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Wireless 'sses" recapitulation 2: the prolonged homecoming & cuckoo fathering

Bloom self-portait by James Joyce

Bloom self-portrait by a half-blind J.J.

Dear Internet,                                                                

... continuing the thread ... covered the first half of re-reading Ulysses in the last post (in the context of remythologizing it for our own devices) ... returning home from Kathmandu to NYC ...

13. Nausicaa

Notorious episode wherein Bloom jerks off watching Gerty MacDowell. In The Odyssey, Nausicaa is the maiden that Ulysses, shipwrecked & naked, encounters washing clothes by the shore on her island of Scheria. Though Nausicaa is seemingly a love interest, the love is never consummated ... so perhaps there's the tie-in (with Ulysses).

Was reading this episode in Doha airport ... enduring a 7 hour layover. Slept some curled in foetus position with two chairs pulled together. Book-wise, this steam-releasing, self-stimulating scene occurs almost exactly halfway ... intentional? It also coincides with the stopping of Bloom's watch at half past 4 ... so considering the day starts at 8 am & ends sometime after 2 am, it also marks a halfway point in Bloomsday (at least according to Bloom's watch ... in reality it's more like 8 pm, which still marks the difference between day & the long night to come). Bloom also ponders if the clock stopped at the exact time Molly & Blazes are having their afternoon delight.

The writing in this chapter is a bit shlocky ... intentionally so (meant to mimic romance pulps of the time) ... mostly we follow Gerty as she hangs out with her friends & their twin toddlers ... it's pretty much the first female perspective thus far. She realizes a strange man is watching her & starts to give him a show ... Gerty smiled assent and bit her lip. A delicate pink crept into her pretty cheek but she was determined to let them see so she just lifted her skirt a little but just enough and took good aim and gave the ball a jolly good kick ...

And then it gets over the top cheeseball raunchy ... but never graphic (seems insane now to think a book was censored over this) ... and she leaned back and the garters were blue to match on account of the transparent and they all saw it and shouted to look, look there it was and she leaned back ever so far to see the fireworks and something queer was flying about through the air, a soft thing to and fro, dark. And she saw a long Roman candle going up over the trees up, up, and, in the tense hush, they were all breathless with excitement as it went higher and higher [...] and O! then the Roman candle burst and it was like a sight of O! and everyone cried O! O! in raptures and it gushed out of it a stream of rain gold hair threads and they shed and ah! they were all greeny dewy stars falling ...

Not explicit, but not exactly subtle. Assholes going thru security in Doha (they have a special added layer for US bound flights) took away our water we bought in the airport & there was nowhere to get some in the holding area. They never give you enough water & on top of it its Ramadan so they act like you're going to hell for even asking .. silently judging.

Ulysses tied to mast

Ulysses tied to the mast

It all amounts to restraint (in Ulysses & Ramadan). Though Bloom would break the fast in Islamic terms, in Irish terms it probably wouldn't be considered cheating (except in spirit) ... & what about Gerty, by knowingly exposing herself? Bloom calls it: a kind of language between us. Says other things in peregrinating thought (the (3rd person) p.o.v. shifts from Gerty to Bloom at the exact moment of climactic fireworks ... we actually don't even know it's Bloom before this) ... things like: A monkey puzzle rocket burst, spluttering in darting crackles. Or wonders things like: Have birds no smell?

And then in case you spaced out any of the 350 pages before, Bloom summarizes the events thus far: Long day I've had. Martha, the bath, funeral, house of keys, museum with those goddesses, Dedalus's song. Then that bawler in Barney Kiernan's. Got my own back there.

 ... ... ... then the cuckoo cuckoos 9 times, ringing in the night.

14. Oxen of the Sun

This episode has my favorite title ... would make a good name for a book or band. Oxen of the Sun is the chapter in The Odyssey where they visit the island of Helios & they are told not to eat the oxen (or cattle as some translations call them) ... & what do Ulysses' men do while he is sleeping? You guessed it. There's this restraint theme cropping up again. How many chances does Ulysses have to give his men before he realizes they have no willpower?

Chronologically speaking, this is what lands Ulysses on the island of Calypso ... after his men slaughter the cattle, the sun gets pissed & appeals to Zeus to punish them & Zeus (or maybe it was Poseidon we forget) whips up a storm & sinks the ship & they all die except Ulysses of course who washes up on the island of Calypso ... where The Odyssey begins (after he spends some 7 years there as sex-slave).

In Joyce's variation on the theme, Bloom is at the hospital to support Mina Purefoy in her birthing process. There are many revolving & obfuscated dialogues between various characters, mostly about medical issues & things like birth control ... the language is all over the map ... anything & everything goes ... language mimicking the gestation process. Phylogeny recapitulating ontogeny. In light of Bloom's previous wank job, you could also see this as the natural consequence (impregnation) ... Purefoy as vehicle of immaculate conception (which her name helps to conjure ... almost pure joy) ... as the virgin Mary (& a knock-out version of her name conjures ...MinA puRefoY) ... especially since she is seemingly just a friend that Bloom expresses no sexual interest in.

In The Odyssey the story unfolds non-linearly, but in Ulysses the story (at least on the surface) is fairly linear & chronological. Obviously we are learning the whole while about all their past histories together, but it's held together & culminates in the timeline of this particular day ... June 16, 1904. But there's a certain sense of recapitulation ... at least in language as mentioned above, so maybe that's why/how this section aligns with Oxen of the Sun.

And there's this almost biblical thread of rebirth (in language & in story) ... though we're not sure who/what died ... certainly there's been all sorts of analyses likening Ulysses to the Christ story ... but if you set your mind to it, you can superimpose Jesus on almost any story situation (including also The Odyssey ... though since it pre-dates Christ, you have to wonder if it influenced the Jesus myth ... Ulysses is a mortal that communes with the gods ... he is perceived as dead, but then in a sense is resurrected & returns to avenge the sinners).

At the core it's all about recapitulation. And in this case, ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny ... all Irish (& Jewish) history & ancestry culminating in these characters, these carriers of code ... on this day, revealed in their genetic expression. And then the reader recapitulates to their own situation.  

And to take the immaculate conception parallel one step further, you could also see this as the episode where Bloom officially gives birth, or adopts Stephen (which would make Stephen the Christ-figure & Bloom god ... to complete the holy trinity). This is really the first episode where Bloom & Stephen get facetime. Both are procrastinating going home (Bloom for fear of Molly, Stephen for fear of Buck). Both are in a sense homeless. Bloom is son-less & you have to wonder if Joyce ending the last chapter with the call of the cuckoo was intentional ... Bloom planting his egg in the nest of Stephen's father Simon ... & then waiting for Stephen to grow up before assuming fathership ... this is how cuckoos roll.

cuckoo Ulysses

Ulysses as cuckoo form of parasitic broodism

And speaking of biblical metaphors, there are a few references here & elsewhere (we mentioned the Fe Fi Fo Fum reference already in the last post) to Jack & the Beanstalk, likening him to Stephen even (Behold the mansion reared by dedal Jack, See the malt stored in many a refluent sack, In the proud cirque of Jackjohn's bivouac) ... wherein Jack sells the family cow for beans (equivalent to slaughtering the oxen of the sun). The same story ... whether the restraining sin be slaughtering cattle, selling the family cow or choking the chicken to Gerty's flash dance.

We know what Oxen of the Sun are in our book ... but we won't reveal that here.

The subsequent immaculate conception in The Odyssey is Ulysses washing up on the beach on the island of Calypso ... reborn miraculously of the sea.

This chapter in Ulysses gets increasingly hard to read for meaning & at some point you just have to succumb to the poetic pleasures of pure language ... he put his head into a cow's drinking trough in the presence of all his courtiers and pulling it out again told them all his new name. Then, with the water running off him, he got into an old smock and skirt that had belonged to his grandmother and bought a grammar of the bull's language to study but he could never learn a word of it except the first personal pronoun which he copied out big and got off by heart and if ever he went for a walk he filled his pockets with chalk to write it up on what took his fancy [...] for those of ruder wit he drove home his point by analogies of the animal kingdom more suitable to their stomach [...] The spry rattle had run on the same vein of mimicry but for some larum in the antechamber. [...] Distractions, rookshooting, the Erse language (he recited some), laudanum (he raised phial to his lips), camping out. In vain! His spectre stalks me. Dope is my only hope ... Ah! Destruction! The Black Panther! [...] The black panther was himself the ghost of his own father. He drank drugs to obliterate. For this relief much thanks.

'For this relief much thanks' is the same line he used after the self-indulgence with Gerty. And again, in our book we are pretty sure we know who The Black Panther is ...

He is young Leopold, as in a retrospective arrangement, a mirror within a mirror (hey, presto!), he beholdeth himself.

And somewhere in the rant he likens the zodiac signs to murders of the sun & ties it back to parallax & metempsychosis & heliotropes (another reoccurring motif of particular interest to us (we wrote our math thesis on it after all) ... as is the scorpion, not just because a black scorpion presented itself to us on the birthstone of Buddha, but we ourselfs are at least half scorpio (cusp-baby).

15. Circe

If Oxen of the Sun was one of the most difficult sections to read, Circe is the payoff of easy-listening & guilty pleasure. It's strange & hallucinatory ... but the whole episode is told in script format so it's as if you are watching a film (though when Ulysses was written, it was probably more akin to a play ... complete with stage directions & culminating in a wild bar fight). If you're looking for action or could only read one section from Ulysses this would be the one ... but unless you read all before it it wouldn't make much sense.

This is where your lingering suspicions get spelled out. This is where they bust down the closet doors ... all those naughty, suppressed thoughts stemming from guilt & wish-fulfillment get released in dream-fueled mock trials & courtroom re-enactments ... accusations flying ... cases of mistaken identity ... testimony tying together the bits & pieces from rumors before into knots of fact ... further recapitulations ... the stuff dreams are made of ... & thru it all Bloom, tho initially 'flushed' & 'crestfallen', increasingly gains confidence & takes control of his destiny ... in cathartic release ... like a dreamer becoming aware that he is dreaming & realizing he has the ability to control the outcome.  

The correlation with Circe seems apt in that of all the seductions that entrap Ulysses, Circe seems to be the only one that he succumbs to by choice ... that he legitimately falls in love with & willingly stays on her island of Aeaea (in reality believed to be the Italian island of Ponza (we visited the actual grotto of Circe here)).

our own view from Circe's grotto/love den

This episode is also Felliniesque before Fellini ... bacchanal scenes of drunken revelry & debauchery also purgatorily decisive. Even Paddy Dignam comes back to life (thru metempsychosis). The number 32 re-appears & disappears as does the man in the brown macintosh ... he pops up through a trapdoor and says (pointing a finger at Bloom): Don't you believe a word he says. That man is Leopold McIntosh, the notorious fireraiser. And later we find out (if you believe it) that the man in the macintosh is Lipoti Virag, Bloom's grandfather, who proceeds to lecture Bloom about the birds & bees.

And while Bloom assumes more control ... Stephen loses it. Since Bloom assumes role of designated driver, Stephen allows himself to get shit-faced ... which only serves to further empower Bloom as mothering father-figure (as he associates Stephen with his dead son Rudy). It's like Stephen & Bloom go on an acid trip together ... at first their hallucinations are separate & distinguishable from each other ... but after a while they blend together into the same headspace until you don't know whose are whose.

As Dylan said, with the help of Lincoln: «I'll let you be in my dreams if I can be in yours.»

Says Stephen (early on, before he's totally wasted): So that gesture, not music, not odours, would be a universal language, the gift of tongues rendering visible not the lay sense but the first entelechy, the structural rhythm.

If there's any line from Ulysses what we would tattoo on our skin it would probably be this one. Especially (as we've observed before) how entelechy conjures Telemachus (& both summons telepathy or telephony). On the last day of February 2011, back when we tweeted quotidian flashes, entelechy was our word du jour:

1. In the philosophy of Aristotle, the condition of a thing whose essence is fully realized; actuality. 2. In some philosophical systems, a vital force that directs an organism toward self-fulfillment. 3. (Philosophy) (in the system of Leibnitz) the soul or principle of perfection of an object or person; a monad or basic constituent 4. (Biology) Vitalism. a vital agent or force directing growth and life. Cf. teleology. — entelechial, adj. [ORIGIN late Middle English : via late Latin from Greek entelekheia (used by Aristotle), from en- ‘within’ + telos ‘end, perfection’ + ekhein ‘be in a certain state'.]

As far as we know, Joyce only uses this word one other time in Ulysses, in the Scylla & Charybdis episode where Stephen & his literary mates hang out in the library & Stephen says: But I, entelechy, form of forms, am I by memory because under everchanging forms.

At this point in the reading ... as our marginal notes indicate ... we were in the airspace just north of Ireland. In our cramped middle seat we were becoming increasingly challenged to stay focused ... & while Bloom was being challenged to rein in his hallucinatory visions ... we were challenged to give up caring about the passage of time ... to stop counting the hours ... to stop counting the pages. Most books we are at some level conscious of what page we are on, when we reach page 100 or 200 ... but we were able to get into a zone with this chapter (looking now, it's perhaps the longest one in the book at 135 pages) & not caring what page we were on or how many hours were left in our flight.

Mads Mikkelsen falsely accused

the intense Mads Mikkelsen, falsely accused in The Hunt

At some point around here we took a break from reading to watch the Danish film, The Hunt (Jagten) ... the only film we could find in the in-flight selection that seemed remotely worthy. It's about a teacher that is falsely accused of exposing himself to a little girl. Joyce says it somewhere earlier & then again (thru Bloom, who is on trial for all sorts of bizarre allegations, including being a cuckold, pervert, jew, forger, anarchist, antichrist, etc.) in the Circe chapter: Better one guilty escape than ninetynine wrongfully condemned (a line, if any, from Ulysses that Xtian Peet might ink on his skin ... tho better yet with numbers reversed (did Joyce fuck it up? being sarcastic?)). It's like his whole character is what's on trial ... again, can't help but to liken Bloom to a persecuted Christ figure. Or that Joyce wrote this chapter knowing that it was inevitable that he & the book would be on trial for obscene language.

(Incidentally, Qatar airways ain't no Emirates. 3 out of 4 flights our movie console didn't work. They ran out of food before getting to us twice. And they don't know how to pour a fucking beer (then again, neither did the waiter at Nobu the other night). The only thing Qatar airways has going for it is the badass goat-creature in their logo.)

J.J. O'Molloy (again, we can't help but to wonder if J.J. is James Joyce) comes to Bloom's defense as his self-appointed barrister: There have been cases of shipwreck and somnambulism in my client's family. [nod to Circe] If the accused could speak he could a tale unfold one of the strangest that have ever been narrated between the covers of a book. [...] By Hades, I will not have any client of mine gagged and badgered in this fashion by a pack of curs and laughing hyenas. The Mosaic code has superseded the law of the jungle.

Joyce uses the word hellsgate a few times more here & elsewhere ... Hell's Gate just happens to be the point on the East River where the burning Slocum ship sunk ... as mentioned in the previous post, on the day before June 16, 1904 ... purely incidental? In The Odyssey, Circe is the last stop before they make the descent into hell.

East river as the River of Styx (while our view writing this now looks across the Hudson, just yesterday we found ourselves taking the water taxi across the East River ... thinking about our time spent in DUMBO looking out across the East River). Before taking the water taxi (our brother (another one) is in town so we were playing the tourist), we walked across the Brooklyn Bridge ... something that every time we do (besides being annoyed at all the tourists) we can't help but to think of the flood of Brooklynites leaving the burning towers on 9/11 .. to go home.  

Manhattan bridge

bridging the gap (Manhattan bridge shortly after Bloomsday) to the Liffy

Long before wifi & cellphones, Joyce says (thru THE PEERS): Wireless intercontinental and interplanetary transmitters are set for reception of message. And then later in the Ithica episode, he makes reference to: a private wireless telegraph which would transmit by dot and dash system ... Googling now, it seems at least in reference to Finnegans Wake people have written in depth about Joyce's aspiration toward «an imagined wireless transmission, outside the bonds of language and limitation» .... though in this article he (Michael Heumann) doesn't mention Joyce's actual use of the word wireless twice in Ulysses, in a way that is definitely not incidental. If Joyce had lived to see you, The Internet, and the likes of cloud computing ... what else would he have imagined beyond this?

And then, in Finnegans Wake, Joyce made allusions to characteristics of subatomic particles that didn't yet exist (the quark was a word Joyce invented before it became the particle we know).

And long before literary suicides became fashionable (before the likes of Sylvia Plath & Virginia Woolf), Joyce said: Many most attractive and enthusiastic women also commit suicide by stabbing, drowning, drinking prussic acid, aconite, opening their veins, refusing food [...] asphyxiating themselves by placing their heads in gas ovens, ...

Joyce as soothsayer.

The Circe episode is wildly hallucinogenic ... Bloom's character explodes, blooms into a multi-faceted kaleidoscope ... Bloom is at once (& also not)—one of the boys, a comedian, ambidextrous, a drunkard, a utopian, an anarchist, a communist, a hippy (preaching: Free money, free love and a free lay church in a free lay state), a bisexual, an exhibitionist, an abstainer, a metrosexual, Homer Simpson, Che Guevara, Ignatius T. Reilly ... shit, Blooms's fucking Buddha .... a lotus flower. Or at least he's accused of being all these things ... to which Bloom responds: O, I so want to be a mother ... & sure enough he gives birth to 8 mongrel children.

Not sure where it happens, but the action shifts from mock regimented courtrooms to an anything goes flophouse (unless this is all in our imagination) ... as it's approaching midnight. Bloom pays for Stephen's tricks. Even Blazes enters the scene ... with a suspect long hair on his shoulder .... when asked of it he says he was plucking a turkey ... then shoves his finger under some dude Lenehan's nose (right in front of Bloom) & says smell that (how mature, right?) To which Lenehan says Ah! Lobster and mayonnaise. Then Boylan turns to Bloom & says: You can apply your eyes to the keyhole and play with yourself while I just go through her a few times. To which Bloom responds (cough/pussy): Thank you, sir. I will, sir. May I bring two men chums to witness the deed and take a snapshot?

Fucked up, right? You just want to reach into the book & bitchslap the dude. The hour passes midnight ... things get crazier ... pachunga is the word that comes to mind .... a word that some Mexican taught us once that signifies an all-out orgy where anything goes (& serendipitously Urban dictionary, while not agreeing on meaning, attributes its origins to the inner city of Dublin) ... more people make appearances from the dead, including Stephen's mother (the only thing seemingly real in all this), which temporarily sobers up at least Stephen.

Even tho this scene falls (Odyssey-wise) before the homecoming, in many ways this feels like the scene where Ulysses & Telemachus open a can of whoopass on the suitors. Things spiral into complete chaos ... DISTANT VOICES declare: Dublin's burning! Dublin's burning! Stephen gets into a fight that escalates into a surreal barroom brawl ... the police come ... in the chaos Bloom whisks Stephen away. Bloom (eyelids flickering), our hero.

And thus ends book 2 of 3, of The Odyssey, er Ulysses. Leaving only book 3 ... Nostos (a.k.a. the homecoming).

Ulysses P

Book 2. Nostos
episode 16. Eumaeus

In The Odyssey, this marks the returns of Ulysses to Ithica. Eumaeus, his old friend the swineherd, is the first person Ulysses sees upon return ... though Eumaeus doesn't recognize him as Ulysses is in cognito as a beggar.

After fleeing the debaucherous brouhaha at the whorehouse, Bloom & a half-conscious Stephen take shelter in some sort of cabman's shelter ... reportedly occupied by 'Skin-the-Goat Fitzharris' ... who in this sense could be considered to be Eumaeus. More importantly, this episode is about identity & concealment (& further seduction). The writing has a strange air about it .... kind of like the aftermath of bad sex or the hangover of a long journey (maybe we're projecting here) ... all the jetlag & nervous exhaustion percolating ... or like when the shows over & the harsh house lights go on & you realize (as you sober up quick) that things are not as mystical or glamorous as you thought. Thinks Bloom: Needless to say, the fumes of his recent orgy spoken then with some asperity in a curious bitter way, foreign to his sober state.

It's like Bloom slipped Stephen some roofies ... & now Bloom wants to be the hero that delivers Stephen home. When he finds out Stephen has no place to sleep he encourages him to make amends with his dad—why did you leave your father's house? Bloom asks ... to which Stephen replies, To seek misfortune.

And then Bloom invites him to spend the night at his house.

Blooms starts acting the jealous & possessive lover ... conniving ... bad-mouthing Buck Mulligan, accusing him of dosing Stephen's drink with narcotics. But every time Bloom tries to advise Stephen against his ways & lure him into his nest, Stephen barks back like a haughty bitch ... Bloom eases off & pathetically relents (excusing Stephens snarky behavior as a consequence of his drunkenness) & ... seemingly desperate & acting unnatural (again, the disguised motif) ... concedes to Stephen's crass statements that otherwise would offend & fall outside of his belief system.

Bloom lectures Stephen about the ills of smoking ... he warns him of the diseases you can get from prostitutes. He is shocked that Stephen advises a friend to apply for Stephen's own job opening. He preaches to Stephen about his utopian vision of society where everyone works & is paid fairly ... & when he is met with indifference & silent derision, Bloom back-petals, making concessions, saying writing is work, important work ... after all the money expended on your education, you are entitled to recoup yourself and command your price. And almost as if just to spite Bloom, Stephen declares that: Ireland must be important because it belongs to me. And then before the spineless Bloom can rebuttal, Stephen says, We can't change the country. Let us change the subject.

They wander on & Bloom tries to get some food into Stephen to sober him up (oh, how honorable). They meet some sailors ... a tattooed one of which (W.B. Murphy) has been away for 7 years (can't help but to think of Ulysses) & brags of his overseas adventures (complete with photos). His tattoos are further hints of identity concealment ... as is the fact that a newspaper article (listing the attendees of Dignam's funeral) misspells Bloom's name as L. Boom.

anchor tat

our own bifurcating anchor tat

In a last desperate gesture (as if to make up for his dazed inarticulateness) Bloom shows Stephen a 'slightly soiled photo' of Molly in a low-cut top ... almost like he is selling him on the idea.

It's an intentionally anti-climactic homecoming for sure. As Murphy says, And the coming back was the worst thing you ever did because it went without saying you would feel out of place as things always moved with the times.

17. Ithica

The previous episode we read over Greenland. By the time we got to this chapter we were over North American airspace ... 'Newfoundland'. Almost home.

There's an Ithica, New York ...  but we've yet to go.

Through a series of socratic dialogue, we find out what is happening ... what has been happening ... a bit forced perhaps, like there was details Joyce didn't have a chance to reveal & uses this Q & A device to force these points home. But again, as in the last section, this could be intentional. After all this beating around the bush, why not just come out & ask outright? (Bloom invites Stephen to spend the night).

But that's as far as  it goes .... if there was any spark between them, it fizzles limp before it gets lit. Bloom hangs on in desperation ... but after repeated rejection he becomes the dejected pessimist.

Contrived or not ... we do learn some important details ... like that Stephen & Bloom have met twice before, when Stephen was a kid. We learn (through convoluted mathematical puzzles) the exact ages of Bloom (38) & Stephen (22). And we find out that Bloom still doesn't know who McIntosh is. We also discover (if we believe Bloom) that Stephen's father, Simon Dedalus is among the many (24) in a list of men who had shared a bed with Molly (also in this list: a Father, an Italian organ grinder, a bootblack, an unknown man ... the tramp!). Despite all these previous lovers, Bloom seems to be at peace (or at least justifies it as such in his mind): ... each one who enters imagines himself to to be the first to enter whereas he is always the last term of a preceding series even if the first term of a succeeding one, each imagining himself to be first, last, only and alone, whereas he is neither first nor last nor only nor alone in a series originating and repeated to infinity.

Having lost his key ... like Stephen, like Ulysses ... Bloom clumsily climbs over his wall (& falls) & sneaks into his own kitchen ... sound familiar? May as well have to recount the construction of their bed.

The platonic seduction continues ... Bloom makes Stephen hot cocoa (with viscous cream ordinarily reserved for the breakfast of his wife) & asks if he wants to take a bath (Stephen politely declines). And Bloom finally uses the lemon soap to wash his soiled hands (can't help but to hark back to his self-gratification with Gerty). He even shaves right then & there ... downright creepy.

Then both of them urinate on Bloom's lawn (the differences in trajectories & their 'collateral organs' described in great detail). Our grandfather used to piss on the lawn whenever we returned home from a dinner out ... told us kids it was the only worthwhile reason to own your own house.

Through such socratic dialogue, Bloom also communes with his dead father, who recounts to him a retrospective arrangement of migrations and settlements ... & the follow up Q & A is perhaps worthy of being an epigraph to our own 'SSES" 'SSES" 'SSEY":

  Had time equally but differently obliterated the memory of these migrations in narrator and listener?
  In narrator by the access of years and in consequence of the use of narcotic toxin: in listener by the access of years and in consequences of the action of distraction upon vicarious experiences.

And again, in reference to our brothers peregrination to recreate his own Ulysses/ Odyssey ... his travels that climaxed in Tibet ... Joyce calls it the forbidden country of Thibet (from which no traveller returns).

And then again, Joyce conveniently recapitulates the book thus far (from Bloom's perspective) with telling parentheticals:

The preparation of breakfast (burnt offering): intestinal congestion and premeditative defecation (holy of holies): the bath (rite of John): the funeral (rite of Samuel): the advertisement of Alexander Keyes (Urim and Thummim): the unsubstantial lunch (rite of Melchisedek): the visit to museum and national library (holy place): the bookhunt along Bedford row, Merchants’ Arch, Wellington Quay (Simchath Torah): the music in the Ormond Hotel (Shira Shirim): the altercation with a truculent troglodyte in Bernard Kiernan’s premises (holocaust): a blank period of time including a cardrive, a visit to a house of mourning, a leavetaking (wilderness): the eroticism produced by feminine exhibitionism (rite of Onan): the prolonged delivery of Mrs Mina Purefoy (heave offering): the visit to the disorderly house of Mrs Bella Cohen, 82 Tyrone street, lower and subsequent brawl and chance medley in Beaver street (Armageddon)- nocturnal perambulation to and from the cabman’s shelter, Butt Bridge (atonement).

We learn that Bloom is the narrator & that the narration is 'absolutely' altered by modifications & that Stephen is the salient point & that the intended audience, the listener, is Molly & that it's safe to say, they have issues ... 'limitations' & 'inhibitions' (if you do the (sketchy) math you realize they haven't had sex for 10 years & 7 months ... or more relevantly 10 years, 5 months & 18 days since their only son died ... the 10 year abstinence can obviously be equated to the 10 years Ulysses is away from Ithica). And while things are far from perfect with their relationship, you sense with this admission/realization a certain endearing hope between them ... that they are laying side by side (Bloom with his head at her feet) in the same bed & that is all that matters in the end). The question remains ... is the homecoming, in these terms, consummated? Bloom kisses her bum & selectively recounts his day (the summary above).

And at this point, with the kiss of the arse & 'interrogation' (Molly now armed with intelligence), a sort of transfer of power takes place. Until this point, Ulysses has been a dudes male bonding book ... but now we hear Molly's side of the story. At this point in our reading we were 200 miles from JFK. We only had 8 sentences left to read (granted these 8 run-on sentences span 42 pages) ... but we have a lot to say about Molly so we'll save the rest of our reflecting for the next post ...

anchor tat anchor tat anchor tat

In the real world, Sleepingfish 12 is now available & we got proofs for The Becoming & fired off the email to spark up the press ... Printed Matter now has Ark Codex ±0 ... you sinners can reduce purgatory time if you follow @Pontifex on Twitter ... Detroit filed for bankruptcy ... Snowden is still grounded in a holding pattern, but hey, at least he has Crime & Punishment to bide the time ... Obama continues to prove he is not a leader but a reactionary bandwagon follower (in regards to Trayvon) ... ends up Sufjan Stevens is quite the font nazi, rightfully rips the design of the new Savages album a new a-hole ... Mayhem's bassist was arrested for planning a terrorist act ... 4 students got drunk at the beach & decided to burn down their high school in Rome ... our quotidian flash from this same day last year:

¢ «Rome reminds me of a man who lives by exhibiting to travellers his grandmother’s corpse.»—James Joyce (thusly inspired to write The Dead)

  >> NEXT: Post-modern gender-bending & Ruth-less role Я∃verseƧ in Our Ecstatic DaysƧ∃Ƨ & ...Y

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