There's a paradox coming into focus for me, about the cluster of vignettes I'm calling the Revered Letter (IV), the Mamafesta (I.5), and Shem (I.7).
'Shem' is entirely exaggerated attacks on Joyce for his writings.
The Mamafesta is a parody of scholars analysing works like his.
But the Revered Letter is a very much tamer version of Molly Bloom's scandalous monologue, regarding McGrath's attacks on HCE.
So I'm puzzling over why Joyce chose this tame letter for the central example of Shem's hated oeuvre?
Is this somehow the whole point-- that Shem may have forged the letter, but it's so true to life and so compassionate that the attacks on him are wildly misdirected?
Timing: level one of the Mamafesta is after level two of the Revered Letter, because it mentions McGrath's funeral
What's more: how does a postman become the symbol of the anti-Shem?
Why does Shaun deserve almost half the book?
What is there in Shaun's story that took Joyce hundreds of pages to get right?