The Order of Things
In “Ithaca,” Joyce rejected “literature” in a different way: by pretending to use the “neutral” language of the sciences. By the close of “Eumaeus,” he had taken both his indictment of the “anonymous voice of culture” and his use of it as far as it could go in Ulysses. “Ithaca” represents the climax of the book's movement away from “literature,” a movement initiated in the subliterary headings of “Aeolus.” In reading “Ithaca,” one senses that a page has been turned into literary history. The chapter that deliberately dispenses with the beauties of style dispenses with other niceties of novel writing as well. “Ithaca” is an anatomy of a chapter: it offers an outline of events. Instead of the suspense of a linear plot, it advances direct questions and answers; instead of the human voice of a narrative persona, it offers a catalogue of cold, hard facts.
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