Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Ulysses Wednesday #5

Welcome to Ulysses Wednesday, where I track my progress reading James Joyce's tale of a day in the life of Leopold Bloom.
Status: on page 292 of 783

My head hurts. 

I didn't read very much since my last post, but it still takes me a long time to read 10-20 pages at a sitting.  In this week's reading I'm not sure what is going on, really.  Bloom has gone into a pub to have dinner, and there are all kinds of characters carrying on.  I think they are writing a letter (as a group or each person individually, I cannot determine) and to show you what I'm up against, this is a section of what Bloom has written (and yes, this is exactly how it appears!):

On.  Know what I mean.  No, change that ee.  Accept my poor little pres enclos.  Ask her no answ.  Hold on.  Five Dig.  Two about here.  Penny the gulls.  Elijah is com.  Seven Davy Byrne's.  Is eight about.  Say half a crown.  My poor little pres:  p.o. two and six.  Write me a long.  Do you despise?  Jingle, have you the?  So excited.  Why do you call me naught?  You naughty too?  O, Mairy lost the pin of her.  Bye for today.  Yes, yes, will tell you.  Want to.  To keep it up.  Call me that other.  Other world she wrote.  My patience are exhaust.  To keep it up.  You must believe.  Believe.  The tank.  It.  Is.  True.

Umm, yeah.  I don't know who he is writing and I can't begin to imagine what this is about, although Elijah has come up several times in the book so far but I haven't yet figured out why.

  Some more interesting wordplay, and one particular passage that reminded me of Dr. Seuss (any Joyce scholars are likely reeling with the comparison):

One rapped on a door, one tapped with a knock, did he knock Paul de Kock, with a loud proud knocker, with a cock carracarracarra cock.  Cockcock.

  So I hope this week's reading will move along better.  The one reference I'm using (and I use the term reference loosely), Beowulf on the Beach:  What to Love and What to Skip in Literature's 50 Greatest Hits, says that the next part is worth it.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed.


  1. I'm shaking my head, laughing at that passage. Look at it again, very slowly, then come back to it again after you're done with the book. There's so much hidden. He's toasting you with battery acid and chuckling while you drink it.

    I can also hear Helene Hanff's voice ask, "Who the hell wants to see Elija?"

    Dr.Seuss is a GOOD comparison. Love it. Ten points for Suz! :D


  2. I am currently reading Ulysses through have read 42 of 365 installements-you can read more than a section a day-I am finding reading it very slowly in small sections is good for me-I enjoyed your insightful post a lot and am now a follower of your blog

  3. Last year I finished an 18 week series of Ulysses posts. I took an unconventional approach to reading and reviewing the book. Check it out if you're interested.

  4. This is a great approach to reading Ulysses, methinks! I just found you from the blog hop and can't wait to keep up with the rest of your progress through this maze of a novel. I'm currently puzzling my way through Gravity's Rainbow, so I feel your pain. My head hurts, too! ;)



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