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Writing Modern Ireland$
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Catherine E Paul

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780989082693

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.5949/liverpool/9780989082693.001.0001

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date: 26 April 2019

“Notes Chirruping Answer”: Language as Music in James Joyce and Virginia Woolf

“Notes Chirruping Answer”: Language as Music in James Joyce and Virginia Woolf

(p.229) “Notes Chirruping Answer”: Language as Music in James Joyce and Virginia Woolf
Writing Modern Ireland

Wayne K. Chapman

Liverpool University Press

This essay examines James Joyce's influence on his English contemporary Virginia Woolf, with particular emphasis on the importance of Joyce's methods in Ulysses to Woolf's short Monday or Tuesday narratives of 1917–1921—a period roughly coincident with her reading of Ulysses in The Little Review. The precursor is an exercise in prose-poetry entitled “The String Quartet,” which dates from March 1920 and first appeared in Monday or Tuesday at the Hogarth Press in 1921. This essay considers the ways that both Ulysses and Monday or Tuesday deploy a literary style that “aspires to the condition of music,” in Paterian terms, despite the dissimilarity in musical elements with which they play. It suggests that the long arc of luxuriant sentences that precede Woolf's sudden stop exploits language to approximate the “condition of music,” to give an impression made from listening to a string quartet.

Keywords:   music, James Joyce, Virginia Woolf, Ulysses, Monday or Tuesday, The String Quartet, literary style, language, string quartet

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