By Hermione de Almeida
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Extra info for Byron and Joyce through Homer: Don Juan and Ulysses
His stories were a static pattern, formed by the interweaving of a large number of familiar elements which recurred through the poems. At no time did Homer seek words for an idea never before expressed; poetry in his day was composed 'only by putting together old verses and old parts 32 Byron and Joyce through Homer of verses in old ways'. 2 5 The attempt to make new (or find new expression for the recognizable) in a sophisticated world that affords no imitable unity, is fraught with danger and potential.
Homer and Virgil', as Byron would say, 'but you must not call them truth'. v Determined to make true epics of Don Juan and Ulysses, but questioning as much the sincerity of the epic masters as the epicality of their own times, Byron and Joyce launch themselves into a pattern of ironic reversals. As epic manner soothes and inflates, they, in their epics, mock, incite, and deflate. Their vision of unheroic Juan and even more unheroic Bloom in heroic posture is Swiftian, cutting three ways, to past and present times, and to epic-writing in each age, and Homer, 'like Gulliver's giant, pigmy, or horse, becomes an instrument for man's dissection'.
There exists, only, the artistic ego, with its ideals and aspirations that cannot be fulfilled, and its disillusions that accrete with any attempt to fulfill. The sense ofbeing out ofjoint with the world is coupled with a knowledge that the world is out ofjoint with an ideal of the mind. The modern does not feel naturally, as Homer did; he feels only the loss of the natural and a pressing need to find objects or myths where he might locate traces of the original naivete. He uses JO Byron and Joyce through Homer these, once found, to contrast and heighten his perception of the corruption, disunity, and artificiality of his world.
Byron and Joyce through Homer: Don Juan and Ulysses by Hermione de Almeida