Tag Archives: lukacs

akroeps on Lukács/Joyce

I appreciate that Lukács points out the importance of Joyce’s style at the start of his essay. He notes that [Joyce’s] ‘stream-of-consciousness technique is no mere stylistic device; it is itself the formative principle governing the narrative pattern and the presentation of character’ (1218).

Many people reading Joyce may argue that his stream-of-consciousness writing is annoying and hard to follow, and therefore a distraction to the story Joyce is telling rather than a helpful device. Lukács points out, though, that this device is just as important to the story as the plot-line itself. I agree with this sentiment, especially since there are numerous times in which it does not feel as though a plot exists, so navigating the story deep inside a narrator’s head is very important when it comes to understanding the reason behind the telling of the story in the first place.

Joyce, James. Dubliners. Edited by Jeri Johnson. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008.

Lukacs, Georg. ‘The Ideology of Modernism,’ The Critical Tradition. 3rd ed. Richter, H. David. Boston: Bedford/ St. Martin’s, 2007. 1218. Print.

[posted for akroeps by AG since she’s having trouble logging in]

The Static Structure

“The perpetually oscillating patterns of sense- and memory-data, their powerfully charged -but aimless and directionless- fields of force, give rise to an epic structure which is static, reflecting a belief in the basically static character of events”  (Lukacs 1218).

What Lukacs seems to be arguing here, is the use of extraneous detail, which is usually found throughout Joyce’s work, as static. Static meaning a lack in movement, action, or change. One can even go so far as to say uninteresting (Google). But I disagree with this statement, as I think these additional details add/ build upon the characters of the story. It doesn’t just put the story on hold, nor does it seem to go on and on. For example Old Cotter’s caricature, “He began to puff at his pipe, no doubt arranging his opinion in his mind. Tiresome old fool! When we knew him first he used to be rather interesting, talking of faints and worms; but I soon grew tired of him and his endless stories about the distillery” (Joyce 3). The bashing of Old Cotter brings to mind what Dubliners is all about. If this extra detail isn’t layered on, such as the “interesting talk of faints and worms”, then what is the point of writing a story that is supposed to  exemplify life in Dublin?

Joyce, James. Dubliners. Edited by Jeri Johnson. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008.
Lukacs, Georg. “The Ideology of Modernism” The Critical Tradition. 3rd ed. Richter, H.
David. Boston: Bedford/ St. Martin’s, 2007. 1218. Print.