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9.8 The Reproduction of the Deity

The escape of the father through time, as Joyce analyses religion, is initially achieved through sexual reproduction, with his genetic form hidden within the division of his offspring. This process is mirrored by the production of the letter in the symbolic realm. Literature also circumvents the halt to genetic rebirth implicit in the father's demise, and consequent exclusion from access to females. In Shem's instance, literature negates the bar to his access to biological immortality by securing a non-biological escape into the future. The theme of the escape of the father as the substance of Judeo-Christian religion has its nascence in Ulysses, where the solipsism of the genius perceives not only the material world as an extension of himself, but the entire biological domain of humanity as well: 'His own image to a man with that queer thing genius is the standard of all experience, material and moral. Such an appeal will touch him. The images of other males of his blood will repel him. He will see in them grotesque attempts of nature to foretell or to repeat himself' (U 9.432-35). In his theory of Shakespeare's art, Stephen explains the father's perception of his perpetual sexual/textual reincarnation through his son as 'through the ghost of the unquiet father the image of the unliving son looks forth' (U 9.380-81). Moreover, the father as deified ghost is 'a voice heard only in the heart of him who is the substance of his shadow, the son consubstantial with the father' (U 9.480-81). Stephen's ideas of predetermined genius, the 'fundamental' male, similarly prefigures the portrayal in Finnegans Wake of the biological reincarnation of HCE.

Just as sexual drive produces the biological letter, sublimated sexual drive is likewise the source of the literary letter. The Christian assertion of Christ's sexual celibacy (as opposed to reports in the apocryphal gospels) is echoed in Stephen's statement about himself, that 'he was the eternal son and ever virgin' (U 14.342-43). The latter suggests a textual escape from mortality through time with a sublimation of sexual desire in parallel to Christ's own. As part of Stephen's satirical re-enactment of Christ's last supper with his apostles, he elaborates upon the nature of eternity as the cumulative debris of the avant-garde. The immediate and overt effect of new thought is the breakdown of established modes of thinking and life, but over the long duration, and particularly with the hindsight of later generations, such challenges form part of a tradition of art: 'Know all men, he said, time's ruins build eternity's mansions. What means this? Desire's wind blasts the thorntree but after it becomes from a bramblebush to be a rose upon the rood of time' (U 14.289-92). Thus, the continuity with the deified father of Semitic religion is stressed despite the evolution of Christianity as a Roman religion, and a similar continuity is elaborated in the family romance of the Wake where new descendants receive their cultural foundations from their ancestors:

Slops hospodch and the slusky slut too. He's for thee what she's for me. Dogging you round cove and haven and teaching me the perts of speech. If you spun your yarns to him on the swishbarque waves I was spelling my yearns to her over cottage cake. (FW 620.32-36)

The ideological reproduction of HCE and ALP, their textual reproduction, is a necessary parallel to their biological reincarnation in the Wake's cycles.

Female desire is portrayed in Ulysses as the wound which causes Shakespeare (and by implication all male creators) to seek escape through creativity: 'What went forth to the ends of the world to traverse not itself, God, the sun, Shakespeare, a commercial traveller' (U 15.2117-18). The exercise of the artist's sublimated desire nevertheless 'will not undo the first undoing. The tusk of the boar has wounded him there where love lies ableeding' (U 9.459-60). Rather than merely curiosity, female desire motivates Stephen's metaphoric Eve in the temptation of Adam, and accordingly original sin is represented as sexual: 'Eve. Naked wheatbellied sin. A snake coils her, fang in's kiss' (U 9.541). The escape of the male in Ulysses into time is itself a sublimated act of sexual desire, an act designed to overcome the sense of castration stemming from an act of female desire, and to regain an idealised state transcending the powerlessness of biological mortality. In Finnegans Wake HCE's creativity is similarly a movement away from the importuning ALP, as in the Prankquean episode, and this latter episode specifically explains the initial act of creation: 'the first peace of illiterative porthery' (FW 23.9-10).

HCE's creativity in the second instance, the second coming of Shem as a Christ figure, or in Ulysses, Stephen as the consubstantial son of Shakespeare, stems from the sexual desire of the father for his female offspring. Accordingly, following the silence in the time-scheme of the Wake, HCE's return following his fall is signalled by the ravishing of his daughter:

566 a.d. At this time it fell out that a brazenlockt damsel grieved (sobralasolas!) because that Puppette her minion was ravisht of her by the ogre Puropeus Pious. (FW 14.7-9)

Similarly Finnegan's creation of the wall is likened to the building and fall of Ibsen's Bygmester Solness, an erection, or phallic analogue, which he climbs for a younger woman. A similar theme occurs in Ulysses where Stephen elucidates Shakespeare's pleasure with his granddaughter as a softening of his heart which inspires him in his later creativity. Moreover, Stephen's description of Elizabeth as 'Lizzie, grandpa's lump of love' (U 9.1039) in its echo of his thoughts in Proteus concerning his cousin Crissie, 'Papa's little bedpal. Lump of love' (U 3.88), alludes to male sexual arousal. The sexual love of his wife which Shakespeare lost in his textual escape, was 'given back to him: his daughter's child' (U 9.422). By extension, Stephen's theory also explains the deity's softening toward mankind and the consequent dispatch of the redeemer via Mary. Thus Bloom, genetically linked to YHWH and an echo of Shakespeare in his loss of his son, his marital celibacy and his cuckoldry, is observed by Mulligan: 'His pale Galilean eyes were upon her mesial groove. Venus Kallipyge. O, the thunder of those loins! The god pursuing the maiden hid' (U 9.615-17).

The cuckoldry which, according to Stephen, informs Shakespeare's art particularly in Hamlet, in addition to both the Virgin Mary and Molly's infidelity, also refers to the Christian mythology of Eve's 'original sin': 'An original sin and, like original sin, committed by another in whose sin he too has sinned. [...] Age has not withered it. Beauty and peace have not done it away. It is in infinite variety everywhere in the world he has created' (U 9.1008-13). In Oxen of the Sun, Stephen bitterly attributes the same cuckoldry to Ireland whose paralysis he perceives as the source of his dispossession and poverty :

Greater love than this, he said, no man hath that a man lay down his wife for his friend. Go thou and do likewise. [...] Nor breathed there ever that man to whom mankind was more beholden. Bring a stranger within thy tower it will go hard but thou wilt have the secondbest bed. Orate, frates, pro memetipso. And all the people shall say, Amen. Remember, Erin, thy generations and thy days of old, how thou settedst little by me and by my word and broughtedst in a stranger to my gates to commit fornication in my sight and to wax fat and kick like Jeshurum. Therefore hast thou sinned against my light and hast made me, thy lord, to be the slave of servants. [...] Why hast thou done this abomination before me that thou didst spurn me for a merchant of jalaps and didst deny me to the Roman and the to the Indian of dark speech with whom thy daughters did lie luxuriously? (U 14.360-75)

Moreover, consubstantial with the deified father, and echoing the father's desire and consequent return, Stephen states that he too had initially headed toward the androgyny of heaven, but had been diverted by desire en route:

Then wotted he nought of that other land which is called Believe-on-Me, that is the land of promise which behoves to the king Delightful and shall be for ever where there is no death and no birth neither wiving nor mothering at which all shall come as many as believe on it? Yes, Pious had told him of that land and Chaste had pointed him to the way but the reason was that in the way but the reason was that in way he fell in with a certain whore of an eyepleasing exterior whose name, she said, is Bird-in-the-Hand and she beguiled him wrongways from the true path by her flatteries that she said to him as, Ho, you pretty man, turn aside hither and I will show you a brave place, and she lay at him so flatteringly that she had him in her grot which is named Two-in-the-Bush or, by some learned, Carnal Concupiscence. (U 14.443-54)

Stephen's company also considered that the 'Two-in-the-Bush whither she ticed them was the very goodliest grot' (U 14.460-61). From pox and childbirth they were also protected, like the Shem/HCE of Book III.4, by a condom: 'a stout shield of oxengut' (U 14.465). Accordingly, the narrator, representative of the patriarchal logos, warns that the company were 'blind' and as a result of such transgressions against the reproductive principles of the deity, 'god that was in a very grievous rage [...] would presently lift his arm up and spill their souls' (U 14.471-72).

In Finnegans Wake, the 'thender apeal' (FW 335.11) of the young female signals both the return and the demise of HCE. Likewise ALP's desire for the patriarchal signified not only triggers HCE's fall, but her own departure into the masculine sea of death, or alternately expressed, the Prankquean's silence. ALP's desire in her conclusion to the Wake reveals her contempt for the domesticated HCE of Book III.4 and contrasting worship of the HCE deity. As Stephen points out concerning Ann Hathaway that 'sorrow for the dead is the only husband from whom they refuse to be divorced' (U 9.1037-38).