Friday, September 2, 2011

Excerpt From "Joyce, Aquinas, and the Poetic Process"

Anyone familiar with the persistent use which Joyce makes of the labyrinth figures as the archetype of human cognition, will have noticed the same figure as it appears in the dramatic action of a Thomistic “article.” There is first the descent into the particular matter of the “objections.” These are juxtaposed abruptly, constituting a discontinuous or cubist perspective. By abrupt juxtaposition of diverse views of the same problem, that which is in question is seen from several sides. A total intellectual history is provided in a single view. And in very instant of being presented with a false lead or path the mind is alerted to seek another course through the maze. Baffled by the variety choice, it is suddenly arrested by the “sed contra” and given its true bearings in the conclusion. Then follows the retracing of the labyrinth in the “respondeo dicendum.” Emerging into intellectual clarity at the end of this process, it looks back on the blind alleys proffered by each of the original objections. Whereas the total shape of each article, with its trinal divisions into objections, is an “S” labyrinth, this figure is really traced and retraced by the mind many times in the course of a single article…(p. 249-250).

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