Pom! he shouted twice: Some Memories of Buffalo Bill (1919) in Ulysses
U 16.404-5: — Buffalo Bill shoots to kill,
Never missed nor he never will.
For the eight months preceding the self-imposed deadline of his fortieth birthday, Joyce laboured over the voluminous proofs of Ulysses. This siege at the davenport, begun in mid-June 1921 with the first pulls of the Telemachiad, lasted until 29 January 1922, at which point, as Joyce told Harriet Shaw Weaver, he bundled all the accumulations of books and papers off his writing-table.1 The present note is continuous with the larger scholarly project of recovering the titles and content of the print sources so discarded (and adjudging their impact on the verbal texture of the novel), a collaborative venture that has seen numerous works join our reckoning of Joyce’s reading over the Ulysses years. Here I augment that virtual bookshelf with a single curious addition, the volume Memories of Buffalo Bill by his Wife, Louisa Frederici Cody, in Collaboration with Courtney Ryley Cooper (1919).2 Building on the scholarship of the Intertextual Joyce team, the discovery also provides further evidence of Joyce reading in regional Englishes in 1920.3 More crucially, however, it adumbrates one of the circuits of transatlantic ‘intercultural interaction’—here an account of the Old West found and consulted by an émigré Irishman living in Paris—that were so vital to the immediate textual make-up of Joyce’s novel.4
Memories of Buffalo Bill (1919). Collection of the author
Typical of Joyce’s accretive development or ‘thickening’ of text at the proof stage, the passage presented an entirely coherent whole before the interpolation of Murphy’s ‘bloodthirst[y]’ recital. In the Rosenbach manuscript and through the early proofs of ‘Eumaeus’, the second shouted ‘Pom!’—or is it the third?—ushered in an immediate silence, broken only by Bloom’s tactful inquiry. The late change on page proof displaced that silence, however, pushing it into abeyance and introducing something of a genetic entr’acte or musical interlude between the story of Simon Dedalus, unlikely dead-shot, and the reaction precipitated by Murphy’s account.
‘Sounds are impostures’, Stephen tells us, ‘like names’ (U 16.362-3), and challengers were subsequently to emerge who disputed Cody’s claim to the Buffalo Bill moniker.8 But even in carving his closed couplet out of Memories’ doggerel rhyme, Joyce would have encountered a suggestive vignette on the ‘application of a euphonious nickname’, which leaned more heavily on issues of transmission and circulation than on the tricky question of origination.9 Indeed, Red precedes his recital with a terse disavowal of authorship—‘it ain’t mine’—before offering only a version of the ‘piece of poetry’: ‘Runs something like’. Frederici Cody resorts to a cliché to describe the commissary man ‘doubl[ing] with laughter’ in response, but the bromide is apposite in that the steward himself repeats or doubles the verse ‘over and over’ in its committal to memory, and he promises its further doubling or recitation by ‘the bunch around here’. One might recall at this juncture Julia Kristeva’s foundational essay ‘Word, Dialogue, and Novel’, in which she asserts that ‘[t]he notion of intertextuality replaces that of intersubjectivity, and poetic language is read as at least double’.10 In this light, the ‘Eumaeus’ narrator’s infelicitous ‘twice’ in the description of Murphy’s storytelling—‘Pom! he shouted twice’—is a coy reminder of intertextuality as an indwelling, inevitable property of language but, more pointedly, of the Buffalo Bill couplet as Joyce’s reprise of a specific and recoverable textual spur.11
Neither phrase on the notesheets is crossed out, suggestive of unuse, but individually and collectively, the two entries provide conclusive evidence of Joyce reading Memories.17 Moreover, that magpieish consultation took place not in January 1922, when he added the condensed Cody jingle to the proofs of ‘Eumaeus’, but a full fifteen months earlier when the composition of ‘Circe’ was foremost in his mind.
Several months later, Frederici Cody’s Memories was to offer one more example of ‘[t]he fringe Englishes that were developing at the extremities of a rising nation’.23 But Joyce’s rummage through its pages for ‘Circe’ and his actual use of the memoir in ‘Eumaeus’ gesture towards the diverse energies that he found in the book. A reading campaign drawn up for the ‘Oxen’ tail-piece proved to be reconfigurable for and adaptable to the compositional needs of such radically different writing projects as the following two episodes.
In 1920, Buffalo Bill actually was all around. January saw E. E. Cummings’ untitled verse ‘Buffalo Bill’s / defunct’, which Ezra Pound dubbed somewhat later the ‘Beefalu Bull poEM’, published in the inaugural issue of the Thayer-Watson New York Dial.24 By the autumn, however, Joyce was ranging over the showman’s own direct speech as recorded by his widow and pillaging origin stories for reusable copy in the home stretch of Ulysses’ long unfolding.
Alexander von Humboldt Postdoctoral Research
1 Joyce to Harriet Shaw Weaver, ALS, 30 Jan 1922. British Library Add MS 57346. Vol. II. 1920-2, fol. 87.
2 Louisa Frederici Cody, Courtney Ryley Cooper, Memories of Buffalo Bill (New York; London: D. Appleton and Co., 1919). As a text first published prior to 1 January 1923, Memories of Buffalo Bill—like Ulysses itself—is in the American public domain. Digital copies of the New York D. Appleton and Co. edition can be consulted through the major Large-Scale Digitization Initiative (LSDI) libraries, e.g. Internet Archive; HathiTrust; Google Books. National copyright laws mean that these digital surrogates are not accessible at every location, however.
3 Intertextual Joyce, supported by a grant from the British Academy, focused on Joyce’s reading for ‘Oxen of the Sun’ as discernible from the episode’s notesheets (see below). The project also maintained a website.
4 The phrase ‘intercultural interactions’ is from Susan Stanford Friedman, ‘World Modernisms, World Literature, and Comparativity’, in The Oxford Handbook of Global Modernisms. Ed. Mark A. Wollaeger with Matt Eatough (New York: Oxford University Press, 2012), 499-525 (here p. 512). Friedman’s essay is something of a touchstone for the larger project on Ulysses and book circulation from which this note is drawn.
5 Richard K. Bass, ‘Additional Allusions in “Eumaeus”’, James Joyce Quarterly 10, iii (Spring 1973): 321-9 (here 322).
6 Don Russell, The Lives and Legends of Buffalo Bill (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1960), p. 90.
7 Memories, 113-14.
8 See, for the example of ‘William Matthewson of Wichita’, Richard John Walsh and Milton S. Salsbury, The Making of Buffalo Bill: A Study in Heroics (Indianapolis: The Bobbs-Merrill Company, 1928), p. 112.
9 Memories, 115.
10 Kristeva’s 1966 essay was first published as ‘Bakhtine, le mot, le dialogue, le roman’, Critique XXIII, 239 (April 1967): 438-65; its English translation is ‘Word, Dialogue, and Novel’, in Desire in Language: A Semiotic Approach to Literature and Art. Ed. Leon S. Roudiez. Trans. Thomas Gora, Alice Jardine, and Leon S. Roudiez (New York: Columbia University Press, 1980), 64-91 (here p. 66).
11 The terminology of textual recurrence, ‘spur’ and ‘reprise’, is Gregory Machacek’s. See Machacek, ‘Allusion’, PMLA 122, ii (March 2007): 522-36 (here 528-9).
12 Norm Cohen, Long Steel Rail: The Railroad in American Folksong (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1981), p. 128 n. 14. Julia Cody Goodman’s manuscript was edited by Don Russell and published as ‘Julia Cody Goodman’s Memoirs of Buffalo Bill’, Kansas Historical Quarterly 28, iv (1962): 442-96.
13 Email from Steve Friesen, 16 August 2013.
14 Walsh and Salsbury, The Making of Buffalo Bill, 111. See p. 367 for the bibliography citation of Memories.
15 James Joyce, Joyce’s ‘Ulysses’ Notesheets in the British Museum (Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1972), p. 325. See JJA 12, p. 54 for a colour facsimile reproduction of the notesheet.
Debra Buchholtz, The Battle of the Greasy Grass/Little Bighorn: Custer’s Last Stand in Memory, History, and Popular Culture (New York: Routledge, 2012), p. 90.
17 A stage direction late in the episode, in which Bloom ‘clenches his fists and crawls forward, a bowieknife between his teeth’ (U 15.3195-6) may owe something to the second of the two borrowings. The compositional timeline supports this hypothesis, as the macho vignette was added to the episode sometime between the Quinn draft and the Rosenbach manuscript and therefore postdates the compilation of ‘Circe’ notesheet 10-13.
18 See my own ‘Fusing the Elements of “Circe”: From Compositional to Textual Repetition’, James Joyce Quarterly 47, iii (Spring 2010): 341-61 (here 355).
19 Jack Morgan, ‘Old Sleepy Hollow Calls Over the World: Washington Irving and Joyce’s “The Dead”’, New Hibernia Review 5, iv (Geimhreadh/Winter 2001): 93-108 (here 93-4).
20 See Sarah Davison, ‘Oxtail Soup: Dialects of English in the Tailpiece of the “Oxen of the Sun” episode of Ulysses’ and Chrissie Van Mierlo, ‘“Oxen of the Sun” Notesheet 17: Commentary and Annotations with a New List of Sources, and Transcriptions or Oxtail Soup: the Ingredients’, Genetic Joyce Studies 14 (Spring 2014). www.geneticjoycestudies.org
21 For an early takedown of this commonplace in the episode’s reception, see Davison’s ‘Joyce’s Incorporation of Literary Sources in “Oxen of the Sun”’, Genetic Joyce Studies 9 (Spring 2009). www.geneticjoycestudies.org
22 Davison, ‘Oxtail Soup’.
23 Davison, ‘Oxtail Soup’.
24 Drafted in 1917, the poem was first published as ‘III’ in E. E. Cummings, ‘Seven Poems’, Dial 68, i (January 1920): 22-6 (here 23). See Pound to Cummings, 20 May . Pound/Cummings: The Correspondence of Ezra Pound and E. E. Cummings. Ed. Barry Ahearn (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1996), p. 71.
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