Charm and Cleverness in Joyce
For Joyce, Beckman thinks, almost everything is wrong (even Bloom and Molly do each other wrong). History, friendship, marriage, education, religion are spurious or nightmares. Charm is does not delight: the cleverness of Lenehan, a minor character, falls flat. In Joyce’s chapter coded Sirens, Joyce offers as proxies for the Sirens two underbred barmaids. They are false, even as Sirens. Myth is exposed as an inflated form of the commonplace. The spell of the Sirens and music itself were only fantasies. Kafka had proposed that briefly in The Silence of the Sirens. Joyce does it at length. Nevertheless, his burlesques are delightful.