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Title: Joyce and Pirandello’s ‘Foolosopher’ kings and mocking gargoyles : Buck Mulligan and Enrico IV
Authors: Chircop, Karl
Keywords: Henry IV, Holy Roman Emperor, 1050-1106 -- In literature
Pirandello, Luigi, 1867-1936. Enrico IV -- Criticism and interpretation
Pirandello, Luigi, 1867-1936 -- Criticism and interpretation
Joyce, James, 1882-1941. Ulysses -- Criticism and interpretation
Joyce, James, 1882-1941 -- Criticism and interpretation
Psychiatry -- History
Mental illness -- History
Foucault, Michel, 1926-1984 -- Criticism and interpretation
Foucault, Michel, 1926-1984. Folie et déraison -- Criticism and interpretation
Issue Date: 2015
Publisher: University of Malta. Junior College
Citation: Symposia Melitensia. 2015, Vol.11, p. 35-44
Abstract: This paper investigates the affinities between the folly of Buck Mulligan in Joyce’s Ulysses and that of Enrico IV in Pirandello’s homonymous play. After looking at Michel Foucault’s Histoire de la folie à l’âge classique, this paper will postulate that Buck Mulligan and Enrico IV seem to precede Foucault’s destabilizing vision: they are characters who, through various acts of folly, simulate the exterior signs of madness and play the fools to create confusion amidst existing forms of socialization. I shall also be looking into Robert Bell’s Jocoserious Joyce (from where the terms ‘foolosopher king’ and ‘mocking gargoyle’ are borrowed) and at Elio Gioanola’s Pirandello e la follia to prove that these modernist clown prototypes become a mirror of painful truths to other characters. Mulligan, for instance, reveals with irony the true nature of Stephen Dedalus, religion and Ireland, whilst Enrico reveals to his visitors their falsity and the dark realm of life’s masks. In both cases this is expressed with mood swings of mocking irony and effusions of sentiment. Both characters are also portrayed as having no fixed identities: they indulge in a tragicomic ritual of masks and folly with a delight for the ambiguities of self and language. In their words and actions, Mulligan and Enrico seem to be unshaped by history and free from any responsibility; they seem so fulfilled in playing the fools and thus become ‘foolosopher’ kings themselves, which act the part of sceptical jokers of the universe.
ISSN: 1812-7509
Appears in Collections:Scholarly Works - JCIta
SymMel, 2015, Volume 11
SymMel, 2015, Volume 11

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