Few facts about Ulysses before reading this post:
1. Ulysses is the single most significant novel written in 20th century literature.
2. Ulysses is the name of a character in HOMER’s ODYSSEY; i.e. it is a modern remake of the old epic.
3. Ulysses has defined the modern day story telling.
To know more historical facts and some awesome facts about this book, read:
My Experience with reading Ulysses:: Part 1
Presently I have completed the first 3 chapters of total 18. The first 2 of them were okay with the introductory help from The New Bloomsday Book: A Guide Through Ulysses and I was excited to go into the next chapter. And here I was struck! This Proteus chapter is fucking obscure! But though I could make out the 1st few paragraphs from lectures of “Wings of Art – Joseph Campbell on James Joyce”; going few more pages and then I was like drowning in sea, river, fountain of fucking conscience. So I just read along mechanically with sometimes peeking into the bloomsday book and I experienced very rich and raw emotions coming out for a few times. This chapter was intentionally made obscure so professors can ponder over it for years. Joyce himself told this. He said:
***Will update the review after reading the next chapters.
Update on 4/5/15:::
CHAPTER 4: CALYPSO>
After those tough paragraphs from Proteus; Calypso is like bathing in cool water! Those earthly worlds of Bloom; those free flowing thoughts; I love them. It is so rich and pitch perfect that I read it again and again. Great going! Next chapter. Fast!
CHAPTER 5: LOTUS- EATERS>
More beautiful than previous chapter. Just take look at this paragraph:
He turned from the morning noises of the quayside and walked through Lime street. By Brady’s cottages a boy for the skins lolled, his bucket of offal linked,smoking a chewed fagbutt. A smaller girl with scars of eczema on her forehead eyed him, listlessly holding her battered caskhoop. Tell him if he smokes he won’t grow. O let him! His life isn’t such a bed of roses. Waiting outside pubs to bring da home. Come home to ma, da. Slack hour: won’t be to many there. He crossed Townsend street, passed the frowning face of Bethel. El, yes: house of: Aleph, Beth. And past Nichols’ the undertaker. At eleven it is. Time enough. Daresay Corny Kelleher bagged the job for O’Neill’s. Singing with his eyes shut. Corny. Met her once in the park. In the dark. What a lark. Police tout. Her name and address she then told with my tooraloom tooraloom tay. O, surely he bagged it. Bury him cheap in a whatyoumaycall. With my tooraloom, tooraloom, tooraloom, tooraloom.
OR what about this:
Sleeping sickness in the air. Walk on rose-leaves. Imagine trying to eat tripe and cowheel. Where was the chap I saw in that picture somewhere? Ah, in the dead sea, floating on his back, reading a book with a parasol open. Couldn’t sink if you tried: so thick with salt. Because the weight of the water, no, the weight of the body in the water is equal to the weight of the. Or is it the volume is equal of the weight? It’s a law something like that. Vance in High school cracking his fingerjoints, teaching. The college curriculum. Cracking curriculum. What is weight really when you say the weight? Thirtytwo feet per second, per second. Law of falling bodies: per second, per second. They all fall to the ground. The earth. It’s the force of gravity of the earth is the weight.
ANOTHER ONE (WARNING!Obscenity ahead!):
He saw his trunk and limbs riprippled over and sustained, buoyed lightly upward, lemonyellow: his navel, bud of flesh: and saw the dark tangled curls of his bush floating, floating hair of the stream around the limp father of thousands, a languid floating flower.
Beautiful. Isn’t it?
***Wait for the next chapters.
Update on 5/5/15::
Chapter 6: Hades>>
Okay, in this chapter Mr. Bloom went to his friend’s funeral and thought about all kind of gloomy thoughts. Here also, Joyce’s magic works. Beautiful language. See the following few lines:
The carriage, passing the open drains and mounds of rippedup roadway before the tenement houses, lurched round the corner and, swerving back to the tramtrack, rolled on noisily with chattering wheels.Mr Dedalus fell Sack.
Inked characters fastfading on the frayed breaking paper. *** Mr Bloom entered and sat in the vacant place. He pulled the door toafter him and slammed it twice till it shut tight. He passed an arm through the armstrap and looked seriously from the open carriagewindow at the lowered blinds of the avenue. One dragged aside: an old woman peeping.Nose whiteflattened against the pane.
The caretaker put the papers in his pocket. The barrow had ceased to trundle.Bury the dead. Say Robinson Crusoe was true to life. Well then Friday buried him. Every Friday buries a Thursday if you come to look at it.
O, poor Robinson Crusoe ! How could you possibly do so?
Part 2 of this post will be updated soon.
2 thoughts on “My Experience with reading Ulysses:: Part 1”
Hi, I just found your blog and am really enjoying all of your posts! I’ve always wanted to dive into Ulysses, but have always been intimidated by it. Are you reading it along with The New Bloomsday Book? Is it very helpful?
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Hi Jessica, I’m glad that you take interest in reading my blog. I hope you like it. And yes, I am currently reading Ulysses, though at a very slow pace. For reference, the new bloomsday book is very good and I am currently reading it alongside; and also, if you like, you can go through the lectures ‘Wings of Art’ by Joseph Campbell for more insight. 🙂
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