Stephan Daedelus is a Dick

Posted on July 31, 2010


“You’re a born sneerer, Stevie.”

What’s so great about Stephan Daedelus anyways? Considering his portrayal in both A Portrait, and Ulysses, we may as well not like him at all. Of course the First second and third readings still represent Stephan’s heroism, so much so that after each reading we conclude that Joyce believing that he Stephan who is Joyce, Is a hero saving Irish art. That may well be. Trouble is he’s also a whining, hypocritical, supercilious moog .

Buck Mulligan is a whole lot easier to admire, the doctor poet speaking joyful funny business in the sea air, even if he isn’t the fictional proxy who will write his own entrails into the greatest novel of all time. Buck Mulligan of course, with equine length face and oak hair and all his harping on the Greeks,is supposed to be, according to the expert annotaters, the Trojan horse, his heart being filled with all bristling steal that is not shown amongst his horsey woody exterior. Stephan knows he is a betrayer. But what of that? Stephan is a greater one for not only does he betray church and state but his mother also. And there’s poor Cranley! Betrayed long ago.

Bloom perhaps is the real hero, but only to prove the point that Stephan is like him, a wanderer. Only the Jews never wanted to leave israel but were kicked out, twice, whereas Stephan kicks himself out, apparently for personal vanity but more probably because Ireland is as they say full of ire and oppresses his high flying spirit. Bloom is a mirror, lonely and bereft, but not cracked like the other-the one that is irish art-and Stephan/Joyce look at themselves in the Jew’s face.

What comes up must come down. We know as much from various biographies that Joyce was a miserable wreck with a crummy family life, mounting debts, blindeness. He came down by your commoner’s account, who holds family highest, but what about Stephan, when does he crash to earth?

Posted in: Joyce, literature