guys won’t even be able to walk into the square,” he told a commission overseeing law enforcement in his birthplace, Hangzhou. ‘Dubb linn’ means black pool in Gaelic. A Nigerian taxi driver warned me about razor gangs on the north side of the Liffey. They are called The Inner-City Crew. We had The Rocks Push. They thrived in the close, shadowy lanes of fin de siecle Sydney. This place was known as Tallawoladah by the Cadigal people. They built fires on top of its sandstone slopes to cook fish. It became the convict side of town across the Tank Stream. Eccles Street was all uphill. Bloom’s house has been demolished. A hospital stands on the site today. A medical clinic over the road at Number 78 advertises itself as the Bloom House. It has a bright yellow door. I got my picture taken outside it like a fan. Of course, the fictional Blooms lived at Number Seven. I relished this untruth. It acts as a pharmakon in Derrida’s lexicon. He constantly made up neologisms to cross-out, supersede or change the nuance of his existing terminology. It is a sign leading one astray. The motive for its fabrication is unclear. I doubt it would improve the commercial performance of the clinic by attracting new patients. Perhaps it was pure mischief. Socrates lies down at this point in Phaedrus. A diagnosis can now be performed on the corpse. The doctor will act like the Egyptian King who receives the gift of writing in Socrates’ parable. He will diagnose VALUE. It is the same trepidation felt by Barthes’ author. Derrida specifically reverts to paternal symbolism at this point in Plato’s Pharmacy: “the pharmakon is here presented to the father and is by him rejected, belittled, abandoned, disparaged.” This is a common experience, especially paternal volition made clear by absence. TMAC is based on this type of personal history. The son in Derrida’s instance is writing. Here, it is the writing of the son. This is a useful homonym for Chapter Six, which examines the herd of the sun god Helios. His father was Hyperion. He was a doomed Titan like James Joyce. INSERT QUOTE: “the specificity of writing would thus be intimately bound to the absence of the father.” This is a perfect epitaph for this enterprise. Derrida goes on to offer a definition of the pharmakon that obviously corresponds to the predicament of Hamlet as well as Telemachus at the start of the Odyssey. He speaks of the impulse, “to have lost one’s father, through natural or violent death, through random violence or patricide; and then to solicit the aid and attendance, possible or impossible, of the paternal presence …” This passage begs the question of whether Shakespeare considered the Telemachiad in composing his play. Hamlet’s voyage with Rosencrantz and Guildenstern equates to Telemachus’ journey to Pylos and Sparta. Both act as the means of awakening the son to action/duty upon homecoming; albeit Hamlet’s new-found WILL is based on parody and murder. Both episodes disclose the meaning of the FATHER. The Ox episode is a killing field. All of Odysseus’ crew die. This is all the product of misguided rhetoric. Eurylochus’ relentless speechifying connives to produce fatal consequences for the crew. Their feast is mirrored in the revelry of the medical staff in Joyce’s episode. Joyce implies that this group will all die as well. Bloom becomes Odysseus in this trope. The critical difference to Homer is that Bloom is shepherding Stephen Dedalus from the pub. He thus supersedes the Odyssey. It should also be noted that Mulligan acts like Eurylochus in this episode. He is a complex individual. Contemptuous, rebellious and rude, yet also warning Odysseus about Circe’s pig-magic on Aeaea and offering him wise counsel to visit Tiresias. The French theoretician who most resembles Eurylochus is Louis Althusser. We walked to the local high street past Saint George’s Church. It had been deconsecrated and sold. The bells were relocated to Dundrum. The pulpit was carved into pieces to decorate a pub. This sounds like chainsaw blasphemy. It was converted into a nightclub. Today, it is an office building. It is for sale on a net yield of 8.5 per cent. The hospital is an anchor tenant on a ten-year lease. Cushman & Wakefield are lead agents. It is remarkable that Joyce’s powers of observation were not hampered by narcissism. I slipped on a frosted metal manhole cover on Earl Street South. Let’s walk up Meath Street to the pub. Billy Capri overheard Professor Milkmaid state that Derrida was the logical heir to Joyce as he entered the Shakespeare Hotel. He embodied Plato’s Anamnesis. Fresh cuts of lamb from Tony Martin Meats touching Hanbury Lane. “It is very late, it is always too late with Joyce,” postulated Derrida at the start of “Two Words for Joyce.” This sense of belatedness is understandable, especially in a person approaching Joyce in translation. It would have been faster to learn English than to translate F(W)ake, let alone wait to read Philippe Soller’s translation. The six hundred pages of F(W)ake probably require 10 minutes reading time per page for full comprehension given its cryptic nature, making it an exercise of ~100 hours of sustained concentration staring at characters and blanks trying to make sense out of spoilt neologisms and portmanteau words spanning forty different languages and every mytheme known to humans. I don’t think Derrida even uses the word ‘late’ again in this essay. It is just a Throwaway. In fact, his essay – which was originally a lecture and thus became ‘gramophonic’ – is about laughter, technology, his insecurities with Joyce and maybe liking him or not. Derrida picks a couple of incidental words – HE & WAR – deep in F(W)ake (“the reader can count the lines,” as he says at the start of “Plato’s Pharmacy”) and presents them as Joyce’s buried architypes. Frankly, he selects these two nondescript words from page 226 like an undergraduate student picking a short quotation from the middle of a book to try to trick the teacher into believing the whole thing has been read. Derrida could have picked any two words in F(W)ake, it’s just that “HE WAR” came easily to hand at the end of Chapter One as Joyce launched into a parody of Old Testament fee fie faux fumb-led brimstone proselytising. Any reader can discern the core puns in this ungrammatical pairing. It is like the speech that comes out of the mouth of the savage when he talks of the late Mister Kurtz. HE DEAD. It became Eliot’s great choice of epigraph. We can always channel Joyce in many directions. He was very systematic in streaming every possible derivation of each word selected for F(W)ake. That is why it took him seventeen years to write his o’pus. Seventeen years equates to seventeen episodes. As always with Joyce, it is all about superstitious numerology. The irony in his formula is that Joyce created MACH SPEED in F(W)ake, even as he wrote slowly, even as the reader is slowed by style. He wrote in anticipation of internet point-and-click. Of sound bites. Of code. He was proleptic. His brain was bigger, faster, more intrinsic than ours. We have to swallow our pride and accept the invitation to marvel at Joyce’s memory in order to read F(W)ake. It’s like a cockpit with dozens of knobs and gauges which mean nothing to the passenger and are always spiking, dipping, recalibrating. That is the source of Derrida’s weak (or maybe untranslatable) pun of always being “in memory of him” (Joyce). It’s not like he’s dead or even perceived in recollection. Derrida means that we’re stuck in his head. This is the cause of Derrida’s “resentment and jealousy” of Joyce. Nobody likes to feel stupid especially a scholar of Major Literature lodged at the cor(e-)p(l)us WITHIN. Derrida does himself no favours by selecting the words, HE WAR. HE WAR is easy to decipher. In fact, Derrida has given himself NO CHALLENGE AT ALL by selecting HE WAR. He could have picked apart the structure of F(W)ake like Brave A. Burgess. He could have wrestled with one of Joyce’s one-hundred letter words (see pp. 3, 23,44, 90, 113, 257, 314, 332, 414, 424). These words became known as thunder(s)clapswords because the first example contains the term for thunder in multiple languages. McLuhan, Fiore and Agel deployed them as symbols for technology in War and Peace in the Global Village. Eric McLuhan turned F(W)ake into oral history, picking up his father’s work, in The Role of Thunder in “Finnegans Wake”. The total of 1,001 letters in these words equates to the numerology of the masterwork of Arabian literature, One Thousand and One Nights, or Alf layla wa-layla. This will be the subject of a future work titled Binary Nights (11111010012). Marshall and Corinne McLuhan had six children: the eldest son, Eric, being followed by the twins, Mary and Teresa (Shem and Shaun), Stephanie (Issy), Elizabeth (Milly), and Michael (Rudy). Six is the most harmonious number. It is the number of days that god spent making earth. Mankind was made on the sixth day. Jesus was labelled a devil six times. There are six names for the serpent and six for the lion. Twelve is the number for administration. 666 is the symbol of the Antichrist. With HE & WAR, Derrida picked words so short and light, and his discourse is so SOFT, that he exacerbated the sense of insufficiency, almost ignorance, against Joyce of which he speaks so expressively, if not eloquently. Perhaps there is a deeper meaning, then, in Derrida’s choice of HE & WAR because Derrida is really the one making WAR … with Joyce. Joyce becomes the pharmakon who pulls down philosophy to the level of literature. Joyce tried to put everything – one hundred per cent of his version of Lyotard’s Unpresentable – onto the page in F(W)ake by amplifying each WORD so that there was no insinuation left unstated, no undisclosed meaning. But he didn’t show what it looked like when you strip the engine back to its skeleton-mechanics. HE didn’t explain the process. His art was discursive, not incisive. It was a dissemination, not a confession. He foretold the rebuttal of Barthes’ concept of death of the author. He created a mechanistic form of writing for this task – completely the opposite of automatic writing or oneiric registration. Joyce invented what is now known as technical fiction. To be clear: Joyce makes Derrida feel like a dunce. Derrida looks like a handyman next to Joyce. He is an enthusiastic amateur like Darwin with fancy dog breeders and pigeon fanciers. Like all great critics, Derrida was more at home in centripetal massings than outlandish facts. That’s why Derrida tried to shovel everything into Joyce: all cultures, histories, languages, religions, mythologies, philosophies, sciences, literature, even modern psychology. Socrates was the midwife for birthing knowledge as we know it in Western cosmology. Joyce is the de-liverer for Derrida disemvoweling langwich in Helios’ Cattle. He is Odysseus to Derrida’s Eurylochus. Derrida killed Joyce with Illegal love like Oedipus. Upploud becomes uppalouderamain becomes upplause. Derrida got everything back-to-front on Joyce. In fact, it is still so early with Joyce that we haven’t really gone ANYWHERE, like Derek Attridge said. Literature has shrunk from Joyce, unlike the plastic arts which have always tried to EXCEED his doppelganger, Marcel Duchamp. In English, nobody has tried to compete with Joyce in sustained contest. There has been no Agon. He is Achilles and everybody knows he will kill you. There has been no Hector. What were Hector’s motives? To show how to fail. To demonstrate to humanity that IT IS NOBLER THAN THE GODS. There are plenty of literary critics who have written exhaustively on F(W)ake. But there are NO STORIES. No Clinamen. Technology has not been deployed to this task yet. The internet hasn’t been tested as a means to out-encyclopediate Joyce. We aren’t speeding past Joyce ON THE OUTSIDE or WITHIN. Lyotard, Virilio and Baudrillard would all recommend this approach. There can be no Tessera because Joyce is seen as complete. We have capitulated to halt like Zeno’s arrow. We are always calculating ways NEVER TO REACH JOYCE. Modern theoreticians like Derrida have engaged Joyce from the parallel track but they never truly threatened to puncture his afflatus. This is due to the fact that their TEXTS are fundamentally incompatible with Joyce, being NON-FICTIVE. They don’t have the skills in storytelling to challenge him. Joyce was a master of the art by the time he had finished the short stories in Dubliners, his bildungsroman, PAYM, and the pinnacle of Modernism, Ulysses. Philosophers can construct fabula, tropes, plots and even full modes of emplotment in their indentured, unlikable works. But no genuine CHARACTER has been created in modern philosophy like Plato’s Socrates. One who is human all and too human. In fact, philosophy these days takes pride in producing non-humanist imbroglios. They have confused Joyce’s symbolistic interest in Borromean knots for an archetype. There is no interchange of voices. It is all didactic. Too soon it is then for Joyce. Too soon because he has never been tested with his weapon of choice. Joyce should be treated as a fencing opponent. Derrida is wrong to speak of readers “being in memory of him.” In fact, we are lodged in quite the opposite tendency. Rather than having to “inhabit his memory,” Joyce must be made to spring out of our heads as Athena from Zeus. We use the term ‘Joyce’ as a way of defining the outermost limits of our grasp on language and fiction. He has become extrinsic space. Nobody reads Joyce anymore. We only observe his spine on a bookshelf. We “take the word of” Wikipedia about him. Or we rely on some analyst, some mediator, to learn of him. This has turned F(W)ake into a success because its hermeneutics are strong. But is it TRULY A STORY, in the sense of a satisfactory piece of fiction? We must leave aside all jargon and ask that basic question as if we were George Orwell. F(W)ake is undoubtedly a failure. Yet who can honestly say that they are an EXPERT on Joyce? Even I, with my decades of stuck-in-this-book-existence, find Joyce always just out of reach, his archi-ecriture scattering then re-conglomerating into a familiar-sounding yet indecipherable language, like an English speaker listening to Dutch. A search for Derrida in Google Images discloses some book-covers, a few early campus headshots and a series of highly stylised mature portraits always shot from the left-hand side and dominated by his rich shock of fine silver hair. His biography in Wikipedia can be itemised thus:

— Born 15 July 1930, in El Biar (French Algeria) to a Sephardic Jewish family originally from Spain. Third of five children.

— His parents named him Jackie after the actor Jackie Coogan, who played the urchin in Chaplin’s The Kid. Cheap sentimentality became a hallmark of his writing.

— On the first day of school 1942 (age 12), he was expelled by French administrators implementing anti-Semitic quotas set by the Vichy government.

— He dreamed of becoming a professional football player.

— He adopted the formal version of his first name when he moved to Paris in 1949. The double mark “Jackie/Jacques” (young/mature; light/solemn; informal/ponderous) came to dominate his discourse (he could never expunge the sentimental spirit of being co-joined Jackie from his writing).

— He studied at Harvard in 1956–57, spending the academic year in the library reading Ulysses.

— In June 1957, he married psychoanalyst Marguerite Aucouturier. Their first child, Pierre, was born in 1963. A second son, Jean, was born in 1967. A third son, Daniel, born in 1985. The mother this time was Sylviane Agacinski, who later married French Prime Minister Lionel Jospin. This sequence of unions is redolent of the Classical tradition of women being used as strategic chattels like Hermione or Briseis. Subject matter should always disclose Political Systems.

— During the Algerian War, Derrida was exempt from military service (1957–59). There was a fear that he would become a terrorist.

— In 1964, got a permanent teaching position at the École Normale Supérieure, which he held until 1984. This was like signing with Manchester United.

— His paper at the Colloquium on Structuralism in 1966 led to international prominence. This is the equivalent of scoring a goal in the FA Cup Final.

— In 1967, he published three books — Writing and Difference, Speech and Phenomena and Of Grammatology. These books made his name (as Dearreader). He published a new book every year from 1973 to 1980. This sustained level of output has only been matched by Bob Dylan.

— Derrida traveled widely and held a series of visiting and permanent positions. He was awarded many honorary doctorates. His love of heraldry and costume is well documented.

— In 2003, he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. He died in Paris on 8 October, 2004.

I don’t mourn Derrida. He is not an acquaintance. I have got other issues to deal with. I still think about my brother most days. It doesn’t decrease over time. He has become irreplaceable through death, as Derrida puts it when he remembers Paul de Man. His demise diminished my world view somewhat. It did not make me fear death. On the contrary, it gave me the prospect of companionship when I cross Styx. Currently, I am dying off my parents. Derrida postulated that death is our passage to individuality because it is irreproducible. Each death is unique. You can’t be killed twice. Therefore, it is an immortalising act. Thus, only someone dead is immortal. And the immortals are all dead. Stripped of ironic gameplay, this is a very Romantic notion in a bathetic sense. Timing/placement of death is critical to Derrida, although he never discloses the best mode of death. THE MOMENT OF DEATH IS THE ONLY COMMON SUBLIME IN ALL HUMANITY. V. Woolf said that her own death would be the “one experience I shall never describe.” This is usually interpreted as a statement of subject scope. In fact, it is an acknowledgement of the inadequacy of language in front of the UNIVERSAL SUBLIME OF DEATH. Otherwise, she could have easily jotted down some notes. I am told Derrida died in hospital with his three sons, his ex-wife, some former mistresses and extended family surrounding his bed. This sounds like a death scene from a sentimental French moral comedy by Eric Rohmer. But, of course, Rohmer never made films about old people, only girls, despite Balzacious output. Derrida would be played by David Duchovny in a Hollywood biopic. Studies of patients with pancreatic cancer indicate that the primary issue is pain control. Forty-four per cent of palliative care patients with pancreatic cancer record severe pain. So, Derrida and pain were thus almost a 50:50 proposition. He would have chuckled at these odds. He loved gambling. Pain syndromes with pancreatic cancer occur due to its proximity to a wide variety of other organs: the duodenum, liver, stomach, jejunum and transverse colon. The pancreas itself is innervated by nerve networks that interact with both the parasympathetic and sympathetic systems. Pain may be felt at multiple – and even distant – sites as a consequence. The character, quality and temporal nature of this pain will worsen as illness progresses. Yet pain is the aspect of cancer that is most readily treatable with drugs. Derrida refuted Plato’s separation of cure from poison by showing that good and bad medicine always mix. Oral analgesics alone provide relief for 90% of pancreatic cancer patients. Thesis: Derrida may have been comfortable in his last days due to a drugged and sedated state. Antithesis: Joyce died at an impossible juncture. Omens abounded in the months leading up to his death. Lucia’s mental health remained his principal concern. She was stuck in an asylum in a remote location that was difficult to access in wartime. Helen Joyce had another breakdown. George took custody of Stephen. His wife left for the States. Paris’ wartime blackouts made life difficult for a par-blind man with a stick. “We’re going downhill fast,” he told Beckett. He also felt frustrated that the war was diverting attention from F(W)ake. The negative reception to his new work grated. He virtually stopped eating from 1939. The family spent months at a time in Saint-Gerand-le-Puy (St GleP) in central France near Vichy. Stomach pains blighted his nights until the wine kicked-in then he would sing “Ye Banks and Braes” and other Irish airs. Dancing down narrow stairs to the tune of the traditional waltz, “Come on, let’s dance a little,” he said to Missus Jolas, “you know very well that it’s the last Christmas.” Joyce was a dog hater. He carried stones in his pockets to launch at them. He clobbered them with his stick if they got within range. On Sunday mornings, he would sit up in bed until lunchtime recounting stories of Ulysses to his grandson Stephen. Like Churchill, he had an astounding memory. The Nazis occupied St GleP for six days before the Armistice. A mortally ill woman died while Joyce was attending her. Securing Swiss visas was a venal process. The family finally got visas on 29 November 1940, after intervention from high-ranked friends. They still needed French approvals to depart the country. News of the death of Nora’s mother traumatised them. The new Swiss visas were only valid until 15 December 1940. On 14 December, they finally got French approvals but they still needed to get to the rail station to catch the last train. This became like a classic chase scene. They borrowed a car. George managed to purchase one gallon of petrol. The train schedule was: Geneva – Lausanne – Zurich. Thus, James Joyce returned to the city in which he had arrived with enthusiasm and confidence in 1914. Ruggiero kept throwing his damn hat on Joyce’s bed ignorant of the superstition that it forebodes death. The old man bought his grandson marzipan and chocolate. He went walking with the little boy in the snow. Xmas 1940 was spent at the Giedion’s house singing songs in Latin and Irish whilst drunk. On 7 January 1941, Jim sent his last postcard to Stanislaus in Florence offering a list of people to help with the Italian authorities. “Thursday, 9 January 1941 – dinner at Kronenhalle.” Mrs Zumsteg tried to tempt Joyce with his favourite treats. But he could not eat. Just drink. At 11.30 pm, Nora slipped on the stairs. It was a bad omen. Back at the hotel, Joyce was suddenly overcome by stomach cramps. A doctor was called who administered morphine. It offered no relief. They summoned an ambulance. Joyce was strapped into a stretcher writhing in agony like a fish and taken to the Schwesterhaus vom Roten Kreutz. On Saturday 11 January 1941, the hospital took X-rays. He was diagnosed with a perforated duodenal ulcer. Banking authority was organised for Georgio. At 10 am, Dr H. Freysz performed surgery. It appeared successful. JJ sat up in bed and spoke to Nora. But on Sunday 12 January 1941, he started to weaken. Transfusions were provided by two Swiss soldiers. Joyce entered a coma that afternoon. On Monday 13 January 1941 at 1 am, Joyce woke and asked for Nora or George then lapsed back into coma. He died before they reached the hospital at 2.15 am. Nora agreed to the construction of a death mask. It has become a famous image, reproduced in countless biographies and critical studies. The mask is now located at the James Joyce Tower and Museum, Sandy Cove Point, Dun Laoghaire. When Lucia Joyce was told of his death, she replied: “what is he doing under the ground, that idiot? When will he decide to come out? He’s watching us all the time.” Instinctively, she grasped at a correspondence with Plato’s Anamnesis. D&G would consider this image as Joyce-down-a-burrow. He was buried next to Zurich Zoo so he could hear the lion’s roar. SYNTHESIS: Joyce’s choice of the novel as a creative form enabled him to release his humanity. It came from WITHIN. He could never replicate it in drama as Ibsen did. By contrast, Derrida’s humanism was displaced by theoretical writing until the belated epiphany of Mournings for Paul de Man. It has always been a case of YES/MAYBE between us. Derrida sees the Signifier and the Signified in One. He contends that the Signified can never be attained. For him, words can only be defined by summoning other words to support them so that ‘real’ meaning is forever deferred by an endless chain of Signifiers. Yes, he builds a Tower of Babel. So he and I are actually MAYBE/ALMOST. Tom Hallem expired with everything lost. It is the totalness of his death that appalls me. It was a terrible Sublime. I hate myself for delaying my response to his last entreaties. Derrida’s concept of mourning is based on a perfect tone between friends. But I mourn him as dissonance. He is still “present tense.” He never closes. He always remains PRESENT TENSE. How many linguistic atoms must I squander on regret? How many binaries can be interdicted on the subject of fratricide? INSERT LIST: Celebrate/violate; birth/death; lodge/inscribe; keep/burn; stabber/stabbed; Joyce/Derrida; Romulus/Remus; Cane/Abel; Eteocles/Polynices; Claudius/Hamlet; Edgar/Edmund. Archives are an institution of repetition and updating. They require a system like Dewey who used the numbers, the alphabet and time. Every repetition is individualised by context. It becomes a new outpost: a salient that is further refined by the enemies’ response. Derrida/Joyce are a double mark repeated: Joyce is the first stroke (/) and Derrida the last (\). The son must repeat the journey of the father. Repeat the journey in a different format. Or shrink in scale until minute. Counting words like fleas in a dog’s coat. Did our father (HCE) establish the rules for the death of his son (WAR) when he re-entered our lives packed with dim symbolism (1984) from a far, surdy battlefield (BABELIAM)? It is sum peeriodd in tiem nowra synce Dearreader rote and even(t) languer synce Joys Shemself beastrodden the stayge (Steve Jobs would have termed this place a ‘mutability platform’). Ye toady their embers R staypuddled totether LOCHD in d’arche-ness uprepentdead their slangwich dis-solved in2 plasterseen bredcrumbells. Vee Co. turnstyles the crinkly-crank unclotwise. The sighcle of fog-getting N rivereviewruns is wowndown. Why is pancreatic cancer not diagnosed earlier? Primary cancer does not always kill the patient. It is often secondary cells – or metastases – that dispose of the human body. Cancer cells break from the host and tour the blood stream, lymph system, even body spaces such as the abdominal cavity, attaching to normal cells all over the place. Sarcomas, for example, spread through the bloodstream. This is what happened to Michel Foucault and Leon Daniel. Pancreatic cancer prefers a lymphatic route. This makes it hard to diagnose quickly. Eventually, Levi-Strauss recognised the danger for Jews in France and escaped on the Captaine Paul-Lemerie. He slept on a makeshift pallet under a straw mattress. Passengers on the overcrowded vessel crapped in a zinc trough. It was emptied port side to shield the faeces from the prevailing wind. This avoided blowback onto deck. Everyone was always hyper-vigilant, almost hysterical due to the preponderance of Nazi submarines. This must have been what Odysseus’ crew felt as they scoured the sea for evidence of Poseidon. Seaspray lashing their faces. Wild with survival and knowing his hate and their looming death. A single cancer cell starts the process of colonisation. Each type of primary cancer has a preferred pattern of metastases. But the location of metastases is not determined by an infallible system. The only thing we can say for sure is that the form of a specific cancer never changes. It stays true to type wherever it gains harness. For pancreatic cancer, tumours in the liver are a common form of metastasis and a cause of rapid death. When is curative surgery possible? Generally surgical treatment, by resection or removal of the tumour, can be pursued if the cancer is still localised. This means that the cancer has not spread to any blood vessels, lymph nodes or other organs, such as the liver or lung. Run each sub-episode into the new one. Create a prosenchymatic path. Tissues of interconnecting narrative cells. There was a North African fugitive with a stolen Degas in his suitcase on the board. Breton was always trying to induce automatic events. Random assemblages. Irrational awareness. Set Breton against Saussure (also the art of surgery). Juxtapose symbols in Breton’s vision of a hung ox carcass, ship flags and Homeric dawn. Levi-Strauss observing him wrapped in an overcoat despite tropical heat looking like a big blue bear. Make the sky into a painting in a gilt frame. It sounds like some Rene Magritte image. How should a surgeon handle non-curative cases? In Stage 4, it is time to help the patient and family make the decision between palliative chemotherapy and expedited death. Intensive chemotherapy occasionally results in dormancy. There is a case where the metastases disappeared from the liver and the tumour had shrunk by 80 per cent after 9 rounds of Chemo. The physician must avoid any language which could create false expectations in the patient or family. Chemotherapy should NOT be presented as a potential means to cure. Dormancy is as good as remission in this instance. What interventions can be made to alleviate discomfort? There are various options outlined in Chapter Five. For example, a stent can be fitted from the liver to stop jaundice and acid accumulation. A small dose of steroids can be administered to ameliorate the symptoms of trapped gas. Provisional weight gain might become apparent after this treatment. The patient may show improved energy. This could have a flow-on impact on mood. Any positivity should always be tempered by the physician. It is only a hiatus in a process ending in certain death. They gave Tom large doses of steroids while he waited for his heart transplant. This produced a miraculous improvement in his appearance. For a few weeks, he resembled a young man again. His tone brightened. This intermission ended after the operation. He never looked that good again. The medical procedures outlined in this chapter are a direct metaphor for the scientific and mathematical characteristics of Joyce and French theoreticians. What types of surgical procedures are performed to treat pancreatic cancer? This depends where the tumor is located within the pancreas. Cancer in the head, neck or uncinate process of the pancreas can be treated with the Whipple Procedure. Cancer in the body or tail of the pancreas can be subject to distal pancreatectomy and splenectomy. Note my father’s spina bifida babies. Also, Chaim. And Richie’s son. Doctor Peat turned the load of my daughter’s pelvis onto his forearm, slipped a finger into the back of O’s vagina to flick free the baby’s legs, let her salmon-scaled back flow into his latex palms then turned her crazed face to the striplights. Later, they banned natural breech births based on the findings of a definite study of perinatal mortality in the UK. Frank Zappa was a breech birth. Frank Sinatra also. And Kaiser Wilhelm. Derrida may have developed diabetes in the months before he was diagnosed with cancer. This can be an early warning sign. It is quite common for pancreatic cancer to appear in people aged in their early seventies like Derrida. It usually metastasises in the liver. The abdomen becomes distended. Psychological state may deteriorate. These are all signs of disease.


One can speak of Kristeva without mentioning Sollers but it is convenient in this case because of her husband’s obsession with James Joyce. One must remain perpetually cognisant of the woman/man issue in France. ADD NOTE ON FEMALE CHARACTERS (PENELOPE, HELEN, ELIZ, O, ANA, EVEN MANHOLE, JUDY, XIAO FANG). Let us get Sollers out of the way like a secret before we deal with Kristeva. A focus on spoken language first drew Sollers toward Joyce, a fellow Catholic also educated by Jesuits. He translated Finnegans Wake with Stephen French into English. But Joyce is much more than poetry for Philippe Sollers. He is a political writer. Sollers called Finnegans Wake “the most formidable anti-fascist book produced between the two wars.” This acknowledges the intense political atmosphere of the period. Much the same thing could have been said of Ulysses. Joyce was composing it through the period climaxing in the Easter Uprising of 1916. The fact of the British Empire consumes the narrative of Ulysses from the Eugenics of Garrett Deasy and Haines to the vice-regal cavalcade and Private Carr’s assault on Stephen Dedalus. It is ever-present in dialogue between characters. We pass through places like Phoenix Park where The Invincibles assassinated Cavendish and Burke. We imbibe different opinions about Parnell. He died in 1891. We see his surviving brother in the corner of a restaurant eating lunch and playing chess. Simon Dedalus is the archetypal Parnell Tragic. He was the type of figure who inspired intense admiration. Gladstone called him the most remarkable man he ever met. Asquith said he was one of the top three or four men of the nineteenth century. Haldane considered him the most powerful presence in the House of Commons in the last 150 years, a period that featured Peel, Pitt, Melbourne, Wellington, Disraeli and Wilberforce. Joyce draws a subtle parallel between the fall of Parnell and the slide in the Dedalus family fortunes. Parnell is now revered as the preeminent person in making Ireland feel like it could become an independent nation. He was the son of a wealthy Anglo-Irish landowner and his American wife. He was protestant like Beckett. A member of the Church of Ireland. Parnell could not speak Gaelic. The literary scene in Dublin was enlivened by the political impact of preserving and disseminating the Irish national language. The Citizen is a chauvinistic nationalist. Gifford suggests this character was based on Michael Cusack, who founded the Gaelic Athletic Association. This outfit harassed people who watched English sports like rugby and soccer. Richard Ellmann believes that Joyce modelled the character of The Citizen in part on his younger self as an observation on the bigotry of his early writings. It is easy to attribute egocentrism and opportunism to Sollers due to his high profile as a publisher and controversial public figure as well as the relentless autobiographical focus of his novels. This is ironic given that he often used secret agents as his protagonists or created characters who acted like spies, even down to the act of writing itself becoming covert. It is convenient to link this theme with the claim that Julia Kristeva was purportedly a Bulgarian spy. What a paradox is Sollers. He claims not to always deal with facts. He doesn’t even use his real name – Sollers being as false as Bob Dylan or Johnny Beatle. His wife sometimes uses her married name, which is Julia Joyaux. She allegedly went by the codename Sabina. His nom de plume means ‘clever’ in Latin. Sollers has been leading a sanctimonious truth-attack for the last fifty years. Kristeva requested that she only give oral testament to her Bulgarian handlers. She avoided the written word. This means that the dossier released by Bulgarian SPECTRE does not contain any example of her hand-writing. Thus, it will remain forever an enigma. A baseless charge. FAKE NEWS. Sollers would be familiar with LACK OF HARD EVIDENCE from his novel, Le Secret. Its plot turns on a letter never sighted like Poe’s tale. There is a school of thought that this novel is a proxy confession by Kristeva delivered by her partner. The Parisian literary scene was deeply affected by the suppression of the Prague Spring. It operated in the vanguard of industrial action in France. Sollers journal, Tel Quel, and its stable of writers including Kristeva, Derrida and Barthes, turned from the pro-Moscow French Community Party to embrace Maoism. The Bulgarians were dismayed. Pierre Ryckmans pilloried them in works like Broken Images (French translation, 1976). Like Sollers, he used a pseudonym, Simon Leys. Kristeva’s letters requesting visas for her parent’s form part of her official file. There is disgruntled marginalia about Kristeva always wanting something but offering nothing in the way of good intel in return. One bureaucrat wrote, “Sabina is employing the same tactics once again.” Vladimir Kostov was the Bulgarian spy who apparently groomed Kristeva. He was almost killed in a poison umbrella attack in Paris in 1978. Sollers would be pleased with this kind of peculiar fact. It is far more bizarre than fiction. It was a standard Bulgarian assassination technique. The dissident writer Georgi Markov was stabbed at a bus stop with an umbrella tip laced with Risin. He died in days. When the government fell in 1989, a cache of modified umbrellas capable of firing miniature darts and pellets was found in the Interior Ministry. Bulgaria’s State Security operated a network of 10,000 agents. This was a popular numeral in the Bible. It is used 45 times, whereas it is only used once in the Koran. An abacus ends at this number. It is called WAN in Mandarin. Armies and victims were all assessed as totaling this sum. It was popular with Saint Paul. Ten thousand is also the number of the Swastika. This was the total quantity of truths concerning the mysteries of the universe. In pecuniary terms, $10,000 in 1940 when Joyce was alive would be worth $170,000 today. Kristeva was ranked in the Top 100 thinkers of the Twentieth Century by Foreign Policy magazine. The Bulgarian dossier is full of contradictions. Elsewhere, it states that Kristeva was recruited by Ivan Bozhikov in 1971. It’s impolite to say that Sollers is a mediocre novelist. His concepts are predictable. His forms are lame. But he gave postmodernism a NAME. He made it into a ‘thing.’ This is the opposite goal to P-MOD, frankly. It should never be set in stone. It is a water form. Sollers is a reductive thinker. His novel, Femmes, is a typical example. He always writes in displaced personas. The main character Will is a misogynist. He is not 100% Sollers. But still the text springs from Sollers. He must take responsibility for Will. There is a deep well-spring of hatred for women in Sollers. His female characters are perpetual clichés. In Femmes, he reduces them to coitus-types: Diane, Flora and Deb. His attempts at parody are inane like the acronym WOMANN (I won’t bother decoding it). Femmes is a crass book. Sollers always seems to be trying to recapture hegemony. In interviews with his wife, he is found hovering around the microphone with beverages; butting-in to modify Kristeva’s talk; citing differences of interpretation; putting her down; encouraging her to turn the subject to him. He invented the Essay-Novel genre. Some critics would see his influence on TMAC. I had never even heard of Sellers until 2018. His interest in painting, and specifically Watteau, is another accidental correspondence. He coined the term ‘readable novels’ for his later commercial work. It could have been him instead of Umberto Eco cashing in on human interest in medieval monastery mysteries (MMMs). Sollers is crazy about acronyms like “MRI.” It’s a television crime show affectation. Sollers has used the term, Multiple Related Identities, since he wrote Femmes. They are always Sellers himself. He played four main characters and seventeen minor ones in the movie including the iconic Bluebottle and Henry Crun. Sollers concocted feeble sobriquets like Froissart, which refers to the chronicler Jean Froissart as well as the verb, Froisser, meaning (1) to offend and (2) to crease. Of course, it also contains the English word ‘art.’ Slight misspellings and renaming’s feature throughout his work. La Fête à Venise derides the mercantilism of modern art and examines the lucrative traffic in forgeries. This is another theme common to TMAC, albeit it is treated by the author in a more pragmatic fashion. My interest in Watteau arises from Walter Pater. It would be interesting to know if Sellers ever read Pater. He began each character with a VOICE. This is apposite to Pater’s notion that all art aspires to the condition of music. Kristeva would term this ‘semi(idi)otic.’ He was an early adoptee of the philosophy of Guy Debord regarding Life Directly Lived (LDL). LDL is a little like Pater burning always with a hard gem-like flame. Debord wrote of modern tourism well in advance of the debasing spectacle of sight-seeing in Dublin today. His definition of this pastime as “fundamentally nothing more than the leisure of going to see what has become banal” is a perfect summation of our times. Debord produced excellent maxims. It is a shame he died in 1994 at the age of sixty-three. His insights on information and communications technology would be invaluable. Seller’s characters are always making up stories and plots to conceal their true purpose. He believes that fiction can produce better insights than histories or journalism. This is the core premise of Being There. That, and mistaken identity. And also the manipulative practices of the media in modern politics. Sollers would be comfortable with all those tropes. It is not a pioneering theory when you consider the social impact of historical novels by Dickens, Zola and INSERT. Sellers came from a family of entertainers. He was christened Richard Henry but was always known as Peter, after a stillborn brother. He remained an only child. His mother was Jewish like Molly Bloom. They shared an unnatural bond. He learnt the ropes in the family theatre at Infracom. Sollers believed that images had usurped the word in line with Debord’s concept of the Spectacle. He was a renowned Ladies Man. His most famous romance was with the Swedish actor Britt Ekland. These liaisons became the subject of his novel, Les Femmes. INSERT PRESS RELEASE EXTRACT: “The novel follows the adventures of Will, a misogynist, novelist and journalist under surveillance by extreme feminist groups who wish to establish a matriarchy.” One reviewer wrote: “Editor of the avant-garde French review L’infini, Sollers writes a relatively predictable postmodern novel called Women about an editor of an avant-garde French review writing a relatively predictable postmodern novel called Women that will be published under the name of his literary friend who apparently is none other than, well, Philippe Sollers.” This sardonic put-down encapsulates the flaw in Sollers’ technology of Relentless Self. He excelled in the role of flamboyant American television playwright, Clare Quilty. Kubrick expanded his involvement in Doctor Strangelove, asking Sellers to portray three different characters. Sollers owes much to Nabokov. Unfortunately, he never learned how understatement in self-referentiality was integral to Nabokov’s art. A review by Deirdre Sackerson concludes: “A best-seller in France that’s often comic and always disconcerting – but never as new as it wants to be. Besides the fact that the reader never for a minute believes that Will and his wife are supposed to be from the southern US, the novel’s blatant self-reflexivity, hyper-literary name-dropping, and relentless plotlessness seem dated by now. Antiseptically intellectual, this one smells of the classroom.” Link to thesis assessment. Thank her for the inspiration/template for TMAC. The way in which close correspondences can be drawn from arbitrary coincidences like similar surnames is highlighted in this sub-episode. Like Joyce and Stephen Dedalus, Sellers did not leave the film set to visit his dying mother. My greatest fear is that I am too much like the weak side of Philippe Sollers. French literature is governed by a simple gender rule according to Coquillat: man is transcendence, woman a contingency. Even Marguerite Duras adheres to this theory. We can see it in her racial works. In Hiroshima Mon Amour, female agency is lost incrementally. Initially, the actress seems independent. She becomes increasingly hysterical. Near the end of the movie, she is wandering drunk. Eventually, she regains her composure with the help of the returning male. This is a familiar trope. The male character remains resolute. It is SHE who must give up time and space to stay at his place. She lost her hair as a traitor. Locals in Hiroshima lost their hair from bombs. We see her story as a flashback. It is a stupid story of uncontrolled love. The political dimension of the Occupation was lost on her. She is just another “Juliet emotion.” Jean-Luc Godard called it “the first film without any cinematic references.” This must have been a joke because it was a simple retelling of the 1942 Academy Award–winning masterpiece, Casablanca.


Joyce’s portrayal of women was famous for physical genuineness. Molly Bloom farts, masturbates, gets cramps and starts to menstruate (see Table 16, C9). She makes sure that coition with Boylan occurs before her period commences. Christian women have been wise to hide their blood from men. It only creates violence. Molly compares penis sizes. She is not disparaging. This is an important difference with men in Ulysses. The very existence of Molly Bloom as the active agent at the climax of Ulysses was not typical at the time that Joyce was writing. To get inside her mind as a practical, hard-headed person as she makes a rational decision about whether to recommit to her marriage is refreshing after the brain fevers, sprained ankles and victims of Victorian fiction, not to mention the torture, gang rapes and murders in contemporary media. There had always been independent female characters in English literature. They were written by both women and men. They can be seen as sovereign individuals or patriarchal victims or somewhere in-between (in a liminal, post-structuralist state) depending on your spin. Moll Flanders and Fanny Hill fit into this formula. Also, Emily and Alisoun in The Canterbury Tales. Chaucer was the origin of strong female characterisation in English. The twenty-four stories which make up The Canterbury Tales contain a host of women who want more than just survival. They want economic power and independence. Exploration of parity in marriage is a major theme of Chaucer. Women are seen in fully-human terms in a clear precedent of Joyce. There is the famous narrative of the Wife of Bath; sexually liberated, comic Alisoun; the wily widow of the Friar’s Tale; the re-worked fabliau of the Merchant’s Tale concerning clever May; the secret gender equality in the marriage between Arveragus and Dorigen in the Franklin’s Tale (which is much more sophisticated than its model, Boccaccio); and the envoy after the Clerk’s Tale who advises women to disregard Griselda’s passivity. It also contains the sexually abused women of The Reeves’ Tale, who are chattels in a revenge motif, human sacrifices to lust and injustice, as well as the wife of Phoebus, who was executed for adultery. Later, P&P, Emma, Jane Eyre, Persuasion and W.H turn on “half savage and hardy” women rejecting social patterns and put-downs to pursue self-realisation. This theme evolved into political activism with the Wollstonecraft-Godwin family, which spawned Mary Shelley. Aurora Leigh was perhaps the best exposition of feminist issues in nineteenth century poetry. Vanity Fair showed that a male novelist could build complex female characters. Emmy Sedley and Becky Sharp were later updated as Em and Lyndall in Story of an African Farm. Middlemarch accounts for the life of Dorothea Brooke in the Midlands region, where David Lawrence would later make his mark. It was a precursor to the exploration of woman-as-survivor in Portrait of a Lady. Eliot herself relocated from Coventry to London to live with George Lewes, accepting rejection by her family. All these works fed into Molly Bloom. Joyce had no examples of such a person in his life until he met his wife Nora Barnacle, who eloped with him in 1904. Later, he was supported financially and practically by women. Ulysses owes its existence to the commitment of women. The principal cast was Marsden, Anderson, Heap, Beach and Weaver. Later, we can add typists like Cyprian Beach, Raymonde Linossier and Mrs Harrison (Typist Nine). The Sunwise Turn bookshop in America was co-owned by a woman. It had a list of people willing to act as middlepersons for Ulysses as contraband. They were ALL WOMEN. INSERT INTO FEMINIST ANALYSIS. Emma Goldman was an anarchist. Joyce was a revolutionary as well. He thought of Ulysses as a bomb. His letters to them reveal no gender prejudice. Joyce depicted women’s conditions in Ulysses unsparingly – the religious mania of Stephen’s mother; his sisters’ abject poverty and limited hopes; the romantic illusions of Martha Flower and Gerty McDowell; and the protracted labour of Missus Mina Purefoy. Women are restricted to certain workplaces in Ulysses. They work as barmaids, servants and prostitutes. They are subject to conventional sexism. All male characters voyeurise women and categorise them according to physical appearance. Any sign of sexuality is interpreted as perversion. Molly Bloom is the principle victim of this trope. Joyce has been analysed extensively by feminist critics. Their assessment has changed with the times. It is pertinent to remember Joyce’s starting place. Ulysses was set in 1904 in a provincial location under the oppressive influence of the Catholic Church. Joyce was shielded from the increased role of women in the labour force during the Great War by virtue of his domicile in Switzerland. Frontier societies like Australia and South Africa tried to perpetuate social stereotypes. However, the facts of existence – especially in rural areas – required a loosening of rigid gender roles. Australia produced a series of major female writers beginning with Barbara Banyton, Rosa Praed, Ada Cambridge and Miles Franklin. Story of an African Farm was available by mail order through The Bulletin to the most remote locations in Australia. Its female protagonist, Lyndall, portrayed the crude reality of life for women. She attempts to live freely. She takes a lover. She becomes pregnant. Ultimately, she is abandoned and dies after complications from childbirth. The subsequent generation of writers in Australia included female authors of global significance in Henry Handel Richardson and Christina Stead. It could be argued that literature has provided the most tolerant path for women of all art forms. Certainly, there are very few women in the plastic arts except as models and sex-muses. Kristeva applied the death drive to literature. Freud coined this term in “Beyond the Pleasure Principle” when he moved beyond the simple human urge for pleasurable experience to describe an opposition between the ego and sex. Ego has a death drive (thanatos) whereas sex (eros) has a life instinct. Freud was alerted to this concept by working with trauma victims of the Great War. They constantly reverted to traumatic experiences rather than seek out pleasurable alternatives. This observation was reinforced when Freud watched his grandson fervently enjoy a game called Fort/Da in which he had to fantasise that his mother has disappeared. I recall a similar sensation from my own childhood. I was the only child of a single mother with no family. I imagined my future if my mother died. This nightmare caused me endless trauma yet I never sought to truncate it. Kristeva distinguished between semiotic (feminine) and symbolic (masculine) signification. Semiotic is like the pre-Oedipal/pre-mirror stages in Freud/Lacan. It is classified as chora (0–6 months) by Kristeva. It is instinctual and emotional. The baby struggles to apprehend existence. There is no speech as yet. Chora resides in the gaps and tones of language. It is the Apollo stage where music and rhythm predominate. The symbolic, by contrast, occurs at the later mirror-stage as the child becomes a speaking subject and gives way to abjection. Kristeva’s point of difference from Lacan is that the subject continues to oscillate between the semiotic and symbolic throughout life – rather than transfer irrevocably from one to the other. This enables Kristeva to align her thinking with post-structuralist theory, which rejects fixed systems. She also relaxes the tight link in Lacan between the unconscious and the structure of language/subjectivity, which is all about creating LACK, and thereby evades his restrictive Oedipal Laws. Revolution in Poetic Language explores how the semiotic tendency of humans is governed by the death drive. Mallarme and Lautreamont are seen as prototypes of modern avantgarde practice. Joyce is the only writer in English studied by Kristeva and then almost always in tandem with Mallarme or Bataille like some co-joined set-up. She feels safer in theory if she runs writers in packs. Kristeva sees Freud in the central position “raising the veil of mystery the nineteenth century had held over sexuality” (84). In this theory, sex created a nexus between language and drives. This made the subversive impact of Lautreamont and Mallarme possible. It distinguishes them from poets who were “quickly concealed, or re-fetishised (Apollinaire), even academised (Valery)” (85). In conclusion, “only after Freud has poetic writing had a future (Joyce, Bataille) and it is only starting with Freud that one may attempt to measure its significance” (85). Joyce would have been scandalised by this conclusion, given his distaste for Freudian psychoanalysis and ambivalent experience with Jung. He referred to them in a letter to Harriet Weaver in June 1921 as the “Swiss Tweedledum” and “Viennese Tweedledee.” The Circe episode of Ulysses and the whole of F(W)ake can be seen as direct rejoinders to Freud’s dream theories. He also took issue with Jung’s analysis of symbols, which he found ‘mechanical’ and simplistic (“house = womb, fire = phallus” were the examples he gave to Oscar Schwarz) compared to the historic depth and sophistication of literary symbolism. Joyce reinstates the primacy of literature over theory through the intercession of what Kristeva calls “poetical language.” Joyce was an early reader of Freud in German during his time in Trieste, perhaps as early as 1911. In Zurich, Ottocaro Weiss, whose brother was one of Freud’s early students and the first Italian psychoanalyst, acted as a crib for Joyce. One of Joyce’s holographic notebooks provides incontrovertible proof that he read “Little Hans” and “The Wolf-Man,” which are both cited obliquely in F(W)ake. He was an inveterate interpreter of dreams. He pored over the dream notebook kept by Frank Bugden. He analysed Nora’s dreams in 1916 (Ellmann, 436–8) and his own dreams throughout his life (Ellmann, 547–50). Some of his dreams included characters like Molly Bloom. His American benefactor, Missus McCormick, tried to get Joyce to submit to psychoanalysis by Jung. Nora preferred to joke about her expensive lingerie. Ultimately, Joyce sided with his wife. This episode had an unpleasant denouement, which reflects poorly on Joyce. Weiss took the blame when McCormick cut off Joyce’s stipend. However, Ellmann believes it was more likely that Jung was responsible as he knew of Joyce’s heavy drinking and had previously counselled McCormick to cut off funds to the composer Wolf-Ferrari, facilitating his emergence from dissipation. Later, Jung wrote a preface to the German translation of Gilbert’s book. It was withheld by the publisher because it presented Joyce as a sample of the schizophrenic mind. Joyce wanted it published. Jung’s remark that Ulysses could be read ‘as easily backwards as forwards’ appears negative at face value but it is actually quite perceptive in Structuralist terms and may have provided Joyce with the germ of the opening and closing passages of F(W)ake. Jung later revised the essay. He sent Joyce a timid and self-deprecating letter praising the work as a “gigantic opus” and describing Molly’s monologue as “a string of veritable psychological peaches.” He confessed to the struggles which many readers of Ulysses have endured. Joyce referred to psychoanalysis as “neither more nor less than blackmail.” He contrasted it with his work in Ulysses which “recorded, simultaneously, what a man says, sees, thinks, and what such seeing, thinking, saying does, to what you Freudians call the subconscious”. Mockery is a key weapon in his fight against Freud. In Circe, Joyce turned the suppressed sexual desires of Bloom and Dedalus into vaudeville. In F(W)ake, Joyce wrote: “we grisly old Sykos who have done our unsmiling bit on ‘alices, when they were yung and easily Freudened, in the penumbra of the procuring room …” (115). This recalls his comment that Jung must have read Ulysses without a single laugh. Elsewhere, Joyce taunted their diagnostic language: “you have homosexual catheis of empathy between narcissism of the expert and steatopygic invertedness. Get yourself psychoanolised!” Near the end, Joyce tried to cure Lucia’s schizophrenia with a new fur coat. Kristeva acknowledges key Joycean attributes in Revolution: exploding linguistics; inscribing what Joyce called “the epic of the human body”; exhausting ideological institutions and apparatuses; demonstrating the limits of formalist and psychoanalytic devices; attesting to a crisis in social structures; disclosing ideology and coercion. Lautreamont, Mallarme, Joyce and Artaud are all cited as representatives of some ‘new phenomenon.’ Their incomprehensible poetry discloses the limits of social discourse and therefore attests to its repressions in the same way as Shamanism, festivals and magic. The capitalist mode of production tries to marginalise and exploit their shattering of discourse. Any annexation (seepage) is resisted. It is a heroic enterprise. Signifying practices are disclosed by texts which attain semiotic chora. This is a reverse oral movement to back-before-rhyme. In the experience of Joyce or Bataille, literature makes a leap that maintains both “delirium” and “logic.” Rhythmic, lexical, even syntactic changes disturb the signifying chain and open it up to the material crucible of its production. We can only read Mallarme or Joyce BACKWARDS starting from the signifier. Kristeva argues that the death drive process cannot be carried out in a conventional narrative. It needs a ‘text’ which seeps through the sign. It must have “violent rhythm.” Readers need to give up deciphering and instead retrace the path to production. This is said to be ‘dangerous’ practice. These theoretical definitions do not really describe Kristeva’s own writing. There is a chasm between the subject texts and her own work. She makes no attempt to challenge FORM. She accepts conventional hermeneutical style and structure. She is not a challenger like Joyce. She refines some precepts of Lacan but never writes ‘poetic language.’ Kristeva is thus always barracking from the sidelines. Her fiction is similar. They are just books. Like Sontag (but unlike Eco). Her novels never become texts. It is as if Kristeva is writing stories to popularise a political ideology. Her novels never look like anything written by Joyce. She churned them out. Kristeva justified these works by saying that, “to write fiction is a more genuine integration to the French language than any theoretical writing.” This is an abdication. It retreats from praxis. It is a shrinkage. Her recurring sleuths – Rilsky and Delacour – are a dim metaphor of her former occupation. There is no innovation. No divagations (wanderings/ravings). Kristeva should have looked to Mallarme or Joyce for a template. Mallarme wrote critical poems to mash theoretical space. Joyce incorporated Stephen’s Shakespeare theory into Ulysses. Kristeva prefers to see her fiction as “an oneiric and safe place that is not judgmental.” In short, it is an escape hatch. Mallarme produced the first concrete poem with “Un coup de des n’abolira jamais le hasard” (abbreviated as “Un coup de des”). It is called “A dice thrown will never annul chance” in English. This work was laid out thinly across the page like a musical score with different fonts and font sizes to provide nuanced meaning. Large gaps of blank page predominated. Chris Brennan, the principal Australian symbolist poet, produced a manuscript which imitated ‘Malahrrmay’ called the “Musicopoematogaphoscope” after reading/observing Cosmopolis in 1897 at the NSW Public Library, where he worked as a cataloguing assistant. Kristeva wrote that the “poetic” side of the text can be seen in the pianistic scansion of sentences in Maldoror, Mallarmean rhythmics, the iciness of “Herodiade,” and the opulent chic of Mery Laurent. This is her best writing: when she behaves like a literary critic. Her political and psychoanalytical programs are stretched. Mallarme shared many features with Walter Pater: composite syntax; gridding of words; concealment of subjects/objects; relentless hieratic imagery; factual remoteness; always delaying or displacing expression until a disjuncture occurred. They both removed ‘I’ from their work. This was a particularly strong statement by Mallarme, who worked in the historically personalised lyric format. They both believed in creating a literary complex in which music, language and image could combine in a descant above the basic sign. Mallarme was like a radio producer who specialised in special effects. He was obsessed with form, in terms of both completion and DELAY. He never finished Herodias. It was a conscious decision to abort. Revolution is about one hundred pages too long. It is repetitive but not in the strategic sense of Derrida. It serves only to restate the point rather than reposition it in a matrix of implied definitions. It is an act of bullying rather than freedom. For Kristeva, oralization acts as a mediator between rejection and sublimation. Suction/expulsion from the mother’s breast are the root of our eroticised vocal apparatus. All melodic and rhythmic poetic utterance may be interpreted as oralisation. A return to oral and glottal pleasure combats the superego and linear language. Oralisation restrains the aggressivity of rejection through an attempted fusion with the mother’s body. Kristeva concludes that “Mallarme’s biography documents this attempt.” Kristeva also appears to allude to a macabre biographical event in developing her theory. In 1898, Mallarme had a sudden series of throat spasms at home. His vocal cords closed, blocking the flow of air into his lungs. It is unclear what triggered the event. But Mallarmé died of suffocation at the age of fifty-six. This turns Kristeva’s reading of Mallarme into a type of biographical mysticism. Every writer in this chapter believed in this kind of voodoo including Joyce. All their scientific language is a mask. I am writing all around Kristeva. She could have done more. V. Woolf and Stein both combined technical innovation in fiction with feminist themes. Ulysses daunted and challenged Woolf. She tried to downplay its significance, saying that she read it with “spasms of wonder, of discovery, & then again with long lapses of intense boredom.” She called it “Genius … but of the inferior water” and “underbred … in the literary sense.” She also referred Joyce as part of an “underworld,” writing for a clique. This is a bit rich coming from a Bloomsbury insider who never had to work a day in her life while Joyce survived hand-to-mouth to pursue his artistic vision. The naming of ‘Bloomsbury’ was a conscious assault on this set by Joyce. He did literally want to ‘Bloomsbury’ them with all the pent-up resentment of a D&G outsider. I don’t care if my impressions of Woolf are right/wrong. It is essential to be a provocateur. Everything Woolf wrote after reading Ulysses was an Agon with Joyce. Like Ulysses, Mrs. Dalloway is set on a single day. It deploys interior monologue. It travels sequentially through time. Ulysses is also the covert matter behind her essay, “Modern Fiction.” But her style and thinking in that essay remained trapped in British conventions of what constituted suitable modes of literary success. She imagines freedom but cannot articulate this feeling except in negative terms. The subordinating conjunction, “if,” resounds through the essay. Woolf is oppressed by fictive customs. Finally, she asks the key question: “Is it not the task of the novelist to convey this varying, this unknown and uncircumscribed spirit, whatever aberration or complexity it may display, with as little mixture of the alien and external as possible?” The answer of course is Joyce’s humanist, “YES.” When Woolf gets to this moment of intellectual explosion, it has to be expressed as a heavily qualified rhetorical question. It is like a child calling out in a cave. Woolf tried to eschew the epic and avoid a clinamen with Joyce. She aimed to “do as much, perhaps more, with as little as two characters and a day.” This became her theoretical goal: to manage female reality within a severely circumscribed fictive format (see Baudrillard). It was a bright manoeuvre. She said that “you no longer cast your net in order to catch the whole sea. Instead, you angle for the one perfect fish.” Jacob’s Room was the first novel which achieved such miniaturisation. It combined the detail of Proust with the nuance of still-life scenes and portraits by Cezanne. Its atmosphere of wartime – and unspokenness – also gave it social relevance. Woolf stood at a desk at a height of three foot, six inches to create the effect of an easel when she wrote. She liked to step back and witness her words like Mallarme. Sometimes she sat in a chair to write with a piece of wood on her lap like Penelope at her loom. She was nicknamed “GOAT” as a child (see B. Capri, C4). For a while, she believed that birds were chirping in Greek. This is an allusion to the execution of young females garroted on wire at the end of the Odyssey. Woolf was anorexic. She synecdochised her stomach and mouth as disgusting entities. Woolf had been trying to kill herself since 1913. She and her husband kept enough petrol in the garage to asphyxiate themselves with car exhaust fumes if the Nazis won the War. Joyce’s YES is turned into Septimus’ suicide at the climax of Mrs. Dalloway. This Tessera reflects Woolf’s personal experience as well as her social situation in the aftermath of the Great War. There is no death scene in Ulysses. Woolf can also be credited for reducing the cosmic scale of the title Ulysses to the married name of the leading female character. She is the next step (Gibraltar) after Molly Bloom. She is Everywoman to Bloom’s Everyman. Tangential connections bring Septimus and Clarissa together through the medium of Sir William Bradshaw. This type of third-party connection in fiction is normally a contrivance. In fact, Mrs. Dalloway contains many passé elements. They are generally mitigated by Woolf’s deployment of tropes and styles from Ulysses. In this regard, she may have considered Ulysses a “mis-fire” but it certainly helped her avoid bathos. Bernard in The Waves is Stephen Dedalus cossetted by Bloomsbury comforts. After a successful literary career highlighted by The Waves, Orlando, To the Lighthouse and A Room of One’s Own, Woolf finally killed herself in 1941. Her home in Bloomsbury had been destroyed by a Nazi bomb. The same thing happened to her next house. She retreated to a country estate. She had written so much by then. The sheer bulk of diaries, letters, essays and creative writing can be seen as a process of building a career by volume. She rarely wrote during periods following a mental breakdown. Her output was augmented by aristocratic connections at the heart of Imperial London. The British elite needed someone like Woolf during the Culture Wars of the 1920s. Woolf’s suicide was a badly managed melodrama. She left notes to her sister and husband then drowned herself in the Ouse. Her hat and cane were found on the riverbank. She probably expected her body to be found in a soft-focus setting like Ophelia. But it was swept downstream and not discovered for three weeks. Some children found it at Southease. By then, it was bloated and decayed. Like Mallarme, Woolf was interested in the image produced by text, maybe as a result of founding Hogarth Press. This was evident in “Kew Gardens.” She typeset in text-blocks surrounded by white space. Her first edition covers are non-linear like her textual forms. She preferred curved to angular imagery. Woolf used a code involving domestic pets when she corresponded with Violet Dickinson about sex. She used ‘forehead’ as a euphemism for vagina, according to Jane Lillianfel. Lawrence was considered the pre-eminent male writer of the ‘female question’ in English Modernism, largely due to his glottal expositions of female orgasm. This augmented his genuine effort to depict female social disenchantment. Havelock Ellis was another writer who was uniquely geared to write about women. His pseudo-engagement to Olive Schreiner was a manifestation of his suffragette cred. Why isn’t Havelock Ellis famous like Freud? He was essentially a chronicler … an accumulator of information … an encyclopedist. He developed isolated hyoptheses. But he never developed a full-blown theory like Freud. Ellis wrote the first medical textbook on homosexuality and introduced transgender studies into our discourse (Eonism). He is credited with introducing the terms Narcissism, Autoeroticism and Undinism (previously known as Urolagnia). He discovered that he got sexual arousal from watching women urinate at the age of sixty. Like Freud, literature provided Ellis with a major source for his thinking. He travelled to Australia as a young man and worked in a one-teacher school in the Hunter Valley near Scone. His experiences were fictionalised in the novella, Kanga Creek. It reflects the deep influence of Schreiner. His major work, Studies in the Psychology of Sex, discloses the continuing influence of Romantic tropes and imagery. He gave peyote to Yeats. Provide an example of Ellis’ method. The opening of Volume 5 of SPS, titled Erotic Symbolism, opens with a definition in terms of an aesthetic reaction recalling Ruskin or Pater. Ellis then quotes Rossetti’s poem “The Woodspurge”; Huysmans’ La-Bas; a series of examples of symbolism in the naming of genitalia and the sexual act in Latin, Shakespeare, the Talmud and Classical Greek; Stendhal on “crystallisation” and the potency of physical “defects”; Mary Wollstonecraft on the “sacred respect” of the man for the “glove or slipper of his mistress”; a list of fetish objects from Burton’s Anatomy of Melancholy; Casanova and Ovid on foot fetishism; and the interest of Hardy, Goethe and Restif de le Bretonne in the feet and shoes of their heroines. Lit refs are used as a proxy data over the first 30 pages. A continual review process of gender representation has been undertaken during composition. This was especially valuable in ensuring that depiction of women is audited at a whole-of-text level. There is no inadvertent accumulation of bad practice out of a sequence of single incidents. Literature contains a lot of tawdry little plot elements involving intimidation, coercive sex, rape and violence against women. They all add-up. It anaesthetises the audience about violence against women. TMAC is focused on the relationships between men due to the use of the Odyssey and Ulysses as foundation documents for an exploration of the son-father dynamic in terms of absence, falsity and lack. This is consistent with the author’s own experience. It forms an autobiographical base which gives the author a feeling of re-assurance that there is a guarantee of fidelity-to-fact underpinning the narrative. It executes a contract with life. This made it possible to write this novel. Male characters are generally deceitful, manipulative, unlikable, selfish and corrupt. Some are shiftless, albeit young. Their emotional spectrum is quite limited. Sexual gratification is a primary drive. Pity is confined to self. Elder males exhibit the worst behaviour (Westacott, Leer, Welles, Cane). The only gentle mature male character is Leon Daniel. A focus on male identity does not mean that female characters have no active role in the play. Indeed, one could argue that they are the sources of volition for much of the plot. Elizabeth Archer is a driving force in the narrative. Yes, she does bad things to Tom Hallem. But there is no clear-cut moral judgment about her decision to conceive a child by deception. Indeed, the author’s own mother conceived him in a similar fashion. Penelope Hallem played with curtain gauze. It stank of cigarettes. Sales reps were hopping like fleas around her chlorophyll work suit offering iridescent cocktails. Patrons ragged with liquor spat brand-hype in her ear. Their breath tickled her neck. Interlopers. “I’ll be home as soon as I can,” she told Les from a noisy phone booth. “Still looking for a taxi,” she said later above the trumpet cry of a Dixieland jazz band. She put down the receiver and got out her car keys. Penelope Hallem evinces no strong maternal bond with her son. This mirrors Penelope’s choice in the Odyssey to remain at arm’s length from Telemachus. Both Richie and Judy make well-reasoned decisions to leave the material comfort of life with a western boyfriend. These decisions are metaphors for national self-determination. Ana Lafei is a tragic figure although she has been placed in a secondary trope. This is a conscious decision. In any other novel, her death would be the leading plot line and climax (see Emma Flaubert, Anna Karenina et al.). It would become mimesis praxeos. But I don’t believe in agnorisis. The main thing is that the reader gets all the information they need over the course of the novel. The sequence of disclosure doesn’t matter. It doesn’t need to be chronological or involve artificial constructs of suspense and discovery. It doesn’t even need to be rendered in fictive formats like dialogue between characters. The narrator can just enter the text self-deprecatingly like Chaucer. It is important to resist the urge for teleological balance. Confluence is critical in preparing any text that seeks to align theory with narrative. It is a disclosure of socio-historical FACT that the central event in the novel is represented as a secondary trope because it INVOLVES A WOMAN. Reduction in status due to gender is thus exposed both in text and form. Ana could be seen as a passive character like Ophelia. Imagery consistently suggests this correspondence. In this respect, she is the victim that creates the necessity for Hamlet (Hallem) to die to close off the text as Tragedy. This makes him much like Agamemnon. This chapter ends with the emergence of female thinkers in France in the 1960s. INSERT Greer. Embedded social roles for women are prevalent, as in Ulysses. Junkies prostitute themselves for cash. A female shop assistant is propositioned by an ageing businessman. Men dominate the art world. The campus scene has comparative gender equality. There are strident female academics like Barbour and Krafter. O is more enigmatic. She already seems to be taking on a conventional gender approach with Billy. Later, she accepts a traditional maternal role after they have children. The future of their marriage is unclear at the end of the novel. Manhole (or Shredded Ginger) is symbolic of what can happen to an expatriate wife pressed into the role of tai tai in China (see C10). Her husband controls their finances. He has taken their children to another city. She is utterly disempowered. The female curator is a stock character from Sydney’s art scene over the last 30 years. Her sister is a more interesting case study. She becomes Tom’s girlfriend. They travel to Europe soon after the time period of the novel ends. She has been damaged by an abusive father. This resulted in bulimia and alcohol abuse. She is a matching risk-taker for Tom. They are almost doppelgangers. This is destructive for both parties. Helen Capri is the most passive female character in the novel. She is a remnant of the 1960s. She broke out of her confines once and once only. The trauma of her consequent pregnancy caused her to withdraw irrevocably into the role of supporting wife. A suppressed air of dissatisfaction always accompanies her appearances in the text.


All my backsliding and qualifications about gender would be passed very quickly by Irigaray. She would just disclose my text for what it is – about men, for men, employing Sameness, disclosing the manner in which women were still (in both senses) commodities, my Cockbrainism. There would be no need for aporias. She would declare that a rape scene just provides men with a guide on tactics, how to use power, an instruction manual, charts on rationalising its aftermath, even legal advice on perverting female language and response into tacit compliance. In retrospect, I think Ana should have thrust a Stanley knife into Matt Supplejack’s eye. This would have been a good symbol. Oedipus as a painter. Like Tom Hallem gone blind in bed. I’m going back to change that text. Just got to block the existing lines and hit STRIKETHROUGH. Maybe I will leave them placed together in equivocal engagement. That’s more in keeping with Irigaray. She is always PENT. Irigaray wires great slogans. They distort predictability. Sometimes she changes direction almost like mistyping a letter and getting a different word that you decide to keep. It’s atomatic writing. Nietzsche wrote aphorisms. They’re too long already. You can isolate Irigaray’s text into short verdicts, single words and strings of ellipses. She demands precision in line-length like Mallarme. Irigaray is the only writer since Joyce to write with centripetal zest. Everyone else plods. She has an eighteenth-century eye for detail. Irigaray is a fictive writer who created no characters, only herself. In the lead role, she shines through each work as a sentimental figure. She is the detective that Kristeva could never create. Kristeva argues that Joyce disrupts the ‘system’ as soon as he brings to utterance what is repressed in all COCKBRAIN structures: the female voice of Molly Bloom. Kristeva writes with uncharacteristic energy of Joyce’s language as “dazzling, unending, eternal – and so weak, so insignificant, so sickly.” This dialectic gets to the crux of Joyce’s greatness in a way that no other critic has managed. It is as if Kristeva spent her entire career working towards this conclusion. James Joyce has the most hubris and the most vulnerability of any writer I know. He is the most insipid, wheedling, pampered mummy’s boy in literary history. His susceptibility oozes through narrative glass. His dogged self-indulgence created a dichotomy: either genius or failure. Joyce wrote in the first person always. Everything is a diversion back to autobiography but refracted. He knew that it was the only way to retain the reader’s interest. Irigaray also writes in the first person. She doesn’t hide inside soliloquy. She always makes spoken word monologues to an implicit accomplice. There is always and only an Other. It is never the reader. Let alone an audience. It is always an implied lover. Her jouissance is not of the ecstatic compound. She can’t get outside the signifying chain like a beatific nun. Irigaray is ever-more post-coital. Always smoking in bed. Looking at her recumbent form in the mirror. Masturbating in a way that men cannot see or emulate. Soaking up weak sunshine on her pellucid gut. She learned a lot from Duras then hardened and fastened her stasis. Irigaray is a lover not a hater. She was expelled from the Freudian School of Paris in 1974. Why did Lacan eject Irigaray? Why supply a platform to your new arch-enemy? Surely, he saw enough of Godard’s movies to learn brawl tactics. Lacan had to behave like Andre Breton whenever he could. Breton was always ousting people from Surrealism with maximum publicity. Likewise, Lacan. Being Belgian, Irigaray is aligned with D&G’s notion of a diaspora along with Kafka and Joyce. We have dealt with that notion in C4. We must read all myths in terms of what Derrida calls the Phallogocentrism – or COCKBRAINISM – which is the foundation of Western culture. Lacan had been accused of Cockbrainism by Derrida. This term was coined by E. Jones in 1927. He argued that women were not driven by penis-envy. In fact, male theoreticians created it as a defence against castration. Freud rejected his thinking. Irigaray reviews Lacan’s contribution to psychoanalysis in a survey chapter in This Sex Which is Not One. Irigaray is unstinting towards Lacan’s work. She has no interest in cant. She gives him credit for reopening the debate on the primacy of phallic symbolism over the penis and an awareness of the potential impact of vaginal orgasm and the clitoris (p.60). But ultimately Lacan clung to Freud on the chronological rosary of castration anxiety > female entry into the Oedipus complex > and penis envy (which he actually inflated). Irigaray is an innovative stylist. She wasn’t wild for justice like Mary Daly. It’s not clear if she feels the same anger. She appears detached almost sanguine. She never wanted to disclose any details of her life. She rejected biography. It’s always used AGAINST women. Lacan’s Orcs would devour it eagerly. Her most extensive autobiographical data is gathered in an epistolary exchange in Through Vegetal Being, just like D&G composing Anti-Oedipus by mail. Her exchange with Michael Marder is atavistic wish-fulfilment by Irigaray. They both want to deploy Classical/Eastern teachings on the integration of culture/nature in total isolation from the sexist standpoints of these creeds. Her grandfather took Luce on adventures in the Belgian forest. She gave up driving and became a pilot. She eats meat. She was disconsolate at her dismissal from the University of Paris after the publication of Speculum: Of the Other Woman. These events pushed her to a realisation that the intellectual and cultural tradition into which she was dropped neglects LIFE. She could find an antidote to this still birth in Joyce. Some of her texts are imaginary dialogues like Walter Landor. Only Van Loon attempted a similar type of discourse in the twentieth century. Her narrative style gets stolid after a few pages. You can’t sustain this type of prose intensity without plot distraction. It works like television commercials. You need regular product placement. It gives the reader time-off to process horde-data. This re-facets the message. It acts as a form of subliminal sub-titling. With Irigaray, you are always skimming to the next sub-climax only to go backwards to look for something missed. This is the dilemma of Marine Lover. It has nothing to do with Nietzsche. His name is never mentioned. He is always insinuated like a secret triste. Irigaray turns the reader into a bloodhound. Her plots never intensify. They are like Minuets. Always the same routines perfectly formed and timed to closure. Her work is not like a Dostoyevsky novel. Everything there is going along quietly then suddenly there’s a crazy fizz. Irigaray is against SAMENESS in the way that counter-clerks keeping turning up to complain about the same job each day. She says using the same language reproduces the same story. She reworks the message into a million Sames. This is also Derrida’s tactic: to ring-fence theoretical definition with spores. To make a new chora … to go back and wipe down all claymarks … to break all penis-moulds … to file down all the oversized phalluses in antiquity to human girth … to defenestrate all fauns and satyrs … against male discourse to plunge hard or unhinge deftly … to confect your own Imaginary based on waterflow and cures … to knock down all skyscrapers and build a uterus of interconnected retail tunnels … to live underwater in conversation with dolphins and seals amidst seaweed … for Irigaray that is Atlantis (success). I too can yearn after the vain prospect of harmony. Could TMAC be re-written without the characters disclosing their gender, he asked rhetorically. This brings forth the whole issue of naming. It’s so easy to default to patriarchal set-pieces. Pump a cop. Get drunk. Rape a slave. Pump iron. Pop steroids. Hatefuck Lolita. Slap your girlfriend’s face in a demesne moment. This is the template used in part or whole by writers as diverse as Cave, B.E. Ellis and McCarthy as well as a lot of modern movies like True Detective, Silence of the Lambs et al. Not one of these narratives introduces a single theoretical innovation into the Canon. This is not to question the power of writers like Palahniuk, who create genuinely original concepts. But the plots of these writers are relatively benign compared to Sade. They tend to lack the moral insight achieved by Hardy’s Tess or Murakami. Nick Cave’s Tessera against hard-boiled pulp, the Bible and Faulkner is designed to intensify this schema to a point of overload. Tarantino did the same. Today, it all just looks like an artefact like Phrenology. I guess you’ve got to work out a way to re-commence literature after F(W)ake if you want to take the mechanics of literature forwards. One which proceeds by “jamming the theoretical machinery itself” and accepts that it’s going to end up somewhere different yet probably just as impenetrable. Ulysses started to use language directly and obscenely but this was only to puncture social pretensions. Only inadvertently did Joyce disrupt the signification chain. He wrote that the four cardinal points in Chapter 3 of Ulysses were the female breasts, arse, womb and cunt as substituted by the words, ‘because’ (breasts), ‘bottom’ (arse), ‘woman’ (womb) and ‘yes’ (cunt). This is a cave drawing before the datamap of F(W)ake. Joyce still largely adheres to conventional characterisation of females as cunning, willful, sexy, long-suffering, strong under duress, defiant in defeat, nurturing and ultimately accepting their status as a body affirmative to the requirements of the male-as-subject (CUNT/YES). Mary Daly believed that there could be a radical decontamination of the planet based on compression of maleness. This campaign will probably need to deploy the combination punch of another big war plus sperm banks. Irigaray is primarily concerned with the way men and women speak. She wants to build a site for the origins of feminine language. This really means composing a unique dictionary. It will mean every sound, word, signifier and symbol has to be deleted and each signified re-conceived as an autonomous unit which is then: (1) tested for purity and difference against the emerging/total archive, (2) introduced into FEMSPEAK as a temporary unit until usage confirms complementarity, (3) regularly audited for infection, and (4) revised as necessary. This task cannot start in any place where men currently exist. Also, it must occur inside water. That is the location of SOFT THINKING. This is the locale to which Vattimo and Zabal must arrive. You can’t fight with swords in a dam or shoot wet rifles. Their theory of passivity and equivocation is not unlike Guha’s reconstruction of subaltern consciousness from Imperialist records. It reinstates the oppressed. Irigaray argues in C8 of TSWINO that the phallic economy places women alongside signs, products and currency as forms of exchange conducted exclusively between men. Women are exchanged just like any other commodity. They possess two values – Exchange Value & Use Value. See also Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale. Exchange Value is determined by society. Use Value is natural qualities. A woman’s self is divided between Use Value and Exchange Value. She is only desired for Exchange Value. This system creates three types of women: the mother, who is all Use Value; the virgin, who is all Exchange Value; and the prostitute, who hovers between both Values like a dragonfly. Women are in demand due to a perceived shortage in supply. Men always want more women to add to their collection. They want to horde all the Blue Smarties. They seek a supply surplus which can be set against other surplus items to create a market just like any other friction between commodity powers in Capitalism. THT is perhaps the greatest novel written in English since 1984. It has no stylistic innovation like F(W)ake despite its use of Chaucer as an ordering device. It is a gimmick with no structural fealty. Further, we have already examined the positive attributes of women in Chaucer earlier in this seminar series. THT possesses social authority due to directness and plausibility. IT HURTS. Irigaray speculates that volume is more critical than individual use in terms of the female market. This converts women into slaves. The Chinese economic miracle of Gei Ge Kai Feng operated on a similar rubric – there was no productivity element only sheer volume of migrant workers applied cheaply to each task. Irigaray concludes that the accumulated stress/mass of Exchange Value and Use Value creates a surplus called DESIRE. This places SEX firmly in the arena of Marx. Women become Collectibles. They are subject to the collector’s shifting allegiances. They can be sold on E-Bay. Vattimo and Zabal reject any philosophical system that ‘solves’ humans. They want to avoid the violence of systematicity. All they seek is the right to “interpret, vote and live.” This is the risk taken by any democracy throughout history. Hordes always overwhelm talkfests. This is what happened to the Greeks, Romans, Vikings, the Versailles States created in 1919, the States created after WW2, even the Chinese Empire after Ya Pian Da Zhan. Ultimately, the world order was saved by water in 1940. The English Channel held the Nazis at bay.Water anxiety is ingrained into Teutonic consciousness. They have always been land gangs. Irigaray believed that Nietzsche feared water. Hitler was water-averse. Fluid is the woman’s element. Irigaray got that off Joyce, who stole it off the Classics. But she missed the female compulsion to commit suicide in water. It is not mentioned at all in TSWINO. A word search of the book shows zero results for SUICIDE, WATER, OCEAN, DROWN as well as derivates like OPHELIA, NAIADS, WOOLF. Only on page 215, right near the end of her opus, Irigaray finally writes, apparently to a naked lover, to language and to the symbols in her midst, with a plaintive rhetorical query. Here, Irigaray rejects the science of water for dream-water. She wants to extract rocks in her path that dictate the pattern of waterflow like so many teeth. She wants to reclaim water from land like anti-Faust. She wants to create mud, swamps and bogs full of mangroves and other Rhizophora. For Irigaray ultimately always writes of love, sex, humans, contact, words, life. She is a true humanist. Like Cyrano, she speaks as one lovelorn. She only writes love letters. Her texts are always innovating against hardness, always permeating, always dissolving hate. In this regard, she performs an askesis with sub-elements of daemonization towards Joyce. My own task is perhaps more akin to Apophrades. I am reopening the casket of dead Joyce by writing a sequel to Ulysses.


“Say stupid shit,” implored Felix Guattari speaking/writing to himself. It was an imprecation to bravery of expression. The easiest default is to back-track from the vi[r/t]al path. Deleuze has dominated Guattari because of his relative fame, his capacity to ENFORCE PRODUCTION and abecedary PRIORITY. Guattari appears as Eliza Doolittle in their untitled passion play. They are like Edmund and Edgar in King Lear. Deleuze milks Guattari like an interrogator. He desires Guattari’s unchained freedom of utterance all for himself. Like Tom Hallem, Gilles Deleuze knew only too well that he had flatlined by 1970. He needed Felix Guattari to kickstart momentum again for the final push against Freud and his Lac[a/u]na. Guattari had three ideas per minute. Deleuze insisted he record them immediately without revision like dreamscapes. This speed to canvas was taken up by Neo-Expressionism in the early 1980s. Its leading proponents were Immendorf, Middendorf, Fetting, Salome, Cucchi, Clemente, Paladino and the American Schnabel. In Australia, Peter Booth, Mike Parr, Jenny Watson and younger painters Matt Supplejack and Tom Hallem were associated with it. The return to traditional figuration in NEX created a sympathetic landscape for the emergence of graffiti artists lead by J-M. Basquiat. These painters are a natural data-set for any critical assessment of whether NEX achieved the stature of the Figural (as defined by Deleuze) or just represented a cynical art industry manoeuvre to create colourful, marketable product. The term, Figural, was coined by Lyotard in 1971 and picked up by his great friend, Deleuze, in Francis Bacon: The Logic of Sensation (1981). The Figural is to art what the chora is to Kristeva or archi-ecriture for Derrida – a state before/beyond language and its peculiar brand of signification. It represents a form of denotation arising from imagery/association rather than rational, linguistic concepts. The two variants of the FIGURAL proposed by Deleuze are abstraction towards pure form – as conceived by Klee – and opposition to the strictly figurative. The latter turns on creating an emblem. For example, it is the exposed teeth and maw which enable Francis Bacon’s popes, businessmen and chimpanzees to conquer the Figural plane. The dentures are exposed IN FULL as if the lips had been cut away with a fighting knife, disclosing the hard surface of the gums. The tongue occasionally thrusts into an azure cavity, as in “Three Studies of the Human Head” (1953), but usually not. Normally, Bacon just leaves a gape. This hole somehow symbolises the abstract tragedy of the soul and the bleakness of our human condition. Why does this work, pondered Tom Hallem when he viewed the major retrospective of Bacon’s work at the Tate Gallery in July 1985? All Bacon has really done is paint a portrait with prominent teeth inside a dark blue ruff, leave a black gap in the centre and run a thin brush vertically over the face with a diluted titanium solution. It creates a sense of DROP. Bacon closed the mouth about 1969 and never opened it again. Afterwards, he chopped the face into Cubist patterns or painted naked trunks, such as those wearing cricket pads in his famous series of 1982. Bacon’s other achievement was to shut down space in paintings. Often, he makes the outlines of a box around his figures or places them flat on a podium or throne. There is no external place of withdrawal. Everything is always on display. In this regard, he reaches Deleuze’s south pole of the Figural: PURE ABSTRACTION. Guattari is operated by Deleuze like a dice tossed around a sealed marble vault violently. He defines by rebound. He is like an alarm clock: he goes off, he doesn’t pass judgment. Thus, he is more than a mere TRICKSTER functioning along a two-dimensional plane. He came to notice in Paris perversely. He was Lacan’s acolyte before turning on him like JUDAS. He tried to buy his way into Lacan’s inner circle, even procuring patients from the staff at La Borde. Lacan treated him like shit. It was an abusive relationship. Guattari sought the status of Lacan’s anointed successor. When this dream was dashed, he formed an alliance of convenience with Deleuze. This broadened his characterisation somewhat. Like any adherent to Masoch, he desired at night what he dished out to others all day. Deleuze inscribed him thoroughly like the official on Kafka’s harrow. “It’s so hard, being strapped to Gilles,” Guattari said. This image creates uncertainty as to whether Gilles is a man or a torture device. My principal concern with Irigaray is that she never discloses a subject. Her work is as illusive and elusive as the writer herself: always getting in your face (words emanating out of her head like thorns) yet utterly indecipherable and ostensibly engaged in intense conversation with someone else. You are consistently left grasping for a definition of human form with Irigaray. Guattari is all too human by contrast. “Be stupid in my own way,” he invoked with the simple pleasure of Nietzsche advising all future philosophers that their task was anti-Platonism. This is one method of undoing a Borromean knot. (1) To lose your inhibitions in the analytical task. (2) To confront the theoretical expedition without stopping or editing. (3) To invent your own prose, both in style and substitution of phonemes. (4) To make cleavage out of the radical opposition of irrational sentences. Joyce could have done the same thing. Some would argue F(W)ake is just that. No one could argue the same of Ulysses. It was still pier[c]ed by myth. Guattari was an imaginary character created by Deleuze in the style of Samuel Beckett. He learned only from experience like Clov. He could not take external advice. He followed his heart [INSERT CANNED LAUGHTER]. Deleuze played Hamm in this production. He was the ebullient dolt. Guattari started out as the foreman in an insane asylum then morphed into a draft-dodging lunatic during the Algiers Crisis. By the time he reached La Borde, he was cured of fascist cruelties. He set up a communist utopia in a madhouse. This was later the subject of Marat/Sade by Peter Weiss. All role definition, all demarcation, all pretense to conventional treatment was dropped except the use of psychotropic drugs. One of his patients was a Maoist who did magic tricks. He wrote to Charlie Chaplin’s daughter proposing to start a circus together. Eventually, they married after a long correspondence and she came to live at La Borde. Only Classical myths can concoct the same kind of fantastic absurdities. Their union created the in-house skillset to invent madness as performance. Deleuze loathed the insane. Their random-ish acts of kid-iness deplored him. Stephen Dedalus struggles against any authoritarian or regulating structure as well. Even in the apparently benign setting of Chapter One, he resists (in order): creative normalisation; death-bed sops; social codes commending home, thrift and sobriety; Anglo-Irish education policy; the Church; and British Imperialism. Like Guattari, his classroom method rejects all notions of control. He enforces disorder. Joyce disliked any dichotomy of true/false factuality. This culminates in the anti-riddle of the “fox burying his grandmother.” The real answer is “Stephen Dedalus is not able to bury his own mother.” He is a dispossessed son who mourns his dead mother obliquely. He is thus in a different state to Telemachus, who seeks out a missing father. Telemachus has a whole ocean full of hope to search in. Stephen has nowhere left to go. His life is a dead-end just like James Joyce at the age of twenty-two. This is why Joyce selected the night before he met Nora Barnacle as Bloomsday for his novel. She was his escape hatch. This was one of the hackneyed tropes that Joyce consistently enacted throughout the course of his ill-gotten life. Joyce’s subsequent quest took eighteen years like Odysseus: from exit from Dublin in 1904 to the publication of Ulysses in 1922. He had to pass through different locations across Europe, often begging for xenia. He found refuge during war. Ultimately, his first quest ended successfully in the creation of Ulysses. This is the equivalent of Odysseus’ return to Ithaca. Joyce slaughtered the suitors (his literary competitors) in one cataclysmic scene in the banquet hall (his novel). Like Odysseus, however, he wasn’t allowed to stay still. He was forced by his financial sponsors to start another quest almost immediately. One which took another eighteen years: the construction of F(W)ake. This perfect numerological balance (count it!) was probably conceived by Joyce soon after the completion of Ulysses. He knew that he would have to die on the altar of publication. There are five core tropes in the myth of the Classical hero:

1. Extraordinary circumstances in birth and childhood.

2. Obstacles appearing soon after birth.

3. A deity helps the hero.

4. As an adult, the hero faces great challenges usually during a quest. Often there is a monster (see Levi-Strauss).

5. For his feats, the hero is rewarded with political power, marriage, and/or wealth.

Oedipus is perhaps the most pathetic tragic hero in the ancient canon, along with Heracles. In myths, these archetypal heroes all display profound COCKBRAINISM. Normally, it acts like fuel. The word ‘Heroin’ is derived from the German “heroisch” meaning powerful and heroic. The male hero in a myth always defeats an existential danger. This peril is associated with the irrational and therefore the disorganisation of society. Heroin effectively defeats this mytheme by destroying the hero. Schizoanalysis was developed by D&G as a response to the shortcomings in psychoanalytic practice. Guattari was disgusted by the Oedipus complex and all authoritarianism for that matter. He wanted to be WILD WITH PASSION. The Oedipal framework colonises and represses desire. History is not a dialectical class struggle. It is a battle over desire-flow, they mused. Allusions to the Oedipal tragedy associate Tom Hallem and Billy Capri with the figure of the unlucky son (also Eteocles and Polynices). This is a key correspondent of the Telemachus figure in Classical mythology. However, it would be wrong to see Oedipus as a direct analogue to Telemachus. For Oedipus is a FULL mythic figure whereas Telemachus is only a functional entity within another hero’s myth (a subset of his father). Actually, Oedipal themes often work at a tangent to the Telemachus figure. The core mythemes of Oedipal tragedy are: Blighted birth > Rejection by father > Death sentence (mis-executed) > Exposure > Limbo (apparent erasure) > Bucolic childhood (temp idyll) > Journey to the city (fatal movement) > Murder of father (blasphemy) > A test is passed > Identification of special qualities > Temporary privilege > Tragic revelation > Exile (2) > A puzzle is solved (it is not surprising that limping Oedipus solves a riddle that relates to the act of walking) > Defeat of external monster creating conditions for internal monster > Momentary triumph > Marriage > Fatherhood > Presiding over disaster (Nature’s rebellion against) > Rejection of prophecy > Self-Realisation > Selfless self-mutilation (actual blindness replaces symbolic blindness) > Exile (3) > Wandering > Care of loyal party (Antigone) > Pantheistic Closure (absorption into Nature). Both Tom Hallem and Billy Capri are shunted into the snowball momentum of crazy events and inadvertent consequences that characterise Classical mythology. Tom Hallem was coming down hard now. Willy’s mix was too dirty. It was cut with whatever white shit came to hand. He smashed his palm against bagged cement. A hairline crack ran out of a window frame at a forty-five-degree angle. Cracks yield surface (not a blockage). Sex is immanence/revolution. Make pornographic text. A conga line of crotchless harlequins enters. Zeus transforms himself into a menagerie. A ballet choreographed by Sade. Everybody fucks. Some burn from contact with the God. Sweep used genitals off-stage. Hermaphrodites burst through the surface of a cunt-shaped swimming pool. It is filled with equal volumes of sperm and vaginal juice. The cast perform synchronised swim routines of grotesque inventiveness. This is all televised live at half-time. The Chinese emperor was only allowed to copulate according to the cycles of the moon as calculated by scholars. Ironically, it never matched the female menstrual cycle. This is why the Qing Chao struggled for heirs. Sub-heading: Crimes Against Fertility, Part X (“X”). My father’s forked tongue. A double play. “Choice of left-hand pussy or right-hand pussy or one full pussy for each,” touted a spruiker. Don’t let the goanna near the nest, Eurylochus. They’ll swallow her eggs. Seven herds of oxen and seven herds of sheep each of fifty heads are pastured on three-pointed Thrinacia. The text is an island. Another stage. Joyce’s hospital boardroom on OotS is guarded by Helios’ daughters in the guise of a tema of midwives. Carcasses bellow raw or roasting on a spit. Lift yer skirt and show old Hawkie your stirrups. “Mound of Venus” is the top tip for Race 3. Billy Capri scanned the front bar of the Shakespeare Hotel from King Street. Tom Hallem entered from a side door on Hordern Street. The difference is symbolic. From the pane, Billy watched his brother lurch across the room and disappear towards the toilets. The Oxen of the Sun episode ends at Burke’s pub in Dublin between 10 pm and midnight on 16th June 1904, where a group of revelers have adjourned to celebrate the birth of Mistress Purefoy’s twelfth child. Midnight (“M”) is the time of night when Deleuze said there was nothing left to lose, nothing to gain. You can reflect blandly on the meaning of philosophy when the night is no longer pent with desire. Joyce built the Oxen episode out of 9, 17, 26 or 31 segments (depending on your interpretation) to demonstrate the evolution of English prose style from GRUNT to SLOGAN. His primary source was two popular anthologies: The English Prose: From Mandeville to Ruskin by William Peacock (1903) and The Anthology of English Prose by George Saintsbury (1912). These works do not cite subaltern dialects like Cockney, Geordie or music hall parlance. Joyce (“J”) did not want to act as an English anthologist. He was famous for telling Arthur Power that “I don’t write in English.” Rather, Joyce approached these works critically seeing them as propaganda tools of British Imperialism. One objective of the Oxen episode was to demonstrate how English subjugated Irish expression and culture. Joyce embodied this situation in the opening chapter of Ulysses in the figures of Haines and the quisling Mulligan. The characters in Oxen are Irish yet they speak in Irish-tongued English. This makes them figures of fun. English narrative styles continue to lay over their colloquial gestures. They are unconscious of speaking local patois [USE AUSTRALIAN ENGLISH AS METAPHOR]. As noted at the outset, the Oxen episode collapses into Pidgin English by closure to elucidate the fact that Imperialism creates hybrid forms of expression all geared to production and profit. These are the tongues of Pure Capitalism. Studies of Pidgin English across various jurisdictions demonstrate it is a mercantile construct with a high percentage of words relating to trade activities. Yet Pidgin English also shows how the subaltern language blows back on the Imperial Power bringing new terms and grammar into the arch-language. Essentially, this is the dialectical struggle between Major Literature and Minor Literature explored by Deleuze and Guattari. The road to Malahide/Mandalay was a two-way street. Structuralism and Post-Structuralism are highly relevant to any parable of English. London was usurped by Paris over the course of the twentieth century as the theoretical hub for linguistics. Structuralism replaced Imperialism as the dominant influence on English. It was a new Theocratic Age. YES (“Y”). Derrida has written that Deleuze (“D”) and Sarah Kofman (“K”) both gave themselves to death in suicide (“S”). It is his way of migrating death rituals to the West. What a cruel statement. You only have to suffer the loss of a father, poisoned [“P”] with aconitine pastilles (Rudolph Virag [“V”], died 1886), or a son (Rudy Bloom, died 1893), to query (“Q”) the value of life, our impotence at its forfeiture and death’s bitter aftermath. Don Cane, Richie and the Archers all knew the loss of a baby, as did my own father. It is ironic that they are placed in contradiction in this work. Aconitine is quickly absorbed, even through the skin. A Rumanian umbrella-tip can deliver a fatal load. After a few minutes, burning and numbness begin in the mouth and extremities then spread throughout the body. Sweating, chills, nausea, cramps and diarrhea follow. Respiratory paralysis and cardiac arrest eventually lead to death. Jack Power discusses suicide blithely with Bloom on the journey to Paddy Dignam’s funeral, ignorant of the fact that Bloom’s father had killed himself. After Kofman’s death, Derrida wrote of her pitiless and implacable love of Nietzsche (“N”) and Freud (“F”) as well as her obliteration (“O”) as their blood critic. He does not address the fact that she committed suicide on the 150th anniversary of Nietzsche’s birth (15 October 1994). Not death on his death day. Not death/death. That would equalise death and/or make a “double mark” of death. But, rather, death/birth. Like a tombstone laid. Cancelling out hope. Onec upno tiem, (“F.”) Nietzsche was a chubby baby in a cot. He wasn’t born with that insane (“I”) moustache. Kofman may have been trying to alter history by passing the existence of Nietzsche through the distorting zoom (“Z”) lens (“L”) of her own suicide. Death overlaying life then. Overturning the Jesus myth. Did Kofman have the ego (“E”) for that? Her thesis Nietzsche et la Métaphore was supervised by Deleuze. In 1969, she met Derrida and began attending his seminars. She became a leading authority on N and F. In 1994, Kofman published her autobiography Rue Ordener, Rue Labat [“R”]. She killed herself the same year. The book tells the story of her life from the age of eight to eighteen (1942–52). Its key plot elements are: her father’s detention (he died at Auschwitz [“A”]); her family being forced to hide in the underground (“U”); and her mother’s custody battle (“C, B”) with the woman known as Meme (“M”) who had sheltered her during the war. The increasingly autobiographical nature of her writing (“W”) coincided with her path to suicide. Experts believe that you can write about trauma (“T”) but you cannot resolve it with words. It is always recalled through bodily sensations. Thus, it is encoded in the body and cannot be assimilated by the mind. Trauma can therefore be experienced as a loss of language. It must be cauterised by action against the body. Deleuze committed suicide (4 November 1995) by throwing himself from the window of his apartment. He had suffered a terrible respiratory illness for years. Tom Hallem (“H”) died with a cannula stuck in his left forearm. He had been topped-up by his dealer as his credit card was systematically emptied over three days. He must have been virtually unconscious most of the time. He knew it was coming. You can’t rock back like that without intent. One of Deleuze’s last public activities was a television series for Arte Channel in which he used each letter of the alphabet to generate (“G”) discussion. His subjects were as follows:

Gilles Deleuze – A–Z of TV topics










Boire (E. “drink”)












Enface (E. “childhood”)








Gauche (E. “Left Wing”)




History (Philosophy)


Un (E. “One”)












Inconnues (E. “Variables”)




See X





Deleuze covered a broad range of topics above. Likewise, each character has been allocated a subject/title in the Kofman text (“X”). They all relate to birth, family and death. It is almost a self-deprecating Joyce-like joke (“J”). The kind picked up by George Perec and Alain Robbe-Grillet. D&G’s final solution was to annex art to a new clinical enterprise (see One Thousand Plateaus). Create a coalition of artist-clinicians. A new guild. Churn the margins within cultivated soil (major[minor]major). Make an Urstaat of artists, libertarians and thinkers like Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Adami and Peguy with superpowers like humour, irony, repetition and schizoanalysis. Wait for Lacan’s hegemony to wane. Maybe skewer him in the back in a pack as with Caesar. Then build a desire engine. Make it look like a tank. Use a schematic overlay that traces barbarian, despotic and fantastic capitalist machines. Dayglo-camouflage your true intentions. Sneak up on the swimming pool by stealth. Crap in the deep end. Shoot market-piercing art. Battle the forces of conformity and acculturation. Form a new corps like Dada or Punk. Design uniforms. Wear masks. Peer through the eye holes of antique portraits. Namecheck Poe. Tap into a primary state of reality using spy equipment. Start a band. Evolve from art noise to melodic pop. Rationalise it as mainstreaming your craft like Sonic Youth. Release 45s with a decentralised hole. Build an island resort called Sodoma (also known as Somaville, Sodadome, Schizodome and various other word palsy) where the libido isn’t de-sexualised or sublimated. Re-time through tense shifting. The over-indulged cognoscenti of the 1970s embraced it hotly. They organised group tours. Many hippies moved there, drawn by its temperate climate and surf. Others book well in advance to ensure that they can repeat the experience each year. Oppose the damming of the libido by chaining yourself to a column if necessary. Enter the *plane of immanence*. Row to Tracey Island. Visit Batman’s cave. You are Brains and/or Alfred. A privileged gaze. Erase your memory of this event with a shot of repellant. Suppress misplaced romantic sentiments. Literature is stuck in a reactionary period. Its criminal masterminds have never been more insidious. When has it never been thus? Stand between them and the wall/precipice. To resist both Stalinism and psychoanalysis with a new product, that was Deleuze and Guattari’s principle achievement. They rebuilt desire as a hot rod which constantly produces new connections and productions through speed-seepage. They defined it as part of the economic base not some charismatic ideology. “The truth is,” Deleuze and Guattari explain in their greatest quotation, “sexuality is everywhere: the way a bureaucrat fondles his records, a judge administers justice, a businessman causes money to circulate; the way the bourgeoisie fucks the proletariat; and so on … Flags, nations, armies, banks get a lot of people aroused.” Deleuze critiques Hegel in Difference and Repetition, which was his doctoral thesis. He perceived repetition as an active force producing difference and renewal. Nietzsche’s ‘eternal return’ creates the power of beginning again like Vico’s cycles. We have dealt extensively with that notion in this work. It counters Freud’s desire to stop repetition through its disclosure (what Foucault would call, confession). Deleuze examines Joyce in his chapter, “The Image of Thought,” as an example of Empty Time. This layer of Time breaks free from repetition via an earthquake that makes it omnipresent. Tiem is then emptied out of before/after and left SAT. Deleuze uses Oedipus and Hamlet as samples. These characters self-efface, joining the abstract wor(l)d of the eternal. Deleuze cites the figure of Thanatos, the Greek personification of death, as a role model for repetition. He doesn’t assume that Thanatos is just hanging off Eros blankly. Deleuze asks why he cannot be active even positive. After all, destruction predicates renewal. Virilio saw to that by inventing technology with built-in flaws. Thanatos is seen by Freudians as the opposite of Eros – the life instinct – and thus the energy of the death drive. Everybody hated Thanatos. He was cynical, mani­pulative and indiscriminate in behaviour. Like Lacan, he was outsmarted by King Sisyphus (Irigaray) and chained to his own machine. Bodies are machines because machines arrange and connect flows. Thanatos’ imprisonment suspended human mutability until he was liberated. Prometheus had the opposite impact. Deleuze mentioned Watteau in Difference and Repetition. Elie Faure wrote that Watteau, “imbued with the utmost transitoriness those things which our gaze encounters as the most enduring, namely space and forests.” This genius is almost the opposite of the Figural. It is a third pole cancelling out the gap between meta-abstraction and hyper-figuration. Many modern French critics have been infatuated with Watteau. His work has an obese, over-ripe tone that could have been replicated in text by a scandalous novelist of manners like Prevost or a modern social historian like Bourdieu. He atrophises the lusts of any desire machines. Incredibly, he captures a sense of time-in-decay in the confines of a still image. Watteau’s sunshine always seems to be waning. There is a soft imminence of doom. Watteau is represented by Pater as the prototype for Charles Baudelaire’s Painter of Modern Life, Constantin Guys. To dignify petty fashions with the Will to make them Art: that was the achievement of Watteau. Walter Pater really extracted the right message from the incisive critique of the art industry in Watteau’s masterpiece, L’Enseigne de Gersaint. This work, which amounts to a deathbed statement on a career which had acted as a proxy for life, is an ironic metaphor for Watteau’s own sense of disappointment at his time as a human being and successful artist. In the left foreground is a large painting which has been displaced from the cavernous showroom walls of the prosperous art dealer, Gersaint. It is being inserted into a box by staff prior to removal to storage. Already, it is impossible to discern where it once hung. The gap on the wall has been filled by a new painting. Thus, the room seems (in fact, has no ‘seams’) perpetually re-papered. Watteau juxtaposes the redundancy of the painting itself with images of human superficiality, fashion and vanity. On the right-hand side, another work of art is being scrutinised by critics. Above them, aristocrats are preening themselves in a hand-mirror in preparation for portrait-sitting. In the bottom right-hand corner, an emaciated dog gnaws at fleas on its hindquarter in the space normally reserved for the artist’s signature. Thus, the painting reads like text – like FIGURAL – but with a firm conclusion: that the current is always overlaid and everything is transient from this work of art to the artist’s reputation, money and all these flawed human bodies. It is not hard to see direct parallels to Elizabeth Archer and Tom Hallem in this mercantile tableau. Similarly, Pater presents Watteau’s images in “A Prince of Court Painters” as either incomplete, fragmented or doomed to be effaced. His paintings at Valenciennes contained variegated imagery smearing the walls of the sunlit workroom, producing the same uneven aesthetic effect as the Ducal salon in “Duke Carl of Rosenmond.” His cycle of the seasons in the panels of the dining room places a bright opaque membrane over traditional imagery … and lets in the sun. The work’s lustre, so soon to be parched by Apollo’s rays, is all the more flaming, all the more resonant, for its inevitable fading: the fleeting summer glow of Dionysius. This is the final testament of D&G. Freud would blank out Self completely to attain a psychoanalytical end. Deleuze and Guattari look at schizoanalysis as a form of self-regulation. Conclusions should be read at the outset, wrote Deleuze at the start of his career, as though he invented the Executive Summary. Kill all masters (fathers), he also wrote. By the time of “Style,” Pater had resolved any problem with the precedence of Ruskin in his own favour by incorpor-

ating Ruskin’s High Middle Ages inside his own temporal boundaries for the Renaissance. I must finish this work and END. Joyce said that there is room in a man’s heart for one novel only. He kept writing the same book like Proust. They both wrote auto-encyclopedias of self and place. Average life expectancy for a male born in 1882 was approximately forty-five years in the UK. Joyce died one-month shy of his sixtieth birthday. Thus, he exceeded the average mortality rate by over thirty per cent. He is right on the median in a bell curve: fifty per cent of males were dead by sixty years and fifty-per cent remained alive.


In literature, as in all things, forces of Light and Darkness, Aristotelian levity and density, are engaged in unrelenting struggle (see epigraph 4) and we are always conscious of what Michel Foucault calls the “distant roar of battle,” when Discipline and Punish (DP) finally promises cataclysm, though after the point of closure. To turn to Classical iconography, Light and Dark can be portrayed as twin robes, one of levity, the other density, entwining the Goddess Athena when she is portrayed as the anachronistic Virtue, Justice, by John Ruskin (QA, 25–6). As a golden robe drifts down her torso (link to EA in shower in Chapter 2), she becomes literally locked inside it by another of constricting Darkness, close upon her chest like consumption, so that it may as well be a casket encasing her, until she is left indented with its tight impress (see Chapter 10, Ana in the Lake). She becomes in this image both the emancipating Queen of the Air as well as Athena Chalinitis, Athena the Restrainer, who helped Bellerophon bridle Pegasus and is harnessed herself to necessity. This polarity within a single personage is the core precept of my next work, VAULT. Perhaps then, simple assumptions of a strict dichotomy between Light and Darkness, even when extrapolated by Levity and Burden, are merely part, perhaps the top layer, of a more complex equation. Perhaps we should also be looking behind Foucault’s ominous yet non-presented, “roar,” to the operations of the mouth and sound, or “noise” (“bruits”) as Jacques Attali calls it in his essai sur l’economie politique de la musique. Let us look, then, not merely at strict demarcations between noise and silence, but at shifting strategies of deafness and audition which offer variations within syllogism whose promise is Utopia. For forces of Surd and Utter, they are locked in perpetual flux, interchanging and updating their roles as, first, one attempts to proclaim what suffuses it, then the other to stifle this insurgency. Or that first one may suddenly affect a defiant silence as the other tries to provoke it to Confession, precursor of Foucault’s concept of Correction. Failure causes the Surd to become aphonic with rage. Then there is complete silence, if only for a moment. For then both break simultaneously into sound. Language here expires in a crumpled heap like some crumbling Babel. Let us define our terms then. (1) Polysemous Surd, from the Latin surdus: deaf, noiseless. Deaf to all imprecations. What Anna Funder would call a pervasive pharisaical STASI, suffocating dissent and orchestrating the deafness of the crowd to rhetoric like the tribunes in Coriolanus or Elias Canetti’s “crowd crystals” in Mass und Macht, who loiter in the agora, which comes from the Greek, agoreúō, meaning “I speak in public,” disparaging any elevated sentiments. (2) Utterance. Twin Definitions: (a) audible emission, and (b) unqualified commitment to struggle. Its mode is thus that of “a song sung beside,” the literal meaning of the term PARODY, which derives from the Greek words, para + ōidē. Against Utterance, the Surd will always be a misnomer. Even its etymology is a mistranslation of the Greek word, alogos, meaning “irrational speechlessness,” that furious dumb Erethism which travelled to English from the Arab, jaor acamm, or “deaf root,” and manifested itself in the aphonic weeds which strangled the Utopian garden in Shelley’s “The Sensitive Plant.” Deleuze and Guattari repudiated all such ‘arborescent culture’ in One Thousand Plateaus. Yet “deaf root” is also a homonym of “death route”: that fatal channel along which so many Romantic characters have been compelled to travel towards extinguishment. For one cannot speak of Surdity and Utterance (Aphonism and Audition) without invoking concomitant Stasis and Dromology. Stasis in this formulation acts as a kind of jubilant inertia that should really be labelled “Ec/Stasis.” Dromology, on the other hand, is a psychological term coined by Paul Virilio for continuous, compelled motion. It comes from the Greek dromaios, meaning, “running at full speed.” For deafness and audition are inextricably tied to proximity. One is self-(up)righteous; the other downground. One superordinate; the other subaltern. This one inert. The other constantly in motion. Or else both quiescent. Adjacent to each other: one endlessly intoning; the other attempting to intercede with monotonous tone. Or laid out next to each other on a raft like the sons of Clovis. One evoking; the other merely vocable. Dichotic Listening reducing any meaningful sound at this point to audible eructation. Signal Detection Theory becomes merely the determination to block out all interfering noise in this calculation. To ignore the jackhammer as it continues on your face. The jackhammer continues on your face. It has no alternative. It is negative vociferation provoked by antinomian utterance. For to position themselves in contradiction within flux is their ideal of Process. Imagery is relentlessly repeated and reworked until it forms a vast intervolved membrane like D&G’s Rhizome, a prosenchymatic dome or Penelope’s funeral shroud for her father-in-law, Laertes. Paul Virilio and Sylvere Lotringer note in Pure War that dense, interactive repetition of this kind aids internal cohesion in a writer like Livy. As Saint Paul wrote in the Second Epistle to the Corinthians: “When I therefore was thus minded, did I use lightness … that with me there should be yea, yea and nay, nay?” (II Corinthians 1:17). Surdity and Utterance are ever-locked “yea/nay” or “nay/yea.” And if it is ‘yea,’ it is an emphatic one. And if ‘nay,’ an equally resolute NO. For they will always intensify the prevailing tendency. So that when lightness is the scourge, they are utterly without ballast. Or when ponderousness, they add still more weight. They are thus either too light to have any meaning so that they float or too heavy with their own history not to collapse and sink from meaning. Either way, they move together towards an airless oblivion entwined like Swinburne’s “Les Noyades” (literally, it means The Drowning). Gottfried Leibniz inserted both these means of visual and aural surveillance into his architectural intensification of the Panopticon as originally conceived by Jeremy Bentham and ultimately deployed by Foucault as an arch-metaphor. His buildings were to be constructed to enable everything to be SEEN and HEARD by means of mirrors and pipes. This was considered by Leibniz to be “the most important thing for the state, and a kind of political confessional.” Instead of spies peering out of the hollowed eyes of antique portraits, an entire facility would be wired to a focal point where all data could be collected and stored for tactical utilisation. We are now very far from the Phalansteries of Charles Fourier, entering the wired fields of Richard Nixon to make the unwitting confession of our inmost impulses. This is why Jacques Derrida was misguided in Eperons when he discerned only a phallo visual threat to humans. For how lacking in terror is that which presents only itself to gaze! And, by contrast, how horrific is that which can prey on the imagination in blindness, pursuing it to every sanctuary! Thus, Swinburne’s aristocratic lady in “Les Noyades” is first blinded as a prelude to punishment. This means that she can only hear the sentence of the court and the crowd’s mockery catch the swish of the whip and its haphazard repeats, almost simultaneously with feeling them smell then endure the rough flesh of the labourer against whom she is bound listen forcibly to his close whispers experience that sublime moment in space after they are launched between the riverbank and the waters of Loire as the hubbub consumes her and, finally, sink with water filling her ears as her fellow captive weighs her dainty body down unto oblivion. But how can the Surd be ‘cleared’ as if from the barricades or Forum? Lund wrote in 1861: “an equation may be cleared of a surd by transposing the terms so that the surd shall form one side, and the rational quantities the other, and then raising both sides to that power which will rationalise the surd.” The analogy to be drawn from this formula is that Surdity and Utterance must be isolated in opposition to each other, then built into twin towers – as if Babel was reflected in a mirror – until, finally, they overbalance and lean into one another, forming an interdependent arch. To achieve this rationalisation, material must be transposed: shifted from side to side simultaneously. They are like rock climbers locked in an unmutual embrace from which only death below or synthesis above can free them. And this must continue until they are raised to that height which will engender Epiphany. There they will merge. And it is specifically stated by Lund that it is the rationalised Surd which will attain Hieratic clarity in these aery regions. It must be made Utter. But until that time, one side is committed to a perpetual discharge of words; the other only to ceasing it. Or while that one remains active to suppress; the other becomes inert, denying struggle, refusing to be provoked into action, which means sound, understanding that agitation only tightens its bonds (they are co-joined siblings), hastening erasure. This goads the Surd to aphonic fury. It now seeks to induce a kind of cathartic Saint Vitus Dance to delight the Demotic crowd, exhaust the capacity for rebellion and re-habituate it to mundanity. Lucius Verus orchestrated just such a purgative slaughter in Marius the Epicurean. Jacent palates are quickly roused by human sacrifice – the purging of a Coriolanus from Rome or Antium, for instance. Some act is required which will enable the crowd to attain communal frenzy against the STATIC POLE, which refuses to concede that the prevailing moral codes are binding (yes, this is an antinomian struggle), or to acknowledge danger, but which continues an outpouring of language girded by ascetic adherence to Truth. Confined, such a voice attains ec stasis in language. Examples include the static epiphanies of Eugenie Grandet, Lucy Snowe, Pater’s anonymous female narrator in “A Prince of Court Painters” and Beckett’s narrator in The Unnamable. In the “Journal of Henry Luxulyan,” Arthur Symons wrote that, “the art in life is to sit still, and to let things come towards you, not to go after them, or even think that they are in flight” (316). This is sound advice for the totem. For its opponent is EXTANT only as an Obsessive Responsive Force (ORF). Each declaration will only increase its fury. This is the trope charted by Flaubert in “Herodias.” The eponymous figure of the title, mother of Salome, is helpless to cease Iaokanann’s condemnations from the cistern. His vitriol against Rome continues to pour even from the darkest place. It overwhelms her mind. She is utterly bemused by the motives for his Utterance. It seems irrational because she is only capable of the amoral, reflex jerkings of one schooled in Realpolitik. Like Coriolanus, she could inflict illimitable carnage on matter. However, each tongue that she removes from this fountain-hydra just causes more verbalising mouths to spring out of the newly opened wound. In the end, she finds a conduit, Salome, to facilitate the delivery of the silenced, severed head of John the Baptist. She is apparently triumphant. Yet this event drove Jesus Christ to wilderness Dromomania from which he emerged for his final drive to Crucifixion. This meant that Herodias had secured the ultimate Pyrrhic victory in terms of the Biblical cosmos in which this trope is placed. She became the victim of Blake’s maxim that, “the cistern contains: the fountain overflows.” It was Walter Pater who ultimately capped Blake’s fountain later in the nineteenth century to induce a highly pressurised exploration of Being. He concluded: “on all sides we are beset by the incalculable:- walled up suddenly, as if by malign trickery, in the open field, or pushed forward senselessly, by the crowd around us, to good-fortune.” This passage could pass for a manifesto of Surdity/Utterance and Stasis/Dromology as the primary forces in a fundamental Demotic/Hieratic schism in art/life. It produces a dichotomy in which one element is vital (inside) but pressed up against an intractable barrier (outside) or moved without will towards destiny (in this case, it goes by the euphemism, ‘good-fortune’). Thus, when one is anode; the other is cathode. One annunciation; the other defamation. One anas [from the Greek meaning ‘up’]; the other ban anas. One Bard; the other Bard-un. Art becomes the struggle between metaphorical anabas and anacondas: between the ones who wish to make Art that will cause the fishes to leave the water and climb into the trees (this is “the Greek conception of an aetherial element pervading space”), in short, the SUBLIME, and those who want to bind, constrict, crush, consume, digest and regurgitate – sapped and docile – their avowed antagonists. For the Surd seeks to prod with the electrified barb the bovine Utterer, fill its mouth with cud, govern its pasture and dam its source. And, once movement is enacted, the Surd is devoted to logistical restriction and controlled marches; the other to aw[e]ful freedom. Hieratic Utterance is either racing free of its confines, stopping, fixing itself to the ground as well as possible, and intoning. Or else it is harnessed, blinkered, pulling the Pharisaical buggy and its bloated load, racing towards no discernible finish, trying to breathe through the bit and see beyond the blinkers, goaded on by the screechings of the crowd, relying on their yelps to guide it until, like Ulysses on that raft of surd rowers, it is propelled towards fatal audition. Thus, one is imposing circularity (the track), hierarchy and Schopenhauerian order out of repetition; the other is attempting to refuse Hegelian linearity and emanate like one of Shelley’s lyrics. In other words, one is centripetal; the other centrifugal (as of motion, yes, but also as of ‘fugue’ in terms of its meaning as ‘interpenetrated sound’). One is surface; the other interstices. One shamanic; the other shambolic. Movement becomes so centripetal that the text contracts into a single room with no apparent exits. Here it can screw itself into the marble plates while evil circulates. This was the strategy implied by Shelley at the end of “The Sensitive Plant” when his subject is left paralysed and exposed to all exigencies. There is still a slim chance that it could spin on the spot incandescently until it produces a hypnotic impression of Space and Depth, underscored by a sweet humming melody to unsettle its enemy like one of Duchamp’s Rotoreliefs. This is feasible. For it is also centrifugal in terms of another definition of Fugue as “amnesiac disappearance and wandering.” This is a Final Outwards Movement (FOM) along the grooved channels of Virilio’s numbing urban ever-in-motion (the sidewalk regrets that we had to kill them) into the extrinsic space coded by Pasolini’s Oedipus, Wim Wender’s wilderness dromomania in P,T and St Mark’s Jesus Christ. For the Surd seeks to plug the Uttering mouth. To banish it to a distant perch. Or else to make it the butt of an apparent comedy. Death, farce or else rendered irrelevant by exile. These are the options. Thus, a scream but no air, only space but by no air taken. A scream by overbearing laughter taken. Or space, only extrinsic space by outer darkness taken. Link to Pepe. INSERT CONCLUSION 2 (TRIUMPHAL). “The Odyssey and its elder brother have withstood almost three thousand years of interpretation. Ulysses is only one hundred years old. But I believe it will always be studied for its rich insights into the human condition.” INSERT COMPARATIVE TABLE:

Table 10. Ulysses vs Telemachus: Ox episode




































Oscillating (flip)

















The Beatles

The Rutles





Annexation of Canon

Extension of

Relationship to Plot






% to plot