The Small Light in “A Little Cloud”

Marian Eide, Vicki Mahaffey

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This essay was inspired initially by a stimulating paper delivered at the Modern Language Association in 2006 by Nicholas Miller that encouraged us to think about the issues of reproduction and creativity in "A Little Cloud." From that rich point of departure, we each pursued our own research tendencies from the theoretical to the etymological, from the literary to the sociological. Our process was for one author to compose an initial very rough draft that the other revised. We wrote on top of each other's prose very freely. Too little comment is made about disagreement in collaboration, but one of the most productive aspects of the experience we had in writing together was f nding at an early stage that we disagreed about Little Chandler's poetic voice: Vicki saw it as derivative and "little," whereas Marian emphasized Little Chandler's sensitivity, which she viewed as the sensibility of a potential poet. Eventually, we were able to regard our differences as both illuminating and productive; by simply labeling our diverging perspectives, we were able to view them side by side without anxiety. We also found that by emphasizing our differences, we came to see each other's points of view with more clarity and to appreciate the extent to which our readings were more compatible than they originally seemed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationCollaborative Dubliners
Subtitle of host publicationJoyce in Dialogue
EditorsVicki Mahaffey
Place of PublicationSyracuse
PublisherSyracuse University Press
Number of pages24
ISBN (Print)9780815632702
StatePublished - 2012


  • poetry
  • sadness
  • narrators
  • clouds
  • inspiration
  • sons
  • Irish poetry
  • anger
  • etymology
  • guilt

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Arts and Humanities


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