Objects in Bloom
Drawing upon Franco Moretti's reading of the early chapters of "Ulysses" as "stream-of-unconsciousness" narration, along with recent insights in object-oriented ontology and thing theory, my essay examines the ways in which the characters of Stephen Dedalus and Leopold Bloom are created through contrasting methods in the first six chapters of Joyce's novel. Where many critics would point to the animation of objects in "Circe" or the detached, catechistic descriptions of "Ithaca" to discuss the role of nonhuman things in the novel, I look instead to the more "conventionally" modernist chapters, particularly the triad that introduces Leopold Bloom: "Calypso," "Lotos-Eaters," and "Hades." In contrast to a style that organizes narration around Stephen Dedalus' sense perception in the first three chapters, the chapters that introduce Bloom place him, both narratively and syntactically, among a world of nonhuman objects and entities. Through a focus both on Bloom's immersion within objects, and indeed his own object-nature, Joyce advances a new model of character—one that is not an essence but instead a contingent material aggregation of things that must be constantly made anew.
Prospero. Rivista di letterature e culture straniere
EUT Edizioni Università di Trieste
Jon Hegglund, "Objects in Bloom", in: Prospero. Rivista di letterature e culture straniere, XVIII (2013), Trieste, EUT Edizioni Università di Trieste, 2013, pp. 23-40