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James Joyce

July 03, 1994

Re "James Joyce, Hibernian and Cybernaut," by Brian Stonehill, Commentary, June 16:

When the great Irish playwright Brendan Behan was asked what he thought of James Joyce, he often replied, "What do you think of yourself?" The works of Joyce, especially "Ulysses," are about everyman, the imprisoned and the free.

Each man is imprisoned by physical realities, but is free to create and explore by introspection, communication, both spoken and written, and deeds of action. As Stonehill reminds us, Joyce communicates in "Ulysses" a myriad of information colors that apply to contemporary cybernetics.

Shackled by the limitations of the physical presence, Joyce attempts to move beyond the known and the obvious by probing the brain and manipulating language that evokes thought. He is attempting to discover, and in a way communicate, the spiritual essence of man.

Why did Joyce decide to write and embark upon fictional odysseys? He had to, because he was an artist and buried deep in his subconscious and at the core of his thinking were the merging rivers of transcending Celtic mysticism and Irish-Catholic thought. His constructs were great platforms and ships employed to sail into the murky waters of the unknown. It is a voyage we will all take. But Joyce has given us a glimpse, a view of the transcendental like no other writer who has ever lived. We should all celebrate Bloomsday, because we celebrate ourselves.

ANDREW POLETTE

Valencia

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