Joyce the Artist Manqué and Indeterminacy
Joyce, the Artist Manqué, and Indeterminacy

Joyce, the Artist Manqué, and Indeterminacy


ISBN: 978-0-86140-320-2

21.0 x 14.8 cm.      34pp.    1989    Princess Grace Irish Library Lectures series (ISSN 0269-2619) volume 6

James Joyce's world is filled with characters who have artistic ambitions or temperaments – or pretensions. The 'artist' is a central figure in that world – yet it is peopled with characters who, individually and collectively, present us with Joyce's 'poor trait of the artless', his portrait of the artist manqué.

In the first, encompassing essay in this volume Morris Beja argues that in all Joyce's work there may be only one or two genuinely fulfilled artists – and that we cannot be certain even about them. A major question is how we regard Stephen Dedalus in this light: for he seems to be an unfulfilled artist on Bloomsday, yet perhaps one with the promise of future accomplishment.

Stephen is examined here in the context of the many other artists manqué in Joyce's works: in Dubliners (notably Little Chandler, James Duffy, and Gabriel Conroy), Ulysses (Leopold Bloom, and Molly as well), and Finnegans Wake (Shem and Shaun, notoriously, but also ALP) – and numerous minor figures in all those works and others.

The second essay returns Beja (the author of Epiphany in the Modern Novel) to the concept of epiphany, with new perspectives informed by recent critical theory, as he explores the role of uncertainty – indeterminacy – in the world of James Joyce.

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