1 For political readings of Beckett's plays, see Stephen Watt, "Beckett by Way of Baudrillard" in Myth and Ritual in the Plays of Samuel Beckett (Rutherford and Madison: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press: 1987) and Darko Suvin, "Preparing for Godot, or the Purgatory of Individualism," Tulane Drama Review 11 (Summer 1967): 23-36. For a reading of Joyce and Picasso as practitioners of political modernism see Rocco's "Drinking Ulysses: Joyce, Bass Ale, and the Typography of Cubism," James Joyce Quarterly vol. 3, no. 3 (Spring 1996): 399-409. In "Outside the Whale" from Imaginary Homelands: Essays and Criticism: 1981-1991 (New York and London: Penguin Books, 1991), Salman Rushdie takes the work of Beckett as political fiction because of its reevaluation of how we are "radioactive with history and politics" (100).
2 The same thing was said about Stephen Dedalus by his harshest critic, Buck Mulligan: "You wouldn't kneel down to pray for your mother on her deathbed when she asked you. Why? Because you have the cursed jesuit strain in you, only its injected the wrong way" (U 1.207-09). [Ulysses is cited throughout this essay as follows: U + chapter + line numbers.
3 As Declan Kiberd notes in Inventing Ireland, Emmet became such a powerful romantic figure that he caused English figures "from Southey to Keats to Coleridge... to rebuke themselves for their own failure to live up to such high romantic ideals" (20).
4 St. Michan's church in Dublin has a ceremonial grave that is decorated every June 20, the national day for the decoration of patriot graves.
5 For a discussion of Yeats's relationship to the cult of sacrifice, see Elizabeth Butler Cullingford, Gender and History in Yeats's Love Poetry (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993), 55-72. See Kiberd, Inventing Ireland, 305-315 for a look at the "revolt" embodied in Yeats's poetics. For a description of Yeats as "decolonizer" see Said, Culture and Imperialism, 220-238.
6 As Foucault notes in Discipline and Punish, executions often got out of hand because of the extreme emotions stirred up in the spectators:
In the ceremonies of the public execution, the main character was the people, whose real and immediate presence was required for the performance.... [T]he people, drawn to the spectacle intended to terrorize it, could express its rejection of the punitive power and sometimes revolt. Preventing an execution that was regarded as unjust, snatching a condemned man from the hands of the executioner, obtaining his pardon by force, possibly pursuing and assaulting the executioners, in any case abusing the judges and causing an uproar against the sentence-- all this formed a part of the popular practices that invested, traversed and often overturned the ritual of the public execution. (57-60)
7 The references to Emmet throughout Ulysses include a reading of the famous dock speech by a farting Bloom:
Nations of the earth. No-one behind. Shes past. Then and not till then. Good oppor. Coming. Yes. One, two. Let my epitaph be. Kraaaaaa. Written. I have. Pprrpffrrppffff. Done. (U 11.1289-294)
8 The story of Emmet's fiancée and their final parting provides the great romantic finish to his story. After the revolt was put down, Emmet escapes to the mountains. Leend has it that he could have gotten to safety by fleeing to America, but he returned to Dublin to say good-bye to Sarah and was captured.
9 Bakhtin's lower bodily stratum is just that: the bottom half, the half that has fun, the carnival half. In Rabelais and His World (Trans. Helene Iswolsky. Cambridge: The MIT Press, 1968), Bakhtin describes the symbolic function of the directions: "'Downward' is earth, 'upward' is heaven. Earth is an element that devours, swallows up (the grave, the womb) and at the same time an element of birth, or renascence (the maternal breasts)" (21). Beckett invokes a darker image of this in Waiting for Godot: "They give birth astride a grave, the light gleams an instant, then night once more" (58).
10 An image like that of the Croppy Boy and his "little death" is invoked in Waiting for Godot:
ESTRAGON: What about hanging ourselves?
VLADIMIR: Hmm. It'd give us an erection.
ESTRAGON: (highly excited). An erection!
VLADIMIR: With all that follows. Where it falls mandrakes grow. That's why they shriek when you pull them up. Did you not know that?
ESTRAGON: Let's hang ourselves immediately! (12)
This is also a favorite image of William Burroughs who plays through it several times in Naked Lunch (New York: Grove Weidenfeild, 1959):
The Mugwump slips the noose over the boy's head and tightens the knot caressingly behind the left ear.... He steadies the boy with hands on the hip bones, reaches up with his stylized hieroglyph hands and snaps the boy's neck. A shudder passes through the boy's body. His penis rises in three great surges pulling his pelvis up, ejaculates immediately (76)
11 For a discussion of the hypermasculinity of the Celtic Revival and Irish nationalism see Declan Kiberd "Irish Literature and Irish History" in The Oxford Illustrated History of Ireland, ed. R. F. Foster (Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 1989), 275-305. And for a detailed account of modern Irish rebellion and Irish poetics see Kiberd, Inventing Ireland,191-238. Finally, see Gender in Irish Writing, David Cairns and Toni OBrien, eds. (Milton Keynes, Eng.: Open University Press, 1991) for different perspectives on conceptions of gender and Irishness.
12 For an analysis of the British construction of the Irish as feminine, see David Cairns and Shaun Richards, Writing Ireland: Colonialism, Nationalism, and Culture (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1988), pp. 42-57.
13 The symbolic connection between Pearse and Sheppard's statue of Cuchulain was cemented (or minted) in 1966 when the Irish Free State issued an Easter rising commemorative ten shilling piece that featured a portrait of Pearse on one side and the Cuchulain statue on the other.
14 Martin Jay creates the neologism "phallogocularcentrism" in a discussion of the phallocentric history and qualities attributed to Western vision in Downcast Eyes, 493-542.
15 For a discussion of modern Irish "play" with conceptions of male sexuality and its links with reactions to colonialism, see Elizabeth Butler Cullingford, "British Romans and Irish Carthaginians: Anticolonial Metaphor in Heaney, Friel, and McGuinness" PMLA vol. 111, no. 2 (March 1996): 222-239.
16 Donald McMillan, "Samuel Beckett and the Visual Arts: The Embarrassment of Allegory" in On Beckett: Essays and Criticism, ed. S. E. Gontarski (New York: Grove Press, 1986) 29-45. As McMillan notes, Beckett gestures toward his concern with seeing and identity in Murphy: "He saw the clenched fists and rigid upturned face of the Child in a Giovanni Bellini Circumcision, waiting to feel the knife. He saw eyeballs being scarped, first any eyeballs, then Mr. Endon's (251). For a description of the importance of painting for Beckett, see Knowlson 186-88 and 219-225. The following books are important for discussions of ocularcentrism: Vision and Visuality, ed. Hal Foster (Seattle: Bay Press, 1988); Modernity and the Hegemony of Vision, ed. David Michael Levin (Berkeley and London: University of California Press, 1993); and Martin Jay's Downcast Eyes.
18 In The Life of the Mind (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1978), Hannah Arendt points out that Henri Bergson was the first modern philosopher to question the hegemony of vision. "Since Bergson, the use of the sight metaphor in philosophy has kept dwindling, not surprisingly, as emphasis and interest has shifted entirely from contemplation to speech, from nous to logos (110-11). For a discussion of the differences between Foucault and Debord in regard to the visual, see Jay, 381-434.
19 Beckett once said that if he were a critic writing about Samuel Beckett he would begin with this quote from Democritus along with another from Geulincx: "Where you are worth nothing, there you should want nothing." See Lawrence Harvey, Samuel Beckett: Poet and Critic (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1970), 267- 68.
20 For a slightly different account of Beckett's viewing of the painting and the waiting woman see Knowlson, 520-23. Knowlson points out that the Caravaggio painting had added attraction for Beckett because he recently had cataracts removed and thus was seeing the canvas with "new" eyes.
21 The male modernist giving voice to a woman is one of the great critical points of debate-- Joyce's "Penelope" chapter of Ulysses being the most celebrated battlefield. For an analysis of this question in critical circles see Gayatri C. Spivak, "Can the Subaltern Speak?" in Marxism and the Interpretation of Culture, ed. Cary Nelson and Lawrence Grossberg (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1988), 271-313. For more specific treatments of Beckett's relationship to the voice of women, see Women in Beckett: Performance and Critical Perspectives, ed. Linda Ben-Zvi (Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1990). In one of the most insightful essays written on Beckett and race, "Staging Whiteness: Beckett, Havel, Maponya" Theatre Journal 46 (1994): 45-61, Anthony OBrien posits that Beckett's silence on the issue of race says a great deal about his use of the subaltern voice. "Beckett's discussion of power without reference to race underwrites white solipsism in its silence about other worlds even though they are right outside the door of his theatre in the form of French internal colonialism" (49).
22 This equation began with the Greek reliance upon visual metaphors and it was solidified in modern discourse by Descartes. See Dalia Judovitz, "Vision, Repre-sentation, and Technology in Descartes" in Modernity and the Hegemony of Vision, ed. David Michael Levin, 63-86.
23 Jean Cocteau's The Blood of a Poet (1932) actually depicts a surrealist painting coming to life. For a discussion of surrealism's challenge to ocularcentrism, see Jay, 211-262.
24 It was Beckett who coined the term "dramaticule" as the subtitle to Come and Go (London: Calder and Boyars, 1967).
25 See Dorothy Walker, Louis le Brocquy. (Dublin: Ward River Press, 1981).
26 Wilde had many representations of Salomé to look at; as Patrick Bade notes in Femme Fatale (New York: Mayflower Books, 1979). "Wherever he went, the exhibition visitor of the 1890s found walls crowded with malefactors of the female sex" (6). Salomé was one of the favorite figures for fin-de-siecle artists and famous depictions of her were created by many artists, including Max Klinger, Edvard Munch, Gustave Moreau, and Lucien Lévy-Dhurmer. For an analysis of sexual stereotypes and their impact upon the art of the period, see Elaine Showalter, Sexual Anarchy: Gender and Culture at the Fin de Siecle (New York: Penguin, 1991).
27 In his biography of Wilde, Ellmann includes a picture of Wilde dressed as Salomé reaching for the severed head of the prophet. Ellmann does not give an explanation of the circumstances surrounding the photo: it appears in the text as a wish fulfilled.
28 For a description of this questioning of conventional perception in Pater and Wilde see Gerhard Joseph, "Framing Wilde," Victorian Newsletter 27 (1987): 61-63.
29 (Lydon was bored with Ireland, but he admits it was his Irish side that gave him his thirst for artistic rebellion via punk rock: My Irish half provided my sense of devilry. Like Oscar Wilde, my philosophy became, Just do it, see what you can cause .)
30 In Endgame, Hamm's parents live in two ashbins, the lids of which Clov attempts to keep closed; in Play the three characters occupy grey urns. These receptacles are paralleled by the cistern into which the prophet climbs to avoid Salomé's gaze.
31 One of the "memories" Listener "hears" also seems to recall Wildes last days: "you heard yourself at it again not a curse for the passers pausing to gape at the scandal huddled there in the sun where it has no warrant" .
32 (Ellmanns 1959 James Joyce rescued Joyce from being seen as an arcane modernist weaver of incomprehensible texts. The biography marked the beginning of the critical wave of Joyce as life-embracing humanist.)
33 When Beckett tried to get Joyce's body moved to Dublin from Switzerland in 1948, he encountered entrenched resistance: "[Beckett] went to one of Dublin's leading undertakers, who was horrified at the thought of such a great sinner being transported back to Ireland" (Bair, 377-78). Today Joyce's picture adorns the Irish ten pound note.