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Cinematic Appropriations of The Great Gatsby

Cinematic Appropriations of The Great Gatsby

Although Paramount’s 1974 version of The Great Gatsby – the one with Robert Redford and Mia Farrow – is probably the most famous, there have actually been six attempts to flatten Fitzgerald’s novel into two dimensions. The first was a silent film released in 1926. The second version, with Alan Ladd as Gatsby, appeared in 1949. Two television adaptations followed, one with Robert Montgomery in 1955 and the other with Robert Ryan in 1958. The controversial 1974 adaptation rings in at number five. The sixth version of Gatsby is slated to run on the A

Ulysses Essay: William Blake’s Influence on Joyce’s Ulysses

William Blake’s Influence on Joyce’s Ulysses

Stephen Dedalus is a poor schoolteacher. Poor in the sense that he lives in a one-room tower and eats nothing all day, sure, but poor mainly in the sense that he is a rotten instructor.

You, Cochrane, what city sent for him?

Tarentum, sir.

Very good. Well?

There was a battle, sir.

Very good. Where?

The boy’s blank face asked the blank window. [1]

He grills his students in much the same way his first teachers drilled him; stands before them inspiring fear and boredom. He understands the schoolroom and its small miseries. The form is tried and true: the catechism, call and response. Cochrane replies automatically to Stephen’s barked interrogatives but his mind is elsewhere. The window, the unknown. Our hero Stephen’s sympathies lie that way too:

Fabled by the daughters of memory. And yet it was in some way if not as memory fabled it. A phrase, then, of impatience, thud of Blake’s wings of excess, I hear the ruin of all space, shattered glass and toppling masonry, and one livid final flame. What’s left us then? (Joyce 20).

These are not the well-measured words of a history instructor. Actually, they’re largely the words of William Blake. The “daughters of memory” figure in “A Vision of the Last Judgment”, “Fable or Allegory is Form’d by the daughters of Memory.” [2] Stephen muses on the figure of Pyrrhus, the Tarentenian general who won a foolish victory and died a foolish death (Gifford 30). Write faster. I mean it. Fast! The Tarentines succumbed to the Romans in the end, overcome by their greater numbers. The Battle of Asculum drained them financially. Hardly romantic stuff. But Stephen imagines …

… middle of paper …

…thetically (and with great enthusiasm).

[2] This connection was made by Frank Gifford in Ulysses Annotated. Maybe I ought to properly cite it later (30).

[3] I will deal with this later.

[4] This information is basically culled from the short editor’s introduction to the piece on Blake in The Critical Writings of James Joyce. There is no credit, however. I’ll deal with this later too. That’s the kind of thing it’s ok to wait until Friday to do.

[5] James Joyce. “[William Blake]”. The Critical Writings of James Joyce, ed. Ellsworth Mason, Richard Ellmann. New York: Viking Press, 1959 (221). Hereafter cited parenthetically.

[6] Maybe this has something to do with the fact that Joyce was lecturing in Italian. Just a possibility.

[7] Joyce gets most of his information on Blake’s life from The Real Blake by Edwin Ellis (London, 1907).

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