As Stephen listens to his legs moving through space on the beach he recalls two compound words from a work of aesthetics written in 1766 by the poet, playwright, critic, and philosopher Gotthold Lessing. Laocoon opposes the ekphrastic tradition of comparing poetry to painting, arguing instead that the two arts involve very different modes of sensory apprehension. Poetry presents things "nacheinander" (after-one-another), while painting presents them "nebeneinander" (next-to-one-another).

JH 2013

Laocoon: An Essay upon the Limits of Painting and Poetry, with remarks illustrative of various points in the history of ancient art, by Gotthold Ephraim Lessing, translated by Ellen Frothingham (Boston: Roberts Brothers, 1877). Source: