GENETIC JOYCE STUDIES - Issue 7 (Spring 2007)


Joyce’s ‘holiday wisdom’:

‘Gustave Flaubert can rest having made me.’1

Scarlett Baron

If he had smiled why would he have smiled?

To reflect that each one who enters imagines himself to be the first to enter whereas he is always the last term of a preceding series even if the first term of a succeeding one, each imagining himself to be first, last, only and alone whereas he is neither first nor last nor only nor alone in a series originating in and repeated to infinity.2

In 1990, David Hayman made public his discovery of three ‘Flaubert’ jottings in Finnegans Wake notebook VI.B.8.3 On non-consecutive pages, they read:

Flaub. treatment
of language as a kind
of despair
J.J contrary

J[ohn] S[tanislaus] J[oyce] can rest having made me
G[ustave]. F[laubert can rest having made me]

Larbaud result of
J[ames]. J[oyce] + G[ustave]. F[laubert].

Hayman dated these jottings (and by implication, the whole notebook) to mid-1924. In The Textual Diaries of James Joyce,5 published in 1995, Danis Rose corrects the date Hayman attributed to the notebook, with potentially fascinating consequences for our understanding of Joyce’s relationship to Flaubert. According to Rose, the jottings were made in the summer of 1925, whilst Joyce was holidaying in northern and western France. On departing from Paris, Joyce apparently left behind the notebook which he had been using in June and early July and began using a new notebook (that is, Buffalo notebook VI.B.8), which he filled in entirely before returning to the only partially filled Parisian notebook.6 Rose uses a notebook reference to the coastal town of Saint-Valery-en-Caux to establish the probable dates of Joyce’s use of VI.B.8. Joyce’s jotting of this place name in the notebook coincides, in Rose’s view, with the mention of an excursion to Saint-Valery-en-Caux in one of Joyce’s letters to Harriet Shaw Weaver: ‘While I was returning from an excursion to S. Valery the idea for the last watch of Shaun came into my head.’7 For Rose, the notebook reflects ‘Joyce’s immediate concerns: gathering ideas for the fourth episode or ‘watch’ of Shaun, and the further development of Anna Livia for publication’.8 Whilst the Wakean sigla which appear throughout the copybook act as a constant reminder of these concerns, Joyce’s notes in VI.B.8 also bear testimony to thoughts which arose specifically from his tourist excursions in Normandy, through that ‘pays de Caux’, which provided the setting for Flaubert’s Madame Bovary.9

Joyce’s travels in the summer of 1925 are peculiarly suggestive of a motivated quest for exposure to a particular kind of literary inspiration. The dates and provenance of Joyce’s letters during this period reveal an itinerary intriguingly evocative of a Flaubertian pilgrimage. Joyce’s first stop was in Fécamp, where he stayed for a week at the Grand Hôtel des Bains et de Londres between 21st and 28th July 1925. From Fécamp, Joyce travelled to Rouen, where he spent almost two weeks (28th July - 9th August) at the Grand Hôtel de la Poste. This sojourn was interrupted by an excursion to the village of Les Andelys, where a single night (6th August) was spent at the Hôtel du Grand Cerf. From Rouen, Joyce made his way to Arcachon for a longer spell (11th August- 3rd September) via Niort (9th -10th August) and Bordeaux (10th - 11th August). The first few stops on this itinerary are remarkable in that they all seem to bear some relation to Flaubert –a fact which seems less coincidental than might at first appear when the ‘Flaubert’ jottings identified by David Hayman are taken into account. It seems possible, in fact, that Joyce’s holidaying destinations may have been chosen specifically for their connections with the Norman literary forebear.

Fécamp: Flaubert as literary father

Fécamp, the Joyces’10 first port of call on the Norman tour, is mentioned several times in Flaubert’s correspondence, especially in relation to the author’s dealings with two related families. The first was the Le Poittevin family; the second, the Maupassant family.11 The bonds between the Le Poittevin and Flaubert families were close –Flaubert’s father was godfather to Alfred, and Le Poittevin père was godfather to Flaubert. In 1848 Alfred Le Poittevin died at the age of 32. Flaubert mourned solemnly and passionately, watching over the corpse for two nights. In subsequent years, Flaubert thought and wrote often of his lost friend. In 1860 for instance, a letter to his friend Louis Bouilhet dwells on memories of childhood days spent in Fécamp and an enduring sense of loss:

Il y a aujourd'hui huit jours, lundi, j'ai couché à Fécamp chez Mme Le Poittevin, où je n'étais pas venu depuis 18 ans! Ai-je pensé à ce pauvre bougre d'Alfred! J'avais presque peur de le voir apparaître. Notre jeunesse commune me semblait suinter sur les murailles.12

As is obvious from this account of a visit to Alfred’s mother, Flaubert’s links with the Le Poittevin family were not severed by his friend’s death. Indeed, his relations with the family remained, in different ways, almost as intense as they had ever been. Alfred’s sister, Laure, had also been a figure of Flaubert’s youth, if only by shared association with the beloved brother and playmate. Laure Le Poittevin’s marriage to Gustave de Maupassant led to the birth, in 1850, in Fécamp, of Guy de Maupassant. When Laure and her husband separated in 1861, Laure more or less explicitly turned to Flaubert -that other Gustave, that other brother- as a potential substitute for the father her son now lacked. Flaubert, in taking on the role cut out for him by his friend’s sister, engaged willingly in a kind of role-play which the memory of his dead friend urged upon him as more than a favour -a duty, a pleasure. In time, Flaubert introduced Maupassant to the literary luminaries of the day, obtained positions for him, promoted his works, and imparted an intensive literary education. Maupassant’s tribute to Flaubert in the preface to Pierre et Jean (1888), sketches out the outlines of the relationship:       

Plus tard, Flaubert, que je voyais quelquefois, se prit d'affection pour moi. J'osai lui soumettre quelques essais. Il les lut avec bonté et me répondit : ‘Je ne sais pas si vous aurez du talent. Ce que vous m'avez apporté prouve une certaine intelligence, mais n'oubliez point ceci, jeune homme, que le talent ­suivant le mot de Chateaubriand n'est qu'une longue patience. Travaillez.’

Je travaillai, et je revins souvent chez lui, comprenant que je lui plaisais, car il s'était mis à m'appeler, en riant, son disciple.

Pendant sept ans je fis des vers, je fis des contes, je fis des nouvelles, je fis même un drame détestable. Il n'en est rien resté. Le maître lisait tout, puis le dimanche suivant, en déjeunant, développait ses critiques et enfonçait en moi, peu à peu, deux ou trois principes qui sont le résumé de ses longs et patients enseignements.13

The development of the relationship is obvious in the ‘master’’s letters to his ‘disciple’ over the course of the last decade or so of his life. In 1875, the tone of Flaubert’s letters to his protégé is already affectionate. One letter opens by addressing Maupassant as ‘Mon Bon’ and closes with the same tender suggestions of intimacy – ‘Votre vieux vous embrasse’14 – as fill Flaubert’s letters to Georges Sand. Later that year, a progression towards an openly paternal relationship is discernible in Flaubert’s inverted and oxymoronic address to Maupassant as ‘Mon petit Père’.15 Shortly before his death in May 1880, Flaubert addresses his disciple as ‘Mon cher bonhomme’,16 ‘Mon cher ami’,17 and ‘Mon chéri’,18 often signing off as ‘Ton vieux’.19 On 21st April, Flaubert compliments Maupassant on his latest published work, Boule-de-Suif: ‘J’ai relu Boule-de-Suif et je maintiens que c’est un chef d’oeuvre.’20 In his dedication of Des Vers (1880), Maupassant expressed his gratitude for the roles taken on by Flaubert in their crucial, many-sided relationship –those of the friend, the father, and the master:

Que j’aime de toute ma tendresse,
que j’admire avant tous.

Flaubert’s response to this public tribute –in one of his very last letters to Maupassant- fully reciprocates the sentiments expressed in the preface. Its tone is paternal, loving. And, under the sway of the realization of the literary achievement his fathering has made possible, Flaubert remembers Le Poittevin, the long-lost friend constitutive of the original bond:

Mon jeune homme,

Tu as raison de m’aimer, car ton vieux te chérit. J’ai lu immédiatement ton volume, que je connaissais, du reste, aux trois quarts. Nous le reverrons ensemble. Ce qui m’en plaît surtout, c’est qu’il est personnel. Pas de chic! pas de pose! ni parnassien, ni réaliste (ou impressioniste, ou naturaliste).
Ta dédicace a remué en moi tout un monde de souvenirs: ton oncle Alfred, ta grand-mère, ta mère, et le bonhomme, pendant quelque temps, a eu le coeur gros et une larme aux paupières.

It is easy to see how this relationship –that of the non-biological father to his spiritual son- would have appealed to Joyce, whose works betray an enduring fascination with just such a mode of paternity. For Stephen Dedalus, whose mind returns obsessively to the problems of fatherhood on 16th January 1904, ‘Paternity may be a legal fiction’.23 In Flaubert’s correspondence (which he read from an early age24), Joyce would have found a perfect example of a spiritual fatherhood actualized in real life. Flaubert’s relationship to Maupassant is ideal fatherhood come true: paternity, in this case, is no longer a fiction but the paternity by one author of the fiction of another. It even seems possible, in the light of the evidence we have of Joyce’s very early acquaintance with Flaubert’s correspondence, that his knowledge of the relationship between the two nineteenth-century writers may have been at the origin, or may at the very least have fed into, his lifelong preoccupation with non-biological fatherhood. That preoccupation had other important models (not least that of Jesus Christ, son to God the Father more than to ‘Joseph the Joiner’25) that may well have antedated any thoughts on Flaubert and Maupassant: but the ‘master’ and his ‘disciple’ would have offered an example of an immensely successful and almost contemporary enactment of spiritual, and specifically literary, fatherhood.

Notebook VI.B.8 bears traces of Joyce’s interest in Fécamp. The first of these occurs on page 17 of the notebook, and reads:

[HCE sigla] stone fall


Page 22 contains two more of these:

A fig for Fecamp

Fec -4 star brandy

4 priest mass

Though there is no hint of this in the notebook, it is clear from an explicit reference in a letter to Harriet Shaw Weaver that Joyce had Maupassant in mind during his stay in the city:

Maupassant was born here but his mother concealed the fact.26

This confirms that Joyce was aware of the connection between Fécamp and Maupassant. Furthermore, Joyce’s interest in the secrecy which surrounded Maupassant’s birth and his omission of any mention of Maupassant’s father are suggestive of musings on the theme of paternity. This essay will argue that questions of literary fatherhood and influence were uppermost in Joyce’s mind during his Norman travels.

Saint-Valery: Joyce as literary father

In the same letter to Harriet Weaver in which he evokes Maupassant, Joyce goes on to make mention of his excursion to Saint-Valery. In the notebook, the town’s name enters with that of one of its namesakes:

S.Valery en Caux/ en Somme27

As has been mentioned above, the name carries associations which connect it to Flaubert’s life and works – to that ‘pays de Caux’ which provided the setting for Madame Bovary and was home to the writer for much of his life. The place name also resonates with other notes in VI.B.8 – those that refer, explicitly or cryptically, to Valery Larbaud. In the last of the three unequivocally Flaubertian jottings in the notebook, Larbaud’s name is closely linked to Flaubert’s:

Larbaud result of
J[ames]. J[oyce] + G[ustave]. F[laubert].

This delineation of a line of descent running through Flaubert and Joyce to Larbaud is fascinating in its extreme neatness and seems indicative of Joyce’s intense preoccupation with literary influence in the summer of 1925. Not that this pattern of thinking was in any way new to Joyce: in ‘The Day of the Rabblement’ (1901), he had outlined two separate literary strands of ‘genealogical’ descent. Dismissing George Moore as an outdated writer, Joyce maps out a first ‘family tree’ in which the Irish novelist features as a writer

struggling in the backwash of that tide which has advanced from Flaubert through Jakobsen to D’Aununzio [sic]*

The second ‘genealogical’ sketch brings the essay to a climactic close, as it casts Joyce himself as the next torchbearer in a tradition articulated around the pivotal figures of Henrik Ibsen and Gerhart Hauptmann:

Elsewhere there are men who are worthy to carry on the tradition of the old master dying in Christiania. He has already found his successor in the writer of Michael Kramer, and the third minister will not be wanting when his hour comes. Even now that hour may be standing by the door.29

The equation which features in VI.B.8 radically revises the first of these lines of descent by tacitly re-inscribing Joyce and Flaubert within a same tradition. Flaubert, who stood, in ‘The Day of the Rabblement’ at the origin of a tide from which Joyce took care to distinguish himself, becomes, in VI.B.8, the co-father, with Joyce, of a new authorial figure.

Another radical change has occurred between the early essay and the Finnegans Wake notebook jotting: Joyce, the ‘third minister’, projected successor to the great European dramatists of the day, has now moved up an echelon, albeit on a new ladder. He has moved from his initial position as the third term in the series to second or first place –first in terms of importance (for such, perhaps, is the implication of him placing his own name before Flaubert’s in the equation’s second line), and second in chronological terms. In fact, one notable effect of the equation format of the jotting is to annihilate the sense of chronology which constituted such a clear feature of the chains of influence outlined in the early essay. A three-term succession is flattened out into two short lines, and JJ and GF, in sharing the second, appear as equal and simultaneous in their influential force. The jotting is thus poised between chronology and a-chronology, between succession and convergence (not least, because Larbaud, who was born in 1881, was Joyce’s elder).

The ‘S. Valery’ and ‘Larbaud’ jottings are but two of a number of signs indicative of an intense preoccupation with issues of intertextuality on Joyce’s part in the summer of 1925. This suspicion is supported by facts extraneous to the notebook as well as by other manuscript scribblings. Indeed, there were several reasons why Joyce might have felt very positively inclined towards Larbaud (and thus enjoyed finding a place name which cast him as a saint) in the summer of 192530. In 1922, Larbaud’s Amants, heureux amants was published, featuring a dedication which echoes Maupassant’s emotional homage to Flaubert in Des Vers (1880):

James Joyce
my friend, and the only begetter
of the form I have adopted
in this piece of writing.

Paris, novembre 192131

In 1924, Larbaud’s homage was repeated and extended in the preface he composed for the new edition of Edouard Dujardin’s Les Lauriers sont coupés. The book was published in 1925 – the very year in which Joyce was using notebook VI.B.8 on his journey through northwestern France. The thrust of Larbaud’s preface is twofold. It aims, on the one hand, to draw attention to the influence exerted by Dujardin’s invention of interior monologue on James Joyce’s Ulysses. But its objective is also to measure the effect of Joyce’s use of the technique on contemporary novelists and to forecast the extent of his impact on a whole new generation of writers –to foresee ‘l’histoire littéraire du lendemain’. In effect, Larbaud traces a line of descent which originates in Dujardin and runs through Joyce – the focal point of the entire preface – and towards the literature of the future.

Larbaud begins by announcing that his aim is to attempt to fix ‘certains points d’histoire littéraire’. Having made it clear from the start that his intent is not to dwell on any aspects of Dujardin’s book itself, he launches into an account of the publication of Ulysses in the Little Review between March 1918 and August 1920. The question of the book’s influence is immediately brought into focus:

l’influence de ce livre se fit bientôt sentir dans les écrits des jeunes hommes de lettres des pays de langue anglaise, qui commencèrent, avant même que l’ouvrage de James Joyce eût été terminé et publié en volume (Paris, Shakespeare & Cie, février 1922), à imiter, ou plus exactement à utiliser certaines des formes employées dans Ulysses32

Having belatedly read Dujardin’s novel on Joyce’s recommendation, Larbaud can confirm that Les Lauriers must be considered ‘une des sources formelles de Ulysses’.33 Larbaud’s reflections betray a constant interest in the dynamics of literary influence. He laments the fact that Dujardin’s novel was still known to so few, and the waste of many years in which its influence might have begun to flourish:

il aurait pu avoir une influence féconde, inconnu des imitateurs habiles et des vulgarisateurs qui auraient pu s’emparer de la formule nouvelle, l’adapter aux goûts du public, la mettre à la mode34

What is impressive about these statements is their serenity regarding literary influence, which is extolled not only as the mark of a successful writer – as a direct effect or result of his work upon other authors – but also as a phenomenon to which an author may be subject himself, with very beneficial consequences. Larbaud’s preface forcefully (if unknowingly) runs counter to Harold Bloom’s thesis in the Anxiety of Influence35 by discussing both ends of the literary ‘influence spectrum’ as unproblematically positive. Central to Larbaud’s argument is the fact that Joyce himself identified and acknowledged Dujardin’s influence:

un jour il me dit que cette forme avait déjà été employée, et d’une manière continue, dans un livre d’Edouard Dujardin36

Larbaud’s endorsement of literary indebtedness is but a reflection of Joyce’s own. As Larbaud makes clear, Joyce’s appropriation of a forerunner’s technique would probably have gone entirely unnoticed without Joyce’s own guidance.37

The issue of the adoption of forms used by others recurs in many of Larbaud’s public comments about Joyce. In the dedication to Amants, heureux amants, Larbaud writes of Joyce as ‘the only begetter of the form I have adopted in this piece of writing’.38 In the preface to Les Lauriers sont coupés, he refers to interior monologue as a form

inventée par un romancier français, adoptée dans un ouvrage célèbre par un écrivain irlandais39

That this use of the word struck a chord in Joyce is strongly suggested by his own use of the word in notebook VI.B.8. Almost immediately after his jotting ‘G. F can rest having made me’, Joyce’s writing reads:

We adopt other’s phrases40

This ties in nicely with the theme of literary fatherhood which lay so close to Joyce’s heart. Larbaud must have been fully aware (from his reading of Ulysses, if nothing else) of the importance Joyce attached to this theme when he elected to refer to him as the ‘begetter’ of the form used in his own interior monologue narrative.

In notebook VI.B.8, Dujardin does not feature. Flaubert completes the series, providing the third corner of Joyce’s triangular equation. This observation invites a number of interpretations. One could, for instance, liken Flaubert’s innovation of style indirect libre to Dujardin’s use of interior monologue. After all, the novelty of both techniques is of a similar kind: whether in the third person, or the first person, the narrative voice which espouses these methods allows the reader to get an insight into the inner workings of a character’s mind. Be that as it may, Dujardin’s conspicuous absence from Joyce’s reflections regarding his own relations with Flaubert and Larbaud suggests where the author’s real allegiances lay. What VI.B.8 and its private admissions of a Flaubertian influence make clear is that, if Joyce’s public profile might suggest an anxiety of influence -a desire to cover the tracks of his Flaubertian inspiration – he was under no private illusion as to the French novelist’s fathering position. The tone of the jottings is, in fact, anything but anguished: it is, rather, straightforward, laconic, serene – even jocular.

Rouen: Joyce chez Flaubert

From Fécamp, Joyce moved inland to Rouen, where he settled for just under two weeks (28th July-9th August) – by far his longest stay in any northwestern town that year. In a letter to Harriet Shaw Weaver shortly following this sojourn, Joyce remembers Rouen in solely meteorological terms, as a place ‘where we were drenched for 9 days out of twelve’.41 No mention is made of the motivations which might have led to the choice of Rouen as a holiday destination, and there is not a single reference in any of Joyce’s letters to the town’s greatest cultural attraction: Gustave Flaubert. That said, the three ‘Flaubert’ jottings in the notebook, if they cannot provide evidence that Flaubert was the reason for Joyce’s trip for Flaubert, tend to suggest that Rouen did not fail to nurture whatever Flaubertian thoughts Joyce might have been entertaining. He could not, for instance, have been oblivious to the cathedral, in which one of the best known scenes of Madame Bovary is set. The scene – which immediately precedes Léon and Emma’s frenzied journey through Rouen in a closed hackney carriage – consists in a guided tour of the cathedral, given by a Swiss guard eager to make the couple acquainted with the monument’s ‘curiosités’.42 The cathedral is also home to the famous Saint-Julien stained-glass window – Flaubert’s inspiration for La Légende de Saint Julien L’Hospitalier – and to a tympanum representing the dance of Salome – which features prominently in the third of Flaubert’s Trois Contes, Hérodias. In fact, notebook VI.B.8 contains recognizable references to the cathedral. After a reference to ‘apple sugar candy’, a Rouen specialty, on page 2543, the next jotting is ‘Butter Tower’ –which denotes the famous ‘Tour de Beurre’44 of Rouen Cathedral. On the next page, the following references (which may have been drawn from a guidebook or jotted down from memory after an actual visit) also seem to relate to Rouen Cathedral:

decorated (style)
= E perpendicular

[?]. Walsh II
porte S. Stephen

(of a church)

[roturier can’t

sign (face or


(except vitriers).

[HCE sigla] cardinal’s hat aloft45

Though the source of these jottings has yet to be identified, ‘porte S. Stephen (of a church)’ almost certainly refers to the ‘chapelle Saint Etienne la Grande Eglise’ which is to be found immediately to the right on entering Rouen Cathedral – that is, at the bottom of the cathedral’s ‘Tour de Beurre’, which is, according to a contemporary description ‘un des plus beaux exemples de l'art gothique flamboyant’46. The first jotting seems to be a listing of various architectural styles, while the allusions to Archbishop ‘Walsh II’, a ‘cardinal’s hat’, and ‘vitriers’ fit in with the cathedral theme of the surrounding material. If he did visit the cathedral, Joyce would almost certainly have chanced upon Flaubert’s statue, which stands facing the cathedral from the immediately neighbouring ‘place des Carmes.47 The city is full of reminders of its great literary figure.

Les Andelys: treading in Flaubert’s footsteps

During his stay in Rouen, Joyce opted to take a trip for a single night to a tiny village situated forty kilometres away: Les Andelys. The address of the Grand Cerf hotel in Les Andelys appears on the cover verso of the notebook, below the address of Shakespeare & Company (which is designated as the address to which the notebook should be returned if lost and found):

Prière de
rendre à
James Joyce
12 rue de l’Odéon


Grand Cerf
Les Andelys
94 [bld ?]

Joyce often used notebook covers to jot down addresses. But in this case the Grand Cerf stands out as the only hotel address in the notebook. Whether the address was jotted down in advance of Joyce’s sojourn in Les Andelys, or whether he wrote it down after his visit to the hostelry is unknowable, as were his intentions (practical, mnemotechnic, literary) in doing so. What, then, might have been Joyce’s motivation for going to Les Andelys? What particular interest might Joyce have had in the words ‘Grand Cerf’?

Like Fécamp, Les Andelys appears frequently in Flaubert’s early correspondence. The village was home to Flaubert’s closest childhood friend, Ernest Le Chevalier. In 1844, Flaubert urges Le Chevalier to visit him in Rouen during his next stay at the family home in Les Andelys:

Quand tu viendras aux Andelys n’oublie pas de pousser jusqu’ à Rouen.

In 1845, Flaubert writes to Le Poittevin to recall a trip made to Les Andelys:

Te rappelles-tu notre retour des Andelys à Rouen et la singulière atmosphère qu’il y avait autour de nous?49

Similarly, Flaubert writes to Le Chevalier himself in the same year, and evokes the distant pleasures of days spent in Les Andelys:

sais-tu que c’était beau, mes voyages de Pâques aux Andelys et la prodigieuse vigueur de blague que j’avais alors! Quelles pipes ! Comme nous avions peu de retenue dans nos propos! C’était plaisir…50

The name of Joyce’s chosen hotel for his stay in Les Andelys on 6th August 1925 –the Hôtel du Grand Cerf – is not without Flaubertian associations of its own. In 1846, Flaubert is trying to conduct his relationship with Louise Colet without arousing his mother’s suspicions. A plan is concocted to feign a trip to Les Andelys and its landmark, Château-Gaillard, in order to enable a lovers’ secret rendez-vous in Mantes51:

Ce sera donc bientôt que nous nous reverrons. Il est arrangé que je ferai ce petit voyage aux Andelys (lisez Mantes). Comme il faut une heure et demie pour s’y rendre, et qu’une heure est suffisante pour voir le Château-Gaillard, je reviendrai coucher ici (c’est impossible autrement), mais par le dernier convoi, qui me prendra là-bas vers 10 heures. Nous aurons tout un grand après-midi à nous. (…) Nous irons dans quelque bonne auberge bien tranquille.52

On his return, Flaubert’s first letter to Colet recalls with satisfaction ‘ce bon hôtel de Mantes’. In closing, he thanks her for the poem she has already sent him about the reunion:

J’ai relu tes vers, merci; je n’ai plus qu’eux maintenant.53

Colet’s poem’s ‘Un Jour à Mantes’ gives a name to ‘ce bon hôtel de Mantes’. It was the Hôtel du Grand Cerf:

Nous avons traversé la ville à l'aventure,
Demandant en riant aux passants ébahis
Quelle auberge en renom, renfermait le pays ?
‘Le grand-cerf, nous répond un bourgeois secourable
Allez, vous trouverez bon lit et bonne table.’
Il disait vrai ma foi, le gîte est des meilleurs (...)
Nous courons au Grand-Cerf, bras dessus, bras dessous

L’Hôtel du Grand Cerf and La Légende de Saint Julien L’Hospitalier

Joyce did not need to be so intimately informed about Flaubert’s amorous arrangements (though he was, as has been mentioned above, well versed in the Correspondance) to associate the Grand Cerf Hôtel in Les Andelys with the name of Flaubert. Indeed, the ‘grand cerf’ of La Légende de Saint Julien L’Hospitalier is one of Flaubert’s most striking fictional characters*. La Tentation de Saint Antoine features its own 'grand cerf': 'et tout à coup paraît un grand cerf noir, à tête de taureau, qui porte entre les oreilles un buisson de cornes blanches.' (Pocket, Paris, 1999, p. 194). Joyce might have been reminded of this in Rouen Cathedral where Flaubert, as is testified in the closing sentence of La Légende, found stained-glass inspiration for his ‘conte’:

Et voila l’histoire de saint Julien l’Hospitalier, telle à peu près qu’on la trouve, sur un vitrail d’église, dans mon pays.55

But if the window did remind Joyce of Flaubert’s ‘grand cerf’, it would have been by default, because no stag or deer appears on the Saint-Julien window in Rouen Cathedral. The ‘cerf’ is entirely Flaubert’s invention. It was, in fact, precisely in the effect of the ‘grand cerf’ and other such departures from Saint Julien’s stained-glass tale that Flaubert revelled most. In a letter of 1879, Flaubert gleefully imagines what perplexing sensations the reader might experience when confronted with his visual source:

En comparant l'image au texte on se serait dit : ‘Je n'y comprends rien. Comment a-t-il tiré ceci de cela ?’56

It is especially tantalizing to find the words ‘grand cerf’ on the inside flyleaf of Joyce’s Normandy notebook because few stories deal with questions of influence and paternity at once so explicitly and so enigmatically as La Légende de Saint Julien L’Hospitalier. The word ‘cerf’ in this second of Flaubert’s Trois Contes57 makes many appearances and each brings with it a new layer of meaning. The first ‘cerf’ is a generic cerf: an absent, purely imaginary, exemplary cerf – a kind of animal Julien must learn to track down and kill:

Un maître y démontrait à son élève l’art de dresser les chiens et d’affaiter les faucons, de tendre les pièges, comment reconnaître le cerf à ses fumées58

The ‘cerf’ appears next as the archetypal animal of Julien’s slaughtering pleasure. The definite article does not, in the following quotation, refer to any particular ‘cerf’: it prolongs the reader’s sense of the ‘cerf’ as a species rather than as a specific animal. The associations clustering around the animal have now come to include killing, pain (the animal’s) and pleasure (Julien’s) – the latter two are tightly interwoven by means of the verb ‘gémir’ which can signify both:

Quand le cerf commençait à gémir sous les morsures, il l’abattait prestement, puis se délectait à la furie de ses mâtins qui le dévoraient, coupé en pièces sur sa peau fumante.59

The next occurrence of the word conveys a distinctly more anthropomorphic view of a large group of deer gathered together as though prepared – as in ancient Roman circus games – for a massacre:

Un spectacle extraordinaire l’arrêta. Des cerfs emplissaient un vallon ayant la forme d’un cirque; et tassés les uns près des autres, ils se réchauffaient avec leurs haleines que l’on voyait fumer dans le brouillard.
L’espoir d’un pareil carnage, pendant quelques minutes, le suffoqua de plaisir.

This scene is followed immediately by a parallel event which takes the anthropomorphic vision of the deer further, by setting up a parallel between a ‘family’ of deer and Julien’s own family

Le cerf, qui était noir et monstrueux de taille, portait seize andouillers avec une barbe blanche. La biche, blonde comme les feuilles mortes, broutait le gazon ; et le faon tacheté, sans l’interrompre dans la marche, lui tenait la mamelle.61

When the killing begins, explicitly human terms are used to describe the deer’s reactions to Julien’s attack:

Sa mère, en regardant le ciel, brama d’une voix profonde, déchirante, humaine.62

It is following this sequence of events that the ‘cerf’ of the family becomes ‘le grand cerf’. With an arrow planted between its enormous antlers, the stag continues to move towards Julien, until, having become almost human, it utters the prophecy which is to shape the rest of Julien’s life:

Le prodigieux animal s’arrêta; et les yeux flamboyants, solennel comme un patriarche et comme un justicier, pendant qu’une cloche au loin tintait, il répéta trois fois:

-‘Maudit ! maudit ! maudit ! Un jour, coeur féroce, tu assassineras ton père et ta mère.’63

The thought of the prophecy and of its bearer obsesses Julien: ‘il revoyait toujours le grand cerf noir.’64 When Julien goes out hunting before the parricide, and his parents arrive at the castle in his absence, the narrator dwells on those of the father’s physical features -‘sa taille haute et sa grande barbe’65 – that recall ‘le grand cerf’. It is this beard, which Julien’s father and the stag have in common, which precipitates Julien’s murder. Having returned to the castle, Julien bends to kiss his wife, only to feel ‘contre sa bouche l’impression d’une barbe.’ Julien’s homicidal wrath in the darkened bedroom is triggered by a signifier which pertains to both father and stag. Julien’s frenzied actions, in the signifying economy of the text, would appear to have this dual target. This strange, covert – subconscious66 – duality of purpose is not at odds with the text’s cultivation of supernatural ambiguity – not for nothing does the text describe the ‘grand cerf’ as a ‘prodigieux animal’. But the stag, unlike Julien’s father, outlives (or rather comes back to life to witness) the fulfilment of its own prophecy, and it is its ‘voice’ which hangs over the silent bloodshed, as the moans of Julien’s dying parents turn into the vengeful sound of the ‘grand cerf noir’:

Il écoutait attentivement leurs deux râles presque égaux, et, à mesure qu’ils s’affaiblissaient, un autre, tout au loin les continuait. Incertaine d’abord, cette voix plaintive longuement poussée, se rapprochait, s’enfla, devint cruelle ; et il reconnut, terrifié, le bramement du grand cerf noir.67

The verb ‘reconnut’ is the same as that which described Julien’s hunting lessons, when he was taught ‘comment reconnaître le cerf à ses fumées’. Julien’s story is a quest for recognition, knowledge, consciousness. This quest is at once accomplished and faulted by the parricide: whether Julien kills because he has recognized the father, or because he fails to recognise the father, remains impossible to determine in a tale from which all hints of motivation have been removed.68 The Oedipian shape of the narrative lends itself easily to a reading of the story as a model of literary influence. In La Légende, a son turns against his father with those skills his father has taught him. Only after this has led to the death of the father figure can Julien’s life take on a different shape from that which his father’s early decision (‘son père déclara que l’on devait à son âge apprendre la vénerie’69) and the grand cerf’s prophecy have determined. In fact, the text stages yet another moment of ambiguous (mis)recognition, which again involves fatherhood –like the grand cerf, Julien’s father survives his own demise and returns to haunt Julien at a crucial near-death moment. When Julien considers taking his own life in the aftermath of the killing, Flaubert casts him in a pose which merges the myth of Narcissus and Lacan’s mirror-stage (if anachronistically). Joyce follows the first, mythical, antecedent by having Julien fail to recognize himself. Indeed, it is not into his own image that Julien peers with such emotion, but into his father’s, and it is this realization, this final act of delayed recognition, which forbids suicide:

Comme il se penchait dessus pour juger de la profondeur de l’eau, il vit paraître en face de lui un vieillard tout décharné, à barbe blanche et d’un aspect si lamentable qu’il lui fut impossible de retenir ses pleurs. L’autre, aussi, pleurait. Sans reconnaître son image, Julien se rappelait confusément une figure ressemblant à celle-là. Il poussa un cri ; c’était son père ; et il ne pensa plus à se tuer.70

Julien, then, has become his own father. His father lives in him. Both of these statements are at the heart of Stephen Dedalus’ musings about fathering and consubstantiality in the Proteus and Scylla and Charybdis episodes of Ulysses. The hunt-themed jotting which immediately follows the line ‘G.F can rest having made me’ would appear to confirm these connections between Flaubert’s tale and Joyce’s notes in VI.B.8. Crossed out in blue, it reads:

Slot (foot) of


In Finnegans Wake, the jotting has grown into a fully-fledged hunting scene:

The cry of the roedeer it is! The white hind. Their slots, linklink, the hound hunthorning!72

This proximity between the adjacent notes in VI.B.8 again suggests that hunting and Flaubert were linked in Joyce’s mind. But in crucial ways Joyce’s attitude diverges from Flaubert’s anxiety-ridden Légende. Joyce’s notebook betrays no anxiety of influence. In fact, this difference between Flaubertian anxiety (as featured in La Légende) and Joycean serenity (as expressed in VI.B.8) might explain another of the notebook’s ‘Flaubert jottings’:

Flaub. treatment
of language as a kind
of despair
J.J contrary

Indeed, Joyce's attitude to Flaubert and to intertextuality in the summer of 1925 bears no trace of anxiety or despair: the notebook is evocative, rather, of an author confidently taking stock of the importance (and difference) of his French literary forebear.

VI.B.5 to VI.B.8: from anxiety to serenity

Associations between hunting and parricide, and hunting and Flaubert, are already discernible in Finnegans Wake notebook VI.B.5, which Joyce had been using in the summer of 1924, during another ostensibly literary journey through Brittany. Some examples of this earlier notebook’s preoccupations with sainthood, paternity, parricide, and stags and deers, include:

-S Edam rides a stag74

-James Joyce the Joker
Killed his father with
A blow of the poker

-Deer’s toil76

Joyce also quotes quite extensively from the hunting scene in Walter Scott’s ‘Lady of the Lake’, extracting a single line – usually the first line of a stanza) here or there in the poem:

-A chief who hears his warden call
-Yelled on the view of the opening pack
-Less loud the sounds of sylvan war
-The noble stag was pausing now
-Twere long to tell what steeds gave o’er
-Alone but with unabated zeal
-The Hunter marked that Mt high
-Close on the hounds the hunter came
-Then through the dell his horn resounds

The following notebook page contains two more jottings which seem intriguingly connected to La Légende de Saint Julien l’Hospitalier and to the theme of parricide:

-Kilty Feeling
-Brothers Hospitallers
Of S. John of God.

Julien is, as indicated by the full name given in Flaubert’s title, a sanctified member of the order of the Brothers Hospitallers. It is his ‘kilty feeling’ about his hunting, the most drastic outcome of which was the killing of his father (and mother – though her importance is minimized by the ‘conte’) which drives the second half of the story. That Joyce was aware of Saint Julien and of his religious order (possibly via his reading of Flaubert) is obvious from the fact that both pieces of information feature in Ulysses, in one of the lists of the Cyclops episode, and in notably close proximity to S. Stephen and S. John of God:

S. Julian Hospitator and S. Felix de Cantalice and S. Simon Stylites and S. Stephen
Protomartyr and S. John of God

The shift between the two notebooks where ‘parricide’ is concerned is significant. It is a shift from jocoserious violence and killing –

James Joyce the Joker
Killed his father with
A blow of the poker

to jocoserious peace of mind:

J[ohn] S[tanislaus] J[oyce] can rest having made me
G[ustave]. F[laubert can rest having made me]

Giacomo the leopard: immovable intertextual spots

Just above these statements, another uncrossed note, ostensibly in keeping with the page’s animal theme, has bearing on the issue of intertextuality:

Leopardi changes not

his spots81

This allusion to the Italian poet Giacomo Leopardi is framed within a variation on a biblical idiom. The original expression occurs in Jeremiah 13 (22-23) in the form of a question:

Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots?

Joyce’s inclusion of Leopardi’s name in his own version of the biblical sentence reinforces the suggestion that his concerns, at this point in the notebook, were with writing processes and, specifically, with intertextuality (rather than with actual leopards and their spots). That Giacomo Leopardi (with whose writing Joyce was familiar from at least 1901,82 and with whom, from the Triestine years onward, he shared a first name83) was himself an artist preoccupied with the relations between erudition, imitation, and originality, is a fact which only adds to the likelihood that Joyce had such matters on his mind in the summer of 1925.84 Joyce’s jotting provides an answer to the biblical question that twists its original syntax (which invites a choice between two opposites: the possibility or impossibility of change) in order to assert both fixity and change. The new version of the idiom implies that the permanence of identificative markings – the signs of one’s origin and formative influences – does not preclude change. This position constitutes no turnaround in Joyce’s thinking. Indeed, such musings are very much at the forefront of Stephen’s mind in Ulysses. He begins, early on in the Scylla and Charybdis episode, by thinking of himself as a being of constant flux, crystallised into an enduring sense of self by memory alone:

Molecules all change. I am other I now (…)
But I, entelechy of forms, am I by memory because under everchanging forms.

But a few pages later, Stephen gives voice to a speech which aptly foreshadows Joyce’s musings in VI.B.8:

-As we, or mother Dana, weave and unweave our bodies, Stephen said, from day to day, their molecules shuttled to and fro, so does the artist weave and unweave his image. And as the mole on my right breast is where it was when I was born, though all my body has been woven of new stuff time after time, so through the ghost of the unquiet father the image of the unliving son looks forth.86

Seconds later, Stephen thinks: ‘He is in my father. I am in his son.’ This leads on (along with a few other references to moles,87 and ‘the birthmark of genius’88) to Stephen’s thoughts on the consubstantiality (or not) of the Son and the Father in Catholic belief, and to those thoughts about fatherhood which are echoed in VI.B.8:

He rests, disarmed of fatherhood, having devised that mystical estate upon his son. (…) Fatherhood, in the sense of conscious begetting, is unknown to man. It is a mystical state, an apostolic succession, from only begetter to only begotten. (…)
Am I a father? If I were?

In Finnegans Wake notebook VI.B.8, Joyce revisits Stephen’s thinking. The same verb, ‘he rests’, re-enacts (in more personal terms) the peaceful demotion of the father who has played his part by passing on a mystical estate. Stephen’s thoughts on begetting are echoed in VI.B.8 by the references to Valery Larbaud, who employed the terms (with reference, perhaps, to this passage from Ulysses) in his dedication to Amants, heureux amants. The notebook answers Stephen’s question about his own fatherhood: in the intervening years, Joyce himself has fathered a son – Larbaud. That son, of course, also acted, in some ways, as a ‘father’ for Joyce: his public comments about Joyce, not least in the preface to Les Lauriers sont coupés, betray a constant effort to bring Joyce into the limelight.

Recognizing the father

The issue of recognition is central to all of these Ulyssean or Wakean musings. All these father-to-son relationships, being of the spiritual kind, require acknowledgement to serve any purpose -to exist at all. This is another point at which all these Joycean texts intersect with Flaubert’s La Légende de Saint Julien l’Hospitalier. In Flaubert’s tale, the theme of physical recognition – recognition effected by means of the bodily marks of kinship – pervades the text. The very first instance of this theme indicates Julien’s split affinities within the ‘conte’: he is at once his parents’ son and God’s son. Indeed, both parents look upon him as ‘marqué de Dieu’90. From this moment on, stains and spots proliferate throughout the story. After Julien’s first kill, the narrator dwells on the single spot of blood which makes manifest the mouse’s death. Julien’s ‘kilty feeling’ causes him to wipe it away as fast as possible:

Une goutte de sang tachait la dalle. Il l’essuya bien vite avec sa manche, jeta la souris dehors, et n’en dit rien a personne.91

Ulysses also features a re-enactment of Lady Macbeth’s guilty efforts to erase compromising spots. In Telemachus, Stephen, reacting to Haines’s professed wish to collect his witticisms for a book, thinks of colonialist guilt in the (actual, verbal) terms of the Shakespearean image:

Speaking to me. They wash and tub and scrub. Agenbite of inwit. Conscience. Yet here’s a spot.92

When Julien encounters the family of deer which so neatly mirrors his own, the child figure of the group–‘le faon tacheté’93 replicates his own ‘marked’ body. Later Julien’s wife, asking for proof that Julien’s parents are who they claim to be, is reassured by their description of marks on his body (they identify themselves, that is, by identifying their son):

Ils en donnèrent la preuve, en décrivant des signes particuliers qu’il avait sur la peau.94

Once the crime has been committed, the evidence of guilt, the scarlet stains of blood multiplied by the castle’s stained-glass windows, are everywhere:

Des éclaboussures et des flaques de sang s’étalaient au milieu de leur peau blanche, sur les draps du lit, par terre, le long d’un Christ d’ivoire suspendu dans l’alcôve. Le reflet écarlate du vitrail, alors frappé par le soleil, éclairait ces taches rouges, et en jetait de plus nombreuses dans tout l’appartement.95

The parents whose child was ‘marked’ from the start, and whose bodily signs define their own identity, are in turn covered by marks inflicted by Julien’s murderous identity. By an analogous inversion the body of Christ on the cross is spattered by the carnage. Julien’s personality is manifested by a violent turn against the various fatherhoods –biological, spiritual – which have determined that very personality. This programmed brutality in Julien’s life constitutes an extreme and manifest expression of his struggle with influences of various kinds. Though Joyce also has marks on his mind in VI.B.8 (‘Leopardi changes not his spots’), his phrasing of the problem involves no sense of violence. His response to the idiom (‘Can a leopard change his spots?’) modifies the question but retains the form of the original idiom. The jotting, like a number of others in the notebook which seem have bearing on the dynamics of intertextuality, is suggestive of serenity. Joyce, it seems, recognizes that all his developments as a person and as a writer –as a son to both John Stanislaus Joyce and Gustave Flaubert- will not erode or efface the marks of his allegiances to them. This image of spots on a bodily surface is a rather accurate description of Joyce’s extremely subtle dealings with Flaubert in his works –the isolate references to Flaubert in the early essays, the discreet use in Dubliners of structuring devices which govern Flaubert’s Trois Contes, the more or less explicit quotation from the Flaubertian Correspondance in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, the scattered but numerous echoes of Flaubert’s work in Ulysses. What VI.B.8 makes clear is that these ‘spots’ are viewed positively, and are envisaged as an enduring – indeed, life-long – indication of Joyce’s fathers’ life within him.

Though there is ample evidence that Joyce had Flaubert on his mind in the summer of 1925 as he travelled to some of the places whose names chart out a kind of Flaubertian home ground in the Correspondance, and though a number of Joyce’s jottings are suggestive of reference to La Légende de Saint Julien l’Hospitalier, Joyce’s attitude in the notebook is more evocative of serenity than of the radical anxiety which pertains to Julien’s dealings with his destiny (to use the notebook’s own terms one might say that Joyce’s outlook is the ‘contrary’ of ‘despair’). Though notebook VI.B.5 displays Joyce’s humorous engagement with the Oedipal figure of the parricidal son, VI.B.8 suggests an author attuned to the inevitable, even desirable, workings of intertextuality and influence. The cheerful tranquillity of this ‘holiday wisdom’ –another phrase to be found amongst the leaves of VI.B.8 – is at odds with Harold Bloom’s Anxiety of Influence as it is from Julien’s and Oedipus’s murders. It is an attitude which was already ‘in progress’ in Ulysses, which offers several images (not least the whole of the embryonic analogy in The Oxen of the Sun) of foreign textual bodies becoming absorbed into a new everchanging body, which nonetheless continues to bear the marks (the spots, the moles) of its influences. Stephen Dedalus seems to be ‘almosting’ this vision of literature and of human life in Scylla and Charybdis. Leopold Bloom (or the narrator of the Ithaca episode –the question remains unusually wide open) might have been even closer to a philosophical understanding and acceptance of the series to which every human being ineluctably belongs when he reflects (or might have reflected) that

each one who enters imagines himself to be the first to enter whereas he is always the last term of a preceding series even if the first term of a succeeding one

Notebook VI.B.8 shows this realization to have been Joyce’s own.

1 James Joyce, Finnegans Wake notebook VI.B.8 pp. 27, 71 -The James Joyce Archive, ed. Michael Groden and others, 63 vols, Garland, New York and London, 1977-79 (hereafter JJA), vol. 30 (1978), pp. 207, 329.

2 James Joyce, Ulysses, ed. Hans Walter Gabler with Wolfhard Steppe and Claus Melchior, Random House, New York, 1986, (17: 2126-2131). All references to the text of Ulysses are to this edition (hereafter abbreviated as U), and are given in the following form: (episode number: line number).

3 David Hayman, ‘Toward a Postflaubertian Joyce’ in ‘Scribble’ 2: Joyce et Flaubert, ed. Claude Jacquet and André Topia, Minard, Paris, 1990.

4 James Joyce, Finnegans Wake notebook VI.B.8, pp. 42, 71, 88 -JJA 30, pp. 315, 329, 338.

5 Danis Rose, The Textual Diaries of James Joyce, The Lilliput Press, Dublin, 1995, pp. 82-3.

6 In The Textual Diaries of James Joyce, Danis Rose uses a different classification for the Finnegans Wake notebooks from the one established by the library of the State University of New York at Buffalo. In his scheme, the notebook Joyce left in Paris in July 1925 is called N19 (rather than VI.B.19), and the notebook Joyce used during his travels is referred to as N18 (Buffalo notebook VI.B.8).

7 James Joyce, Letters, ed. Stuart Gilbert, The Viking Press, New York, 1957, p. 229.

8 Textual Diaries pp. 82-3.

9 The phrase ‘pays de Caux’ occurs several times in Madame Bovary. In the opening pages, we read that Charles Bovary’s father opted to settle ‘sur les confins du pays de Caux et de la Picardie’. Later on, a bird’s eye view of the windswept landscape takes in the whole region: ‘Il arrivait parfois des rafales de vent, brises de la mer qui, roulant d'un bond sur tout le plateau du pays de Caux, apportaient, jusqu'au loin dans les champs, une fraîcheur salée.’ -Gustave Flaubert, Madame Bovary, Gallimard, Paris, 1972 (hereafter abbreviated as MB), pp. 27, 77.

10 Though this essay will refer mostly to ‘Joyce’s travels’, the writer was travelling with his wife and children throughout the summer.

11 The connections between these three families were explored in detail at a conference held in Fécamp in 2000. Its proceedings have been published in Flaubert, Le Poittevin, Maupassant: une affaire de famille littéraire: Actes du Colloque de Fécamp, 27-28 octobre 2000, ed. Yvan Leclerc and others, Publications de l’Université de Rouen, Rouen, 2002.

12 Gustave Flaubert to Louis Bouilhet, 1st October 1860, Correspondance, ed. Jean Bruneau, 4 vols, Gallimard, Paris, 1973-1998 (hereafter abbreviated as Correspondance), vol. 3 (1991), p. 117.

13 Guy de Maupassant, in ‘Le Roman’, preface to Pierre et Jean -Pierre et Jean, Flammarion, Paris, 1992, p. 27.

14 Gustave Flaubert to Maupassant, 15th April 1875, Correspondance, vol. 4 (1998), p. 921.

15 Gustave Flaubert to Maupassant, 4th November 1875, Correspondance, vol. 4, p. 989.

16 Gustave Flaubert to Maupassant, 24th March 1880, Gustave Flaubert-Guy de Maupassant Correspondance, Flammarion, ed. Yvan Leclerc, Paris, 1993, p. 236.

17 Gustave Flaubert to Guy de Maupassant, around 10th April 1880, in Gustave Flaubert-Guy de Maupassant Correspondance, p. 239.

18 Gustave Flaubert to Guy de Maupassant, 16th April 1880, in Gustave Flaubert-Guy de Maupassant Correspondance, p. 240.

19 The use of the second person pronoun is more significant than the ‘vieux’, which Flaubert uses to denote himself in letters to many friends. However, these other friends were by and large Flaubert’s contemporaries. In Maupassant’s case, the years between them make paternal connotations inevitable.

20 Gustave Flaubert to Guy de Maupassant, 20th or 21st April 1880, Gustave Flaubert-Guy de Maupassant Correspondance, p. 240.

21 Guy de Maupassant, Oeuvres Poétiques Complètes, Des Vers et autres poèmes, ed. Emmanuel Vincent with a preface by Louis Forestier, Publications de l’Université de Rouen, Rouen, 2001, p. 33. (The capitalization is Maupassant’s).

22 Gustave Flaubert to Guy de Maupassant, 25th April 1880, in Gustave Flaubert-Guy de Maupassant Correspondance, Flammarion, Paris, 1993, p. 242-3.

23 U (9: 844).

24 There is evidence of Joyce’s early acquaintance with Flaubert’s letters. In his essay, ‘James Clarence Mangan’ (May 1902), Joyce defines ‘beauty’ as ‘the splendour of truth itself’. In Stephen Hero, Stephen Daedalus expresses the same view. In A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, Stephen voices this opinion yet again, but attributes the ‘beauty as truth’ theory of art to Plato; in doing this, he replicates a mistake made by Flaubert in a letter of 18 March 1857 to Mlle Leroyer de Chantepie. It is from the identical Flaubertian letter that Stephen quotes when he declares in A Portrait that ‘The author, like the God of creation, remains within or behind or beyond or above his handiwork, invisible, refined out of existence, indifferent, paring his fingernails.’ (A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, ed. Jeri Johnson, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2000, p. 181).

25 U (1: 586, 607).

26 James Joyce to Harriet Shaw Weaver, 27th July 1925, from Grand Hôtel des Bains et de Londres, Fécamp. (Letters I, ed. Stuart Gilbert, p. 229).

27 VI.B.8, p. 5 – JJA 30, p. 296.

28 VI.B.8 p. 88 –JJA 30, p. 338.

* James Joyce, ‘The Day of the Rabblement’ (15 October 1901), in Occasional, Critical, and Political Writing, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2000, p. 51.

29 ‘The Day of the Rabblement’, p. 52.

30 Larbaud had also, of course, done much for Joyce in previous years. In May 1921, he offered the Joyces his flat at 71 rue Cardinal Lemoine rent-free. On 7th December of the same year, Larbaud gave the first public lecture on Ulysses in Adrienne Monnier’s bookshop. The text of this lecture was published in the Nouvelle Revue Française on 1st April 1922, immediately after the work’s publication in book form. By that time, Larbaud was also involved in the French translation of Ulysses. –Richard Ellmann, James Joyce, Oxford University Press, New York, 1959, pp. 514, 526, 535, 536-7.

31 Valery Larbaud, A. O. Barnabooth, ses oeuvres complètes, Fermima Marquez, Enfantines, Beauté, mon beau souci…, Amants, heureux amants…, Mon plus secret conseil…, Gallimard, Paris, p. 695.

32 Valery Larbaud, preface to Les Lauriers sont coupés, Albert Messein, Paris, 1924, p. 6.

33 Larbaud, Lauriers, p. 7.

34 Larbaud, Lauriers, p. 8.

35 Harold Bloom, The Anxiety of Influence: A Theory of Poetry, Oxford University Press, New York & Oxford, 1977.

36 Larbaud, Lauriers, p. 6.

37 Larbaud stresses his indebtedness to Joyce’s own account of his relationship to Dujardin -one may wonder whether Joyce’s role in the writing of the preface was not greater than Larbaud’s lone signature would suggest.

38 Italics mine. Larbaud dedicated his next work, Mon plus secret conseil (1923), to Edouard Dujardin: ‘A/ Edouard Dujardin/ auteur de/ Les Lauriers sont coupés (1887)/ a quo…’ (In this quotation, the italics are Larbaud’s) – Valery Larbaud, A..O. Barnabooth [etc.], Gallimard, Paris, p. 731.

39 Larbaud, Lauriers, p. 14.

40 James Joyce, Finnegans Wake notebook VI.B.8 p. 72 -JJA 30, p. 330.

41 James Joyce to Harriet Shaw Weaver, 15 August 1925 – Letters I, ed. Stuart Gilbert, p. 229-230. The end of the letter includes a poem, the first stanza of provides more details on the rainy hardships of Rouen. The first few lines read as follows:

Rouen is the rainiest place getting

Inside all impermeables, wetting

Damp marrow in drenched bones.

Midwinter soused us coming over Le Mans

42 In Madame Bovary, these ‘curiosités’ constitute the Swiss guard’s stock introductory phrase: ‘Monsieur désire voir les curiosités de l’ église? (...) Madame désire voir les curiosités de l’église ?’ –MB, pp. 311-313.

43 VI.B.8, p. 25 – JJA 30, p. 306.

44 The idea of the ‘Tour de Beurre’ may have appealed to Joyce as a spectacular manifestation of simony (which features in italics on the first page of Dubliners and which Joyce implicitly indicts throughout the collection): the tower is thought to have got its name because its construction was funded by the sale of dispensations to eat butter during Lent.

45 VI.B.8 p. 26 – JJA 30, p. 307.

46 Information quoted from <>, [last accessed 27th March 2007]. There are a number other Saint Stephen-related artefacts in the cathedral – including a statue of the saint and a stained-glass window devoted to his life.

47 The original statue was made immediately after Flaubert’s death. It was destroyed during a Second World War bombing in 1941. It was replaced a decade or so later by a plaster cast replica. This information is made available on the University of Rouen’s ‘Flaubert’ website: <>, [last accessed: 27th March 2007].

48 VI.B.8 front flyleaf recto -JJA 30, p. 293.

49 Gustave Flaubert to Alfred Le Poittevin, 15th April 1845, Correspondance, vol. 1 (1973), p. 223.

50 Gustave Flaubert to Ernest Le Chevalier, 15th June 1845, Correspondance, vol. 1, p. 239.

51 Mantes is situated half way between Rouen and Paris.

52 Gustave Flaubert to Louise Colet, 4th – 5th September 1846, Correspondance, vol. 1, p. 327.

53 Gustave Flaubert to Louise Colet, 10th September 1846, Correspondance, vol. 1, p. 333.

54 Louise Colet, ‘Un Jour à Mantes, du mercredi 9 au jeudi 10 novembre 1846’, < >, [last accessed 27th March 2007].

*The figure of the 'grand cerf' makes occasional appearances in other Flaubertian works. In L'Education sentimentale, during Frédéric and Rosanette's sojourn in Fontainebleau, a peculiarly personal narrative voice declares: 'On pense aux ermites, compagnons des grands cerfs portant une croix de feu entre les cornes....' (Gallimard, Paris, 1965, p. 353)

55 Gustave Flaubert, Trois Contes, Gallimard, Paris, 1973, p. 134. All further references to Trois Contes are to this edition (hereafter abbreviated as TC), p. 129.

56 Gustave Flaubert to Georges Charpentier, 16th February 1879, <>, [last accessed 27th March 2007]. This letter is as yet unpublished in book form, as the fifth and last volume of the Correspondance in the Pléiade (Gallimard) edition is still pending.

57 La Légende de Saint Julien L’Hospitalier is second in the order of the collection, but first in the order of composition.

58 TC, pp. 91-92.

59 TC, p. 95.

60 TC, p. 98.

61 TC, p. 99.

62 TC, pp. 100-101. (Italics mine).

63 TC, p. 100.

64 TC, pp. 100-1.

65 TC, p. 112.

66 The murder is explained on the level of consciousness by Julien’s suspicion of his wife’s adultery.

67 TC, p. 117.

68 Pierre-Marc de Biasi evokes Flaubert’s ‘élaboration de l’indécidable’ in La Légende : ‘Entre deux éléments A et B, qui s’enchaînent chronologiquement mais dont la contiguité textuelle est stratégique, un intervalle narratif manque ou se brouille, de telle facon qu’entre A et B, la relation est finalement indécidable et inassignable.’ –‘L’élaboration du problématique dans La Légende de Saint Julien L’Hospitalier’, in Flaubert à l’oeuvre, Flammarion, Paris, 1980, p. 72.

69 TC, p. 91.

70 TC, p. 122.

71 VI.B.8, p. 71 –JJA 30, p. 229.

72 Finnegans Wake (500.12-13).

73 VI.B.8, p. 42 –JJA 30, p. 315.

74 VI.B.5, p. 64 –The Finnegans Wake Notebooks at Buffalo, Notebook VI.B.5, ed. Vincent Deane, Daniel Ferrer, Geert Lernout, Brepols Publishers, Turnhout, Belgium, 2004, p. 75.

75 VI.B.5, p.72- Notebook VI.B.5, p. 79.

76 VI.B.5, p. 75 -Notebook VI.B.5, p. 80.

77 VI.B.5, p. 77 -Notebook VI.B.5, pp. 81-83.

78 VI.B.5, p. 79- Notebook VI.B.5, p. 84. The source of this jotting appears to be an article from the Freeman’s Journal of 18 June 1924.

79 U (12: 1690-2).

** VI.B.5, p.72- Notebook VI.B.5, p. 79

80 Joyce’s father, it may be worth noting, had a good few years in him yet. Joyce’s jotting by far anticipates his death in 1933.

81 VI.B.8, p. 71 – JJA 30, p. 329.

82 Giacomo Leopardi (1798-1837) was, like Flaubert, among the very first authors whom Joyce is known to have read. According to C.P. Curran (James Joyce Remembered, Oxford University Press, London, 1968, pp. 14, 26, 120), Joyce read Leopardi (as part of his Italian course at university) from as early as 1901. Evidence of Joyce’s acquaintance with the Italian poet may be found in his essay on ‘James Clarence Mangan’ (May 1902): Mangan is declared ‘Weaker than Leopardi, for he has not the courage of his own despair’. It may not be entirely coincidental that the ‘despair’ which Joyce associated with Leopardi also constitutes a strand of his thinking on Flaubert in VI.B.8: ‘Flaub. treatment of language as a kind of despair’ (p. 42; JJA 30, p. 315). This connection may explain the near juxtaposition of both authors’ names in the 1925 notebook. Joyce’s interest in Leopardi continued in later years: his Triestine library held a copy of Leopardi’s Poesie (Sonzogno, Milan, 1910) –Richard Ellmann, The Consciousness of Joyce, Faber and Faber, London, 1977, p. 116. In ‘Giacomo of Trieste: James Joyce on the Adriatic’ (, [last accessed 27th March 2007]), McCourt mentions the large notebook Joyce used for his Italian lessons with Francini Bruni during the Triestine years. The notebook contains passages from the works of various Italian authors. One of these passages is drawn from Leopardi’s Pensieri (section XXIV) – see JJA, vol. 2, p. 16-18. The thoughts expressed by Leopardi in the extract would undoubtedly have appealed to Joyce as he raged against refusals to publish Dubliners: ‘Don’t expect the public to stir themselves of their own accord out of regard for your personal excellence, or because the things you make are beautiful. They will look on and remain eternally silent; and when they can, they will prevent others from seeing it.’ (Pensieri, trans. W. S. di Piero, Oxford University Press, New York, 1984, p. 65).

83 Commenting on the title Giacomo Joyce, John Mc Court remarks that it signals a writer ‘steeped in Italian culture, literature and language’, ‘a continental Joyce, happy to wallow in the glow of various Giacomos, including Giacomo Leopardi, one of the few Italian poets Joyce had any time for’. (The Years of Bloom: James Joyce in Trieste 1904-1920, The Lilliput Press, Dublin, 2000, p. 197). These identical first names add weight to a reading of the manuscript jotting as a comment on Joycean intertextuality: the note summons up not only Giacomo Leopardi, but also Giacomo Joyce –Giacomo the leopard, as well as biblical leopards and their spots.

84 In 1816, Madame de Staël wrote an article, ‘De l’esprit des traductions’ (published in January 1816 in the Biblioteca Italiana), in which she recommended that Italians writers free themselves from a dependence on their classical past, and look rather to contemporary foreign literature for guidance as to how to achieve originality. Leopardi responded in an (unpublished) letter to the editors, defending the study of the classics by demonstrating the inevitability of imitation. He argues, for instance, that the greatest poets are the most ancient, and that only the first poet in the history of the world can ever have been truly original, uninfluenced by any pre-existing models or forebears: ‘il più grande di tutti i poeti è il più antico, il quale non ha avuto modelli’ (‘Lettera ai Sigg. Compilatori della Biblioteca Italiana in Riposta a quella di Mad. La Baronessa di Staël Holstein ai Medesimi’, Giacomo Leopardi, Poesie e Prose, ed. Rolando Damiani, Arnoldo Mondadori, 2000, vol. 2, p. 437). It is precisely this vision of an author creating out of nothing, responding to no preceding models, which Stephen Dedalus conjures up in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man when he likens the artist to the God of creation: ‘The artist like the God of creation remains within or behind or beyond or above his handiwork…’ (A Portrait, p. 181).

85 U (9: 205-209).

86 U, (9: 376-381).

87 The word ‘Moles’ features on p. 72 of VI.B.8 (following ALP’s Wakean sigla) just a few lines below ‘we adopt others’ phrases’ – JJA 30, p. 330.

88 U, (9: 393)

89 U, (9: 835-9, 860). Italics mine.

90 TC, p. 88.

91 TC, p. 90.

92 U (1: 481-2).

93 TC, p. 99.

94 TC, p. 110.

95 TC, p. 117. (Italics mine).