Sex & Drugs & Rock’n’Roll

A Moral Odyssey retold by Homer, Joyce and Duchamp

A new book by Megakles Rogakos, MA MA PhD

In 2023, one century after Marcel Duchamp completed his work on the Large Glass, a books comes to suggest that it is not self-referential but has specific protagonists, locations and details that convey a timeless moral lesson about archetypal issues that human nature is perpetually tormented with – Sex (lust) & Drugs (intoxication) & Rock’n’Roll (violence).

By choice, Duchamp never directly referred to Homer regarding the Glass, and this work has been analysed by many scholars in different ways. When Dr Megakles Rogakos came across the work in 2000, the detail of the Oculist Witnesses on it prompted him to sense their possible connection with the Trial of the Bow in Homer’s Odyssey, and he spoke about it in a related talk at London’s Tate Gallery on 10 August of the same year. He made this theory the subject of his PhD thesis (2012-2016) at the University of Essex entitled “A Joycean Exegesis of The Large Glass: Homeric Traces in the Postmodernism of Marcel Duchamp”. The Homeric exegesis of Duchamp’s Glass through Joyce’s Ulysses aims to confirm the atavistic theory that the ancient is present in the contemporary. The Glass, like the Homeric Odyssey, as revisited in Ulysses, may be thought to be some kind of moralising treatise on the temptations of man to fall prey to the three deadliest sins throughout human history – lust of flesh; indulgence in drugs; fall to violence, as discussed separately in chapters of the book (see III.9; III.8; III.12) and gave its title – “Sex & Drugs & Rock’n’Roll”, after Ian Dury’s censored song of 1977. If its Joycean exegesis is proven, then the Glass may enigmatically emerge as a Homeric paradigm of man’s initiation to inner freedom, which Duchamp called the “beauty of indifference”. Dr Eleftherios Anevlavis, translator of Joyce’s Ulysses and Wake, writes: “Dr Rogakos’ exegesis is an impressive intellectual creation, enriched with the practices of decipherment and the art of writing, but at the same time created by the experiences and exhaustive study of culture from Homer to Yoko Ono and of the cosmos from the cave paintings of Lascaux to the constellation of the Pleiades.” Remarkably, with his theory of the appropriation of Homer’s Odyssey in Duchamp’s Glass, Dr Rogakos offers a refreshingly tongue-in-cheek explanation of postmodernism’s relationship to antiquity.

Dr Rogakos is an art historian and curator of exhibitions, working as communication officer at the Corfu Heritage Foundation. His book titled Sex & Drugs & Rock’n’Roll: A Moral Odyssey retold by Homer, Joyce and Duchamp, in A4 format masterfully designed by DesignBond with 300 colour images on 220 pages, is published in 2022-2023 by the Corfu Heritage Foundation (www.corfuheritagefoundation.org) in the Greek (ISBN 978-618-83770-3-5) and the original English (ISBN 978-618-83770-4-2) language.

Front cover of Sex & Drugs & Rock’n’Roll: A Moral Odyssey retold by Homer, Joyce and Duchamp (2023) by Megakles Rogakos.
Rear cover of Sex & Drugs & Rock’n’Roll: A Moral Odyssey retold by Homer, Joyce and Duchamp (2023) by Megakles Rogakos.
Credits and contents of Sex & Drugs & Rock’n’Roll: A Moral Odyssey retold by Homer, Joyce and Duchamp (2023) by Megakles Rogakos.

CONTENTS

I. The Premise

1. The Greek Dimension of Marcel Duchamp’s raison d’être

2. The Allure of the Odyssey for the Avant-Garde

3. The ’Pataphysical connection of Alfred Jarry’s Faustroll to Homer’s Odyssey

4. Homer’s Odyssey as paradigm of Raymond Roussel’s Impressions of Africa

5. The Homer-Infested Modern Culture that influenced Marcel Duchamp

6. Duchamp’s Postmodernism

7. A Joycean Exegesis of The Large Glass

II. Homeric Traces in the Postmodern Works of Duchamp

1. Homer’s relation to The Blind Man

3. Duchamp as Odysseus

3. Duchamp’s Odyssean Strategy of Dissimulation

4. Transvestism’s Allure for Duchamp

5. Duchamp as Penelope: Loving, Mournful and Cold-Hearted

6. Duchamp’s His Twine as Penelope’s Weaving Ruse

7. Duchamp’s Belle Haleine as the Beautiful Helen of Troy

8. The Multifarious Origins of Tiré à quatre épingles

9. Duchamp’s Hat Rack as Emblem of Cuckoldry

10. Duchamp’s Knight as the Wooden Horse

11. Duchamp’s Fountain as the Bag of Winds

12. Duchamp’s Bilboquet as Nausicaä throwing the Ball

13. The Ominous Power of Duchamp’s Why Not Sneeze Rose Sélavy?

14. Odysseus and the Marchand du selIn Advance of the Broken Arm as the Winnowing Fan

15. The Enigma of Duchamp’s Door for Gradiva

16. The Cassandra Connection – The Myth and the Foundation

17. Souvenirs from the Classical World

III. A Homeric Exegesis of Duchamp’s Glass via Joyce’s Ulysses

1. Duchamp’s Glass and its Relation to Homer’s Odyssey

2. The Components of the Glass as a matter of fact and by extension

3. The Journey of the Illuminating Gas as an Odyssey

4. This is a Man’s World But it would be Nothing without a Woman

5. The Bride as Penelope

6. Duchamp’s Cemetery of Uniforms and Liveries as Penelope’s Suitors

7. Duchamp’s Waterfall as the Melanhydros Spring, Ithaca

8. Duchmap’s Liqueur Bénédictine as the Sirens

9. Duchamp’s Chocolate Grinder as the Lust of Flesh

10. Duchamp’s Oculist Witnesses as the Trial of the Bow

11. Duchamp’s Mandala as Tiresias

12. Duchamp’s the Boxing Match as the Odysseus vs Irus Fight

13. Duchamp’s Wilson-Lincoln Effect as the Athena vs Poseidon Contest

14. The Odyssey’s Anagnorismos as Duchamp’s Affirmative Nature – Yes, but to what?

15. The Glass’ Cracking as the Odyssey’s Unhappy Premonition

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