|Maud Ellmann keeps bad company.
||[Oct. 8th, 2010|10:26 pm]
Thought I'd write about the Ithaca chapter from Joyce's Revenge this week--I remembered liking it--but I just glanced over it again and it's all irritated and postcolonial and full-up with politics. Just can't face that. Not right now. I can barely stay afloat as it is; I don't know who invited the English but I'll chase them off with a broom later, OK? And steal their ships.
Now I'm mining my Joyce-shelf for something good to study. I came across an essay by Maud Ellmann in Ulysses: A Casebook (edited by adorable Attridge! ♥) called 'The Ghosts of Ulysses' and for a moment I thought I could write about that. It's not tied to Ithaca much, but it seemed to be eying Scylla & Charybdis, and it had a marvelous second paragraph:
What could be blinder than refusing to believe in ghosts? Our ghost-free civilization is based upon the myth that presence is superior to absence, and that absence is a lack of presence rather than an independent power. Although most of us have grown embarrassed by racism, sexism, homophobia, and all the other violent exclusions with reveal the sacrificial logic of the modern state, we persevere in vivacentrism, the fiercest and perhaps the founding bigotry of all: the illusion that the living may eradicate the dead through burial, cremation, and forgetfulness. It is to protect the living from the dead that our culture insists upon their opposition, policing those extravagant and erring spirits who refuse to be confined to either realm.
Fascinating! Why, that's a half-leap away from--
...Also, how Rai-ish she gets in the paragraph preceding--"Through the photographic image we survive the grave but also die before our death...To be or not to be is no longer the question." I can't escape photography, can I. I'm going to read a book about relationships between photography and text this weekend/next week. Thanks much, Rushdie. But. The rest of this essay made the whole thing unusable, since Ellmann spent more time and more text quoting Shakespeare (OK), Freud (ugh), Hegel (oh nooo), and Lacan (yuck!) than she did making much of a point about Joyce; she sort of circled around a few hot spots and then drew back into psychoanalytic bosh. Bother.
Back to the search.