Thursday, July 26, 2007

Oversleeping a homework assignment...

"Much depends upon dinner," breakfast,
and the occasional snack...
(cf. Lord Byron, Don Juan, Canto 13, Stanza 94)
(Image from Wikipedia)

I overslept this morning and couldn't help my hillbilly friend JK with his homework assignment:
I recall a fairly recent blog on a poem that you and your class discussed that ended (it seems) with a general consensus that it had to do with a suicide? And love. I'm about to go on Gypsy and look for it, it was fairly recent but I've never really searched on your site, just hit the daily blog. I know that you're sleeping as I type but if you have the time (provided I can't find it) might you send me the poem?
As he said, I was sleeping, really deeply sleeping, but he found my "Luke Havergal" post on his own anyway. I'm awake now but probably not going to be much help with his other homework assignment:
Because I've missed two days of class in Comp I've been rewarded with the coveted "Compare James Joyce with Proust" essay. 2000 words. It took me three years to wade thru Ullysseys [sic]. 6 citations. He didn't give any specific date but August 8 is when the semester ends . . . . I'm sort of familiar with Joyce tho' it's been nearly 20 years. Proust is outta my universe, definitely beyond my ken. But were you to provide a few lines in the way of an "approach" that could prod me in forming a good thesis I would be most appreciative and in your debt. Were you to point me to . . . research resources that would too be nice.
I'm ashamed to say this, but I was so groggy when I awoke to JK's request that I couldn't recall precisely what it was that prompted Proust's remembrance of things past -- as I confessed in a note to JK:
I'm not well-read in Proust or Joyce, but maybe you could look at what triggers the remembrances. In Proust, it's a piece of pastry, right? In Joyce, something triggers Molly's remembrances, but what? I don't recall. Is it sex? Are their memories triggered by something similar? Concrete? Sensuous?
Only over a slightly late breakfast as I bit into my morning toast did I recall -- in a trickle of memory -- that Proust had bitten into a madeleine that triggered his flood of memory:
And suddenly the memory revealed itself. The taste was that of the little piece of madeleine... (Marcel Proust, Swann's Way: Remembrance of Things Past, C.K. Scott Moncrieff and Terence Kilmartin, translators (Vintage 1989), page 63)
But what triggered Molly Bloom's total recall? I do recall that her internal monologue in the final chapter of Joyce's Ulysses begins and ends with "Yes":
Yes because he never did a thing like that before as ask to get his breakfast in bed with a couple of eggs...

...I put my arms around him yes and drew him down to me so he could feel my breasts all perfume yes and his heart was going like mad and yes I said yes I will Yes.
Rather a lot of yeses. But does anything trigger this? The memory of a breakfast, possibly? Perhaps this Ulyssesian site has all the Joycean answers.

Meanwhile, if other readers could advise JK, I'm sure that he'd be grateful. Not full of great rewards for those who help, but he'd offer at least his grateful thanks over a toast...

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