- Tuesday, April 21, 1987
- Time as Future Past for (James ) Joyce's Bloom and (Attahir ) Wattar's Bou-Larwah , in Ulysses and Azzilzal
- Published at:A paper presented at the 3rd annual literature conference, hosted by the Department of English of Yarmouk Univesrity , 1987.
The dialectic between man and time-history has been the most urgent , the most central theme of twentieth century literature , and no other literary genre can be said to have succeeded in knitting it so completely and indissolubly - into the flesh and texture of its structure as has the novel of the twentieth – century . Indeed , dialectic becomes structure and structure dialectic, with some novelists. In contrast with its treatment in pre-modern novels, the preoccupation with this theme (on the part of imaginative novelists of the present century) has been conscious and deliberate, agonizing and fascinating, compelling and unique.
A radical synthesis, constituting an "emotionally satisfying emblem of things ultimate," has been worked out between the private/individual/subjective and the collective/public/objective areas of human experience, between Raleigh’s private dream and public nightmare of human life, between Santayana's "vast cosmic flood of cyclic movements and sudden precipitations" and the private, babbling - inchoate¬-near oblivion "little rivulet of images, emotions, and words."
Of course, it is not the purpose of this paper to. discuss this epistemological problem of time/history philosophically, or theologically, much less scientifically, but as it has been an obsession of two twentieth-century novels, although it is granted that new psychology
and new philosophy, new interpretations of theology and new scientific attitudes to temporality have certainly impinged an the artists' understanding and conceptualization of time.
This is Vico's man, "a finite principle of possibility, of knowing and of willing which tends to the infinite" biding time within Vieo's "corsoricorso movement of history, 11 to infinity.
As faith to craft is the mark of great men, Joyce despite himself, as Noon notes, could not but decipher the ",runes of time. past" through the "fictional glass" of his proclaimedly lost Catholic faith, and Wattar somehow could not, would not transfer the prophetic messianism of his ideology to his work of art.