Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Ulysses Wednesday #11

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

 Status: page 534 of 783

 Another short post today -- I'm still in the chapter representing a play, and as I read it I am convinced that Mr. Joyce must have been smoking some wacky tabacky while he was writing this.  Bloom has been declared a virgin, he has declared that "I so want to be a mother" and then he becomes a woman - or perhaps a girl - before turning back to a man in time to be beaten by a madam and some of her "girls".  I think. 

  It's interesting to discover how different Leopold Bloom's character is than what I perceived before I started reading the novel.  Since I thought Ulysses was about him, I just assumed that he would be in all the action and that he would be a much stronger character.  Not so.  The novel follows Bloom's wanderings through Dublin, but it doesn't entirely focus on him; and in fact when he is involved in the plot I sometimes don't notice that he's even there.  Perhaps that was Joyce's point? 



  1. You go Suze!

    I think you are right in that much of what takes place IN Bloom or through Bloom's eyes, and his personality is fairly subdued so that you can do it.

    If it were told though Stephen's eyes entirely, it would be all intellectual judgement: Bloom observes and weighs.

    In fact you'll see that contrast being set up. (I don't think that's much of a spoiler, Bloom is getting already solicitous of Stephen.)

    And yes the play thing is one big hallucination, Joyce chose to think of it as the domain of Circe: some of it is due to drunkenness, some is due to being passed out, and some takes place in the unconscious of the characters, that seems to be "where" it really "happens". It is a perplexing thing to wonder what "really" happened; in the rest of the book only the bare outlines of this chapter are treated as factual.

    I never had any beer that did this to me. It is pretty funny and outrageous. Go for it.

  2. Suzanne, I am beyond impressed! This is a novel that has defeated me; not once, but many times over the course of my fifty-four years! I cannot begin to tell you how many times I have given this novel a go, and all for nought. We don't even want to talk about "Finnegan's Wake." I do not currently own a copy of "Ulysses," and nor will I buy another. I have met my match. I look forward to following your experience, and vicariously enjoying it. Thank you for visiting my blog too! Cheers! Chris

  3. Hello! Thanks for stopping by my blog! It's really cool that you're doing this, too. I'm looking forward to reading more of your posts. I'm just going to do mine once a month, so it'll be interesting to see how you've been getting on week by week. "Circe" is one hell of a chapter, but no matter how weird it gets slog on. It's well worth it. Best of luck to you!

  4. Thank you gentlemen for your words of encouragement!

    Ed, I was sick last week and even nightly doses of Nyquil didn't give me these types of hallucinations!


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