Innere Monologe, polyphon
Im Sommer 1923, nur knapp 23 Jahre nach seinem Tod, meldet sich Oscar Wilde – »Being dead is the most boring experience in life.« (s.u., S. 9) – mit ein paar Nachrichten für die Welt zurück. Er tut dies zwar mit enormer Geschwindigkeit, doch glücklicherweise ist das perfekte Aufzeichnungsmedium (eine Gruppe rund um Hester Travers Smith, samt ihren Gerätschaften und Fertigkeiten) zugegen. Auf einem einschlägigen Übertragungsweg wird u.a. auch eine Sentenz zu Joyce’ Ulysses (1922 erschienen und offensichtlich auch in der Twilight-Zone publiziert) für die Nach- respektive Parallelwelt erhalten.
(Mrs T.S.—Are you there, Oscar?)Hester Traves Smith [i.e. Hester Dowden] (Hg.): Psychic Messages from Oscar Wilde. London 1924, S. 38–40.
I waited for your returning strength as a footman might wait for his mistress, standing with deferential pomp behind her.
(That is very neat.)
Thank, you, dear lady; I smile at your approval.
(What is your opinion of “Ulysses,” by James Joyce?)
Yes, I have smeared my fingers with that vast work. It has given me one exquisite moment of amusement. I gathered that if I hoped to retain my reputation as an intelligent shade, open to new ideas, I must peruse this volume. It is a singular matter that a countryman of mine should have produced this great bulk of filth. You may smile at me for uttering thus when you reflect that in the eyes of the world I am a tainted creature. But, at least, I had a sense of the values of things on the terrestrial globe. Here in “Ulysses” I find a monster who cannot contain the monstrosities of his own brain. The creatures he gives birth to leap from him in shapeless masses of hideousness, as dragons might, which in their foulsome birth contaminate their parent. … This book appeals to all my senses. It gratifies the soil which is in everyone of us. It gives me the impression of having been written in a severe fit of nausea. Surely there is a nausea fever. The physicians may not have diagnosed it. But here we have the heated vomit continued through the countless pages of this work. The author thought no doubt that he had given the world a series of ideas. Ideas which had sprung from out his body, not his mind!
I, who have passed into the twilight, can see more clearly than this modern prophet. I also know that if he feels his work has sprung from courage, which is innate in him, he should be led to realise that “Ulysses” is merely involuntary. I feel that if this work has caught a portion of the public, who may take it for the truth, that I, even I, who am a shade, and I who have tasted the fulness of life and its meed of bitterness, should cry aloud : “Shame upon Joyce, shame on his work, shame on his lying soul.” … Compare this monster Joyce with our poor Shaw. Here we find very opposite poles. For both these writers cry aloud that they have found the truth. Shaw, like a coy and timid maiden, hides his enormous modesty with bluster. Joyce, on the other hand, is not a blusterer at all. In fact he has not vomited the whole, even in this vast and monumental volume—more will come from Joyce. For he has eaten rapidly; and all the undigested food must come away. I feel that Joyce has much to give the world before, in his old age, he turns to virtue. For by that time he will be tired of truth and turn to virtue as a last emetic.
(You are most amusing.)
I am glad that a poor ghost can bring laughter to your eyes.
(I am interested in literature.) I quite appreciate that fact.
James Joyce selbst wird Teile der Tiraden in Smith/Dowdens Buch, einer okkultistischen Variante der écriture automatique – die »Herausgeberin« nennt es »Automatic Writing« – mittels Ouija-Board, in Finnegans Wakeaufnehmen.
Ulysses und die Inneren Monologe als Erbrechen zu bestimmen, als eine Art textuelles Ektoplasma, ist das eine. Dieses in den FW einzuleiten und damit die beiden Buchblöcke intertextuell zu verbinden, das andere; und es bedeutet zudem, dessen einschlägiger Lektüre durch Arno Schmidt (a.a.O.) Vorschub zu leisten.
Ouija-Boards sind überhaupt sehr praktische Medien (und die Querverbindung zu Schreibmaschine, Aufschreibsystemen 1900, Stenographie und der Figur Mina Harker – die bei Travers Smith durch eine ganze Batterie an Aufzeichnenden/Empfangsstationen kompensiert scheint – als vielseitig begabter medialer Instanz offensichtlich):
I should like to make it quite clear that the speed of both the writing and ouija communications was tremendous. I already mentioned that in one instance 700 words were written in about an hour and a quarter. This essay is a long and logical argument. As regards the ouija board messages, it was difficult to keep up with them even in shorthand; the traveller flew from letter to letter with lightning speed at the rate of 60 to 70 words per minute. If we regard the scripts as a case of sub-conscious imitation, it is interesting to note that style and handwriting were sustained through hundreds of pages at this pace.(Ibid., S. 161)