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Ulysses > 8. Lestrygonians

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message 1: by Thomas (new)

Thomas | 4430 comments After Aeolus declares Odysseus “hateful to the immortals” and sends him away, he and his crew land on the shore of the Lestrygonians. Odysseus sends three of his men to find out what sort of men, "eaters of bread," live in that country. They soon find out that the Lestrygonians are not “eaters of bread” but eaters of men when one of the crew is seized and prepared for dinner. The other two race back to the ship, but the alarm is sounded and soon the Lestrygonians are pelting Odysseus’s ships with man-sized boulders and spearing the men like fish. Only Odysseus’s ship escapes.

It is about 1 o’clock and Mr. Bloom is feeling a little withdrawn from hunger. The theme of hunger and eating and food runs through the whole episode.

At the start of the episode a sombre young Y.M.C.A man places a “throwaway” in Bloom’s hand advertising a revival meeting of Dr. John Alexander Dowie, an American evangelist. Bloom judges the throwaway on the merits of its advertising rather than its religious content.

He notices the sisters of Stephen Dedalus outside Dillon’s auctionrooms selling off their old furniture. “Home always breaks up when the mother goes,” Bloom thinks.

Bloom throws the “throwaway” into the Liffey. “Elijah thirty-two feet per sec is coming.” The gulls are not fooled, but Bloom feels for them and buys two Banbury cakes and throws them into the river for the birds. Manna from heaven.

He notices an advertising posted on a rowboat advertising trousers. He wonders if the company must pay rent to the Dublin corporation, but “how can you own water really?” “Because life is a stream.” (a phrase that repeats.) His mind trails to other odd places for advertising. He has seen advertising for venereal disease treatments in restrooms, and suddenly he thinks, “If he... O! Eh? No... No. No,no, I don’t believe it. He wouldn’t surely?”

Bloom sees a file of sandwich-board men advertising Hely’s, a stationer that Bloom began working for when he and Molly were married. He reminisces about the past, including some of Molly’s past suitors.

At this point he runs into Mrs. Breen, who is waiting for her husband. Mr.Denis Breen has received a postcard that says “U.P: up”, which for some reason he finds threatening. He is consulting Menton about a lawsuit. Bloom and Mrs. Breen discuss Mina Purefoy, who has been in labor for three days when another odd character, Cashel Boyle O’Connor Fitzmaurice Tisdall Farrell, passes by. Bloom finds him amusing. “Watch!” he says. “He always walks outside the lampposts.”

After his talk with Mrs. Breen, Bloom becomes somewhat despondent, thinking about the ordeal of Mrs. Purefoy. "This is the very worst hour of the day... Feel as if I had been eaten and spewed. " He notices the Irish writer A.E. (George Russell) talking to young woman and he wonders if she might be one of the women who responded to his ad for a "lady typist."

Bloom enters a restaurant but is disgusted by the "lestrygonians" inside. "Couldn't eat a morsel here. .. I hate dirty eaters." Eventually he makes his way to Davy Byrne's. Nosey Flynn greets him and asks after Molly, which brings up the singing engagement that Boylan is "getting up" for her. Bloom enjoys a gorgonzola cheese sandwich ("with relish of disgust" after the mention of Boylan) and a glass of burgundy. (Which is now traditional fare for those celebrating Bloomsday in Dublin.)

He feels better after eating, and remembers a tender moment that he shared with Molly on a picnic to the hill of Howth. "Softly she gave me in my mouth seedcake warm and chewed." Bloom admires the curved oaken slab in the bar and imagines statues of Venus, Juno, Pygmalion and Galatea. "Nectar, imagine it drinking electricity: god's food." But Bloom is so fascinated by human biology that he feels the need to check the goddess statues in the National Museum to see if there is an outlet where the nectar exits.

When Bloom leaves to empty his bladder the others customers in the pub talk about him behind his back. Do we learn anything about Bloom from his neighbors that we don't hear in his interior monologue?

Finally, he leaves Davy Byrnes for the National Museum and Library. He helps a blind stripling to cross the street. Mundane thoughts occur to him when he is stopped in his tracks by the sight of the "worst man in Dublin" himself, Boylan. (Metaphorically the King of the Lestrygonians.) Bloom escapes without being noticed. Safe!

How does Bloom manage his escape?

http://www.davybyrnes.com/history/


message 2: by Thomas (new)

Thomas | 4430 comments Patrice wrote: "I think this chapter demonstrates Bloom's compassion, maybe the thing that SD is short on. He feeds the birds, he walks a blind person across the street, etc. He cares about others. "

Absolutely! I love that after he throws away the "Elijah thirty-two feet per sec" that he notices the gulls aren't fooled, but he knows they're hungry, so he buys them some cakes. Who buys food for gulls?

Bloom's imagination is ephemeral and quotidian, but it is caring. Stephen's imagination is grand and philosophical, but sort of cold.


message 3: by Sue (new)

Sue Pit (cybee) | 329 comments As to an earlier question re why Bloom no longer is intimate with Molly. Some insight may be provided on about p. 164 (depending upon your text) wherein Bloom is musing about Molly: " I was happier then. Or was that I? ….Twenty eight I was. She was twenty-three when we left Lombard street west something changed. Could never like it again after Rudy. Can't bring back time. Like holding water in your hand…."


message 4: by Lily (last edited Jan 22, 2015 11:52AM) (new)

Lily (joy1) | 5030 comments Patrice wrote: "I didn't understand the Elijah thirty two feet per sec. Just re-read it and still don't understand what it means...."

Elijah, who reportedly rode his chariot live to the heavens, instead is in free fall towards the earth?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Equation...


message 5: by Thomas (new)

Thomas | 4430 comments The "Elijah" is the advertisement for the evangelist, Dr. John Alexander Dowie, that the YMCA man gives Bloom at the beginning of the episode. Bloom throws it into the Liffey and imagines it falling (at 32 feet per sec).


message 6: by Thomas (last edited Jan 22, 2015 09:07PM) (new)

Thomas | 4430 comments Patrice wrote: "just looked it up. Bloom was based on Joyce's good friend Aron Schmitz (sp?)

I hadn't realized that Bloom's father converted to Protestantism, and married a Protestant. Odd. So Bloom would have..."


That was Ettore Schmitz, or Italo Svevo, the Italian writer Joyce knew in Trieste. But Bloom was also based on a man named Alfred Hunter, but I don't want to say why until a bit later. And in many ways, Bloom was also based on Joyce himself.

But now I'm curious -- where does Joyce say Bloom's father converted? I guess I missed that part.

I'm wondering if Irish nationalism was tied to the Catholic Church. It's all so complicated!

Catholics were persecuted by the British because they were unwilling subjects of the British empire. (Though many converted, often to avoid starvation.) Being a Catholic was more a matter of identity or heritage. Just like Bloom is labeled a Jew whether or not he believes in or practices Judaism, so a Catholic was a Catholic regardless of personal belief. So there's plenty of hypocrisy involved when someone like Simon Dedalus treats Bloom with contempt. He is treating him the same way that the British treated Irish Catholics. Like all bigotry, it is thoughtless and crude.


message 7: by Thomas (last edited Jan 22, 2015 10:00PM) (new)

Thomas | 4430 comments Patrice wrote: "I have no hope of finding anything about the conversion in the text at this point so I wiki'd Leopold Bloom. According to wiki Bloom's father became a Protestant and married an Irish Protestant. ..."

I'm sure it will come up in the text at some point then. There are so many details that they're easy to miss.

And I agree that it's complicated. Like life. Despite all his experimentation, Joyce was committed to a realistic expression of everyday life. with all its complications.

He wrote every one of these characters, they all have to have some part of him.

And that is exactly the subject of the next episode, Scylla and Charybdis: the consubstantiality of the author (Shakespeare) and his work (Hamlet) !


message 8: by Thomas (new)

Thomas | 4430 comments Sue wrote: "As to an earlier question re why Bloom no longer is intimate with Molly. Some insight may be provided on about p. 164 (depending upon your text) wherein Bloom is musing about Molly: "I was happier then. Or was that I? ….Twenty eight I was. She was twenty-three when we left Lombard street west something changed. Could never like it again after Rudy. Can't bring back time. Like holding water in your hand…."

Something changed. What was it? Was it her or him, or both? We don't have enough info to know exactly, but what could be going through Bloom's mind?

Thanks for pointing this out, Sue.


message 9: by Adelle (new)

Adelle | 128 comments Patrice at #2 wrote: "In the Odyssey I read "eaters of bread" to mean civilized men. Civilization began when men started to farm. Hunter gatherers or cannibals are neither civilized nor "eaters of bread".
When he go..."


Oh, I quite like that.


message 10: by Adelle (new)

Adelle | 128 comments Elijah. at 5, 6, 7. I liked each of those posts. The "down" instead of up. The "science" over the religious. And yet perhaps the religious, too, as Bloom is in a way casting his bread upon the waters.

I want to add one more. Bit of a scandal in 1903 with Dowie, Elijah the Restorer.

But this caught my thinking:

"The second coming of Elijah is to precede the day of judgment. Malachi 4:5-6 says, 'Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord. And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers.'"

From a book of Allusions. Weldon Thornton.


message 11: by Lily (last edited Jan 23, 2015 08:40AM) (new)

Lily (joy1) | 5030 comments Adelle wrote: "...I want to add one more. Bit of a scandal in 1903 with Dowie, Elijah the Restorer. ..."

Oh, my, I didn't realize Dowie was such a "big name."

http://healingandrevival.com/BioJADow...

http://www.apostasyalert.org/Elijah.htm

Ulysses related entries: http://www.facstaff.bucknell.edu/rick...

From a book about him: https://books.google.com/books?id=8Sg...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Ale...

More than we ever wanted to know about John Dowie.


message 12: by Thomas (new)

Thomas | 4430 comments Patrice wrote: "Men's brains vs woman's brains? Different, I think!"

I'll be interested to hear what you think of the last episode, which is Molly's stream of consciousness. Stephen and Bloom are not only men, they are partly based on Joyce himself, so I would think getting inside their heads was fairly easy. Molly is a whole different matter. Even though she was based on Joyce's wife, I wonder if he got the nuances right...


message 13: by Thomas (new)

Thomas | 4430 comments Adelle wrote: "And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers."

There is very little in this book that is incidental. I don't know if Joyce had this passage in mind, but he certainly knew the role of Elijah. He must be associated with Bloom for some reason...


message 14: by Wendel (new)

Wendel (wendelman) | 609 comments In this episode we learn that while Bloom may be a down-to-earth character, he is not uncivilized. He is not a Lestrygonian (of course we don't know who these Lestrygonians are exactly - D.H. Lawrence, my neighbor, or I myself perhaps, throwing out judgements from my Olympian Archie Bunker armchair?). And while I never thought of Joyce (or anyone from Ireland) as a moralist, I guess this episode is about the importance of temperance, both in a physical and a moral sense.

Everything turns around food here, but we are not just concerned with the temporal. So we start with belief-systems demanding sacrifices (blood or money - it's a paying game), the red blood of the lamb, for purification. Whose blood - Bloom’s? Watch him feeding the seagulls - Hostia or Proshphora, phosphor, Christ’s luminescent body! But we don’t need to take this string of thoughts in any literal sense to admire Bloom’s exceptional humanity. He is not confused by the apparent contradiction between relishing a kidney and ramming knifefuls of cabbage down your throat at Burton's. Temperance is the word: judge carefully, don’t think you posses the truth (don’t even use the word).

What is true (sic) for food, is also true for other things. You can’t live without hurting others, but you can still be compassionate. Bloom is - he prefers a moral pub, though some reason that such a thing cannot exist.


message 15: by Wendel (new)

Wendel (wendelman) | 609 comments We also receive another password here: parallax. Or Pepper’s ghost: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pepper%2.... About the subjectivity of experience - doesn't mean that there is no objectivity (though objects may exist only as quantities, good for science).

Viewpoints also differ in time. But not every point of view is of equal worth. Young Stephen is more fluent, but the older Bloom is wiser (and sadder?).


message 16: by Wendel (new)

Wendel (wendelman) | 609 comments For Bloom all Lestrygonians are men. Not so for Homer:

and before the walls they met a girl, drawing water,
117 Antiphates’ strapping daughter —king of the Laestrygonians.
118 She’d come down to a clear running spring, Artacia,
where the local people came to fill their pails.
120 My shipmates clustered round her, asking questions:
who was king of the realm? who ruled the natives here?
She waved at once to her father’s high-roofed halls.
They entered the sumptuous palace, found his wife inside —
124 a woman huge as a mountain crag who filled them all with horror.
Straightaway she summoned royal Antiphates from assembly,
her husband, who prepared my crew a barbarous welcome.
Snatching one of my men, he tore him up for dinner —
the other two sprang free and reached the ships.

Odyssee book X, translation Robert Fagles


message 17: by Wendel (last edited Jan 24, 2015 04:24AM) (new)

Wendel (wendelman) | 609 comments Any ideas on the absurd story of the postcard U.P.:up? Who(m?) does mr. Breen intends to sue?


message 18: by Wendel (new)

Wendel (wendelman) | 609 comments Patrice wrote @9: "I read a book by a Harvard physician, Sherwin Nuland "How we Die". In it he said that throughout his entire career he had never see anyone die without the family blaming themselves. For some reason, everyone believes there is something they could have or should have done to save their loved ones...."

So true, we can't save them - or in any other way make up for our shortcomings.


message 19: by Wendel (new)

Wendel (wendelman) | 609 comments Thomas wrote @13: "...Ettore Schmitz, or Italo Svevo, the Italian writer Joyce knew in Trieste. But Bloom was also based on a man named Alfred Hunter ... And in many ways, Bloom was also based on Joyce himself.."

Ettore Schmitz is the author of Zeno's Conscience, a major modern classic, published in 1923. It is not on the bookshelf of this group, but deserves a place - if there is no strict time limit.

Is it possible that his reputation is greater in Europe than in the USA (or is this a naive question?).

Bloom indeed reminds me (vaguely, it's a long time since I read the book) of Zeno, a chain-smoking Bloom.


message 20: by Adelle (new)

Adelle | 128 comments Wendel wrote: "In this episode we learn ..."

Nice post at 26. I like thinking of that concept... " So we start with belief-systems demanding sacrifices (blood or money - it's a paying game), the red blood of the lamb, for purification. Whose blood '


message 21: by Adelle (new)

Adelle | 128 comments "Pineapple rock, lemon platt, butter scotch. A sugarsticky girl shoveling scoopfuls of creams for a christian brother. Some school treat. Bad for their tummiers. Lozenge and comfit manufacturer to His Majesty the King. God. Save. Our. Sitting on his throne, sucking red jujubes white."

?????

Maybe..... this is Joyce making a comment on British/Irish/church relations.

Candies are empty. Candies are bad for the belly, and give no strength.

Maybe "a sugarsticky girl" is meant to suggest Mary. Correct me if I'm wrong... doesn't the Catholic Church focus quite a bit on Mary? So maybe Joyce/Bloom is thinking here that the Catholic Church is keeping the Irish people weak by feeding them the Catholic religion. ??? That the Catholic Church, by way of religion, offers a soothing lozenge and a comforting comfit (a seed covered with sugar)???

Maybe... Bloom is saying that the "Christian Brothers," too, are handing out empty candies to the Irish. But perhaps that is NOT what he is suggesting.

But he uses the lower-case "c" and "b." So perhaps he's referring to the Christian Brothers sans their religiousness.

I found this:

"The Irish Christian Brothers were strong supporters of Irish nationalism, the Irish Language revival and Irish sports. In most of their schools in Ireland Gaelic football and hurling were encouraged as opposed to other sports and there were even examples of boys being punished for playing soccer."

Stephen Dedalus, if I remembered, liked hurling. Stephen Dedalus, we are thinking, yes?, was in favor of Irish nationalism.

His Majesty the King...Britain... sucking the flavor, the life, out of the Irish?

I also found while googling, that jujube candies hadn't yet been invented. Not until the 1920s. First I had thought this might have been some veiled reference to the Jews. "Jujubes."

But jujubes were a fruit. Some jujube trees were called "The Thorn of Christ."



http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christia...
http://www.ethnobiomed.com/content/1/1/8
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irish_Fa...


message 22: by Adelle (new)

Adelle | 128 comments That potato.

So maybe Bloom carries that potato around with him all the time as a reminder that, like Scarlett O'Hara, he'll never go hungry again.

I can't remember what Scarlett pulled from the ground there at Tara, shaking her fist, "I'll never go hungry again!" But maybe it was a potato.

From the Famine of 1879 in Ireland... much hunger... 'though not as many actual deaths as during the some of the earlier famines.

And there's that scene.... Molly.... starting to fill out that elephantgray dress. Maybe Molly had once been thin, thin, thin... hungry... like the Arab, like the bony figure crossing the street. And Bloom was happy to see her finally gaining some weight. Maybe Molly eats now... because she always remembers deep down what it is to be hungry.


???


message 23: by Adelle (new)

Adelle | 128 comments Oh! I forget to mention. What sent me down this path was that sentence on the 2nd page of the chapter.

"Undermines the constitution."

Thought Bloom might have been referring to both the constitution of the people (their health) and the constitution of Ireland.

There was a The Constitution of 1903. I think this is the link.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_I...


message 24: by Thomas (last edited Jan 24, 2015 10:53AM) (new)

Thomas | 4430 comments Patrice wrote: "I looked up Elijah again:

"Elijah is the greatest wonder worker of the prophets of Israel since Moses. He was the beneficiary of one miracle (BEING FED BY RAVENS DURING A FAMINE) and the perform..."


Nice catch!

There is a loose "Biblical" reading of Ulysses, just as there is a loose "Homeric" one. In this reading, Stephen is parallel to Christ. "Telemachus" is the baptism of Christ, "Nestor" is Jesus among the teachers, "Aeolus" is the ministry of Christ (Stephen's parable alludes to the parables in Matthew, especially Matthew 13, the parable of the sower.) And Bloom is associated with Old Testament sometimes, as we see with the Elijah trope here.

It all comes together in the Trinity metaphor that recurs to Stephen. The unity of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost ties things together, so allusions to any of these are important as the book progresses.


message 25: by Thomas (new)

Thomas | 4430 comments Adelle wrote: "That potato.

So maybe Bloom carries that potato around with him all the time as a reminder that, like Scarlett O'Hara, he'll never go hungry again.

I can't remember what Scarlett pulled fro..."


The potato is interesting because it isn't native to Ireland, (it came from America) but it became a symbol of Ireland anyway. Kind of like Bloom himself... not entirely native by heritage, but as Irish as they come.


message 26: by Laurel (new)

Laurel Hicks (goodreadscomlaurele) | 2438 comments Patrice wrote: "I looked up Elijah again:

"Elijah is the greatest wonder worker of the prophets of Israel since Moses. He was the beneficiary of one miracle (BEING FED BY RAVENS DURING A FAMINE) and the perform..."


John the Baptist, who was the forerunner of Christ, was the second Elijah.


message 27: by Thomas (last edited Jan 24, 2015 06:22PM) (new)

Thomas | 4430 comments Patrice wrote: "I kind of thought of Bloom as Christ.
"


It might be a matter of parallax -- so far we haven't seen Bloom and Stephen together, so we're looking at Stephen through one eye and Bloom through the other. Or it could be the mystery of the Trinity at work -- that one is the other, and all three are one. Stephen tries to prove this, metaphorically, in the next episode, using Shakespeare and Hamlet as an example. The lines between Father and Son, and between artist and the work of art, do get blurred.


message 28: by Thomas (new)

Thomas | 4430 comments It just occurred to me that Bloom is a prophet in one respect -- when he unwittingly gives Bantam Lyons a tip on winner of the Ascot Gold Cup in Lotus-Eaters. Lyons asks to borrow Bloom's paper and Bloom tells him he can keep it because he was just about to throw it away. Lyons takes this as a tip, since one of the horses is called Throwaway. The advertisement for Dowie is also called a "throwaway."


message 29: by Adelle (new)

Adelle | 128 comments Patrice wrote: "I've been thinking about the scene where Bloom sees Boylan and runs into the library. It hurts my heart, the more I think about it. I also thought it interesting that he ran into the library for ..."

The library, it seems to me, is the perfect place for Bloom to run and hide. He hides in words all the time. Words. .. keep out the thoughts he doesn't want to have to think.


message 30: by Linda (new)

Linda | 322 comments Thomas wrote: "Absolutely! I love that after he throws away the "Elijah thirty-two feet per sec" that he notices the gulls aren't fooled, but he knows they're hungry, so he buys them some cakes. Who buys food for gulls?"

Bloom is becoming more likeable to me upon each further reading, and this part just made me smile even more.


message 31: by Linda (new)

Linda | 322 comments Sue wrote: "As to an earlier question re why Bloom no longer is intimate with Molly. Some insight may be provided on about p. 164 (depending upon your text) wherein Bloom is musing about Molly: " I was happier then. Or was that I? ….Twenty eight I was. She was twenty-three when we left Lombard street west something changed. Could never like it again after Rudy. Can't bring back time. Like holding water in your hand…." "

I don't remember the topic of Bloom not being intimate with Molly any longer, but I'm glad you brought up this quote this week. The "being happier back then" part struck a chord with me. But I didn't know what the "could never like it again after Rudy" meant. Now it makes sense that he could be referring to being with Molly.


message 32: by Linda (new)

Linda | 322 comments Patrice wrote: "How many men worry about calves going to slaughter? And there's the change.
For breakfast he is a meat eater. Devouring organ meats "with relish". No thought as to where that meat came from.

Now, by lunch, he is hurting for the animals. He wants a vegetarian lunch! What a change! Why? Somehow his level of compassion has risen dramatically between breakfast and lunch! "


I noticed this as well, Patrice. But, being someone myself who goes through phases of being strictly vegetarian because of my compassion for animals (among other things), to being "somewhat" vegetarian at other times (then feeling very guilty for doing so), I could understand if this was the case for him too. I started wondering how many people during this era were vegetarian? I assume not as many as today, but I could be wrong. Maybe we just hear about it more today.

But I wonder after reading your post, if something DID happen since the morning to cause him to show more compassion? Like you pointed out, there sure were a lot of examples.


message 33: by Linda (last edited Jan 25, 2015 02:42PM) (new)

Linda | 322 comments Adelle wrote: "And there's that scene.... Molly.... starting to fill out that elephantgray dress. Maybe Molly had once been thin, thin, thin... hungry..."

I thought this part meant she was pregnant and starting to show.

But I like your potato-reminder theory. I wonder what will become of the potato.


message 34: by Linda (new)

Linda | 322 comments Adelle wrote: "The library, it seems to me, is the perfect place for Bloom to run and hide. He hides in words all the time. Words. .. keep out the thoughts he doesn't want to have to think."

Oh, I like that, Adelle. Nice!


message 35: by Adelle (new)

Adelle | 128 comments Linda wrote: "Adelle wrote: "And there's that scene.... Molly.... starting to fill out that elephantgray dress. Maybe Molly had once been thin, thin, thin... hungry..."

I thought this part meant she was pregnan..."


That was my original thought, too, Linda... Thinking that Molly was pregnant. But after I read about the famine on 1879... 1904 minus 16 would be when Milly was conceived... so 1889. And Molly would have to be at least 16 when Molly was conceived...so Molly was born before the famine. Maybe, I thought, thin during the famine. I know that one guy said she was an armful..which would suggest plumpness...but maybe he meant quite an armful to mean she was actively there. .as in "she's quite a handful." Meaning wild or stubborn or defiant or something. ..not "plump." Could be either.


message 36: by Charles (new)

Charles Wendel wrote: "Thomas wrote @13: "...Ettore Schmitz, or Italo Svevo, the Italian writer Joyce knew in Trieste. But Bloom was also based on a man named Alfred Hunter ... And in many ways, Bloom was also based on J..."

AKA The Confessions of Zeno. Svevo (Schmitz) was a pupil of Joyce's in Trieste. The book survives because Joyce took an interest in it. Svevo is often thought to have originated the stream of consciousness method that Joyce uses (and brought to perfection) in Ulysses.


message 37: by Zippy (new)

Zippy | 155 comments Wendel wrote: "Any ideas on the absurd story of the postcard U.P.:up? Who(m?) does mr. Breen intends to sue?"

I was going to ignore it, but it came up again later in the chapter, so Joyce wanted us to pay attention. So like a good little chump I googled it.

http://www.jjon.org/joyce-s-allusions...

I can't say I'm altogether convinced that anything posted there is credible, but I'm not sure this entire book isn't some 100-year-old joke.


message 38: by Linda (new)

Linda | 322 comments Zippy wrote: "So like a good little chump I googled it."

Laughing here!

And thanks for the link - I the first interpretation, which would fit with your 100-year-old joke theory.


message 39: by Thomas (new)

Thomas | 4430 comments Zippy wrote: "Wendel wrote: "Any ideas on the absurd story of the postcard U.P.:up? Who(m?) does mr. Breen intends to sue?"

I was going to ignore it, but it came up again later in the chapter, so Joyce wanted u..."


Joyce gives us a plethora of minute details about the most mundane things, but he doesn't tell us some things that we really would like to know. He doesn't tell us what "U.P.:up" means, but then he doesn't tell us what Bloom looks like either. The representations of Bloom that have circulated since Ulysses was published are based on a cartoon that Joyce drew: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia... But unless I've missed it, he never says what Bloom looks like exactly.

What is he up to? Is he taking a rise out of us? Or is there a method to his madness?


message 40: by Thomas (new)

Thomas | 4430 comments Patrice wrote: "Helen is never described in the Iliad."

Interesting... I don't think we know what Molly looks like either. We know she is attractive, like Helen, but in what way Joyce doesn't tell us. This is one artist's effort: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Molly_Bl...

(...the trash can in the photo is a nice touch. Why do I suspect Joyce would approve? )


message 41: by Wendel (new)

Wendel (wendelman) | 609 comments Zippy wrote @58: "Wendel wrote: "Any ideas on the absurd story of the postcard U.P.:up? ..."

Thanks for the link - though I do not find this 'exagmination' really convincing. So, if no one has an explanation, then maybe it is just an absurdity? After all, this was written in the early days of Dada. And I guess Joyce did enjoy sending the professors in wrong directions.

But no, Ulysses is composed with such diligence, every detail seems to serve a purpose and to fit in a plan (even if we miss many or most of the connections) - making it such a wonderful plaything for the literati. Even if we should eventually conclude that the whole has no meaning*, the details still do.

* From Dada we may learn that we should not expect art to have meaning when or if life hasn’t any.


message 42: by Wendel (new)

Wendel (wendelman) | 609 comments Thinking about Bloom and Stephen, a few associations (no warranty).

Bloom: tolerance, empathy, independent, practical - passive, undereducated, ineffective.

Stephen: scholastic, futile, sentimental, dependent - honest, strong, chivalric.

As an artist Stephen has a capacity for form but lacks content - Bloom has plenty content, but no form. Together they might become Don Quixote, the Ingenious Gentleman. But on his own, Bloom realizes that Boylan is just a windmill, no threat to Dulcinea.


message 43: by Linda (new)

Linda | 322 comments Thomas wrote: "The representations of Bloom that have circulated since Ulysses was published are based on a cartoon that Joyce drew: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia... But unless I've missed it, he never says what Bloom looks like exactly."

Hmmm. Well, that's not how I've pictured Bloom. I've thought of him as taller (this sketch makes him seem a little bit short and squat, perhaps because of the roundness of the face), and I pictured his face more rectangular and thinned out a bit. And I'm not sure if I had put a mustache on my Bloom, I don't think so.


message 44: by Suzann (new)

Suzann | 358 comments Wendel wrote: "Thinking about Bloom and Stephen, a few associations (no warranty).

Bloom: tolerance, empathy, independent, practical - passive, undereducated, ineffective."


Bloom's native intelligence, curiosity, active mind, is an asset Joyce appreciates. Formal education is found wanting in the school master Mr. Deasy, the Jesuits. If Bloom is "undereducated" I think he has a superior understanding of the world. I wonder if Joyce would credit his formal education with providing the depth of knowledge he demonstrates.

"Passive" is a term for Bloom that gives pause. Qualities of patience, sensitivity, willingness to please, empathy are the antithesis of brash, decisive action. I think of passive as not willing or able to act. Bloom, however, seems to know what he wants, but delays action.

I'm curious about what Nosey Flynn says,"..Bloom has his good points. But there's one thing he'll never do." ....Nothing in black and white...." So what is it?


message 45: by Suzann (new)

Suzann | 358 comments Linda wrote: "Thomas wrote: "The representations of Bloom that have circulated since Ulysses was published are based on a cartoon that Joyce drew:" I've thought of him as taller (this sketch makes him seem a little bit short and squat..."

The description of Odysseus that Atwood uses in Penelopiad is short-legged, not attractive to women for his looks, but for his understanding of their wants and needs. Bloom is a woman's man and his inter-qualities are what captivates Molly. Blazes Boylan is the looker and lacks substance, at least I imagine.


message 46: by Lily (last edited Jan 26, 2015 03:43PM) (new)

Lily (joy1) | 5030 comments Wendel wrote: "ZThanks for the link - though I do not find this 'exagmination' really convincing. So, if no one has an explanation, then maybe it is just an absurdity? After all, this was written in the early days of Dada. And I guess Joyce did enjoy sending the professors in wrong directions.

But no, Ulysses is composed with such diligence, every detail seems to serve a purpose and to fit in a plan (even if we miss many or most of the connections) - making it such a wonderful plaything for the literati. Even if we should eventually conclude that the whole has no meaning*, the details still do.

* From Dada we may learn that we should not expect art to have meaning when or if life hasn’t any. ..."


Wendel -- that post is too good not to repeat it! (I wonder at Eman's reactions, if any, to your comments about Dada.) I thank Zippy for sharing the essay at http://www.jjon.org/joyce-s-allusions... ! I probably found it more convincing than Wendel did....


message 47: by Lily (last edited Jan 26, 2015 11:49AM) (new)

Lily (joy1) | 5030 comments In terms of the physicality of Bloom and Molly, the documentary here either created or fit my perceptions -- probably both directions, since I had read substantial parts of Ulysses before viewing this. (I don't particularly recommend viewing it if you want the story to unfold from the text and haven't finished it yet, although the film here does not cover the entire novel.) I haven't figured out how to determine who are acting Bloom and Molly.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qI7Zn...


message 48: by Wendel (new)

Wendel (wendelman) | 609 comments Patrice wrote: "I had a thought... could Bloom be Christ..."

There can be no doubt that Bloom is associated with Christ. Remember Bloom feeding cake to the seagulls? To make sure that we are not dealing with ordinary carbs, Joyce gave us the string of concepts I noted in my post @26 (second paragraph).


message 49: by Lily (last edited Jan 26, 2015 01:55PM) (new)

Lily (joy1) | 5030 comments All the ambiguity of the concept of "Holy Trinity", including co-existence forever and ever, since forever?


message 50: by Wendel (last edited Jan 26, 2015 02:28PM) (new)

Wendel (wendelman) | 609 comments Hm, we are dealing with inverted (?) Jesuits here (both the creator and at least one of his creations), so yeah, why not. But that will not make the thing easier to understand, I'm afraid.


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