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Smells of Decay: Olfactory imagery in Anthony Burgess' Nothing Like the Sun

Despite the critical interest in the body, we remain firmly within the aesthetic which we have inherited from the 19th century in which only two senses: vision and hearing are thought to be worthy of consideration. In an attempt to address the neglect of the sense of smell in current criticism, this paper elaborates on the olfactory landscapes of Anthony Burgess Nothing Like the Sun. A large variety of unpleasant odours and delightful scents can be observed throughout the novel. !mells play a significant role in conveying feelings, emotions which are difficult to utter in the form of words, or memories which remain hidden until their recollection is triggered by a specific scent. "he greatest master of narratives in the beginning of the #$th century, namely %ames %oyce also ac&nowledged the uncontrollable force and sweeping effect that senses may have both on his characters and his readers, therefore he deployed a wide scale of imagery from auditory through gustatory to &inesthetic and even organic imagery. 'ne of the common features of post()oycean writers is the abundance of sensory images. *obert Adams as regards Burgess as one of the inheritors of %oyce s &een awareness of his surroundings and their effect on the individual, thus states that +Burgess, li&e %oyce is delighted by the linguistic that form in the finding shadows of unconsciousness, -1./0. An essay written by Danuta 1)ellestad on the aesthetics of smell in regard to postmodern fiction called my attention to the fact that the olfactory features of Burgess Nothing like the Sun is a less e2amined dimension by literary scholars. !trongly relying on

3ans %. *indisbacher s The Smell of Books: Ac Cultural-Historical study of Olfactory Perce tion in Literature -199#0, 1)ellestad outlines the marginal status olfactory had in philosophical discourses throughout the past. 3er discussion sets out from 4ant s strong dismissal of the sense of smell: 5It does not pay us to cultivate it or to refine it in order to gain en)oyment6 this sense can pic& up more ob)ects of aversion than of pleasure -especially crowded places0 and, besides, the pleasure coming from the sense of smell cannot be other than fleeting and transitory5 - 7td. in 8e 9u:rer ;.0. 3owever, <iet =roon elaborates on Ancient and the >edieval philosophies on the sense of smell that are predictive regarding the present position of this sense in the ?estern culture. <lato regarded the human senses of sight and hearing as more important than smell, for vision and hearing bring us into contact with the world of human creation, with the beauty of geometry, music and art.. 8ater on the philosophers of the >iddle Ages thought that smell was a vulgar sense contributing nothing to the intellect. @evertheless, it contributed elsewhere, as disease was thought to be caused by malodorous air that could be e2punged by fumigation with fragrant smo&e or by imbibing aromatic wines. !ocrates was less dogmatic in comparison with <lato since he deemed odours to reflect the social class to which a person belonged, meaning that an odour had a certain informative value. <lato himself realiAed the e2clusivity of smell due to the position of the nose close to the brain, the nose is in direct contact with feelings and desires that were better banished according to the philosopher. !till, it was not only until Bnglish empiricism that smell was regarded as a beneficial sense of the human body. Bmpiricism based &nowledge entirely on e2perience and located the source of all &nowledge in the senses, thus many scientific researchers started using their senses, including smell.1 =ronn concludes that the predominantly negative significance given to smell and all &inds of odors led many scholars to assign this sense a place at the bottom of the
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!ee <iet =ronn, who meticulously e2amines the historical and philosophical aspects of smell in the first chapter of Smell: The Secret Seducer, "rans. <aul =incent. @ew Cor&: 1arrar, !traus and 9irou2, 199;.

hierarchy of senses: 5as the sense of lust, desire and impulse it carries the stamp of animality5 - Ne!"ork Times chapter10. Despite the fact that Danuta 1)ellestad discusses e2clusively postmodern te2ts in her aforementioned essay, she reaches a very thought(provo&ing conclusion that the three analyAed novels re(code the conventional olfactory landscapes. In accordance with =ronn, she identifies the foul smells that were constructed during the Bnlightenment as the sense of unreason, madness, savagery, and animality. 3owever, she proceeds to present in the analyses of the novels how these unpleasant smells are reconstructed in postmodern fiction as the sense of love and relationship, while fragrant scents become mar&ers of falsehood and death. 1urthermore, 1)ellestad states that ?interson, for instance, underscores the conventional gendering of smell as a female sense and e2hibits the conventionality of representing women in terms of delicate scents by e2plicit references to its se2ual powers and by ma&ing unpleasant odors carry the same power of se2ual attraction as scents. >y hypothesis derives from 1)ellestad s findings, as this paper is going to e2plore the occurrences and the role of diverse scents and odours in Nothing Like the Sun. >y main line of in7uiry is the function of olfactory imagery deployed by Burgess in his novel, and whether his writing challenges the conventional gendering of smell or corresponds with assigning sweet scents to women and classify foul smells to animality. >oreover, the paper is going to include the olfactory imagery used by %ames %oyce in The Portrait of the Artist as a "oung #an, as the influence of %oyce on Burgess writing is most conspicuous regarding Nothing Like the Sun. ?hen %ohn Dullinam named %oyce to be one of the literary models of Burgess in an interview, the writer claimed +But IEve never really regarded %oyce as a literary model. %oyce canEt be imitated, and thereEs no imitation %oyce in my wor&. All you can learn from %oyce is the e2act use of language, -7td. in the Art of 1iction0. @evertheless, the plot of Nothing like the Sun indisputably relies on the ninth chapter of the $lysses, entitled +!cylla and

Dharybdis,. In this episode, at the @ational 8ibrary, !tephen e2plains to various scholars his biographical theory of the wor&s of !ha&espeare, especially Hamlet. !tephen claims that this play of !ha&espeare is based largely on the posited adultery of his wife. 8ater in the chapter Bloom enters the @ational 8ibrary to loo& up an old copy of the advertisement he has been trying to place. "he two protagonists encounter each other briefly and un&nowingly at the end of the episode. Burgess dramatiAes !ha&espeare s life in Nothing Like The Sun mostly according to !tephen s theory in $lysses. As the %oycean scene is a fundamental element of the novel, a comparison of the olfactory images utiliAed by the two writers is called for since other similarities might become evident during the comparative study. A Portrait of the Artist as "oung #an is more suitable for such an analysis on account of its corresponding length and Bildungsroman nature. 4rissy 4ing wrote an e2cellent essay on the dubious nature of !tephen Dedalus s sense of smell which e2poses !mells are utiliAed in the novel to convey mostly emotions, yet odours play a vital part in furnishing the BliAabethan world presented by Burgess. "he +acrid smell of the city, -//0 and the +immemorial stench of urine, -#$F0 are few of those features that are omnipresent throughout the 8ondon scenes. <ungent smells not only in regard to urban areas are present in the wor&s of !ha&espeare, as the author himself must have been affected by and accustomed to the smell of unwashed humanity and of decaying corpses, both of them common enough in BliAabethan plague(stric&en 8ondon. !imilarly, both writers apply revolting odours to symboliAe the moral decay of the age. Burgess description of the times +"hat lust and filthy fornication and sodomy and buggery roam this realm, beating their lewd wings and raising a coughing and stinking and blinding dust to lead reason astray, you may be well assured, aware too of 9odEs wrath in the dread portents of the times, - Nothing 1.#0 are similar to 3amletEs famous line: +!omething is rotten in Denmar&, -Hamlet 1. I= 9$0. @evertheless, in

the first chapter of the BurgessE novel innocent essences fill the senses of the readers and resemble the innocence associated with childli&e e2ploration of the world: 5sweet hopeful air, sad, with mild south(westerly whisper of afternoon rain5-110 or smells associated with family 51rom his father s house marched on muffled feet the smell of stockfish bac&ed with clo%es and cinnamon. Bread& ale& a le'ohns 5-1F0.

In line with the conventional gendering of the sense of smell, the narrative of the boo& attributes foul smells to the female domain. 3owever, although the mar&er of women tend to lye in the olfactory, in the first chapter of the boo& theses scents are not e2plicitly unpleasant. ?hen ?! is headed towards the house of 'ld >adge, we read 5the night promising fair, scented, the moon in her third 7uarter. . . her house smelt of no de%il(s com acts, but of ungent her)s& foul linen, and a !oman(s old age. 3e wal&ed, calming himself, through the odorous dar& . . .5-#10. "he italiciAation was added by myself to highlight the distinct and strong odours lingering around the home of the old witch. "he +odorous dar&, synthesis carries a sinister element that raises alarm in the reader in regard to the 'ld >adge. "he first encounter with Anne carries more proleptic elements: 5Cet, an eternity of nothing after, he wo&e warm. "he birdsong was deafening. 3e smelt grass and lea%es and his mother(s comforting and comforta)le smell, the faint milk and salt and *est and ne! )read odour of a !oman(s )ossom5-G;0. Despite natural scents warmly embracing ?!, the +deafening, ad)ective refers the repression of the senses, while the third sentence overfills the spectator with mesmeriAing scents. "he sinister nature of their first meeting is enforced by the following future reference: 53e did not thin&, he would not have believed, not then, that that was she who would watch over him when he slept finally . . . busying herself with the ma&ing of sic& man s broth, a coc& in an earthen pip&in with roots, herbs, whole mace, aniseeds, scraped and sliced li7uorice, rosewater, white wines, dates5-GF0

"he other Anne young ?! desires to marry evo&es !ha&espeareEs love of sweet smells of different flowers. According to Daroline !purgeon, !ha&espeare applies the sweetness of the violet, the eglantine -sweet briar0 and the damas& rose regularly in his writings as a contrast the horror of bad smells. 5Anne awaited him, Anne to drive out any lingering vestiges of that other Anne, for this Anne, seventeen summers, was spring s distillation . . .her eyes were blac&, but they were trustful . . . 5-G/0 shows how the flowery fragrances of spring are associated with the unspoiled youth and decent women, and symboliAes how an innocent soul may purify a corrupted one: 5!he was untouched of man and would so remain till the clean sheets of the lavender(smelling bridal bed . . .were these, and the sweet breath of innocence, too muchH5-G90 3owever, when sweet smelling flowers turn the reverse the sense of repulsion is more e2plicit in !ha&espeare: +8ilies that fester smell far worse than weeds.5-!onnet 9;0.# AnneEs utterance of 5"his flower li&e I not, it has a smell of

graves.5-G90 evo&es !ha&espeareEs love of rose as its nice smell remains even after death. AnneEs remar& is not welcomed by ?! as she is too young and pure to lament on death6 in the eyes of ?! her and beauty in itself resists the rottenness which permeates the world. It seems as though Burgess, )ust li&e other inheritors of the Bnlightenment classify the sense of smell to the feminine realm. Delicate smells intermingle with strong smells in the first chapter that are manifestations of naIve lust and desire towardsJfor the female body. As the story proceeds these friendly scents associated with women become contaminated with nauseating sweetness, which foregrounds the physical and spiritual corruption of not only the individuals, but of the entire society. 3ere the bodily is also condemned to the realm of the female. 1urthermore, the moral decay is intertwined with the female body(and the sic&ly( sweet scent of women (, at times as if they were in cause and effect relationship. "he scene with the prostitute in Bristol immediately activates our sense of smell: 5!miling, she Daroline !purgeon. Shakes ear+e imagery and !hat it tells us, Dambridge: Dambridge Kniversity <ress, 19GL.
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bec&oned him to follow her in. 3e entered dar&ness that smelled of musk and dust, the tang of s!eating o-ters, and, somehow, the ancient stale reek of egg after egg crac&ed in waste, the musty hold-smell of seamen(s garments, seamen(s semen s attered, a ghost of procession of dead sailors lusting till the crac& of doom,-.;0. "he olfactory images create a detestable odour, which se2ually arouses the protagonist. !imilarly to ?interson, Burgess associates se2ual desires with foul smells. *eturning spicy and fouls smells will represent animalistic, se2ual, morally degrading desires, whereas delightful scents epitomiAe decency and purity in BurgessE novel. "he most conspicuous olfactory images are ascribed to ?!Es lover called 1atimah. 3er 5browngold rivercolourriverripple s&in with its smell of the sun5-1LG0 and the cloud of spicy scent that embalms her surroundings is a recurring image that generates divergent reactions from ?!. As their love affair continues, 1atimah s scent is complemented with growing number of repulsive smells such as 5her breath was sour today5 -1LG0 or 53er smell, ran& and sweet, repels my senses and drives me to madness5-1LG0. "he latter e2ample echoes the sense of madness ascribed to foul smells in the Bnlightenment age. "heir se2ual intercourse is transformed by the diabolic images into an ecstasy of the senses and the irreversible damnation of their souls: +"he transports I now enter are a burning hell of pleasure. If before we have soared and flown, now we burrow, eyes and nose holes and snoring mouths filled with earth and worms and scurrying atomies, all of which are transformed to a heavy though melting )elly of poundered red flesh mi2ed with wine. ?e dig with pioneering wings down towards the fire that is the whole earthEs centre, nub, coynt, meaning., -1L.0

"he female(with her tempting at the same time revolting scent and her mesmeriAing body( condemns the soul of men to damnation. 3enry s proleptic reference to the eventual, shared disease of the three main characters:+let us call her part of our sic&ness, identifies women as men s source of decay. 3owever, as we reach the end of the novel the cause of man s downfall is placed elsewhere as the sinful body is slowly cleansed and elevated to represent beauty associated with truth. "he protagonist s changing perception of the truth leads to the purification of the body. As a young artist, ?! regards art as a tool of enlightenment and not as a form of entertainment. In regard to !enecaEs writings-H0 he states: 5@ow, that was plays that were read before the patricians, and good plays, not li&e the stin& and ordure that passes for plays in our shameful time5-LL0. 3is ars poetica is, as only art is capable of placing a mirror in front of humanity, art should reflect the true nature of man and not blur the moral decay man is relishing in. 'nly the 5smell of truth5 -9$0 ma&es a good play. At this stage women are considered to be obstacles to artistic creativity: 5women were a deflection6 he must push on to his goal5-1$10. In addition to being temptresses of men, women stand between the artist and his creation. 3owever, the role of art is challenged as ?! draws a parallel between reality and the stage. >aster Muedgeley is the first to comment on this similarity: 58ife . . . is in a sense all lies...It is all acting5-LF0. +"he whole world, no, all the world acts a play, is a stage,-#1L0 conveys the falsehood of the world and initiates the reevaluation of the theatre and underlines its reprehensible feature. ?ith the actor companions of ?! stressing the need for change regarding their plays due to the changing demands of the audience, the truth value of art is again undermined as the theatre has to satisfy the present and temporary wishes of the spectators. ?! laments in regard 3enry: +@othing stayed stillN'nly between man and man was there hope of maintaining O beyond pure animal need that misted the eyes with blood O a love nourished by will and brain and a conscious art of forbearance -1F90, however 3enry s continuous betrayal as a friend and a lover caused bythe

After 1atimah meets 3enry, ?! realiAes that +!he is ready to be ta&en. "a&e too, I say, what I have writ for her, by her unread. Add them to the odorous fellowship of that spicy chest. "a&e this sonnet also, of the perils of lust. . .-1L/0(3ere art is associated with lust that has been degraded by this timedue to its connection to the sinful desires provo&ed by women.

?! Bventually ?s realiAe The foul smell of passion-associated with women Fatimah 5It is the glorification of the flesh, the word made flesh. . . In a fever I ta&e to my play(ma&ing and theatre business. I write my few lines of .ichard in despair of the power of words. I force myself to a mood of hatred of her and of what we do together, ma&ing myself believe that I am brought low and must come to ruin5-1L#0 ma&e myself believe is +it was the woman,-19#0(Annet blamPla a tQt:nte& miatt +"he Mueen is a rotting heap of old filth,- 19/0.

Donclusion

1inally the body is freed(seens as purveyor of the truth(not words or plays as they are mere products of a world indebted to decay.

Burgess

1atimah +the room had a spicy smell, sun(warmed, a poc&et Indies., -#1;0 +RA comfort,E he said. R"here is this world of men, and sometimes it smells heavily of the sweat of menEs contention. It is good to be here.E,-#1;0 male domain gets the unpleasant smell fetid sweetness(-#1F0( medicine +tightly clasped, they billowed down together through miles of aromatic air to come to rest on swansdown. And the glory and, as it were, grace were proclaimed in the ease of renewal, so that the night was a counterpart triumph to the day,-#1/(#190 +3is youth, sought afresh with her before but pushed out by guilt, now &new its flower6 his dream of plunging into the Indies was fulfilled, his appetites for strange fruits fed without disgust or guilt or the gnaw of responsibility., -#190 a&&or a guilt):t sAimboliAPlta eddig a smell(vagyis a &ellemetlen sAago& aguilt):t tS&rQAt:&( nem a foul maid(csa) sa)PtossPgai(de Tgy lette& preAentPlva +8ondon, the defiled city, became a sweet bower for their loveEs wandering, even in the August heat.,-#190 +but on the narrow bed, right history was enacted and true reality revealed: it was holy, a sort of nobleness. "he struggles of invasions were towards the setting up an honest short peace, not a cynical eternal one6 the engaing armies carried the same banner,-##$0 sAerelmS& legitimitPsa

Bodily decay of the artist: 5"hou art as wise as thou art beautiful. "he mirror shows the teeth and beard fast graying, a wormy s&in. 'ld dad5-1;/0 wisdom and truth associated with beauty artistsU( +according to the scandal(tattlers we are all atheists and drun&ards and wenchers and we throw our money away on evil living,-1F#0 +we forget how money is made. 'nly land is truly gentlemanly, land and property,-1FL0

+?! felt himself ageing, dissatisfied, life nagging li&e bro&en teeth, the gaps in his life presented to a probing tongue. !weet(tongued, honey(tongued, -1/10. playsJwords are all lies(no truth value of art Oprolepsis to his final revelation(only the body can be truthful with age ?! acc. to 3enry( +Cou are become altogether too moral,-19L0 +R"hereEs a devil in all of us,E said ?!. R?e are full of self(contradiction. It is best to purge this devil on the stageE,. -19F0 +"he Mueen is a rotting heap of old filth,- 19/0. 3arry on hearing ?! cuc&olded + ?! had never li&ed his laugh O high(pitched and maniacal6 he had never li&ed the way the smooth face collapsed with laughter into an ugliness the more frightening because of the miracle of beauty is displaced: it was as if that beauty was nothing to do with either truth or goodness.,-#$$0( tovPbb gondolva art as superficial redemption( +he welcomed pain..he draw down on himself the right pain, achieve the right releasing agony,-#$G0(m:g nem a betegs:gtVl(eA is false tehPt m:g e&&or +love too& new forms . . . li&e compassion, -#$.0 epilogue +8etEs swell a space on the irony of poetEs desperately wringing out the last of his sweetness while corrosives closed in,-##L0 valWdi betegs:g +All this could be borne by myself, but I wept at the in)ustice done to my poor body,-##.0 +>ore, my eyes cleared and I could see the world in very sharp colours: its paint seemed hardly dry.,-##F0 + I was creating man afresh, planting him in a garden with clean white body and the innocent eyes of a deer. But he would not stay there: he must needs leap out to his plotting and blood( letting and sniggering nastiness. will was &notted within him but it was will towards something that I, as 9od, coulds not have made. "herefore there was an opposite to 9od. "his I could see but I still could not feel it. "he time was not yet, -##/0 +castigate the filthy world which I had rendered more filthyNI was drawn to searching out my fellows in disease,-##/0 same uttered by his daughter:

+"hen I reeled with my discovery of what I should have long &nown O that the fistulas and imposthumes, bent bones, swellings, corrupt sores, fetor were of no different order from the venality and treachery and in)ustice and cold laughing murder of the Dourt. And yet none of these leprous and stin&ing wretches had willed their rottenness. "he foul wrong lay then beyond a manEs own purposing6 there was somewhere, outside timeEs very beginning, an infinite well of putridity from which body and mind ali&e were driven, by some force unseen and uncontrollable, to drin&., -##/0( the rottness of man&ind lies outside his being +?as there not somewhere a clean worldH . . .i turned to the tales of 9ree& and "ro)an and e2pected to find again what I had &nown as a boy O war all smiling postures of the dance, a game of buffeting with reed spears. But, of course, they were li&e ourselves. "hey were braggarts, cowards, traducers, whores ,- ##/0. +Die in dust and live in filth,-##90 +we are all diseased . . . In my delirium the Dity was mine own body O fighting bro&e out in ulcers on the left thigh, both armpits, in the spongy and corrupt groin, -##90 +"he image of the falling city, pre(figured in the prodigies of a night, was drawn from my own body O the bloody holes, the burning hand., -#G$0 +!he released unbelievable effluvia. It seemed not possible. "he hoplessness of manEs condition was revealed in odours that came direct, in a &ind of innocenct Bden freshness, from that prime and original well. "he rest of my life, such as it might be, must be spent in ma&ing those effluvia real to all, -#G$0. purifies smell of its previous sinful character, moreover these lines elevate the body to being the sole purveyorJvehicle of truth. +1or the first time it was made clear to me that language was no vehicle of soothing prettiness to warm cold castles that waited for spring, no ornament for ladies or great lords, chiming, beguiling, but a potency of sharp &nives and brutal hammers , -#G$0. +I understand what she herself was O no angel of evil but an uncovenanted power. But, so desperate was the enemy, she had been drawn by an irresistible force to become, if not herself evil, yet contracted to be the articulatri2 of evil, -#G10. +!he did not much leave my chamber as disintegrate into particles which settled themselves, as in a permanent home, into my orifices of my body,-#G10. hallucination utPn +he thought that the great white body of the world was set upon by an illness from beyond, gratuitous and incurable. And that even the name 8ove was, far from being the best invocation against it, often the very con)uration that summoned the mining and ulcerating hordes. ?e are, he seemed to say, poisoned at source, -#G#0. +we both e2emplified the rottenness of the world,-#GG0. +Cou can never win, for love is both an image of eternal order and at the same time the rebel and destructive spirochaete. 8et us have no nonsensical tal& about merging and melting

souls . . . "here is the flesh and the flesh ma&es all. 8iterature is an epiphenomenon of the action of the flesh, -#G;0 . 8oveJJwomen are elevation of the soul and the body, however decay and the fall is inevitable Body associated with the female(purveyor of sin and moral decay at first rottenness of the world is not realiAed at first, but only women are seen as the poison of manEs being man(made wrong is fundamental part of the world, but something lies outside of man that ensures and predetermines manEs decay and eventualJinevitable downfall. rP)Qn, h a test tud cas& igaAPn truthful lenni, megprWbPl)a megtXsAtXtani a vPgy test:t, egyben a nVi testet is eAPltal, de &PrhoAPsra van it:lve mind a test mind aA ember lel&e(a test itt epitome of the not only the rottenness of the world but of moral decay. a sAerelm nem tud)a megtisAtXtani a testSn&et

%oycenPl )W((((5"oday s synthetic scents . . . are evocative of things which are not there, of presences which are absent . . . "hese artificial odours are a sign without a referent, smo&e without fire, pure olfactory image5-Dlassen #$L0.

Morals elVsAQr a sAXnhPA van Tgy bePllXtva,h &:pes rPvilPgXtani aA embi mralo&re

falsehood of life and the roles people decide to play moral decay manifests itself in the foul smells of the surrounding:

According to Danuta 1)ellestad particular postmodernte2ts, for instance %eanette ?interson s /ritten On the Body, re(code the conventional olfactory landscapes: foul smells,which have been constructed during the Bnlightenment as the sense of unreason, madness,savagery, and animality, are reconstructed as the sense of love and relationship,while fragrant scents become mar&ers of falsehood and death. ?interson e2pose the conventionality od representing women in terms of nice smells both by e2plicitreferences to the scents s se2ual powers and by ma&ing unpleasant odors carry the same power ofse2ual attraction as scents. Dlassen writes 5"oday s synthetic scents . . . are evocative of things which are not there,of presences which are absent . . . "hese artificial odours are a sign without areferent, smo&e without fire, pure olfactory image5-#$L0. a&Pr mehet a v:g:re is. "he growing visibility of smell manifests the growing criti7ue of its Bnlightenment coding, therefoe smell can be regarded as the sense of postmodernism. !mell possesses a great subversive potential in its ability to violate boundaries, assault rationality, and evo&e powerful emotions of disgust and attractions.
smell assaults hierarchies based on race, ethnicity, gender, and se2ual orientation. It changes the emotional economy, reorganiAes the social and moral world, and violates detachment.

!mell
http://www.nytimes.com/books/first/v/vroon-smell.html

Plato regarded the human senses of sight and hearing as more important than smell, for vision and hearing bring us into contact with the world of human

creation, with the beauty of geometry, music and art. mell, the philosophers of the !iddle "ges thought, was a vulgar sense contributing nothing to the intellect. #ut it contributed elsewhere. $isease was thought to be caused by malodorous air %this is how malaria got its name& that could be e'punged by fumigation with fragrant smoke or by imbibing aromatic wines.

!ha&espeare

http://books.google.hu/books( id)su*+*"h,n-./0printsec)frontcover0hl)hu0source)gbs1ge1summary1r0c ad)23v)onepage04)smell0f)false

5e e'presses the height of disgust and horror through the medium of revolting smells, and that to his imagination sin and evil deeds always smell foully.

hakespeare seems more sensitive to the horror of bad smells than to the allure of fragrant ones: naturally he loves 6the sweet smell of different flowers6 and also the sweet scents of spring, which he connects with sparkling youth who 6smelss "pril and !ay6. %+2& site.iuga7a.edu.ps/ahabeeb/files/2212/22/"n18ntroduction1to19iterature11/riticis m1and1:heory.pdf

:ake 9ady !acbeth6s words of murderous guilt as overheard by the $octor and ;entlewoman. %8t is, of course, an illustration of the disturbing power of this tragedy that hakespeare is able to make us sympathi7e or identify with a psychopathic murderer.& 9ady !acbeth says: <5ere6s the smell of the blood still. "ll the perfumes of "rabia will not sweeten this little hand. =, =, =>6 %,, i, ?2@2&.

%oyce
http://www.bu.edu/writingprogram/Aournal/past-issues/issue-B/king/

8n chapter 8, for e'ample, Coyce e'erts a hefty measure of control over tephen6s susceptible, and relatively binary, mode of thinking. "s a young boy far from home in the dark corridors of /longowes, tephen6s frame of mind is simple and understandable: he dislikes school and wants to go back home to his mother. Dittingly, tephen6s reaction to the various scents of /longowes is repeatedly negative: he fears the bath and the Esmell of the towels, like medicineF %8.??1@2&, wrinkles his nose at the Estinking stuff to drink GHI in the infirmaryF %8.J+K@K2&, and dislikes the Eweak sour smellF of burning charcoal in the sacristy %8.11KL&. !ost telling is his unpleasant bout of nausea on the day of his first communionM he feels a tinge of guilt that Ethe faint smell Gof wineI off the rector6s breath had made him feel a sick feelingF because he has been told that Ethe day of your first communion was the happiest day of your lifeF %8.1L22@L&. !uch of this negativity

can be attributed to childish tendencies both to think in black and white and to over-e'aggerate e'periencesM however, the 4uestion becomes why these particular smells fall decisively on the negative side of this binary. ;ranted, it makes sense that a child would have an adverse reaction to medicinal towels and a most likely unsanitary bath, but the smells of charcoal and wine by themselves are not necessarily regarded as unpleasant. 8n fact, the word EwineF triggers a pleasant linguistic association in tephen6s mind %8.1BKK@1L21&. 8t is a subconscious aversion to the winy residue from the rector6s breath and the atmosphere of the church that offends tephen6s nostrils.

5ere, there is a marked transition from the rigidity of tephen6s previous olfactory perceptionsNa rigidity that ascribes only negative reactions to church smells and positive reactions to those evocative of the homeNto the realistic ambiguity of his perceptions in chapter 88. 5e has less of a sense of EgoodF and EbadF smells, and some of tephen6s perceptions regarding smell are even contrary to what one might e'pect. Dor e'ample, as tephen approaches 5eron and *allis smoking before the *hitsuntide play, he Ebecame aware of a faint aromatic odourF %Coyce 88.?L1&. /ontrasting his childhood tendency to characteri7e smells into defined categories, tephen does not react particularly strongly to the scent. :he clear departure from tephen6s black-and-white reaction to smells in chapter 8 is worth noticing, if only by virtue of its contrariness to what we have come to e'pect. /ertainly, it marks a transition toward tephen6s maturity, for in the adult world not every smell must be Audged as pleasant or unpleasant. *hen observed from the point of view of Coyce6s control over tephen, however, it takes on added significance as a greater allowance of freedom on Coyce6s part.

8t is important to note the phrasing here: rather than there merely being an odor, he Ebecame awareF of it. *hen contrasted with phrases in chapter 8 such as Ethere was a cold night smell in the chapelF %8.B+1&, the diction gives tephen a sense of self-awareness and a feeling of autonomy over his own conscious processes. E:here wasF causes one to think of a smell merely being there, placed there as if by some outside force that gives tephen no choice but to inhale it. 8n chapter 88, on the other hand, tephen is the acting force that becomes aware of this smell, and he is aware that he becomes aware of it. 8n short, tephen is afforded control over his consciousness because Coyce has no need to steer him in any given direction. Coyce allows tephen to grow as a character through adolescence, without any supernatural-seeming interventions beyond the reality Coyce has created for tephen.

8f only things remained that simple. Coyce, as the creator of a literary masterpiece, would not instate such a dynamic of control and freedom without baffling his readers through such developments as figurative smells. :ake, for e'ample, the scene in 88.B in which tephen tears away from the obAect of his passion, Omma. "s he reali7es he has lost the chance to kiss her, Epride and hope and desire like crushed herbs in the heart sent up vapours of maddening incense before the eyes of his mindF %88.KB2@KB2&. 5ere, tephen does not literally smell anythingM even figuratively an odor is not e'plicitly mentioned, only the fact that his eyes burned. Pet it is strange that the narrator describes these abstract emotions as Ecrushed herbsF and Emaddening incense,F both of which emit powerful, into'icating aromas. 8t can also be argued that so far, none of the smells in tephen6s world have actually been described as entering his nostrilsN

whether it be the Ethere wasF of chapter 8 or tephen6s EGbecomingI aware ofF smells in chapter 88, the fact that the narrator doesn6t mention tephen6s intake of the smells does not discount their presence. :he problem becomes what to make of this strange metaphor that is not even entirely consistentNfirst the Emaddening incenseF goes up before the Eeyes of his mindF %88.KB2& and then again before his actual Eanguished eyesF a few lines later %88.KB?&. Dor now, we will leave this dilemmaM in chapter ,, several instances in the te't will shed light on the meaning of this mi'ed metaphor of a Esmell.F

A final significant moment in the realm of !tephenEs freer subconscious is his perception of what many of us would find to be a repulsive odor. Bventually, !tephenEs frenAy of emotion 7uiets, and +a power, a&in to that which had often made anger or resentment fall from him, brought his steps to rest, -II.9G/O90. Donsidering this from a control standpoint, we might be tempted to as&: what is this awesome power that can subdue his overwhelming array of emotions so rapidlyH 'nce again, the phrasing is significant. "he teller has not only implied that there is an outside +power, in play, giving !tephen no control over his actions, but he has also connected previous occurrences of this mysterious force to this present moment, evidencing his retrospective ac&nowledgment that this power is not uni7ue to this moment, but something that has long played a part in !tephenEs life. Dould it be a +divine intervention, on %oyceEs part, guiding !tephen to this alleyway for a specific purposeH A further e2amination of the succeeding passage ma&es this interpretation plausible. After !tephen +breatheYsZ slowly the ran& heavy air, in the lane, he finds a strange sort of comfort in its fetid fumes: +["hat is horse piss and rotted straw, he thought. It is a good odour to breathe. It will calm my heart, -II.9;GO;0. ?ith this unorthodo2 reaction to what many would consider a revolting smell, !tephen embraces the stenches of reality as opposed

to the stifling, musty corridors of the church. ?hile it may not be of great significance to !tephen now, later he will realiAe that he is called to be an artist immersed in the odors of the world rather than cloistering himself away in the confessional. "he narrator, however, is well aware of the importance of this moment, as evidenced by the narrative shift that ta&es place. %ohn <aul *i7uelme, in his essay +Dedalus and %oyce ?riting the Boo& of 3imselves,, astutely notes that in chapter II, the teller uses +the same typographical indicator, the dash, that previously identified only direct discourse, -GF#0. In a certain sense, !tephen engages in direct discourse at this moment, a discourse in which the interlocutors are both the present !tephen himself and the future !tephen who tells the story. Although the teller cannot physically answer the past !tephen, he can include this firm statement of !tephenEs in the te2t to show that it has resonated with the teller over the years.
omething during the priest6s harrowing sermons at the retreat instills in tephen a renewed sense of fear of the 9ord. :he lurid depiction of hell, which tephen believes to be his destiny, sends him into a paro'ysm of guilt and disgust for his previous se'ual acts. "s memories of the past flood his brain, Ethe sordid details of his orgies stank under his very nostrilsF %Coyce 888.L++@K&. =nce again we must grapple with the concept of figurative versus literal smell. 8t would be easy to dismiss this statement as a mere rhetorical device, but, as Professor !ichael $egener of #oston Qniversity points out, the phrasing of Eunder his very nostrilsF would defy our attempts to do so. :his syntactically unnecessary phrase draws attention to the unreality of the entire statement, for it does not leave the stink of these Esordid detailsF as a 4uaint metaphor, but, rather, thrusts it directly under tephen6s nose to wreak physical havoc on him %Aust as the Emaddening incenseF did in part 88&. /onsidering that this diction is the choice of the narrator, for the e'act words themselves were most likely not running through tephen6s mind at this moment, it becomes evident that the older

tephen purposely blurs the line between real olfaction and imagined olfaction. Coyce, by including this segment in the first place, reminds his readers once again of the contrived reality of the entire novelNfor, whether literal or figurative, both are ultimately artificial because they are created by Coyce. #oth are shown to have e4ual power over tephen, and both are able to affect his mind as well as his body.

:his chain of events culminates in chapter 8, with tephen6s epiphany. Dor the final time, we see Coyce intervene beyond the demands of his authorial presence with a supernatural smell. :he catalyst is the director of #elvedere6s invitation for tephen to Aoin the priesthood, which then prompts an intensive consideration of the calling that would irreversibly alter his future. uddenly, his an'ieties come rushing forward, and he reali7es that Eit was a grave and ordered and passionless life that awaited himF %Coyce 8,.L+2@1&. #ut it is not even his potentially mirthless life that repels tephen from accepting the call to the priesthoodM rather, it is the Etroubling odour of the long corridors of /longowesF that returns to him and fills him with dread and unrest %Coyce 8,.L+L&. :he effect is immediate and terrifying. "ssaulted with Ea feverish 4uickening of his pulsesF and Ea din of meaningless wordsH his lungs dilated and sank as if he were inhaling a warm moist unsustaining air which hung in the bath in /longowesF %Coyce 8,.L+R@K2&. 8t is well known that smell is able to evoke strong and often emotionally charged memories without any conscious decision on our part. *hy, however, does the smell arise in the first place, and why are its effects so debilitating( :his turning point in tephen6s life is facilitated once again by Coyce, who reaches out to save tephen by awakening Esome instinct, stronger than education or pietyF that makes him reali7e Ethe chill and order of the GpriesthoodI repelled himF %8,.LKB@R&. :his instinct, stemming deep from within

tephen6s subconscious, has slowly been gaining strength because of key events in the te'tNhis childhood at /longowes, his religious e'perience in chapter 888, and, most importantly, the real and figurative smells that have implanted themselves in tephen6s memoryNand was cultivated by Coyce himself, who has not pared his fingernails, but has gotten his hands dirty with his subtle interventions in tephen6s life. :he result of these interventions is tephen6s reAection of church doctrine and acceptance of the call to be an artist. -ow that this has been accomplished, Coyce sets his character free in the world and observes the fruit of his creation in action.

Ovidencing this new freedom is a fundamental change in the nature of tephen6s olfaction. 8n chapter ,, tephen finally e'periences smell as it e'ists in reality: random, unstructured, with links to the subconscious that are not immediately obvious. mells often trigger linguistic associations that lead to wordplay, and certain scents even precipitate tephen6s creative process. -onetheless, as Coyce looses tephen6s subconscious, so must he set his own subconscious free in order to create linguistic associations that are neither forced nor contrived, but natural. Dor this reason, chapter , is as much about Coyce as it is about tephenM more specifically, we learn what is at stake for Coyce in creating a character who seemingly possesses a subconscious mind of his own.

*hat, then, do we make of this EincenseF that bears much similarity to the metaphor of the Ecrushed herbsF and Emaddening incenseF in chapter 88( #oth describe this metaphorical incense as rising or wafting up, either Ebefore the eyes of his mindF %88.KB2& or Ethrough the mould from many heartsF %,.BJL&. #oth descriptions are also inconsistent: in the former instance, the incense is said first

to go up before the Eeyes of his mindF and later before his actual eyes, whereas the latter describes the odor first as EmoralF %,.BJB& and then as EmortalF %,.BJJ&. 8t should be noted that the EincenseF of tephen6s ;reen is an actual smell, as opposed to the precarious metaphor of the crushed herbs and incense in chapter 88. :he similarities between the two lend support to the idea that in the universe of Portrait, literal and figurative smells have the same properties. 5owever, their differences say more about the progression of tephen6s artistry. :he first EincenseF makes for a clunky metaphor, whereas the second is more sophisticated, albeit e4ually enigmatic. :he improved fluidity of the second allusion shows tephen6s enhanced aptitude for aesthetic and linguistic sensibilities.

!oist, rainy earth is imbued with an odor that is EmoralF as well as Emortal,F a toying with syllables that allows Coyce to continue with his metaphor based on a free association with the EGmoralI incenseF that wafts Ethrough the mould of many GmortalI hearts.F :he pattern is thus established of art through association, in which loose subconscious connections create an ambient aesthetic. -ow that we have an inkling of Coyce6s artistic process, we reali7e that it is in large part incompatible with tephen6s aesthetic theoryNfor Coyce does not create art through the Eluminous silent stasisF %,.1L21& of aesthetic apprehension, but by playing around with words and sounds, which is, in large part, a fluid process of trial and error rather than a sudden, overwhelming moment of insight.

vilg brzolsa-filth N ! mint enne! a filthen! a amnifestation"ei a the initial stage of the artist-childhood smellsartist

ahogyan lt"a aplays# truth# beauty gazdag !$vn lenni ma"d r"%n&h nem "obba! a gazdago!

'ist of wor!s cited:


Adams, *obert >artin. After0oyce, @ew Cor&: '2ford Kniversity <ress, 19FF. 8e 9u:rer, A. Scent: The #ysterious and 1ssential Po!ers of Smell, "rans. *ichard >iller. 8ondon: Dhatto and ?indus, 19//. e(boo&. =roon, Anton =an Amerogen, 3ans De =ries. Smell: The Secret Seducer, "rans. <aul =incent. @ew Cor&: 1arrar, !traus and 9irou2, 199;. ?eb. Dlassen, David 3owes, Anthyony !ynott. Aroma: The Cultural History of Smell , 8ondon: *outledge, 199;. ?eb. Burgess, Anthony. Nothing Like the Sun, @ew Cor&: ?.?.@orton, 19.;. Dullinam, %ohn. 5Interview with Anthony Burgess.5"he Art of 1iction @o.;/. ?eb. Apr.#/. 4ing, 4essy. 5A 4ey to 3is Donsciousness: !mell in A <ortrait of the Artist as a Coung >an.5 ?*: %ournal of the DA! ?riting <rogram G -#$1$(#$110: n. pag. ?eb 1. >ay #$1G.