”Mkgnao! Mrkgnao! Mrkgrnao!”

John Gordon

in Bloomsday 100

Published by University Press of Florida

Published in print October 2009 | ISBN: 9780813034027
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780813038162 | DOI:
”Mkgnao! Mrkgnao! Mrkgrnao!”

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  • Literary Studies (20th Century onwards)


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This chapter is concerned with how James Joyce renders reality or, more specifically, how he captures our slow-motion sensory apprehension of the world. In a reading itself characterized by its fine attunement to the text, the chapter notes how the onomatopoeic notation of the mewing of Bloom's cat in “Calypso,” if carefully deciphered, captures the ways in which sounds gradually become more audible as we begin to discern and interpret them. It also argues, in delineating the semantic games enacted with the figure of the Porter in Finnegans Wake, that the process of reading this text spurs readers to refine and sharpen their powers of perception. In similar manner, the recurrence of details and the differing versions of events to which we are often treated in Ulysses mimic the time-release effect of sense perception while encouraging readers to hone their observational powers.

Keywords: James Joyce; Ulysses; Finnegans Wake; observational powers; Calypso; sounds; perception; reality; onomatopoeic notation

Chapter.  4808 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (20th Century onwards)

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