- Dedalus' 'History is a nightmare from which I am trying to awake' has an echo in Marx's 18th Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte :
Men make their own history, but they do not make it just as they please; they
do not make it under circumstances chosen by themselves, but under circumstances directly encountered, given and transmitted from the past. The tradition of all the dead generations weighs like a nightmare on the brain of the living.
- But since Joyce was not a Marxist, this is only a side comment. Eisenstein is a candidate as a Marxist who used Joyce. Take this quotation from a 1932 talk :
Radek's critique of Joyce was based essentially on one point. He said that we don't need things in such microscopic detail. We don't see that way, such phenomena don't exist. But that criticism is as if a person at some first-aid station saw an enlargement of something seen under the microscope on the wall
and said: "Why is this necessary? After all, microbes aren't that big. After all, you don't see all that in real life." Do you understand the
mistake here? The thing is that you have to study those charts in
order to be able to know those invisible bacteria, those invisible
elements, in order to possess them. And that's the significance of
studying Joyce and it's on that level that he analyzes things so
microscopically. (James Joyce Quarterly, Vol. 24, No. 2 (Winter, 1987), p.137.)
This can be applied to history and can remove its nightmarish qualities. Macro-history is as bad as Marx said it was but it ceases to be dark and oppressive when macro-history is replaced by micro-history : the life of one person in the course of just a day described in 700 pages. Of course 'Ulysses' is not real history but its microscopic style and level of treatment can be applied to history, which then looks very different from the Marxist grand narrative. It does not reject that narrative but alters our perspective on it.