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nora barnacle’s bum and virtual shotguns

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Maybe I’m just being silly, but I find this video strangely fascinating…

For one thing, I could see these videos dragging Stephen Joyce into his most insane legal action yet. But beyond that I have this vague sense that I’d love to write something that somehow was the exact fictional equivalent of these videos. Not sure what that would mean, exactly. But here we have attention-in-distraction (is he actually playing while he reads these?) plus porn (excellently – porn in epistolary form captured in a streaming video – brilliant!) plus the asynchronous “plot arcs” of the letters and the games (on one of the later video you get JJ abruptly cutting off the letter because he purportedly just uh-oh’d himself in the course of writing it) plus virtual sociality (the erotics at a distance of the letters crossed with the fascination of the girl gamer with the letters, and perhaps, we might imagine, the guy who is reading the letters) plus the stupidity of imitative pastiche (the guy who keeps resaying lines from the letters – quite accurately, as if he’s writing them down – in a sort of movie-announcer-cum-Halo-guy voice….)

I could keep going. Sometimes I really miss the US PhD seminars that I ran. I’d totally throw this in for us to kick around at the end of one of the three hour blocks….

Written by adswithoutproducts

November 9, 2010 at 10:56 am

11 Responses

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  1. One issue is that they weren’t husband and wife at the time of the letters’ writing. The idea of a husband writing such stuff to his wife is a bit icky to me, but the fact that is was boyfriend to girlfriend makes them much more palatable. Joyce’s arsey fecal obsession still drags big-time though. It’s not like he had time to edit them for publication of course.


    November 9, 2010 at 11:23 am

  2. Do you know what year? I don’t have my copy of the letters here…. and my copy of the letters is the pre-copyright-lapse (and of course pre-copyright-lapse-lapse) version.

    They didn’t get married for a long long time of course.


    November 9, 2010 at 11:27 am

  3. no wait come on. They weren’t married but had been long living together, had had George and Lucia by then, etc… Common law basically…. So resume feeling truly icked out.


    November 9, 2010 at 11:29 am

  4. 1909, btw, was the year….


    November 9, 2010 at 11:31 am

  5. Yah I suppose common law applies. I always take things a bit too literally, so I always take their marriage to be from early 1930s. Ellmann says they got married to make it easy for the kids to inherit property, which was a bit odd since Joyce wasn’t exactly flush with properties himself.

    I’ll let Joyce get away with the letters since he was still in his 20s at the time. Nora’s punctuationless letter-writing was famously a source for Molly’s monologue, so I suppose it would be of interest to Joycean types to read the kind of kinky things she supposedly wrote to JJ, but they didn’t survive. I remember Ellmann reports Nora saying that she spent a day “tearing up all Jim’s letters to me” sometime before they left Paris during WWII, but she must have left the good ones out, and here we are today.


    November 9, 2010 at 12:03 pm

  6. The control of copyright, as it turns out, has been truly a worthwhile thing for the descendants to inherit – and a truly destructive thing for those who would do scholarly work on JJ. Take a look at the New Yorker article I linked to above if you haven’t read it yet.

    I’m in the initial stages of starting work as a sort of academic monitor / go-between on behalf of another very famous (the most famous?) 20th-century author, whose family is reputedly quite tolerant of scholarly work of whatever stripe. Welcome difference from my time dealing (indirectly, but not very) with the infamous SJ….


    November 9, 2010 at 12:11 pm

  7. Oops yes, intellectual property is the thing Joyce had to pass down. I forget about that since I’m from the mp3 piracy generation. I wonder if Stephen Joyce will live until he’s 110 or something, “living to spite them” as Bloom thinks at one point.

    I’ll have a think and try and guess who the other very famous author is.


    November 9, 2010 at 12:21 pm

  8. “(the most famous?) 20th-century author, ”

    There’d need to be at least ten for it to sound anything but fanboy. ‘Most famous movie star’ doesn’t even work, and that’s where you find that sort of thing usually. Pauline Kael said Griffith’s ‘Intolerance’ was the ‘greatest film ever made’, and someone told me that ‘Hamlet’ is Shakespeare’s ‘most famous play’. I guess these phantoms are attractive, that’s what they’re for. Probably for ’20th century author’, ‘greatest’ might make more sense than ‘most famous’, because you can’t really do that latter, and the first can always be based on just whether you pick the going ‘big reputation’ known in certain circles as such. Otherwise, it could easily be Hemingway, you know.

    Lady Teazle

    November 10, 2010 at 6:04 pm

  9. It’s not Hemingway. He’s more famous than Hemingway.


    November 11, 2010 at 10:28 am

    • you’re going to be working on Stephen King? wow!


      November 14, 2010 at 10:59 pm

      • Ha! Good point. Still think mine might make it though.


        November 15, 2010 at 10:28 am

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