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Community Standards: A Suggestion for New Scholarship
James Joyce Quarterly Pub Date : 2021-06-10
Jonathan Morse

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  • Community Standards:A Suggestion for New Scholarship
  • Jonathan Morse (bio)

Until recently, there seemed to be no need to say that a knowledge of Irish Catholic idiom is fundamental to reading the language of Joyce. It was obvious. The educational norms governing the growth of Stephen's mind are those of the church and its Ireland, but so too are the norms of respectability in "The Boarding House," where going to Mass matters in the same indexical way as keeping the lace curtains white.1 From the moment the first notation was scribbled in a margin the night before class some time in the twentieth century, teachers have always taught Catholic meanings when they called attention to words like "High Toast" and "inefficacious" in "The Sisters" or "Epps's massproduct, the creature cocoa" in "Ithaca" (D 12).2 The callings to attention were not just supplements to the pedagogy but incidents in the continuing history of Joyce's native culture.

But the value system underlying that culture commands a different kind of assent now than it did in Joyce's time. When words of moral reproof were spoken about Ireland on 26 May 2018, it probably means something for the teaching of Joyce that they were not uttered in church. They came instead from a different institution, The New York Times, and they began, "Ireland Votes to End Abortion Ban."3 Then they said, "In Rebuke to Catholic Conservatism." It was as if Catholic Ireland could no longer explain itself to itself in its inherited language and was in need of another.

The article in the Times explained:

The vote [which was decided by an unexpectedly huge margin] followed months of soul-searching in a country where the legacy of the Catholic Church remains powerful. It was the latest, and harshest, in a string of rejections of the church's authority in recent years.

The church lost much of its credibility in the wake of scandals involving pedophile priests and thousands of unwed mothers who were placed into servitude in so-called Magdalene laundries or mental asylums as recently as the mid-1990s.

The church was, in fact, largely absent from the referendum campaign. Anti-abortion campaigners actively discouraged its participation, [End Page 369] preferring to emphasize moral values and human rights rather than religion, possibly to avoid being tarnished by the church-related scandals.

That silencing of religion in the pulpit has left a diminution of echoes in the nave. The church words that once filled the air of Joyce's Ireland are heard less distinctly now. Said the article: "The church's influence in referendums has been eclipsed over the past decade. In 1983, when the Eighth Amendment [forbidding abortion] was voted in, 80 percent to 90 percent of Irish citizens attended weekly Masses. . . . Today, that figure is down to 20 percent to 30 percent." Simple mathematical logic teaches us that the Irish culture that gave Joyce to the world is changing, and the pedagogy of Joyce will be changing with it in its cultural matrix.

At the time Joyce was writing his lexicography of "Grace," for instance, the men at Mr. Kernan's bedside could voice their collective Catholic assent in unison because they thought in unison. In their Dublin, a non-Catholic idea was almost a contradiction in terms. But (says the math) there is no unison in the vocabulary now. When Mr. M'Coy says, "[T]hat's the thorax," he means, "That's the pharynx" (D 159), but everybody in the room has a sympathetic understanding of his mistake, whether or not they know it is a mistake, because everybody has been more or less in Mr. M'Coy's situation: living hand to mouth culturally as well as financially, filching words spelled with an X from the coroner just as he filches his friends' suitcases. Listening through the bedroom door, readers of Joyce have always, up to now, been able to find an invisibly ironic position to eavesdrop from because only they possessed such cultural collateral as a definition of "thorax." Now, though, Mr. M'Coy's descendants in a decolonized Ireland have won a knowledge of words like "thorax" for themselves—and...




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  • 乔纳森·莫尔斯(生物)

直到最近,似乎还没有必要说了解爱尔兰天主教习语是阅读乔伊斯语言的基础。很明显。控制斯蒂芬思想成长的教育规范是教会及其爱尔兰的规范,但“寄宿公寓”中的体面规范也是如此,在那里参加弥撒与保持蕾丝窗帘保持白色一样重要。1从 20 世纪某个时间的上课前一天晚上的第一个符号在空白处潦草地写下来的那一刻起,教师们在提醒人们注意“姐妹”或“姐妹”中的“高吐司”和“无效”等词时,一直在教授天主教的含义。 “伊萨卡”(D 12)中的“埃普斯的批量产品,生物可可” 。 引起注意的呼吁不仅是对教学法的补充,而且是乔伊斯本土文化持续历史中的事件。

但是,与乔伊斯时代相比,这种文化背后的价值体系现在获得了不同类型的认同。2018 年 5 月 26 日,当关于爱尔兰的道德责备言论被提及时,对于乔伊斯的教导来说,这可能意味着它们不是在教堂里说的。相反,他们来自另一家机构《纽约时报》,他们的开头是“爱尔兰投票结束堕胎禁令”。3然后他们说:“谴责天主教保守主义。” 就好像天主教爱尔兰不能再用它继承的语言向自己解释自己,需要另一种语言。



在涉及恋童癖牧师和数千名未婚母亲的丑闻之后,教会失去了大部分信誉,这些妇女最近在 1990 年代中期被置于所谓的抹大拉洗衣店或精神病院奴役。

事实上,教会基本上没有参加公投活动。反堕胎活动家积极劝阻其参与,[End Page 369]更愿意强调道德价值观和人权而不是宗教,可能是为了避免被与教会有关的丑闻玷污。

讲坛上宗教的沉默使教堂中殿的回声减少了。曾经充斥着乔伊斯爱尔兰空气的教会话语现在已经不那么清晰了。文章说:“教会在公投中的影响力在过去十年中已经黯然失色。1983 年,当第八修正案(禁止堕胎)通过时,80% 到 90% 的爱尔兰公民每周都会参加弥撒......今天,这个数字下降到 20% 到 30%。” 简单的数理逻辑告诉我们,让乔伊斯走向世界的爱尔兰文化正在发生变化,而乔伊斯的教学法在其文化矩阵中也将随之发生变化。

例如,当乔伊斯正在撰写他的《格蕾丝》辞典时,克南先生床边的人可以一致地表达他们的集体天主教同意,因为他们一致思考。在他们的都柏林,非天主教的想法几乎是自相矛盾的。但是(说数学)现在词汇中没有统一。当 M'Coy 先生说,“[T] 那是胸部”时,他的意思是,“那是咽部”(D159),但房间里的每个人都同情他的错误,无论他们是否知道这是一个错误,因为每个人都或多或少处于 M'Coy 先生的境地:在文化上和经济上相亲相爱,从验尸官那里窃取用 X 拼写的单词,就像他窃取朋友的手提箱一样。隔着卧室的门听,乔伊斯的读者直到现在,总能找到一个无形的讽刺位置来窃听,因为只有他们拥有像“胸部”这样的文化背景。不过,现在,M'Coy 先生在非殖民化爱尔兰的后代已经为自己赢得了诸如“胸部”之类的词的知识——而且……