Ulysses by James Joyce
June 16, 1904
There’s a New Yorker magazine cartoon that ran recently, perhaps it was an ad that looked like a cartoon, and to me, it was rather funny. The cartoon’s tag line, “Everybody is reading James Patterson except James Patterson.”
“Humor wet and dry.”
In the accompanying illustration, it was a cliche New York scene and everyone was reading a clearly marked James Patterson book, except for a slight caricature of James Patterson. He was reading Joyce’s Ulysses.
The electronic version is superior, in my example, the free copy because I already own a well-thumbed, half-read, sentimental-value paperback copy.
The digital version, I like the iBooks version best, has a couple of built in features that helps the text along. Tap, highlight and look up a word’s definition, then, with some phrases, tap, copy and plug into a search engine to grab a quick translation and context. I can easily muddle through the French, but some obscure Latin lines are helped by a quick search, mostly Catholic Latin at that. The most ecumenical route.
- Sidebar Item:
Unrelated link from a text search. Look up Francis Douce and his resignation letter from the British Museum.
Right before Xmas, I was in a mega-bookstore, and not finding what I was looking for, I strayed to classics, looking at a few copies of Ulysses, yet again. The expanded version, the original typeset, the expanded with notes. Number of options. The hard copy I have is more than adequate — the corrected 1961 manuscript. I stopped after a hundred or so pages, last time.
- Voted the most influential novel of the last hundred years, sure, but also voted the most abandoned novel of the last hundred years.
The logical fallacy, running through my mind before Xmas? Just get a new copy, fresh start and I’ll zip right through that sucker.
One client, teaches at the university, suggested the best way to read Ulysses was in proper Irish style, pint (preferably three) of Guinness or maybe a whole bottle of Jameson’s.
“—The blessing of God and Mary and Patrick on you, says the citizen.
And he ups with his pint to wet his whistle.” p. 300
One — looks like a single paragraph — account of boxing match, maybe barroom banter about such, exciting dialogue.
Another account is presumably the protagonist’s running commentary on, about, perhaps an illusion of? Women. Brilliant.
Ulysses by James Joyce, first published in 1922, in the last decades, it has topped the “Most influential novel of the 2oth Century.”
At times, the interior monologue is mordantly funny.
The covertly sexual rhyme intermixed with biblical language and sprinkled with archaic Middle English, sexy and virginal in the same breadth. Some of the novel’s passages can read like poetry, albeit a more modern variant. Usually.
The movies, Casino Royale, The Magic Christian, and even Barbarella come to mind. The movie scripts, anyway.
Undigested reading notes, true common place book style, follows —
“A ponderous Saxon. He thinks you’re not a gentleman. God, these bloody English! Bursting with money and indigestion.”
“Pain, that was not yet the pain of love, fretted his heart.”
“To ourselves… new paganism… omphalos.”
“—When I makes tea I makes tea, as old mother Grogan said. And when I makes water I makes water.”
“Very well then, I contradict myself. Mercurial Malachi.”
“Exactly: and that is the ineluctable modality of the audible.”
“The sting of disregard glowed to weak pleasure within his breast.”
“Father Coffey. I knew his name was like a coffin. Domine-namine.”
“You might pick up a young widow here. Men like that. Love among the tombstones. Romeo. Spice of pleasure. In the midst of death we are in life.”
“Mr Bloom walked unheeded along his grove by saddened angels, crosses, broken pillars, family vaults, stone hopes praying with upcast eyes, old Ireland’s hearts and hands.”
“Dear Mr Editor, what is a good cure for flatulence? I’d like that part. Learn a lot teaching others.”
“Justice it means but it’s everybody eating everyone else. That’s what life is after all.”
“The Roman, like the Englishman who follows in his footsteps, brought to every new shore on which he set his foot (on our shore he never set it) only his cloacal obsession. He gazed about him in his toga and he said: It is meet to be here. Let us construct a watercloset.”
“It was a nun they say invented barbed wire.”
“—There must be a new moon out, she said. He’s always bad then. Do you know what he did last night?”
“Strong as a brood mare some of those horsey women. Swagger around livery stables. Toss off a glass of brandy neat while you’d say knife. That one at the Grosvenor this morning.”
“God made food, the devil the cooks.”
“Karma they call that transmigration for sins you did in a past life the reincarnation met him pike hoses. Dear, dear, dear. Pity, of course: but somehow you can’t cotton on to them someway.”
“—All these questions are purely academic, Russell oracled out of his shadow. I mean, whether Hamlet is Shakespeare or James I or Essex. Clergymen’s discussions of the historicity of Jesus. Art has to reveal to us ideas, formless spiritual essences. The supreme question about a work of art is out of how deep a life does it spring.”
“We have King Lear: and it is immortal.”
“Here he ponders things that were not: what Caesar would have lived to do had he believed the soothsayer: what might have been: possibilities of the possible as possible: things not known: what name Achilles bore when he lived among women.”
“—Do you think it is only a paradox? the quaker librarian was asking. The mocker is never taken seriously when he is most serious.”
“It is an age of exhausted whoredom groping for its god.”
“—I’m sorry, he said. Shakespeare is the happy huntingground of all minds that have lost their balance.”
“Too poetical that about the sad. Music did that. Music hath charms. Shakespeare said. Quotations every day in the year. To be or not to be. Wisdom while you wait.”
“Interrogated as to whether life there resembled our experience in the flesh he stated that he had heard from more favoured beings now in the spirit that their abodes were equipped with every modern home comfort such as talafana, alavatar, hatakalda, wataklasat and that the highest adepts were steeped in waves of volupcy of the very purest nature. Having requested a quart of buttermilk this was brought and evidently afforded relief. Asked if he had any message for the living he exhorted all who were still at the wrong side of Maya to acknowledge the true path for it was reported in devanic circles that Mars and Jupiter were out for mischief on the eastern angle where the ram has power.”
“—The blessing of God and Mary and Patrick on you, says the citizen.
And he ups with his pint to wet his whistle.”
“First kiss does the trick. The propitious moment. Something inside them goes pop. Mushy like, tell by their eye, on the sly. First thoughts are best. Remember that till their dying day.”
“Those girls, those girls, those lovely seaside girls.”
“Wife locked up at home, skeleton in the cupboard.”
“Now if you were trying to do that for a week on end you couldn’t. Chance.”
“Therefore, everyman, look to that last end that is thy death and the dust that gripeth on every man that is born of woman for as he came naked forth from his mother’s womb so naked shall he wend him at the last for to go as he came.”
“For they were right witty scholars.”
“It was now for more than the middle span of our allotted years that he had passed through the thousand vicissitudes of existence and, being of a wary ascendancy and self a man of rare forecast, he had enjoined his heart to repress all motions of a rising choler and, by intercepting them with the readiest precaution, foster within his breast that plenitude of sufferance which base minds jeer at, rash judgers scorn and all find tolerable and but tolerable.”
“Ominous revengeful zodiacal host!”
“And the equine portent grows again, magnified in the deserted heavens, nay to heaven’s own magnitude, till it looms, vast, over the house of Virgo.”
“Chacun son gout. He might be mad. Dogdays.”
This one sticks out —
“BLOOM: Well, I follow a literary occupation, author-journalist. In fact we are just bringing out a collection of prize stories of which I am the inventor, something that is an entirely new departure. I am connected with the British and Irish press. If you ring up…”
Connect that to Drawer for Wishes.
“GEORGE FOTTRELL: (Clerk of the crown and peace, resonantly) Order in court! The accused will now make a bogus statement.”
“THE END OF THE WORLD: (with a Scotch accent) Wha’ll dance the keel row, the keel row, the keel row?”
“ZOE: (Tragically) Hamlet, I am thy father’s gimlet! (She takes his hand) Blue eyes beauty I’ll read your hand. (She points to his forehead) No wit, no wrinkles. (She counts) Two, three, Mars, that’s courage. (Stephen shakes his head) No kid.”
THE CITIZEN: Erin go bragh!
“THE REVEREND MR HAINES LOVE: (Raises high behind the celebrant’s petticoat, revealing his grey bare hairy buttocks between which a carrot is stuck) My body.
THE VOICE OF ALL THE DAMNED: Htengier Tnetopinmo Dog Drol eht rof, Aiulella!
(From on high the voice of Adonai calls.)
“Music, literature, Ireland, Dublin, Paris, friendship, woman, prostitution, diet, the influence of gaslight or the light of arc and glowlamps on the growth of adjoining paraheliotropic trees, exposed corporation emergency dustbuckets, the Roman catholic church, ecclesiastical celibacy, the Irish nation, jesuit education, careers, the study of medicine, the past day, the maleficent influence of the presabbath, Stephen’s collapse.”
“With what meditations did Bloom accompany his demonstration to his companion of various constellations?
Meditations of evolution increasingly vaster: of the moon invisible in incipient lunation, approaching perigee: of the infinite lattiginous scintillating uncondensed milky way, discernible by daylight by an observer placed at the lower end of a cylindrical vertical shaft 5000 ft deep sunk from the surface towards the centre of the earth: of Sirius (alpha in Canis Maior) 10 lightyears (57,000,000,000,000 miles) distant and in volume 900 times the dimension of our planet: of Arcturus: of the precession of equinoxes: of Orion with belt and sextuple sun theta and nebula in which 100 of our solar systems could be contained: of moribund and of nascent new stars such as Nova in 1901: of our system plunging towards the constellation of Hercules: of the parallax or parallactic drift of socalled fixed stars, in reality evermoving wanderers from immeasurably remote eons to infinitely remote futures in comparison with which the years, threescore and ten, of allotted human life formed a parenthesis of infinitesimal brevity.”
“What special affinities appeared to him to exist between the moon and woman?
Her antiquity in preceding and surviving successive tellurian generations: her nocturnal predominance: her satellitic dependence: her luminary reflection: her constancy under all her phases, rising and setting by her appointed times, waxing and waning: the forced invariability of her aspect: her indeterminate response to inaffirmative interrogation: her potency over effluent and refluent waters: her power to enamour, to mortify, to invest with beauty, to render insane, to incite to and aid delinquency: the tranquil inscrutability of her visage: the terribility of her isolated dominant implacable resplendent propinquity: her omens of tempest and of calm: the stimulation of her light, her motion and her presence: the admonition of her craters, her arid seas, her silence: her splendour, when visible: her attraction, when invisible.”
“From outrage (matrimony) to outrage (adultery) there arose nought but outrage (copulation) yet the matrimonial violator of the matrimonially violated had not been outraged by the adulterous violator of the adulterously violated.”
Ulysses by James Joyce
Pink Cake is a commonplace book.
A Commonplace Book (full text PDF & cut quotes PDF)