'Strandentwining Cable': Joyce, Flaubert, and Intertextuality
Scarlett Baron's important new book begins by reminding us of one of the most striking parallels between Joyce and Flaubert: their fascination with a type of writerly impersonality. As the musings of Stephen Dedalus in A Portrait suggest (echoing one of Flaubert’s most famous comments in a letter of 1857, Stephen maintains the artist should be ‘like the God of creation . . . within or behind or beyond or above his handiwork, invisible . . . indifferent’) Joyce’s debts to Flaubert run deeper than the allusions that most previous work on this relationship have noted. As Pound was the first to point out, there is a significant affinity, even a lineage here. But, surprisingly, the subject has long required a full-length study of sufficient merit to do it justice (the first and the only book on the topic is Richard Cross’ Flaubert and Joyce: The Rite of Spring (1971)).