Crtd 14-06-05 Lastedit
Beating the beaten track of
It would be a hard book, I was told. In a BBC item about "the book you would like to read but unfortunately never had time for yet", Ulysses ranked top. The ones who claim to have read it, do so with an air of elevation. You would have to know your literary classics and Irish esoterics. To me, outsider first reader, the title seems far-fetched to say the least. When first out in 1922 welcomed thus: "...and here it is at last, as large as a telephone directory or a family Bible, and with many of the literary and social characteristics of each!" I haven't a bloody thing to do, let me take it up.
But it turns out unreadable. You can only study it. As an academic. Well, a bit of luck there: as such I used to hire myself out a few decades and got away with it [note]. So study it'll be. I google a bit [note], collect the standard secondary literature and annotations to check how the herd has been grazing it.
I found too much rather than too little. Tornadoes of academic folly. Different Joyce schools. Scholarly trench wars. The heir to the book's rights an erratic maniac chimpanzee touchable only by his keepers. I find a handsome book of Ulysses annotations thrice the size of Ulysses itself. Gifford. I buy it. Turns out neatly keyed, but not to my Penguin. To a Ulysses edition by Gabler of 1986. This edition turns out to have been scolded, then hung to burn in hell after a major battle in the academic Joyce community [note]. An unburnt left over copy stood for sale on internet, real cheap. That's 3. Then the free Gutenberg e-version. No edition version specified. No chapter numbers, not even leads at new "chapters". That points to the early editions. But skimming a history of editions, checking some changes, I conclude that these Gutenberg people seem to have taken some corrections from editions later than the one they used. Who cares, even Greek myths come in many versions. Finally: twenty-odd summaries, synopseis, analyseis on internet. In sum: the landscape in front of me not just endangered by encroachment of human civilization. Battered is the word.
And oh, I forgot: after the book came out, Joyce gave to some readers, to help them understand the book, correspondence to Homer's verse and all that, some schemes unmistakably spreading the smell of a rat. [note]
Ready. Page 1.
I get parachuted on the roof of a shore side "Martello" defense tower dating from Napoleonic times. A great view over Dublin bay. No rain! But my peace and delight are spoiled within a split second: a blasting self-centred manic, Buck Mulligan emerges. Not the kind of guy who needs any company to keep his speech running. My God! Somehow fearing, even when alone, his content insufficiently impressive, he wraps it in petty erudition: "Introibo ad altare Dei", are his first words. "I will enter to the altar of God", defective language. Bible? Could be: even today has not lost all marks of its earliest translations into Latin, desperately defective, not written by Latin native speakers but by poor lice-ridden uneducated savage foreign intruders from the Middle East. [note]
The repulsive mock priest, medical student, came up here from the dark interior of the tower, let out for dwelling it seems, for the light. With a bowl of lather. To shave. But - short of audience? - he summons up Stephen Dedalus, insists calling him "Kinch".
This clearly is not Stephen's first time to be foamed under with misaligned erudition. Our locutor is mainly busy with not believing in God and loudly proud of this distinguished occupation. Stephen seems to share the hobby, lower volume but nevertheless up to the point of recently having declined a request by his mother, at the moment she died, to kneel down with the rest at her bed side and pray for her. This bravery left him with a scar which reopened the first time he visited Mulligan, whom he heard to his mother: "O, it's only Dedalus whose mother is beastly dead". If now you would expect the shaving raver to have no memory of this, and, after being reminded, to embark on its lapidary defense, you are perfectly right.
Stephen tells he will get his school teacher's salary today. Mulligan, whose face brightens up at the prospect of booze, estimates: 4 pounds, solicits for 1. Pledged. Stephen's thoughts later touch on himself having paid the rent for the tower. When leaving for his school he gets solicited for a twopence for a pint. Stephen throws two pennies. Mulligan: "The Ship, half twelve". Stephen: "good".
Catholic freshmen in paganism [note] occupied with the consolidation of their new vantage point. You lucky reader of this, we done 20 pages already. And it was a touch job.
I'm taken to a nearby boys' school where Stephen is a teacher ("usher"), desperate as ought but of the kind I wouldn't mind to have had. While gently steering the boys' brains around between their learning items, his nerve cells, inaudibly outside his skull, fire a fortune of resounding philosophy cartridges high in the air, BANG BANG. Forward in the bushes: no dogs to check for game hit. [note]
When after classes he receives his salary, the headmaster's fatherly teachings in misogyny, anti-Semitism and high pitch frugality maxims trigger in his mind a financial pop up: "Mulligan, nine pounds, three pairs of socks, one pair brogues, ties. Curran, ten guineas, McCann, one guinea, Fred Ryan, two shillings. Temple, two lunches, Russel, one guinea, Cousins, ten shillings, Bob Reynolds, half a guinea, Kohler, three guineas, Mrs McKernan, five week's board.
Buck Mulligan one of Stephen's creditors? Author! Please!
Choir of annotators: "11 AM. !"
Pocket filled, Stephen strides Westward along the bay it seems. Exercising some elementary philosophy of Observation and The Observed Object. There's time: is too early for his scheduled bar meeting ("The Ship") with the shaven raver, whom, I quickly skim forward, we'll stay free of this entire section. Peace.
The sea. And Stephen's thoughts. Thoughts of Time Space Matter Thought Life Death and what have you follow him, panting, chain-pulling heavy loads of learning. Obesitas mentis. [note] "Sir, had I read as much as you, I would have known as little" - Hobbes, to be honest. Stephen's own jest about his vain erudite pose and pretension fails to lessen the burden.
On reaching Aunt Sara's sea side cottage, Uncle Richie, lawyer or something, in bed with backache, forces Stephen on a whiskey and a knee-drummed whistled version of Ferrando's Aria de sortita. But shortly after, Stephen " ... halted. I have passed the way to aunt Sara's. Am I not going there? Seems not". Somewhere here the author's wife is gossiped to have given up reading.
We seem to walk on. Tide comes up. Stephen's thoughts return to his Paris student life from where he was called to his mother's deathbed. Paris. Studying sciences, sitting hard up in old Irish exile Kevin Egan's bar. Hero stories of prospectless rebels trying to get noticed by the Brits.
I buck up ("frog up" we say in Dutch), swimming around in stinking polluted Dublin bay debris, too dirty to hold on to, anyway insufficiently buoyant to keep you afloat. The swollen corpse of a drowned man about to wash ashore. Dublin, Sandymount Strand, Thursday, 16 June 1904 between eleven and twelve, or Stephen's mind only? Anyhow, no modern Gallo-Hellenic [note] pagan view on Death yet. To my relief.
But no illusions: still a long day to come, I 'll get it rubbed in.
Now we are in Dublin Town and accompany Mr. Leopold Bloom doing some uneventful early morning shopping, for a solid breakfast, his wife, Molly (Marion), widely praised soprano, not hungry, still sleeping.
Choir of annotators: "She'll fuck her impresario before the day is done"
Bloom goes for a pork kidney. On return he is heard picking the mail. "Poldi!". Summoned up, faithfully calls the entries on the arrival list and hands those addressed to her, something from their young daughter Milly, who recently left home to live in Mullingar and learn photography, and one reading: "Mrs. Marion Bloom". Ought to be: "Mrs. Leopold Bloom", but then, from the choir's musketeer: Mr. Blazes Boylan.
Bloom loves her. Sent down to make tea, once down it sounds: "Poldi!"
"Scald the teapot!".
By contrast, Homer's Calypso [note] defies my personal pocket feminology.
We seem to have a burial today, the name is Dignam.
Are readers entitled to enjoyment? Not in my view. Reading is mind-building. Steroids don't work, pure hardship the paradigm, you ought to suffer. Go for the headwind. Only to be obtained in expired copyright stuff. Which author in his senses would expect you to pay for what you deserve? [note] But small windfalls I meet. First, justly omniversally acclaimed among the cream of literary connoisseurs: Bloom's morning toilet visit. Rabelais outdone. Then 2. a dog, barking, running and sniffing on the beach, 3. an unforgettable swollen corpse bobbing in the wavelets just under the water surface, about to wash on the beach, with its shoal of small fish feasting in its cavities, 4. a cat, that I dreamt of the same night, by her charming presence earning a. some milk, fresh from the cow, and b. a piece of newspaper soaked in blood of a pork kidney carried home by a Jew.
In which we keep following Bloom roaming the streets of his Dublin town neighbourhood, dull morning hours. The author attempts to convey the boredom of the character by boring the reader. Even Bloom seems to feel bored meeting an acquaintance M'Coy, having to converse at a length politeness requires. Or? Bloom picked a letter from the post office addressed to a pseudonym. It must be a cumbersome procedure to make that work, postal statutory identification requirements and all that. What end? Love, it seems. Sender: "Martha". Text: dull cliché. Bloom on full alert, makes sure nobody notices. As a priest leaving a brothel. Envelope shredded and discretely disposed of. Kills some more time entering a Catholic church watching its ridiculous rituals pass.
Dignam's funeral. Bloom in horse coach retinue with three friends. Well, friendly acquaintances. Well, not unfriendly acquaintances. Mr. Power checks his seat cushion for dirt, consults Martin Cunningham, who seems to agree these are semen stains. Mr. Dedalus opts to shift the discussion by a laconic: "after all it's the most natural thing in the world".
Death from all sides, the inside not excepted. Jews don't do heaven but the author himself, raised as a catholic, has a painful scar where he tore it out. Death in this section feels catholic and traumatized post catholic, decisively unJewish. Bloom himself, mainly Molly's husband to the coach company, does feel Jewish though when the conversation touches on Reuben J. Dodd, solicitor and financial businesses, 34 Ormond Quay Upper. A Jew (in the book). Sensing the eagerness of his company, Reuben's regular debtors, to launch the jokes and anecdotes habitual to occasions like these, Bloom attempts to flee forward and take the lead in ridiculing Reuben, but fails.
The Choir of annotators' musketeer, Blazes Boylan, passes. Bloom shrinks. Years ago, Bloom's son Rudy died at birth, clinging on to life for another ten days, long enough to nestle himself in Bloom for ever, killing his lust, no, wrong, better: his urge to procreate, not his love, for Molly. More Jewish outsidership for Bloom when standing behind in the chapel, after all had knelt, he "dropped carefully his unfolded newspaper from his pocket and knelt his right knee upon it. He fitted his black hat gently on his left knee and, holding its brim, bent over piously." Not a Stephen: no bill to square with the Catholics. Nowhere man. But alive: kneeache.
And then alive high gear: while waiting for the end of the outdoor part of the ceremony, he gets haunted by a feverish stream of thoughts, somehow staying within the realm of the section's morbid theme, but with anxious centrifugal irony as if franticly trying to escape from it. While the reader pants following what often is more of an overheated standup comedian in a head with a closed mouth, whores on Turkish graveyards, love among the tombstones, save space burying them standing upright, poppies grow extraordinary well in places like this, high opium quality Chinese say, dead blood gives new life. Lots of maggots. People pray for their dead for a while then drop in their holes themselves, one after another. Out of the fryingpan of life into the fire of purgatory. But some of the buried might not be really dead. Error. Coffins should, from the inside, be lined up to a flag of distress for at least three days. We should record voices of the dying on grammophone. Put on old greatgrandfather: Kraahraark! Hellohellohello amafwully glad kraark ... kktpthsth. Those obese rats running around here would make short work of a fellow, while, I said, the reader pants following all this, the rest of the retinue becomes a background scene.
Kind notice: Please do not put Joyce-quotes in the spell checker.
The noisiest part of noisy Dublin centre, the crowded offices and three-four time clinking printing machine shops of two main newspapers. To the relief of the reader, Bloom here, in his job of canvasser for advertisements, in the witty exchanges between in and out stumbling crowds of staff and idlers, of voices eager to have their verbal caprices heard over competing sound sources, is much less of an outer planet than he was on the graveyard. Yet, the in-crowd of perky high brow spenders of the newspapers' budget and their bystanders, including young Stephen Dedalus, looks down on someone like Bloom, just bringing in the money. But no dents in Bloom's confidence it seems. He keeps the eyes on the ball, until he looses it, this time: his proposed ad deal gets declined. Shit happens.
But not before the author forces the reader to dig up a complicated local Irish resistance murder story of the 1880s, just to understand the group's discussion, too passionate to take Bloom's phone call to finalize that ad, of the merits of a Gallaher, journalist, who timely and admirably made successful newspaper fodder out of it. Live the serious part of your life in in Trieste, never ever to return, apart from one single short visit, to write stuff the interest in which fades at the beaches of Ireland if not already at the outskirts of Dublin. In the oppressor's language.
And then harvesting global expert praise for it, enthusing - as he consciously planned - platoons of academic literary puzzlers all over the world for a century, quite some of whom spending more of their life on the book than Joyce. The Spark notes guide on Ulysses: "... within the headlines and within the general text of the episode [Aeolus], over sixty different rhetorical figures (such as hyperbole, metonymy, chiasmus) are demonstrated ...". I read this after finishing the episode and failing to notice any (unless hard to hide palindrome got counted). Would have cost me a full year in 1922 to go and find them all after hearing the tip, now, a century of Joycian academic fury and internet building later, a day, but too windy here. I read on.
Midday. Bloom's thoughts dwell on eating, food, making and feeding children, generally the continuous transformation and turnover of biomass, the earth surface's chain ring of creatures using other creatures' tissue to build their bodies and provide their energy. We're out for lunch too.
It started to dawn on me, but Bloom's thoughts touch frivolously upon a Mrs. Dandrade in thus far the clearest way suggesting that the death of his baby son Rudy killed his lust only selectively. Poor Molly. But to avoid a chance-bump into Molly's "impresario" no brisk side move can be drastic enough. Bloom jumps in the first hole offering itself. A Museum.
Once again he touches, in thought, the end of 19th century details of the trench war between home rule resistance and the Irish Union (Union with Britain) administration, mainly staffed by the Irish themselves of course. Bloom sees a dominance of businesslike political actors on both sides, and people switching parties for pragmatic interests. The smart, as well as, naturally, the poor, ready to back either side with intelligence or other support whenever something is to be had out of it. A game with prices, big ones for the big players and small ones for the small. Rather unflattering view of everybody really, and no doubt deemed obvious by any historian of any similar episode elsewhere. The truth about mankind, hence if Bloom would talk like he thinks, he would risk a bullet from both sides. The author is said to have disagreed somewhere 1904, in, would you believe it, dreadful Mulligan's Martello tower with a guy who ended up answering with a gunshot over his head. Joyce fled the tower, never to return, and shortly after was on the continent, to stay. He returned for a short visit to Dublin in 1909. Then never again.
1904-06-16 Ulysses day, shortly after: Joyce, age 22, leaves for continent
1909 (mid) Joyce's first and last visit to Dublin
1912 Irish Home Rule Bill
1919-21 "Irish War of Independence"
1922 Irish Republic founded, First (Paris) edition of Ulysses
While the Irish fought, Joyce wrote Ulysses. At Joyce's death, in 1941, the Irish government still displayed hurt pride and refused a request to sponsor the repatriation of the corpse for burial. Only in 1993 did Joyce's face conquer an Irish bank note, the 10 pound. Not a record: though for different reasons, Spinoza managed to stay damned and off the Dutch bank notes for three centuries (but then, ended on a bill of Dfl. 1000, 40 times the value).
That stunning speed in which Bloom's thoughts come and get replaced by the next. Surely more than twenty times mine. Could be fifty as well.
After a lunch booze with the buzzing press mosquitoes Stephen seems not to have landed in "The Ship", as agreed with Mulligan, but in the National Library, meeting John Eglinton, a critic and essayist, A.E. (George William Russel) and Lyster, a librarian and Quaker. Later Richard Irvine Best enters. Scholars. Men of longer verbal haul.
"Who, in Hamlet, did Shakespeare think of as himself?". Should this question be of paramount interest to young Dedalus' learned and aged company here? Stephen is sure. And not silently. My God, dreadful Mulligan taught him how to keep the lead in conversation. I could not care less for the answer: none quite defensible, so is all. Never a wider fairway between Scylla and Charybdis. I long for someone there to trumpet a good fart and change the subject. Some surely feel like it but everyone stays down to the level of learned disagreement. Why? Will of the author? We seem to have to suffer it. I skim forward. O no, brace for a full chapter.
All know their classics but Stephen is best. Or so tries to show. Almost desperate. Goes for Hamlet's father but had another been there first might well have taken up the son. [note] What is the game? Passing an exam? Mock defense of mock dissertation? Is that why the gentlemen let him? No he failed already, I learn: nothing by Stephen in A.E.'s upcoming young Irish poets volume. Bravo, author, I held you too low.
O no! The Quaker returns to the subject. Liked Stephens views. Curious for more. Eglinton, Best still there. I now actually skip a page.
The door opens.
Finally the long overdue trumpet fart. Enter my saviour ... dreadful Mulligan. Author, you keep rising. Buck, being told this is about Shakespeare: "I seem to know the name". My sky brightens.
But my fresh hero Mulligan, after ironically scorning Stephen for his no show at "The Ship", lets the talk lapse back to its boring subject. Must have a reason to violently hold up his natural urges that I so desperately long for now, though when Stephen brings Aquinas "whose gorbellied works I enjoy reading in the original" in the field, Mulligan protests in retreat: "Ora pro nobis. Pogue mahone! Acushla machree" (choir of annotators: "Pray for us. Kiss my ass. Pulse of my heart").
Now I am a bit at sea feeling myself longing for the old original Mulligan. The bragger on top of the tower. But no foam here. He takes a paper and starts scribbling. And Stephen, asked whether he believes all he's been claiming, says no. Nobody shocked.
Finally Mulligan gets him out: "Come Kinch. You have eaten all we left". I share my dear friend Buck's joy now he is set for a drink with someone who can pay. "Can you walk straight?". Just to check if Kinch has not too much erudition in him. Out.
Bloom was in the library too. Ad business. Now also on his way out, but faster. Press speed. Passes between them. Buck fatherly admonishes Stephen to mind his corporeal integrity when in Bloom's vicinity. Pederast.
Choir of annotators: "mind the intrusions!"
I would, in all modesty, recommend that now you imagine a piano trio softly starting in the background, doing a tune from the swing period, with walking bass, get it? High hat on two and four. Music from a bit later period, but what the heck. Got it? Ready?
Section 1. Rev. Father Conmee sets off from the presbytery. Walking, greeting and greeted left and right, mounting a Westward bound tram for a country school to get a free registration for poor Dignam's boy.
Section 2. Meanwhile, Corny Kelleher, funeral establishment staff Dignam's yard, at work, or so it seems, greets Constable 57C. I reduce my speed: this is readable!
Section 3. A one legged beggar who just had crossed Conmee's path (who had no change), enters Bloom's street. Molly throws him a coin from a first floor window. A young barefoot urchin, grabbing his chance at least to touch it for a moment, runs picks and hands.
Section 4. Three of Stephen's sisters at home struggling for food and pawn money. But we got pea soup donated today. Reader wonders: employed widower with three daughters? That should work. Normally. "Our father, who art not in heaven", one says, admonished immediately. Sister four seems seeing father at job.
Section 5. Boylan in Thornton's. Orders a food basket. The shop's girl turns him on. To be delivered "at once", "It's for an invalid". Picks a flower for his revers, then asks for consent. And for one phone call. All granted.
Section 6. We shift to pidgin Latin. Our choir of annotators sings the translations. And its a singer as well. With Stephen. Singer jumps on the Dalkey tram. It seems that just before we caught up with them Stephen showed himself reluctant to using his voice to earn money (as a classical singer), as this Almidano Artifoni seems to do, who claims once to have had similar qualms, but having lost them when at Stephen's age. Singing teacher? Would not mind to launch Kinch in a singing career?
Section 7. A few streets down Boylan's secretary at her desk, not exactly a peak hour. The phone. Boylan not yet in the fuck for he calls business
Section 8. A dive in the mouldy chapter house cellar of St. Mary's Abbey. A clergyman's historical interest. Writing. Ned Lambert had volunteered to take him there. Ned's friend Jack O'Molloy, broke, whom I already suspected to have vainly solicited some loan in the windy press rooms, now has a try with Ned. No luck it seems.
Section 9. Tom Rochford demonstrates a mechanical program announcement signpost keeping track of what's on at every moment. Good for horse races. Could Boylan be talked into investing in it? A horse pulled ambulance cart gallops by. M'Coy gets out with Lenehan. They spot Bloom browsing books. Lenehan, simple guy, makes the familiar type of joke but M'Coy, yes! that M'Coy whom Bloom, Martha's unopened letter in his pocket, was a bit embarrassed to meet and to converse with, has another opinion. Once saw him buy a grossly underpriced astronomy book. Lenehan's boasts a night time fumble with Molly, reporting Bloom was occupied showing others all stars and signs, which M'Coy realizes he must have found in that underpriced book. M'Coy: "He's not one of your common or garden ... There's a touch of the artist about old Bloom".
Is there? Even so, why tell a fool like Lenehan?
Section 10. Bloom. Browsing books. The Awful Disclosures of Maria Monk: sexual misbehaviour in Catholic clergy circles, 1836. Similarly tickling volumes. Sacher Masoch's reputation made his quite unsexy volume about anti-Semitism land somewhere near on the shelves. Bloom takes it. Yet lusty titles lure. Lure? No, he's checking for Molly. Maria Monk unsuitable, we need the lady's format. This is better: "Her mouth glued on his in a luscious voluptuous ...": Sweets of Sin. For Molly.
I had not yet for a second thought of him M'Coy's sort of way. Not going to either. M'Coy's wife also tries to be a soprano, not very successfully if we are to believe Bloom, and likes to see himself as "in the same boat" as Bloom, to Bloom's slightly out-of-character scorn. [note]
Section 11. Simon Dedalus, Stephen's father, the fresh widower, is at his job. Dillon Auctioneers. As her three sisters thought she would, Dilly is at the door. For money. Simon feigns hard up. Father should have received about five shilling. Has he drunk them already or are they still in his pocket? She gets one. It's not enough. Another two pennies, more like a bribe, she does not trust it. It's not enough. Resigns. Heavy alcoholic author raises readers' pity. Playwright not the son: the father. [note]
Section 12. Mr. Kernan, merchant in tea, walks from one street, through some streets, to another street. Overdressed.
Section 13. Dilly spots her brother Stephen on the way home. She actually treated one of the pennies as a bribe. She bought for herself ... a slightly better worn out dress? It's in rags Bloom noted earlier. No. A school book French level 1. She asks Stephen if it's any good. Stephen: "What did you buy that for? To learn French?". Hopefully for his reputation that question will not reach the ears of his National Library company. And Dilly nods "reddening and closing tight her lips". Misery.
Misery. O Dilly, come and I'll teach you French anytime. And I'll buy food for you to take home. Everything will be all right. But albeit displaced and distimed, henceforth I am a complicit, I mean would you read on if the bastard now came to his senses, took a job at Freemans Journal, cut down his drinking, took care of his sisters and married them off to decent members of Dublin society?
Section 14. Stephen's father Simon meets another doubtful father, Bob Cowley, judged too bad for the pulpit, not bad enough to be unfrocked. In serious debt, his house under creditor's siege. A police acquaintance joins the two. They discuss how Cowley could hold out until he gets some money somewhere.
Section 15. Martin Cunningham collecting for Dignam's poor son. With Power and Nolan, whom we know from the funeral. The list. Bloom highest: 5 shillings. Mixed feelings among the outdone.
Section 16. Buck and Haines, a Martello tower guest, enter a bar and eagerly order mélange, scones, butter and cake and discuss ... an absentee of course, never talk about yourself. Stephen. His embarrassing intellectual performance at the National Library. An off balance man, like every Shakespeareologist, Haines knows. And Buck knows why: Stephen can't free himself of the idea of hell. No chance to become a poet.
I vaguely feel I am supposed to wonder whose money will pay the bill. Whether may be if in Dilly's hands the world would be a better place. Whether hell did not breed better poets than scones and mélange. And Ulysses not be buried deeper under Joyceology.
Section 17. Some people walk around
Section 18. Poor young Dignam, so well cared for by the funeral collectors, walks home with the pork steaks he was sent for. He passes an announcement of a boxing match. Knows all about boxing, two shillings entrance. Considers stealing it from his mother. Knows how to. Remembers the sound of the coffin cover being screwed tight. The bumps when lowered in the hole. Slight worry: would he be in the purgatory? Hope: he went to confession the Saturday night before.
Section 19. The Dublin crossroad puzzle is completed by following the vice-regal horse pageant, on its way to a charity manifestation, passing many phases of its journey already noted in other sections.
Two Ormond Hotel barmaids, no doubt selected by looks and age,
after admiring the cavalcade, from a window, spot Bloom and compulsively
begiggle his unattractiveness. Bloom approaches, knocking about the street
pondering Molly's upcoming sex adventure. He even knows the festivity will start
at four: "At four, she said". Who said? When? Where? In her final chapter
Molly's flow of thoughts strongly suggests she is unaware of Bloom's awareness. Anyway,
time is near but not yet. To the luscious voluptuous novel he
plans to add another gift: a violet silk petticoat. But to buy it he needs the money
for that ad he tries to broker with present status: refused. Press man and municipal councillor Nannetti is the one
to turn that around. Later today. Dinner first.
Dedalus senior, father not in heaven, enters Ormond, greets the barmaids. Dilly was right, at least he can afford ordering half a whiskey, one barmaid affected, at a distance, by the grief on his face. Greeted from another corner as "famous father of famous son", he snubs "I hear he is keeping a very select company. Have you seen him lately?". Lenehan had. And his mouth continues making air waves. Lucky Lenahan, when covered by an author like this even you sound intellectual.
Outside, over his shoulder, while buying paper to answer Martha, Bloom spots Boylan's sports cart approaching, stopping at Ormond. Boylan enters. Bloom spots Richie Goulding, yes, the one where the author's wife is gossiped to have given up reading, and takes him in Ormond to share dinner, discretely positioned.
The clock sounds four on page 218 of Gabler's sinful 1986 edition. Bloom considers Boylan might do a no show to raise the stakes. But Boylan pays and leaves. Bloom's breath recovers, as well as his appetite. Liver.
Bloom decides to write his response to Martha at table, telling Richie it's ad business. Then leaves to post it.
Ormond Hotel lounge bar sounds: Cowley, judged too bad for the pulpit, not so for the piano! Old Dedalus, father not in heaven, sings. On request! The author's distraction by the sound of his words gradually comes close to the level of drowning the reader. To survive, I drop any ambition to fully understand what is more like a twenty page literary version of bar noise, justifying my sloppiness by telling myself that in a bar you find it perfectly normal to concentrate on a few things and let the rest pass. Bloom dwells on music, thinks it's essentially erotic, which is exactly what I think it's not and can't be mixed with without causing disaster, even though all fools try. I know I'm generally disagreed with, so be it, but anyway, I end up back on the street following Bloom leaving for the post office.
For chapter 12 we have an interesting guest author. He writes English, but with a strong local accent and idiom. He reports his vicissitudes starting about five o'clock, St. Michan's parish. He is collector of small debts. Rough job, there and then.
But the guy has another talent. One I never heard of: literary impersonator. He can parrot legal writ true to life, arselick journalism, minutes of parliamentary proceedings, Irish cultural zealotry, and what have you, a host of silly styles, fortunately all uncovered, tagged, classified and listed, for an affordable price, by our dear esteemed choir of annotators.
Our guest author meets Joe Hynes, who was in Dignam's funeral cortège
and at Freeman's Journal to submit his funeral account, and now on his way to a man called "Citizen",
an Irish home rule fundamentalist, been sportsman when young, now playing the
tough guy with the strong views, holding office in Barney Kiernan's bar with no
money and a filthy dog. In that same Kiernan's, Bloom is supposed to meet Cunningham
to settle the Dignam family insurance. He should arrive in a minute. While the
company in Kiernan's
amuses itself with application letters, brought in by a mate working in the
judiciary, for the
vacancy of hangman, and Hynes lets some good coins proudly shine in his hand, liberally
offers the company another drink, dapperly boasting
to have them from Bloom, who, we have read earlier, regards the debt overdue and
already thrice dropped a polite hint to remind him, while all this, I said,
passes on the pages, "the citizen" already spots
Bloom, with a repulsion enough to make his dog, "that bloody mangy mongrel", as
our guest editor puts it, growl when Bloom enters. Guest
author however, blames the growling on the special smell of Jews: you can't
Bloom refuses a drink but accepts a cigar from the company, and is not shy to contribute to the discussion, albeit scholarly hence in ignorance (contrary to Joe Hynes, guest author notes) of how to address this particular audience, thus assuming his record outsider position thus far.
The conversation touches on Boylan. Several attempts by Bloom to shift to the beneficial effects of lawn tennis on a number of body functions fail to prevent a near exhaustive treatment of Boylan ranging all the way from his financial success to his music tour with Molly. Bloom: "He's an excellent man to organize. Excellent"
Bloom having heard Nanetti will be out for a while, finds Joe Hynes ready to have a word with Crawford about the refused ad (the one that should finance Molly's fine petticoat). "Rely on me, consider that done, says Joe."
The citizen redirects the discussion to "we Irish", plundered by the Saxon thugs, cheated by the French, Prussians, Hanoverians, infested by Jews ... time to ... Bloom allows himself to be lured out: a nation is just the same people at the same place, people of all nations are the same but nations fight each other which does not make us happy, calls himself Irish for his birthplace (guest author: "citizen said nothing only cleared the spit out of his gullet and, gob, he spat a Red bank oyster out of him right in the corner"). Then Bloom: "I belong to a race too ..." and throws in an unveiled short assessment of his race's treatment world wide.
Bloom taking on the citizen. In guest-author's words: "Old lardyface standing up to the business end of a gun". Had this not even surprised this first hand observer, I wouldn't have believed it at all. Not very smart either, in the circumstances.
If so, why doesn't he defend himself like a man, Bloom is told. Bloom: no use ... opposite of real life. Which manages to trigger the curiosity of the distributor of the hangman application letters: "What?". "Love", says Bloom. Guest author even spells it correctly. Bloom: "I mean, the opposite of hatred".
Then Bloom handsomely feels it's time for an armistice in his war for love and have some fresh air "to look for Martin Cunningham". Well done: exit Bloom, enter Cunningham, just missing Bloom, to lock the conversation on Bloom's besieged profile. Jews still waiting for their messiah, any newborn boy could be the one, you should have seen Bloom when his son ... In absentia, with Cunningham now joined, Bloom finally achieves a majority at table, citizen changing colour, about to loose control of himself, and to alienate even our guest author.
Bloom, reentering, senses the stage of the battle and pretends to be in a hurry, Cunningham gratefully accepts the game. They jump on Cunningham's cart. Citizen rises, held back by some, succeeding only at the door, the rest of the table "paralysed with the laughing". Citizen still shouting, Bloom ... shouting back! Character murder. Author too tolerant, should have prohibited guest author to feature Bloom.
Cunningham's jarvet speeds off, followed a short while by a flying, then loudly landing and rolling old biscuit can and a sizeable, rather excited, undereducated dog of questionable hygiene.
Yes, I skipped all impersonations, marking them for later reading, may be when I need money. Could be the starting collection of a profitable three volume: "Anthology of silly writing styles". Remember to include some Joyce as well. Silly enough: when you talk, in yourself of otherwise, you think. When you just think, you think as well, but then, you don't talk. Or?
Or call it stream of consciousness. Too good for the Nobel Prize. Hors tout. League of its own.
Nobel Prize winners 1922 -1941 [note]: Jacinto Benavente, William Butler Yeats, Wladyslaw Reymont, George Bernard Shaw, Grazia Deledda, Henri Bergson, Sigrid Undset, Thomas Mann, Sinclair Lewis, Erik Axel Karlfeldt, John Galsworthy, Ivan Bunin, Luigi Pirandello, Eugene O'Neill, Roger Martin du Gard, Pearl S. Buck, Frans Eemil Sillanpää.
Choir of annotators: eight, hence sunset in about 50 minutes (mind: 1904, no daylight saving). We're at the beach. Three good looking, well dressed girls 20? not yet, I estimate, of the ordinary sort: not keen on a French primer, sent out to air some toddlers.
We are about where Stephen was in the morning (dog, oyster collectors, bobbing corpse). Now Bloom here for a gaze at sunset sea, not far from the girls, after visiting nearby Mrs. Dignam. Dusk. Eye contact with one of them freezes. His hand in his pocket. Her virgin egg jump turns her on, she does not mind. All at what? 30 yards? Until the end.
Book banned. [note] Until 1933. Regular fires in US import office back yard stakes. The Paris editions of the book: handsome home presents for traveling Yanks. Cause of this fuss: not even to be found on my entire list of good reasons so far to have it burnt.
Bloom's watch. Stopped, he finds, at 4:30, asks himself whether that was the exact moment the impressive organizations of Molly's impresario turned physical. Ponders remote magnetics. Time shouldn't be far off: Google maps: route 8 Ormond Quay Upper to 7, Eccles St.: 1 mile exactly. At 10 miles per hour (light sport's coach, good horse), that would have cost Boylan 6 minutes. Make it 8. To enter the house: 3. His departure from Ormond 2 minutes past 4. Few preliminaries. Mean expectation twenty past four. Standard time. On daylight saving Dublin Bloomsdays: past five. But they don't do the churchbell ringing at the moment of insertion.
More fireworks. Far in the dark sky. Girls and toddlers now far away, gazing. Bloom's brains dwell on females, revealing a range and detail of interest and observation easily matching that of his sophisticated views on advertisement. Wisdoms that would have been wise for a US judge and jury to save the New World from. But they likely did not even reach the page.
Girls gone. Circumcised glans stuck to dried shirt. Ouch! Dark. Bats. Bloom: "Long day I've had". Stage of dark indicates well past 9:30 P.M., less than two and a half hours of the day left. Reader: mid of book. A wooden canary makes nine sorties from a nearby cuckoo clock.
Choir of annotators: 10:00 P.M., Holles Street Maternity Hospital, where Mrs. Purefoy, former neighbour of the Blooms, "her husband fifty odd and a methodist but takes the sacrament", mother of a houseful of children, is in hazardous labour. Bloom heard about it in the morning. Several times in the first half of the book feelings of pity popped up, in connection with memories of Rudy.
Author, in a bid to outdo the guest author of Chapter 12, embarks on systematic exercise of different literary styles in historic order. OK. Nobody said this was going to be easy. I have only myself to blame, to my unspeakable luck and slight shame relieved by a century of academic labour that otherwise would have been enough to end all hunger in Africa.
Deshill Holles Eamus ... Style: Roman priest ritual, Fratres Alvares, c.218 A.D. Gist: None.
Universally that person's acumen ... Style: Classical Latin, Sallustius 86-34 B.C., Tacitus 56-117 A.D. Gist: None.
It is not why therefore ... Style: Medieval Latin prose chronicles Gist: The idea of a maternity clinic expounded.
Begon born babe bliss had ... Style: Anglo Saxon, Aelfric 955-1022 Gist: Bloom arrives, let in by a nurse. Bloom feels relieved by remembering a common acquaintance about his health he can inquire. Unfortunately died three years ago. The nurse helps to relieve Bloom's embarrassment. It was a "fair sweet death" ... "so stood they there both awhile in wanhope sorrowing one with other".
Therefore, everyman, look to that ... Style: Middle English prose, Everyman c c.1485 Gist: The nurse tells Bloom that Mrs. Purify's birth labour is extremely hard. Bloom likes the nurse's looks and ponders in wonder her single and childless status. Shamefully neglected by defense in Feb. 21, 1921 US court verdict of violating the Comstock Laws leading to the 12 year US ban, concluding Bloom masturbated less than an hour ago at Sandycove beach. No way! This proves it! Any jury member judging differently should have been be suspended for ill prejudice, incompetence in the relevant field and non compos mentis. Any of them still alive should be tried. And their descendants, down to the seventh generation.
And whiles they spake ...
Medieval Travels of Sir John Mandeville c c.1336-71
Gist: Dixon, medical student on guard invites Bloom to join his friends
inside, at table. Bloom, very tired, dying for a chair, nevertheless manages to produce a courtesy
decline, which gets support, to his unpleasant surprise, from the nurse, she
fully aware, if we are to believe the author, of the courtesy status of Bloom's
refusal! But fair Dixon
brushes all aside and takes him in. A table ("a board ... of the birchwood of
Finlandy ... upheld by four dwarfmen of that country but they durst not move
more for enchantment"), well filled glasses ("vessels ... wrought by
the magic of Mahound [note] out of seasand and the air by a warlock with his breath
that he blazes in to them like to bubbles"). Bloom's glass gets filled with beer
which, given the state of the company he can easily tip in his neighbour's
rapidly emptied one. But, "Thanked be Almighty God", he now sits and rests.
This meanwhile this good sister ...
15th Century prose, Sir Thomas Malory d.1471, Morte
Gist: A nurse opens the door and begs for quiet, the company
is disturbing a woman in childbirth. Bloom appeals for help in the noisedown attempt from Lenehan,
the oldest of them but to no avail, Lenehan is well beyond the point. The rest: Dixon's
fellow students Lynch and Madden, a Crotthers, and young Stephen Dedalus,
Pretender to the Throne
of Scholarship and Literature, The One Who Eats All We Leave, drunkard, son of a
drunkard, brother of four barefoot sisters. Not exactly here for
Mrs. Purefoy. The reader, no doubt, is supposed to relate the
room's impressive alc. vol. % inventory to Stephen's profitable
morning visit to his employer - O, please! Buck! Godforsaken Buck! Where are
you? Not yet, but
Discussants entertain their ill-steered tongues with how to deal in cases where death of either mother or child cannot be avoided.
Bloom not amused.
About that present time ...
Elizabethan prose chronicles
Pouring beer in all glasses, Stephen manages, to our dismay, to eject a brainy
jest from his sardine littered mouthhole about the Holy Virgin's miraculous
pregnancy, prompting one named Costello to rise for a heartfelt song. Another
nurse opens and employs stronger language. The company falls over each other
holding as many hands over as many mouths as possible. Or something like that,
To be short this passage ... Style: 16th 17th century Latinate prose, John Milton 1608-74, Richard Hooker 1554-1600, Sir Thomas Browne 1605-82, Jeremy Taylor 1613-67 Gist: Stephen asked for it: his youth (pious over the top) gets ridiculed and contrasted with the image he presently entertains "obedience in the womb, chastity in the tomb, involuntary poverty all his days", up to the level of being suspected of having deflowered a minor, which he encourages by quasi-countering it, calling himself the eternal son hence ever virgin. A song Costello bursts in gets dwarfed by a firm clap of thunder (now, nurse, where do you go to hush?). Virgin braggart Stephen shrinks, pales and trembles. Bloom tries to comfort him with a theory of atmospheric electrical discharge.
But was young Boasthard's ...
John Bunyan 1628-88,
Pilgrims Progress 1 1675
Unlike my own person, basically agreeing with Bloom even though entertaining a different theory of
atmospheric electrical discharge, author begs to differ radically: the clap
signifies God's wrath raised by the dreadful stains on all souls present.
MUST mean Buck, my saviour, is approaching.
So Thursday sixteenth June Patk ...
17th century diarists. John Evelyn 1620-1706; Samuel
Pepys 1633-1703, et al.
Gist: And YES!! In pouring rain, rumbling drums! With Alec. Bannon from Mullingar,
he, he ... O no ... Alec from Mullingar, please not the Alec who is dating Bloom's
daughter Milly there. Author! No!
When this came up Lenehan ...
Daniel Defoe c.1661-1731
In which the two different types of arseholes Lenehan and Costello are further
[middle of sentence] an Irish bull in an English Chinashop ...
Jonathan Swift 1667-1745,
A Tale of a Tub 1 1704
... and then, in the style of Swift, I loose track of their conversation for a
page or so. Whether or not they themselves do so too, I am happy to have
disqualified myself to judge.
Our worthy acquaintance Mr. Malachi ... Style:
Joseph Addison 1672-1719 and Richard Steele 1672-1729 early 18th
Tatler 1709-11 and Spectator 1 1711-2
"Our worthy acquaintance Mr. Malachi Mulligan now appeared in the doorway". My hope that he may have
lost Alec turns out in vain. But Mulligan himself is a devastating
disappointment. Reduced to insignificant adolescenthood. Bloom unimpressed too,
no doubt. The sorry rest of course applauds him and his latest pose: he
shows his new business card: presenting himself as natural pro Deo
inseminator for all women with problems to conceive.
A sudden radical regression to early adolescenthood or simply a reader's misconception born earlier on? O, how my Buck, MY Buck could have swept the floor here.
Here the listener who was ... Style:
Laurence Sterne 1713-68,
Through France and Italy, 1768
And there we go: Alec Bannon so full of Milly he can't even hold it for the guy
next to him, Crotthers, whom he never saw before. Reader's relief: this time the
author's benevolence - which I readily confess in my worst fears I had not
reckoned with - wins over his ambitions to 1) maintain literary quality, 2) preserve
consistency in the bull's room's discourse, and 3)
never abandon irony, when he refrains from depicting an Alec
despising a girl so stupid as to allow him to cool his lusts on her but indeed
madly in love. It seems Milly and he are about
to go all the way: he plans to buy condoms now he's in Dublin. From what he says it
seems Milly thinks lighter of pregnancy risks. She'd better have a look here in Holles Street Maternity Hospital. All rooms, this hot moist stinking
bull's room not excepted.
Amid the general vacant hilarity ...
Oliver Goldsmith 1728-74
But Milly's opinion about birth control gets aborted by a bell in the hall. The
door. Nurse Callan close to Dixon: Mrs. Purefoy. The spiritual lot manages to
hold all sexual excitement her looks bring up to their tongues until she's out,
but then no less than explode.
To revert to Mr. Bloom who ...
mainly Edmund Burke 1729-97
In which Bloom's withheld but unambiguous disgust of a considerable part
of his company, so regrettable "... as to put him in thought of that missing link of creation's
chain desiderated by the late ingenious Mr Darwin", is alleviated by
the news of Mrs. Purefoy's safe delivery of a boy.
Accordingly he broke his mind ...
Richard Brinsley Sheridan 1751-1816
An attempt by Bloom to share joy about Mrs. Purefoy transforms at table in
testimonies of awe by the company concerning Mr. Purefoy's ninth feat "to knock
a child out of her", albeit accompanied by some scattered skepticism of it
consistently having been him.
But with what fitness ...
Junius (pseudonym of author of letters in
Advertiser, , London, 1769-72, critical of government)
The author, having cut Buck down to insignificance, is now short of someone to
take Bloom on. A fair punishment. Whoever is charged here questioning Bloom's
credentials in this paragraph of the book that should be (or at least have been)
a crucial one, does not much better than stressing Bloom's exotic descent and
fails to vigorously scorn Bloom's true weaknesses. The disappointment makes me
read it quite some times for things I hope I missed. To no avail.
The news was imparted with ...
Edward Gibbon 1737-94
Mrs. Purefoy done, the bull's room now turns to discussion of frequently
distasteful medical details of child birth and techniques of assistance, blurred
by the drugged states of the brains involved. Bloom does some attempts to make
himself heard, best of all the Ovidius story of a bull copulating with a human
female, the initial favourable effect of which neutralized by baby Mulligan, just sober
enough to peep under its
false bottom, retorting that the supremest object of
female desire is a nice
clean old man.
But Malachias' tale began ...
Horace Walpole 1717-97
Buck tells a story featuring Haines as a ghost.
What is the age of the soul of man? ... Style: Charles Lamb 1775-1834 Gist: Where Bloom's mind touches on himself as a son, his present company as sons, then his dead son baby Rudolph, who ......
The voices blend and fuse ... Style:
Thomas De Quincy 1785-1859
who, I said, plunges him in landscapes of death, then allowing himself to be
lifted out by ...
Martha (reader giggles).
Francis was reminding Stephen ... Style:
Walter Savage Landor 1755-1864
Even Lenehan and Lynch turn out able to rile Stephen, broaching the topics of
his fruitless poetic career and his dead mother. Followed by some horse race bet
loss resentment and small talk
However, as a matter of fact though, ...
In order to thoroughly acquaint the reader with Macaulay's style, held, as it
is, high in wide circles, though not in mine, the author takes care to refrain
from introducing any distracting content. [note]
It had better be stated here and now ...
Thomas Henry Huxley 1825-95
Bloom, first raising the relatively burdenless
question of how sex is determined in the procreation process directs the
company, for mysterious reasons - after all, he is totally sober - to an exhaustive discussion of infant mortality.
Meanwhile the skill and patience ...
Charles Dickens 1812-70
Mrs. Purefoy, joyous mother filled with love for the newborn, her husband and
all other nine, yes nine, the deceased one not excluded. Nor, as you would not
have doubted for a moment, does Dickens forget to pat the back of the father,
home in the thunderstorm, at the fire, behind pipe and Bible: "thou good and
faithful servant!". Just realize: this admirable style model died relatively
young only 12 years before Joyce was born. Near contemporaries.
There are sins or ...
John Henry Cardinal Newman 1801-90
"There are sins ... hidden away by man ... darkest places ... abide and wait ...
chance word will call them forth ... they will rise ... not ... insult ... wrath
... vengeance ... but ... silent, remote, reproachful."
The stranger still regarded ...
Walter Pater 1839-94
Bloom remembers (once more) meeting, eighteen years ago, young Molly at Mat
Dillon's place in Roundtown. Winning, by the way, reader seems to remember, her
heart by openly angering elegant, broad-shouldered and intelligent John Henry
Menton in a pure chance win at bowls.
Mark this farther and remember ...
John Ruskin 1819-1900
... the studious assembled ... Quietude of custody ... befitting their station
in that house ... as ... Bethlehem ... serried stormclouds ... turgidly
distended ... violent and instantaneous, upon the utterance of the word ......
Burke's! outflings my lord Stephen ...
Thomas Carlyle 1795-1881
...... upon the utterance, I said, of the word ...... Burke's! (a pub 17 Holles St.),
the untidy mob speeds to the Maternity's
exit, followed by Carlyle, championing, over his shoulder, prolific father Purefoy already now,
midrace: "Toil on, labour like a very bandog and let scholarment and all
[note] go hang." !!
All off for a buster ...
Author: "A frightful jumble of pidgin English, nigger English, Cockney,
Irish, Bowery slang and broken doggerel" Letters 1:138-9, 13
On the way to Burke's Stephen gets ridiculed: "drunken minister",
"make" (someone easily taken advantage of). Desperate not to go home
yet, Bloom joins, addressed as fellow gang member: "Isaacs!!". 10:50 Pubs to close in ten minutes. Bloom finally accepts a wine. From there it took
me a small hour of reading to arrive at where the barman announces closing
Mulligan, still holding the key of the Martello tower, joins Haines. They run and jump on the last train to Sandycove, maneuvering Stephen astray, a well planned act of revenge for Stephen's no-show in "The Ship" half twelve this morning, as Buck, we only now realize, cryptically announced in his ghost story.
Kicked out of Burks. Stephen and Lynch head for the red-light district. Bloom? Yes joins, it seems, I read: "sinned against the light" (what the Jews did ignoring the gospel).
I was warned by a friendly member of the choir of annotators that Alec was going to sneak out, finally realizing Bloom was Milly's father. But even though looking forward to the incident, I missed it. Some galling pages those were. In any curveless part of the story I would gratefully have skipped them.
1. Now it is past 11:00 PM June 16, 1904. One hour left of the day. Still roughly half a book to go. But this of course pales into insignificance if compared to a scholar like bishop Gregorius of Tours, who in the sixth century wrote a world history, starting at Creation, of 600 pages, managing to reach the reign of the Holy Martinus, his predecessor bishop in Tours wasting only some 4%, if I recall, of his vellum[note], leaving comfortable space to expound all deeds of virtue and vice he could personally testify, for which gratitude from posterity is fit.
2. Fucking author killed my Buck. Not the zombi left to live out the book. He killed MY Buck. I'll hang him here, arms wide in mock silver, razor right, beer glass left.
Muscular caveats by the choir of annotators. Beware, this will be rough! Hold on to us! No more cozy coastal navigation: 150 pages ere this chapter is done. Rumours rouse my nerves: all will fly about, they say.
Playwright format. But no numbered act headers. Let me put some (and give titles, just for ease).
Act 1 *(The Mabbot street entrance of nighttown, ... Cissy's song
Choir of annotators: 12:00 P.M. "Technically it is Friday 17th".
Cissy Caffrey (one of Bloom's chapter 13 seaside fireworks girls)
little poem featuring Molly. Bloom nowhere near.
What is Cissy doing, technically Friday 17th, in the dark, in the Mabbot street entrance of nighttown, the red light district? She lives at Sandymount Strand somewhere. Quite far. She does not know Molly at all. She must be figuring in somebody's raving brain. Whose brain? Bloom's? Can't be: a) Absent in the scene. b) Not reported to have laid down for a dreamy nap, enjoy some hallucinogenic substances or have taken a serious blow affecting the composition of the blood flow reaching his brains c) All I could count thus far is one beer in the maternity ward room, which after a symbolic sip he threw in his neighbour's glass, and one wine at Burke's. Sober, well-rested in the ward room's chair. Yes, mentally occupied all this day with where he does not want te be: his home. But that's not enough to start raving. It's the author who is.
That'll decently stir the porridge.
All the more since in between the author's attacks of raving Stephen and Lynch are really (my God what do I say, "really", it's a bloody book!) off to the red light district. Bloom quite a bit behind, lost track of the other two but keeps speeding in the same direction, up to side stitch level. Buys some meat, talks feverish. He isn't, we've seen his brain do the same, perfectly in his senses, in the morning at Dignam's funeral. It's the connection that has a problem, not the source. Others say, and I like that as well: the chapter is the subconsciousness of the book. But the story "itself" goes on as well. Bloom slips in the mud. Continues.
Act 2 (the retriever approaches sniffing ... Papachi
Bloom advances Northward in the red light district. I quote [and comment]:
(The retriever approaches sniffing, nose to the ground ... A sprawled form sneezes. A stooped bearded figure appears garbed in the long caftan of an elder in Zion and a smokingcap with magenta tassels ... Yellow poison streaks are on the drawn face.)
RUDOLPH [Bloom's father Rudolf Virag, it turns out]
Second half crown waste money today [refers to the meat Bloom just bought]. I told you not go with drunken goy [goy: liberal Jews, or non Jews] ever. So you catch no money.
(hides the crubeen and trotter behind his back and, crestfallen, feels warm and cold feetmeat)Ja, ich weiss, papachi.
What you making down this place? Have you no soul? (with feeble vulture talons he feels the silent face of Bloom) Are you not my son my son Leopold, the grandson of Leopold? Are you not my dear son Leopold who left the house of his father and left the god of his fathers Abraham and Jacob? [note]
(with precaution) I suppose so father. Mosenthal [note]. All that's left of him.
(severely) One night they bring you drunk as dog after spend your good money. What you call them running chaps? [note]
End of quote. Bloom's approach of the red-light district triggers the author's fear, which causes, in the author's brain, not in Bloom's, a dog to pop up. Bloom's meat-shop visit in the red-light district triggers the author's guilt feelings about having spent change he needed for his family. Not in Dublin, but in Trieste-Zurich-Paris 1914-1921. Bloom's financial reserves are well over 1000 pounds (pounds of 1904!), we shall learn in chapter 17. While Bloom is well in his senses and has solid distinguishing powers, the author enacts a partial disabling of his frontal lobes of the sort you have in dreams and as he thought we might be willing to pay for at a book shop. And we were.
141 pages of confusion ahead this chapter.
Enter Bloom's mother, a disappointment, featuring, it seems, purely for ceremonial reasons. Then Molly, "(her hands passing slowly over her trinketed stomacher, a slow friendly mockery in her eyes)", encouraging Bloom to check for "some change". Bloom embarrassed, was out in the morning for Molly's soap and lotion, but forgot to later pick up the lotion ordered. The soap sings:
We're a capital couple are Bloom and I
He brightens the earth. I polish the sky.
Exit Molly, in disdain, "plump as a pampered pouter [note] pigeon". A bawd, offering Bloom his first ever sexual partner. Then egg-jump fireworks seaside girl Gerty. A Mrs. Breen, popping out of her greyish passer-by status thus far in the book, assumes amazing colour, a youth friend of Molly, competitive with her boys-wise at the time Bloom met Molly. She even drops in passing: "You were always a favourite with the ladies". Bloom whispers some little secret, from very long ago, in Breen's ear, Breen mesmerized.
Act 3 (She fades from his side ... The dog trial
Exit the women. Now what? Bloom advances in the red-light district through whores and desperadoes, his thoughts touching Stephen, judging him: better than the rest of the bull's room. Jewish fatherly worries about the cash in Stephen's pocket. A dog's nose touches his meat stained hand. Author fears them, Stephen fears them. Does Bloom? No (I told you!): cuddle, dog on back, balls up, tongue out, gets the meat. All of it. But! Then at once harassed by the watches (police), suspected of rebel sympathies, or worse. Or whatever. Questioned. Profession? Bloom does not call himself ad canvasser, "Well, I follow a literary occupation, author, journalist". Enter Myles Crawford (Freeman's journal's boss). And Beaufoy, the one who won the journal's readers' price for an article scooping three pounds thirteen and six, as Bloom calculated while reading the newspaper in that universally praised literary jewel, the smelly noisy outhouse scene, chapter 4. That Beaufoy now testifying against Bloom: plagiarist. Next witness Mary Driscoll, Bloom's former maid who resisted "a certain suggestion, ... I thought more of myself as poor as I am". O'Molloy, the broke lawyer lee-shore, takes up Bloom's defense, in portly prose. A renewed influx of distinguished Dublin ladies, but in different mood. Mrs. Bellingham steps forward, to add testimonies in similar vein. Other ladies also neatly remember place and time of Bloom's unseemly offenses against their chaste female integrities, and saved all evidence, literary and otherwise. The honourable Mrs. Mervyn Talboys threatens: "I'll scourge the pigeonlivered cur as long as I can stand over him. I'll flay him alive". But she witnesses an unintended effect: Bloom: "(his eyes closing, quails expectantly) Here? (he squirms) Again! (he pants cringing) I love the danger."
The ladies thoroughly beat Bloom up. The brass quoits of his marital bed, loosened in the passing of years, jigjag. Cuckoo! Then sentenced by the recorder of Dublin: death by hanging. In a last attempt to save himself he calls on Hynes, offering even to increase his loan. But Hynes pretends not to know him.
Then Bloom is saved.
By the spirit of Paddy Dignam, on the loose since only a day, the corporeal burden it was chained to only buried this morning.
This could, I imagine, well be the kind of dreams you get when intensively working at a book like Ulysses.
Act 4 A man's touch ... Zoe
We follow Bloom searching the jungle of whore houses for Stephen. Young whore Zoe: "are you looking for someone? He's inside with his friend". Analysis: The book may seem long, but how long would it have been had not whores effectively helped shorten the wanderings of Ulysses?
Before continuing his quest for the two young escaped bulls, Bloom needs quite some pages of raving in the intimate presence of Zoe, this time chiefly manic dreams: he's universally celebrated as the new national hero and leader of Ireland. Occasionally the tide turns against him but it can't affect his intrepidity: Purefoy, for instance, father of eight, no, nine, Dicken's "good and faithful servant" (in fishingcap and oilskin jacket) in accusing pose: "He employs a mechanical device to frustrate the sacred ends of nature." Purefoy's outcry immediately provokes a massive suicide of attractive women, but Bloom easily survives, medically diagnosed "a finished example of the new womanly man", and then confirms, on request, that indeed he is the Messiah.
No father Rudolf to scorn the expense.
Act 5 Talk away till you're black in the face Pianola chastisement
"Talk away till you're black in the face." That's Zoe saying. Bloom wakes up (or shifts dream). He announces to have enough of the man and woman thing. Zoe discouraged: "Give a bleeding whore a chance". He tries to cheer her up: "you are a necessary evil". It works. She invites him to the musicroom. "... new pianola". There: two more whores, Lynch. And Stephen, analyzing, two fingers on the keyboard, an unusual two voice psalm by Benedetto Marcello (1686-1739).
Enter grandfather Leopold, whose boring utterances, however, are beyond the scope of this tight synopsis. Equally soporiphic, brothel mistress Bella Cohen subdues Bloom who, we are no longer surprised, eagerly complies. While Bella's sex seems to temporarily shift to male, she dwells at length, but rather uninstructive, on Bloom's utter worthlessness and sins.
Act 6 (sighing) So he's gone. Nymph
Enter a nymph. There's a picture of nymphs behind Bloom's marital bed, the choir of annotators reminds me. The nymph herself reminds Bloom too, so we're all set.
Taking off from Bloom's sleeping room, Eccles Street, we retreat in time, Bloom a teen, apologizing to the nymph for yet another erotic encounter. But does she mind? Less than a page later she, the immortal "... arches her body in lascivious crispation". Did that ever happen since Homer? Bloom, may be in modest rank, but yet, yes!: in the Order of Anchises! [note]
Asshole Lynch gets his meat in a side room. On back, balls up, tongue out. The immortal: "Where dreamy creamy gull waves o'er the waters dull."
A song by a choir of sluts breaks the spell. In Bloom's perception that is. Neither is he shy declaring it, to the rage of the nymph, who "with a cry flees from him unveiled, her plaster cast cracking, a cloud of stench escaping from the cracks) Poli ...". Even the sinful 1986 Gabler edition too scared to insert the d. Not so Bloom! He shouts after her, meanly enough for the fleeing nymph to excrete a redoubtable moan. Not even done then, adds: "Eh? I have sixteen years of black slave labour behind me. And would a jury give me five shillings alimony tomorrow, eh? Fool someone else, not me."
Chasing an immortal. The Order of Diomedes! [note]
Act 7 (The figure of Bella Cohen stands before him) Slyboots recruits for Jewry
Brothel mistress Bella Cohen claims the fee, 10 shillings for each of the three girls. The men pay. Stephen's drunk fingers manage to get a poundnote out (= 20 shillings). Bella sharp. Can she scoop it? Bloom "(quietly lays a half sovereign [= 10 shillings] on the table ...) So. Allow me. (he takes up the pound note) three times ten we're square." Bella: "(admiringly) You're such a slyboots, old cocky. I could kiss you".
This is the real Bloom (slightly too real, I admit). Was there all the time. I knew he was. I knew he never lost it. Not for a second. That was the author who acts as if he lost it, or at least losening up. Not Bloom. I told you.
Stephen rises as well, but passively: pulled up by our rising hero. He gets fellow Jew status offered and accepts, Bloom: "You had better hand over that cash to me to take care of". Stephen hands his coins. Bloom counts and quotes, issuing a disclaimer for any money Stephen may have lost before. Stephen: "doesn't matter a rambling damn".
Stephen manages to light a cigarette then drops it. Bloom (cursing the charms of the dog wheedling him out of all meat): "Don't smoke. You ought to eat".
Act 8 Is he hungry? Sin against the chandelier
Zoe reads Stephen's hand until Bloom, in a bid to prevent her saying something about it, gives her his own. Not much later Boylan and Molly seem to do their sexual act as a porn show in the musicroom, Lenahan and Ormond Hotel maids Mina Kennedy, Lydia Douce join enjoying the scene, Shakespeare comments "in dignified ventriloquy". Bloom smiles, and asks Zoe, still checking his hand: "When will I hear the joke?"
Everybody raving, Stephen at most elaborate length, I loose track, not so Bella Cohen, I note jealously. Annotators please!: no jottings found on her? Bloom tries to snap Stephen's attention: "Look ...". Look what? I have no clue. Doldrum part of the track. I skim forward: ... enter SIMON, Stephen's father ... dancing conjures MAGINNI up, a Dublin dancing teacher, then ... THE MOTHER, mother Dedalus, the one who departed from earth while Stephen stood high at the bed side, refusing to kneel in prayer. Haha!! Who cares about the preliminaries! "She fixes her blue circled hollow eye sockets on Stephen and opens her toothless mouth uttering a silent word. A choir of virgins and confessors sing voicelessly", I am with you author!
Now the author even cares to put some more distinctions: the rest is not aware of the mother. Just wonders about Stephen's pale face and his incoherent utterances. They open windows. Bring water.
Stephen, in blind instinctive defense against his hallucination, raises his walking-stick, but that's just breaking the chandelier (his first Jewish sin: against the gas light from the ceiling). Bella Cohen smells the opportunity for a good damage reimbursement, ejecting her routine intimidation shout: "Police!". That wakes up Stephen. He flees the room. Bella, well remembering that Stephen's shillings are in Bloom's pocket, claims 10. Bloom calmly: "Haven't you lifted enough of him?" Applies some shrewd counterintimidation. Effectively so.
Street news brought in: "There's a row on". Bloom throws a shilling at table for the damage, takes Stephen's walking stick and hat, rushes out, adroitly avoiding incoming customers hosted by an acquaintance, and goes in pursuit, chased, in turn, by constables 65 C, 66 C, a night watch, and then a huge mob consisting of the larger part of the rest of Dublin, from John Howard Parnell, son of a family of distinguished Irish nationalists, to citizen's filthy dog Garryowen, the full list, to which I briefly refer, is produced at the end of this act.
Act 9 (with elaborate gestures ... Dust over the plane of Troy [note]
Stephen, threatened by army privates, gets defended by Cissy Caffrey, one of Bloom's three sunset seaside girls. Elaborate speeches by Stephen's unsteady tongue touch the King of England. Favourably. But private Carr did not get it and jumps forward suspiciously: "What's that you're saying about my King?". Amusing anticipation to the book's first reception in the British Empire. Well, then, author seems to think he might as well field Edward VII himself, in bizarre attire, addressing his people: "Cheerio, boys", to attend the fight about. Bloom tries to pull Stephen off field, but Stephen resists: "I don't avoid it. He provokes my intelligence". Bloom seems to fail. The privates' excitement raises to the worrying level of: "I'll wring the neck of any fucker says a word against my fucking king.". Teen Cissy Caffrey, all excited: "They're going to fight. For me!".
"BLOOM (shakes Cissy Caffrey's shoulders) Speak, you! Are you struck dumb? You are the link between nations and generations. Speak, woman, sacred lifegiver! CISSY CAFFREY (alarmed, seizes Private Carr's sleeve) Amn't I with you? Amn't I your girl? Cissy's your girl. (she cries) Police!". Her cry echoed by VOICES. In vain: the privates gear up: "I'll wring the neck of any fucking bastard says a word against my bleeding fucking king!". Stephen holds firm in what he calls: "This feast of pure reason", but as to be expected of Pretenders to the Throne of Scholarship and Literature generally, one technically substandard private's blow, if it deserved that name at all, and Stephen makes for the ground like an autumn leaf.
Police on its way? Major general Tweedy, Gibraltar regiment, Molly's long dead father, fills the gap with an intermezzo: "Carbine in bucket! Cease fire. Salute!"
But yes, two police watches arrive. They start hearing the conflicting testimonies, thrown in from all blood smelling sides with passion. Bloom stresses Stephen's alcoholic state and decent social background. Enter Kelleher, assistant undertaker Dignam's cemetery, all around the book consistently seen amicably chatting with constables. He was the acquaintance hosting the brothel visitors Bloom thought, underestimating Kelleher's attentiveness, he managed to avoid at his swift exit. But Kelleher did spot Bloom, sensed trouble too, put his coach man in charge of monitoring the situation while in with his sex tourists, got warned, now sets out to protect the protector, assuming a level above all parties, calling the last shot, simply telling the watches: "I know him".
Kelleher! Of all people!
Bloom declines saviour Kelleher's proposal to drop him home, tells him he will see to it that Stephen gets home, Sandycove somewhere from what he gathered. Kelleher "... calls to Stephen) Eh! (he calls again) Eh! (to Bloom) He's covered with shavings anyhow. Take care they didn't lift anything off him. BLOOM: No, no, no. I have his money and his hat here and stick."
Kelleher off. Street empty. Stephen still down, not responding at all, or raving. "Against the dark wall a figure appears slowly, a fairy boy of eleven, ..."
"BLOOM (wonderstruck, calls inaudibly) ... Rudy!"
Bloom and Stephen saunter up. On Stephen's " ... expressed desire for some beverage to drink Mr Bloom in view of the hour it was and there being no pump of Vartry water available for their ablutions let alone drinking purposes hit upon an expedient by suggesting, off the reel, the propriety of the cabman's shelter, as it was called, hardly a stonesthrow away near Butt bridge where they might hit upon some drinkables in the shape of a milk and soda or a mineral."
In similar "old English" - all the Choir of Annotators deigns to predicate - Bloom talks fatherly about the value of life and good, money not exempted, the dangers of licentious life and intimacy with folk like Mulligan. Stephen does mind nor notice, is largely silent, even largely refraining from his habitual random ejection of morsels of literary history. When, however, Bloom shows himself pleased by the poetical sound of Italian speech reaching their ears, Stephen in two words tells him the foreigners quarrel, in fairly vulgar vocabulary, about small change.
Where is this heading? Not really anywhere. We find food in a small low budget
establishment. Stephen enigmatically gets singled out, after being gazed at for
a while, by a sailor, who even takes the effort to worm through the crowd and
approach (Bloom jealous and suspicious): D.B. Murphy "returned home after 7 years
at sea": "what's your name?"
"Dedalus". Murphy knows Simon Dedalus! Bloom shocked by Stephens total
disinterest in the very subject of his father. But it's another Simon Dedalus it
turns out. I fail to see the relevance of Murphy's elaborate speech to any other
aspect of the lofty piece of literature in my hands and Bloom's thoughts drift away from the scene
as well: to his own unambitious travel
ambitions and the market there might be for low budget travel agency.
After Murphy's retreat, a filthy whore makes Bloom advocate "as a paterfamilias" the promotion of hygiene in prostitution. Stephen can not be brought to share the concern. Bloom's subsequent tabling of his religious skepticism meets with a Stephen, who, as we read before, radically fell from his youthfully overpious beliefs, now claiming, no doubt merely by way of stopper, the existence of a supernatural God "has been proved conclusively by several of the best known passages in the Holy Writ, apart from circumstantial evidence". Some more subjects raised by Bloom fail to interest Stephen.
Taking up some nationalist blurbs by the keeper, Bloom, still not discouraged to the level Stephen clearly desires, expounds his unmistakably Blootopian Blooprint of the future of Ireland, ending in a desperate attempt to raise interest by boasting what he shouted in his improbable and out-of-character standoff with citizen (end of Chapter 12). This theme irritates Stephen up to the level of prompting him to eject: "I suspect that Ireland must be important because it belongs to me ... ", treating the I beg your pardon with a: "We can't change the country, let us change the subject".
Now that's a hard one. Bloom's thoughts thrive for a
vantage point from which to forgive the boy's rudeness, then scoops a copy of
the Telegraph. Horse races, Dignam's funeral. M'Coy, prevented, yet on the list
of attendants, put there, on his request, by Bloom. And Stephen: "Stephen
Dedalus B.A.". Put on the list, the reader is no doubt supposed to guess,
without his request, by his father. Reader-pity for father Simon Dedalus'
son-dream declared lost by everyone but himself. Yes, Bloom, sons: the
possession of the bastards is the end of the enjoyment. Start wetting their pants
from birth, then, even before they stop it, find something else, in extreme unlucky
cases up to the level of ending up wetting you all day with
bladders full of learning. Just ask my own father.
Further down the newspaper's list of funeral attendants: Bloom printed Boom. Bloom "nettled not a little".
And still 15 pages to plough, not in the newspaper, I mean: in the chapter.
We seem to drift to Spain and Spanish. Bloom grabs the occasion to "thoughtfully collect a faded photo" of Molly, half Spanish. "Do you consider, by the by, that a Spanish type? ... Mrs. Bloom my wife the prima donna Madam Marion Tweedy". An improbable bid to impose himself as a role model on young S. Brothel Louse B.A., it strongly seems, would not have done any worse if directed to a corpse. "At what o'clock did you dine" Bloom "questioned of the slim and tired though unwrinkled face".
Out of here, Bloom reflects, but he is considering a risk would he take Stephen to his own home ("somebody having a temper of her own sometimes"), as Bloom's memory exemplifies, when once he entered with a dog, of unknown race, suffering a lame paw.
It takes another few pages, to cut a long story even shorter than the author opines he did, for Bloom to carefully repocket the photo and our duo to leave the premises.
As an unspeakable windfall for Bloom, Stephen, unstable on the feet he forgot he had, produces a question: why closed bars have their chairs upside down on the table. Bloom delighted to dispose of the answer. Arm in arm, for Stephen's comfort, we touch the subject of music. Stephen's metabolism, stimulated by the walking, makes him burst in a song. Bloom, impressed, embarks on strong advice to make it his profession for he would surely make a good living with it. The author stops his pursuit, watches the two withdraw, he himself staying behind next to a sweeping-car horse pressing out "three smoking globes of turds" in front of its dozing driver.
Here the author finally shows mercy with the reader, who until now, technically June 17 you should know, has been swimming for his life: his style shifts to the extreme clarity of question and answer, and be sure, if a similar question list were submitted concerning any of the chapters done, not even the most distinguished of the cream of the choir of annotators would have had a chance to pass.
Second advantage: one can skip answers to all questions beyond reasonable interest.
This might seem easy. But! After having followed Bloom breaking in his own house, for want of key, the two gentlemen into Bloom's house kitchen, and seeing Bloom prepare a refreshment, how should one for instance, judge the relevance of the following question:
"What attracted his (Bloom's) attention lying on the apron of the dresser?"
And how would you judge the matter after I inform you that the answer is:
"Four polygonal fragments of two lacerated scarlet betting tickets, numbered 8 87, 88 6"
?, where the continuing questioning focuses entirely on horse betting rather than how these tickets arrived in a house of someone not keen to subdue to fortune more than life strictly necessitates? Would it not have adorned either noble musketeer Boylan or his prima donna to take and remove these tickets, and other reminders, so deeply unpleasant to our hero, of their passionate intercourse? Or did the prima donna industriously spread them all over the house in order to make a point? No answer.
How many previous encounters proved their preexisting acquaintance (Stephen and Bloom's)?
Two ... Stephen being ... 5 ... , second ... 5 years older ...
Where we learn that on the second occasion Stephen, without consulting his accompanying father, invited Bloom for dinner, an invitation which the father then thought fit to ratify. But I would wish to ask: did anyone in this kitchen, actually raise that recollection? If yes, who was it?, and did, or did not, the other party remember?
More generally, the reader's challenge in the chapter seems to properly identify and answer the omitted key questions. Most generally, I wish to venture Ulysses should be in any secret service school's entry test.
Well, well, despite the treacherous Q&A format, I clearly gather - and I had given up on that in the last chapter already - that Stephen finally seems to engage himself in conversation; in the strict sense of starting to repeatedly audioverbally react to an utterance addressed to him in a way that would have required separate and unrelated explanation had not the aforementioned utterance been. He cooperates in comparing each other's educational career, comments skeptically but friendly on a host of Bloom's ridiculous draft inventions, then narrates an entertaining scene, unfortunately triggering, inside Bloom, thoughts of his father's suicide, which is absolutely nothing to blame and no more than simple and undeserved bad luck for the good willing young man, thoughts of his father's suicide, I say, whereout fortunately Bloom gets woken up by a second scene, the one Stephen earlier trusted to the lot at Freeman's Journal, namely his Parable of the Plums (which itself is well beyond the scope of the present tight synopsis).
Some questions about Molly are answered, nothing special, all well within common pocket feminology. More entertaining is the added account of how through the years some peculiarties had prompted Bloom's enhanced sociotechnical creativity combined with his endearing slight femininity to experimentally address some issues in his eyes most prominent, let me mention one of his attempts to remedy certain - purported - instances of her ignorance: "By leaving in a conspicuous place a certain book open at a certain page: by assuming in her, when alluding explanatorily, latent knowledge: by open ridicule in her presence of some absent other's ignorant lapse." Results: "She followed not all, a part of the whole, gave attention with interest, comprehended with surprise, with care repeated, with greater difficulty remembered, forgot with ease, with misgiving reremembered, rerepeated with error."
Irish and Hebrew verse, spoken and written are exchanged and Stephen sings a song, where a little boy is killed by a young Jewish woman (of Milly's age, Bloom realizes), inspired by a 13th century anti-Semitic story. Another small collateral damage of an otherwise laudable initiative by our young hero. The Milly-theme obviously leads Bloom to consider Stephen as a son-in-law. Another Bloomian virtual chain of causation makes him judge an encounter between Stephen and Molly in the morning desirable.
Accordingly, he invites Stephen to stay and sleep.
Stephen needs no time to decide he won't. If that is because he realizes the final of the book should be left to the main characters, I underestimate him, but he doesn't so I don't.
Finally Bloom arrives where all day long twice a minute he had been in thought and anxious not to really be.
And I myself 'd rather not read on.
Bloom hurts his head in the dark at moved furniture. Somewhat of a mess. He watches his bookshelves through the mirror, reads the backs, one by one, in mirror image (complete list produced). Sits down. Starts to feel fatigue, pain and discomfort all over his body. Scratches, loosens his attire wherever pinching.
Then starts an elaborate dream of a country house outside Dublin. Astonishing detail, 7 pages, including all financial and other preliminaries of the project from the very start. This, the reader then learns is his habitual kind of before-sleep meditation exercise aimed at alleviating fatigue and preparing for "sound repose and renovated vitality". A subsequent question about what were habitually his before-sleep meditations makes it seem fit to add that at more normal bedtimes Bloom's meditation subjects were a quite astonishing bit shorter and simpler.
We're all with him now, in our thoughts, I am sure.
But his inventive mind finds another handsomely delaying distraction. We elaborately inspect the contents of a locked drawer and add incoming confidential correspondence of romantic nature. Then, we throw a pensive look in another locked drawer. That one proves Bloom's wealth well over £ 1000 (pounds of 1904!). No causes, I told you, to rave of dead fathers scorning d. expenses, not even if Jewish, Bloom knows, author knows and knows we would never pay for in the bookshop, I know, everybody knows. I well realize it can be objected that, given his wealth, Bloom's ambition to finance Molly's petticoat with an ad borders improbability as well, but here, as you say, the word is: borders improbability. And not: raving. Mind your distinctions! Or at least mine! I am over sixty, a Doctor in Economics, Master in Philosophy and have, I trust, proven my mettle in many a chapter past. "Senescence, myopic digital calculation of coins" you read? You shut up! I don't want to hear more about it. [note]
Then looking up from the drawer rapidly, yes unnoticeably skipping all unsettling reality between, his eyes are at once beyond Dublin, beyond Ireland: Ceylon, Jerusalem, Parthenon, Wall Street, Niagara, Tibet, why not?
For he had procreated, he argues. Some more tangible considerations cross his mind as well. Slowly enters the bedroom. Gazing over the landscape of "female personal wearing apparel", taking the free bed cushion, putting it at the feet side, boarded the bed, head opposite side of Molly's.
An elaborate mental scorning of Boylan, and Molly, and all that could be done to properly and effectively deal with the situation their inept characters were to be held so fully responsible for, ranging all the way from his assassination to her divorce, looses force by the advent of a cloud of well proportioned not all overly dressed ladies, a cloud that, once reaching zenith prompts Bloom to kiss Molly's bottom roundings. Both of them. Each once.
Could the world be so beautiful? Only in a book.
Then, they even talk. Though it looks more like Bloom feels supposed to answer for the spending of his day. Which he does the way so familiar to us men, omitting what is proper to omit, highlighting what within context we deem to our praise.
The floor, it seems, is now to Molly. Why would I read this? The book has ended, as far as I'm concerned. I expect self-apologetic lament, scorn of the man I love, all perfectly normal, no one to blame, but why read it? Because it's the 36 pages left?
A LOW VOICE
Your three copies of that book
cost you 9 euros in total, the annotations well over 50 together.
Finish or you'll answer for it!
Far from rarely, first year literature students' reading lists feature Molly's chapter only.
Liar and slave!
If thou speak'st false,
Upon the next tree shalt thou hang alive!
Since I seem to remember the name, I just got pledged half a sovereign to here summarize, annotize, synopsize, commentize analyze and otherwize pederize and torturize the final chapter of Ulyssize, though do not hold me as stupid as to not realize your reader's secret motivations to leave this to me were his plans to go out on this sunny late spring day and do some inquiries concerning what to read next. I accept, the job neatly fits my profile: a real poet, fearing hell nor thunder, not in the habit to miss trains, lover of scones and mélange.
(turns his back, puts the razor with his right and, simultaneously, the ale glass with his left hand on reader's desk, takes up from there the sinful, apocryphal yes, you name it, indeed satanic 1986 Gabler edition, and turns again to his herd)
Extroibo [note] ... ehhh ... wheribus?
(whispering from the first row) roomibus beddibus? [note]
(his hawkeyes pierce Lehenan's red hangover leftover ones, then, with scant assisting tilt of his head, turn up to heaven in their sockets, while from his breast escapes an overacted sigh of wanhope) [note]I read: 18:1-245: The soprano in question introduces herself by thoroughly scorning a Mrs. Riordan for a number of partly related reasons that however do not concern us here. Anyway, the actual discomfort seems to be of the past, though the memories still are frequently neurotransmitted to her frontal lobes, thus triggering a reliving of the itchy moods associated, a frequency that should be explained by the ongoing actual actuality, remaining since, of a crucial and common relation of the said soprano and the said late Mrs. Riordan, in the person of Mr. L. Bloom, not, needless to say: Boom. Are you with me?
It's not her words logged, we're plugged straight in her brain. But the interesting thing ... is ... at once, ... I note ... while ... skipping ... all ... this ..., that she thinks much as women usually talk, so the first conclusion should be the author is deeply aware they have no interface whatsoever between these two operating modes, in consequence of which his job is easy, as long as, that is, he does not aim for the fuck, which ... let me skim forward ... he won't.
(at the rear people leave, men as well as women. Lenehan's hangover eyes get even smaller)
(Not surprised by the exodus, waits, till the noise of feet and closing doors resides. Resumes) Good. I wish I could now announce to go down to business, but I can't. As some of you may already suspect (pauses, looks way over Lenehan), there is none at all.
THE REMAINING PUBLIC (Lenehan excepted)
Moreover and not to our surprise, she seems pathologically suspicious of the day's report her loyal fair husband just submitted, a state of mind we all know, by ploughing through sixhundred pages of tough testimony, is entirely misplaced and undeserved vis à vis the good Bloom.
PUBLIC (the men, but quite some women as well)
And she adds this her suspicion to an impressive list of the same, industriously built up in the years passed, before ... for Christ's sake! switching to thoughts, agreeable to her, incomprehensible as this may seem to all us here in frank and honest union, of her latest bull, Boylan. (waits for cheers, but these do not materialize, which seems to slightly put him off balance). By the way, do or do not unspoken thoughts when you type them out sport apostrophes? It is my opinion that if they have a, b, c, ... et cæt. they should have apostrophes too, but this seems to bring me in flagrant disagreement with the honourable author, who ...
(surprised, but with renewed confidence) Where was I? ... (with the book in the left hand he raises right arm and right index finger) Ladies and gentlemen! Honour where honour is due! After remembering how the hippologue manqué came in her 3 or 4 times with, I quote, that tremendous big red brute of a thing he has, end of quote, she raves on, I quote: Im sure hed, Boylan she means, have a fine strong child but, and now listen! and now listen! but I dont know Poldy has more spunk in him.
(moved, silent, some stare to the ground, others gaze out the high windows, with moist eyes, lips pressed)
(with broken voice) Lord have mercy with me and my erring soul ... (total silence resumes, one just hears the Book paged up and down by an unsettled Buck, finally)
Ladies and gentlemen. I can report, and as I suspected all along, we have faced an isolated incident. Neither should we confuse her positive judgment of our hero's, hmmm ... , spunk, as she cares to put it, with love. By the way, who thinks she loves Boylan?
Right. I would speak of exchange of services. Future services not excluded, I read here about the Belfast tour he organized for her, and I quote, well he could buy me a nice present up in Belfast after what I gave him, end of quote. She gave him! She gave him! Who did all, yes all the bloody work this afternoon? She probably even did not have to undress herself! (pauzes, the public, still recovering, stays mute). Then she finds herself ill budgeted to dress ...
MAN FROM THE PUBLIC
(loudly, theatrically) Oh! ...., Give - me - a - break!
And what remedy can she think of? Bloom find a better job!
BUCK (aside) Here I stand playing the plaintiff, but what next? Fuck, Buck, you're stuck. I delivered the message: she's normal. But she raves on for another 23 pages. Everybody asking what did she say what did she say. What should I say: "nothing, she's normal."? 23 pages left and I don't know what to say about them. Or should I say her raving touches on Bloom's occupation with underwear? That that was a redoubtable orgasm she had today? That, but we know already, Milly sent her only a card, and Bloom a full letter? That her singing career would have gone higher without Bloom, she estimates? Sure, I should definitely mention, for Bloom himself suppressed it - why did he? Or did he not, yet another lapse of our overstretched attention? - that his decision to have Milly moved out to Mullingar for photography had to do with him sensing the Boylan affair was coming up. If even she suspects it this must be credible.
Might they then be ready to swallow a slightly more sizeable quote? Think not. First endear them a little, by, say, adding, say, that Rudy's death knocked her as well, and that Stephen perhaps coming along pops up in her repeatedly, she decides to do some reading in preparation, to not look stupid, and buy flowers. Then what else can I do, dare a quote, say, "much singing a bit now and then mi fa pieta Masetto then Ill start dressing myself to go out presto non son piu forte Ill put on my best shift and drawers let him have a good eyeful out of that to make his micky stand for him Ill let him know if thats what he wanted that his wife is I s l o fucked yes and damn well fucked too up to my neck nearly not by him 5 or 6 times handrunning theres the mark of his spunk on the clean sheet I wouldnt bother to even iron it out that ought to satisfy him if you dont believe me feel my belly unless I made him stand there and put him into me Ive a mind to tell him every scrap and make him do it out in front of me serve him right its all his own fault if I am an adulteress as the thing in the gallery said O much about it if thats all the harm ever we did in this vale of tears God knows its not much doesnt everybody only they hide it I suppose thats what a woman is supposed to be there for or He wouldnt have made us the way He did so attractive to men then if he wants to kiss my bottom Ill drag open my drawers and bulge it right out in his face as large as life he can stick his tongue 7 miles up my hole as hes there my brown part then Ill tell him I want LI or perhaps 30/- Ill tell him I want to buy underclothes then if he gives me that well he wont be too bad I dont want to soak it all out of him like other women do I could often have written out a fine cheque for myself and write his name on it for a couple of pounds a few times he forgot to lock it up". Then I can ask them: got the point? Can you now sing the song?
Then, I could end by saying the author miraculously manages to cut the clip on a rare tone positive for Bloom: "tomorrow the sun shines for you he [young Bloom] said the day we were lying among the rhododendrons on Howth head in the grey tweed suit and his straw hat the day I got him to propose to me yes first I gave him the bit of seedcake out of my mouth and it was leapyear like now yes 16 years ago my God after that long kiss I near lost my breath yes he said I was a flower of the mountain yes so we are flowers all a womans body yes that was one true thing he said in his life and the sun shines for you today yes that was why I liked him because I saw he understood or felt what a woman is and I knew I could always get round him and I gave him all the pleasure I could leading him on till he asked me to say yes and I wouldnt answer first only looked out over the sea and the sky I was thinking of so many things he didnt know of ... Gibraltar [her childhood] as a girl where I was a Flower of the mountain yes when I put the rose in my hair like the Andalusian girls used or shall I wear a red yes and how he kissed me under the Moorish wall and I thought well as well him as another and then I asked him with my eyes to ask again yes and then he asked me would I yes to say yes my mountain flower and first I put my arms around him yes and drew him down to me so he could feel my breasts all perfume yes and his heart was going like mad and yes I said yes I will Yes." Yes, it's not glorious, but it's the only way out I can think of. (raises his head, scans the public, still mumbling, clears his throat, public gets silent)
The Netherlands, Linge River, late spring 2014
Note by the editor: By a stroke of ill explained fortune the
final parts of this otherwise tight synopsis are partially contaminated with printed matter from
unknown origin, featuring a Mr. Buck, not to be confused with Mr. Candidate
D.B.C. Malachi "Buck" Mulligan (a fatuous puerile character in James Joyce Ulysses), of whose
(the former Mr. Buck, as well as, by the way, the latter) views and opinions, the author
authorized me to divulge he emphatically
distances himself completely and undividedly, and accordingly cannot be held
responsible for, legally or otherwise, so help him God.