Let there be life

Figure of speech. Having just begun his tale of two Dublin spinsters, Stephen cheers himself on with an echo of the biblical creation story: "On now. Dare it. Let there be life." In his catalogue of rhetorical terms Robert Seidman labels this allusion a parody, which seems problematic since parody is a literary device seldom used in rhetoric. But Stephen's sentence does not resemble the usual literary parody: rather than making the style of Genesis laughable, it transfers the weight of its subject matter to his present circumstance. As such it can perhaps be called a rhetorical device, if not one treated in the classical handbooks.

John Hunt 2023

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The O'Connell Bridge seen from the quays. Source: depositphotos.com.