Episode 15, Circe, i.e., A Dream Play!

For those drama lovers among you, fear not. You thought Ulysses was just a novel? In the great tradition of something for everyone literature, or, the smorgasborg that is Ulysses, we have, (two-thirds of the way through the novel, just as you thought you were through with the tricky bit, ie. Oxen of the Sun), a play!

And not just any play, a DREAM PLAY. For those, like me, who needed to refresh your university knowledge of Dream Plays, think Strindberg. Any Joyce fan worth their salt knows that Joyce had a hero-worship going for Ibsen. But less commonly know is the influence of Strindberg.

Really, Strindberg is less commonly known altogether. I discovered this on a recent visit to Stockholm when I spent an hour at the Strindberg Museum, where I startled a very polite and helpful young staff-member/volunteer (who can say if the place makes enough to pay someone, though one would suspect the impressive State of Sweden might just support the museum regardless of whether they get any visitors, ever), by coming to visit the museum.

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Strindberg’s Desk

I can understand how the ABBA Museum would be more popular, but still I’m betting the Ibsen Museum over in Oslo is getting more attention. Everyone knows A Doll’s House, but name one Strindberg play?

That’s just it. After Miss Julie, there’s A Dream Play. While I’m not a Nordic drama scholar, or any kind of scholar, I can say from the enthusiastic lay-person’s point of view that A Dream Play dramatizes the unconscious and also paved the way for expressionist and surrealist playwrights to come.

This seems exactly what Joyce is attempting in his play-within-a-novel. In my text this play takes up 134 pages. So, quick synopsis:

We find our two heroes in Night Town, the red light district. Bloom is separated from Stephen and finds a snack in a pork shop, after which, let the hallucinations begin! Bloom goes on public trial accused, among other things, of being a cuckold. This is the nightmare portion of the play. He then eventually finds Stephen at Bella Cohen’s brothel. Many hallucinations later, including images of Bloom briefly becoming a woman and the appearance of both Stephen’s dead mother and a lucky potato, the episode ends with Stephen being punched in the face by a British Army officer. The father-son relationship becomes complete as Bloom, caring for Stephen, sees him as an apparition of his dead son Rudy. How’s that for a six-sentence synopsis!

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The sanitized James Joyce Street, formerly Mabbot Street of the Monto District — the largest Red Light district of its time in Europe.

If it wasn’t clear before I’ll say it now — I did not enjoy Circe. I’m sure in many ways it is the most ambitious and experimental portion of Ulysses, and if we aren’t here for experimentation than what are we doing here? Still, perhaps it came too late in the novel for me to have patience with it. Maybe the whole exploration of Bloom’s virility was lost on me when he “became” a woman and this was a degradation. (I understand it was avant-garde for the male character to morph into a woman, but in the post-trump era we are living in I’m not so keen on indulging passages on the humiliations of “becoming” female. if we were reading the same passages of a character “becoming” black … well point taken and not trying to be PC-cop but just, Trump.)

All that said, I can see the importance in a book focused on the inner monologue delving beneath the surface of thought into the subconscious. Also, as I dove into the whole thing further myself, I learned that this chapter was written following the censorship of earlier episodes — namely Nausicaa — and allowed Joyce a reaction to this as well as the current war for independence. As the ever-trusty Declan Kiberd explains: “Because the episode was completed during the final phase of the Anglo-Irish war, he also offers an attack on the Anglicisation of the Irish life, via the brothels, the soldiers who patronised them, and the English songs which they made current. Joyce joked that ‘Circe’ was the most realistic episode of Ulysses, but he was stretching realism to the limit, as one way of responding to charges of obscenity.

Putting aside readability, there are other interesting aspects of the episode. The ability the dream-state allows for time to stand still in a novel organized around the clock is pretty facinating and also just practically why it is fun to read novels. In addition to Ibsen and Strindberg, Joyce was also obsessed (apparently) by Einstein’s newish theory of Relativity (1905), which is all explored in this episode.

So time is a perception which itself can slow down depending on the relation to the person observing it? Such was my experience with Circe.

 

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Episode 14, Oxen of the Sun, or, the Mother of all Anthologies

I’m not going to lie — this chapter is a bitch.We’ve reached Oxen of the Sun — the grand-daddy of all challenges.

The only advice I can impart is to not take it too seriously. Joyce certainly had a wicked and unfailing sense of humor, and so I can only deduce that in Oxen we are not being made fun of, but rather there is a hopeful intention on the part of the author that we will join him in his lengthy jest.

To begin with, the Episode is … well, I’ll let Joyce explain it himself, here in a letter to Frank Budgen, from March 20th 1920:

‘Am working hard at Oxen of the Sun, the idea being the crime committed against fecundity by sterilising the act of coition. Scene, lying-in hospital. Technique: a nineparted episode without divisions introduced by a Sallustian-Tacitean prelude (the unfertilised ovum), then by a way of earliest English alliterative and monosyllablic and Anglo-Saxon, then by way of Mandeville, then Malory’s Morte d’Arthur, then the Elizabethan “chronicle style”, then a passage solemn, as of Milton, Taylor and Hooker, followed by a choppy Latin-gossipy bit, style of Burton-Browne, then a passage Bunyanesque. After a diarystyle bit Pepys-Evelyn, and so on through Defoe- Swift and Steele-Addison-Sterne and Landor-Pater-Newman until it ends in a frightful jumble of Pidgin English, Nigger English, Cockney, Irish, Bowery slang and broken doggerel.

This procession is also linked back at each part subtly with some foregoing episode of the day and, besides this, with the natural stages of development in the embryo and the periods of faunal evolution in general. The double-thudding Anglo-Saxon motive recurs from time to time (“Loth to move from Horne’s house”) to give the sense of the hoofs of oxen. Bloom is the spermatozoon, the hospital the womb, the nurse the ovum, Stephen the embryo. / How’s that for high?”

Unknown-1Translation: Setting: The National Maternity Hospital on Holles Street. *Note, this hospital still stands to this day near Merrion Square and is one of the few settings in Ulysses that has retained its original purpose. IE. babies are still born there, although drinking and carousing I believe were never allowed.

Characters: Stephen and his friends (who we didn’t know existed up until this point, Stephen being a bit of a non-joiner). Bloom is there also, and to round things off, some nurses along with Mina Purefoy giving birth.

Plot: As always, minimal, though, also, there is one. Mina Purefoy is suffering through labor over the course of many days. In the waiting room Stephen and a crowd of friends turn the space into a pub-like atmosphere, juxtaposing the sacred (birth of babies) with the profane (drinking, dirty jokes, general carousing)

Style: All of them.

This last point is the primary point of Oxen. Here you will find an exploration of all of Western Literature in roughly 40-pages of imitative text. This is more or less chronological, though there is a bit of jumping back and forth in time periodically. Don’t worry. Do your best. What I found most interesting, if not actually enjoyable, about the Episode was the parody of anthology taking place. Evidently the literary anthology had become a popular point of reference for ingesting great swaths of literature, be it poetry, excerpts from longer works, short stories… if you went to college and found yourself purchasing a Norton Anthology you get the idea. Who determined what would be included in these Anthologies, and how was the canon of great literature sculpted to include or exclude, were questions at the heart of Joyce’s ridiculing Episode 14 as he crashes his way through all of literature.

Episode 13, Nausicaa — A Romantic Interlude

James Joyce, wm_3459an avid reader, was also a severe and unflinching critic of the literature of his day. In his obituary in the New York Times they remarked that “conceit and arrogance were his characteristics. When he first met Yeats he remarked:

“We have met too late; you are too old to be influenced by me.””

Joyce was not just immersed in creating for himself the role and persona of artist, but found the prospect liberating from the extreme poverty and oppressive societal norms he was escaping from back home. The arrogance was both an act and somewhat real. He believed in himself and his own substantial gifts, but also was frequently faced with writers and artists from social classes far above his own. He needed to cultivate some bravado, and believed that his art would flow from living a life of freedom and unhindered artistic expression.

So he went on the offensive a bit, but his criticisms are wittily expressed and I think true to himself. He loved Ibsen and Dante and Shakespeare and was not trying to manufacture opinions about the literature of his time (or recent past) just to appear clever. He was clever! He spoke seven languages and wrote Ulysses!

In this and the following Episode, Oxen of the Sun, we have, among other things, Joyce’s commentary on literature. Here in Episode 13 a romantic interlude is depicted by a highly sentimental narrator.

We’re back at Sandymount Strand, where Stephen was brooding all the way back in Episode 3. It is now dusk and Bloom comes upon three young women,  Gerty MacDowell, Edy Boardman and Cissy Caffrey out for an early evening’s excursion at the beach to watch the planned fireworks with three children in tow, the sons and brother of Cissy and Edy, respectively. Gerty is dreaming of romance. A child’s ball rolls to Bloom and he kicks it back, gaining Gerty’s attention as her day-dreams wander to him as subject and a real-life flirtation begins.

Gerty shows a bit of leg, and Bloom, in thrall as a voyeur and fantasist himself, masturbates in rhythm with the explosion of a nearby roman candle. That’s it, pretty much, but was enough to cause the banning of Ulysses in the U.S. By today’s standards, literary or otherwise, the “masturbation scene” was all fairly innocuous:

And then a rocket sprang and bang shot blind and O! then the Roman candle burst and it was like a sigh 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 with golden, O so lively! O so soft, sweet, soft!

The 1920 publication of the Nausica episode in the Little Review started the first trial of Ulysses as the New York Society for the Suppression of Vice initiated a prosecution under the state’s obscenity law.

“Nausicaa” was ruled obscene, the female editors of the Little Review were fined, and Ulysses was banned in the United States, preventing its full publication there for the next decade. Joyce had yet to finish writing the entire book, so later on as we move into Oxen and Circe, the triplets chapters, we get his direct commentary on the whole sanctimonious business.

Mid-way through Nausicaa, Gerty departs to find her friends. Perhaps the ejaculating Bloom was not in keeping with her fantasies. Bloom’s wandering psyche takes center page once more as they narrative shifts to his perspective as he ponders the nature of women, and thinks again of Molly’s tryst with Boylan as he delays returning home: I am a fool perhaps. He gets the plums and I the plumstones.

There is a weariness here to Bloom and he writes letters in the sand and the narrative shifts again to a third person objective as Bloom tosses the stick he was writing with into the sea.

Episode 12, Cyclops – Your typical night out

Barney_KiernanFinally, we arrive at the chapter dedicated to the pub. We’ve been flirting around this setting for sometime now. Bloom has only just escaped the Sirens of the Ormond Bar, while earlier in Episode 8 we found him lunching at Davy Byrne’s pub and elsewhere in the windswept Aeolus, Stephen wrangles a group of men toward the pub. There are still more drinking locales to come, and more thorough drunkenness. Why, at this stage, do we need another chapter set entirely in the pub? Ask this question and you have never visited Ireland.

My husband has said that the three places he would bring a visitor to Ireland, to indoctrinate them in the culture of the place and its people, would be a funeral, the pub, and his Aunt Chrissy’s house. For those not acquainted with my husband and therefore not finding the invitation to Aunt Chrissy’s forthcoming, and if you are not visiting for mourning purposes, the pub is then the only option. This setting is also the most readily available insight into the country and its people under any circumstances.

So here we have Bloom entering into the supposed conversational arena of the pub. He is not without his ability to socialize, though the last time we saw him in conversational form in a group he was in the carriage on the way to Dignam’s funeral in “Hades”, where he found the punch lines of his jokes stolen away from him and generally was  ignored by the other men.

Now, he becomes the focus of the surrounding men as he enters into Barney Kiernan’s pub and faces the great Cyclops, cleverly transformed by Joyce from an actual monster to “the Citizen”, a single-minded character representative of all of the hyperbole and nationalist rhetoric of the time in its worst form. Through this Episode we are shown the limitations of conversation throughout Ulysses, and in comparison with the depth and rapidity of thought it is a poor and limiting means of expression.

The Citizen is xenophobic and latches on to Bloom while the others are only too happy to follow his example by gossiping about Bloom’s supposed stinginess, rumors about his unfaithful wife, his sexual orientation, the parentage of his children, and his “Hungarian origins”. The greatest insult however has to do with the misconception that Bloom had, earlier in the day, won a bet and having come into some spare cash has not bothered to buy a round for those assembled.

The chapter is also notable for its narrator. We are now squarely outside Bloom’s head and the chapter is the first to give the privilege of narration to another actual character, though he remains unnamed. Here we touch upon one of the over-arching themes of the book — that of the unreliable narrator and the limitations of a defined narrative.

The episode concludes with the Citizen following Bloom out of the pub as he makes his way to leave, making a general scene and screaming antisemitic slurs while finally throwing a biscuit tin toward him as a final insult.

A bit more about those Sirens

Marie-François_Firmin-Girard_-_Ulysses_and_the_Sirens_1868I imagine there are various feminist readings of Joyce’s writings and Ulysses in particular. The female characters are present and rich, both sympathetic and in charge. Powerful is a bit of a cliche word to describe strong women, but it is aptly used here where the various female characters, in 1904, are in control of their lives, their desires and, often, the men around them.

I’m no literary critic, but will say Joyce’s understanding of women and multi-faceted depiction of them is, however unconsciously, partly responsible for my love of the book and sense of kinship with its author and central character alike.

Enter the Sirens, Miss Douce and Miss Kennedy. They stand behind the bar, their hands caressing the phallic beer knobs, while the men, acutely aware of them but at a distance, are continually drawn to them (necessarily so to obtain a drink, but this is beyond the point as motivation doesn’t interest us here as much as movement). The women are protected by the bar itself and by their own ridicule and scorn for the men generally and Bloom specifically.

They are only vaguely sexual, teasing the men, but primarily they are only to be contemplated — viewed. They are distinct from the Sirens of Odysseus in that a vocal chord does not pass their lips. The singing is left to the men. Music serves many purposes within this Episode, but largely I see it as nostalgic — allowing the men to retreat to the past, to someplace other than where they are, a reverie of sorts created by themselves rather than the seductive female.

Episode 11, Sirens, or “Ulysses, The Musical”

Nations of the earth. No-one behind. She’s passed. Then and not till then. Tram. Kran, kran, kran. Good oppor. Coming. Krandlkrankran. I’m sure it’s the burgund. Yes. One, two. Let my epitaph be. Karaaaaaaa. Written. I have.

Pprrpffrrppfff.

Done.

This is just one example of why Ulysses can barely be read without some sort of guidance, save those who want to read it while on hallucinogens.

Honestly.

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For those still interested in event concerning this book: Episode 11 takes place inside the Ormond Bar, (recently saved from demolition, above). The overlying theme of the chapter is “music”, picking up from the Odyssey in which Odysseus instructs his crew to tie him up aboard his ship, while passing the Sirens so that he will not veer off course. His shipmates have their ears plugged, but Odysseus chooses to be put in constraints so as to hear the lovely siren song.

In Joyce fashion, the beautiful but deadly siren calls are converted into a cacophony of noise and melody taking place in and around the Ormond Bar. If Ulysses as a whole is in many respects an homage to the oral story-telling traditions of Ireland, then “Sirens” takes this a step further with its attempt to directly interpret/replicate the experience of listening to music through the written word. Try reading a few passages out loud to yourself and you will, perhaps, find your admiration and wonder at Joyce renewed.

Clock whirred. Miss Kennedy passed their way (flower, wonder who gave), bearing away teatray. Clock Clacked.

Bloom heard a jing, a little sound. He’s off. Light sob of breath Bloom sighed on the silent bluehued flowers. Jingling. He’s gone. Jingle. Hear. 

 

There is also the return of various passages from earlier in Ulysses – a re-telling of words and phrases and sounds. The whole novel is becoming more experimental (so get ready, or run for your lives and find another book!) with the style largely dictating the narrative, highlighting the restrictions of form upon narrative as well as narrator/author upon narrative.

There is some action to be told, namely the dramatic narrative of the Boylan/Molly rendezvous, close upon us at 4 p.m. Bloom sees Boylan enter the Ormond and, upon running into his friend Richie Goulding outside, agrees to enter to have dinner and keep an eye on Boylan. He can’t help himself. And yet, he also cannot confront or otherwise stop Molly’s betrayal.

Boylan soon exits however, and Bloom is left, quite sad, to distract himself with music. First, a love song, then an operatic aria (similar to the potentially dramatic nature of this Episode, and yet our expectations for a confrontation are cut short, of course), and later, a nationalist tune, “The Croppy Boy”. The gathered men take over the singing, departing from the original Odysseus where the Sirens song is the allure. Here the Sirens are clearly the two barmaids, Miss Kennedy and Miss Douce. (more on these ladies in the next post), though maybe in fact they are the singing men?

Bloom spends this time contemplating all things, the melody of the music drawing him from his son Rudy, once more, to the mathematics of music, to the mimicking relationship of music to every-day noise. As usual, Bloom possesses both wisdom and insight, if not the straightforward ability to join in and be part of the social settings he is flirting with. He sees the sentimentality of singing these old nationalist tunes and rejects this outright as a sort of quick sand that is keeping his country and countrymen submerged in inaction through their romanticizing of the past.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Episode 10, The Wandering Rocks — All together now!

I love The Wandering Rocks, and so will you. If you read no other section of the book, take a look at Episode 10. The prose is highly readable and the whole section flows, much like a movie montage, as we step in and out of the lives of the populace of Dublin, circa 1904. The Wandering Rocks gives us a glimpse into the lives of 19 Dubliners going about their days — shopping, cleaning, gossiping, working, not working, going to visit. There are characters that have become familiar — the Dedalus family, Corny Kelleher, Buck Mulligan and Haines, the Dignam children, and Blazes Boylan. In this section there is a replication of the small town feeling that is actually experienced throughout much of Ireland: Dublin in this case becomes the village where everyone knows one another and more importantly everyone knows one another’s business. We also notably get our first glimpse of Molly since way back in Episode 4. Or rather we see her arm, extending out the window to make a charitable donation to a one-legged sailor passing by. Molly is still ensconsed in her bedroom, waiting for her lover. Of particular interest and serving as a connecting line is the progress of a viceregal cavalcade. The Viceroy was the “Lord Lieutenant of Ireland”  or the British monarchy’s appointed ruler over Ireland before the end of occupation. This governance scenario lasted until 1920. In Ulysses the Viceroy, the Earl of Dudley and his wife, are moving across town from their residence in Phoenix Park in the center of the city to the area of Ballsbridge where they are evidently opening a charity bazaar.

aras_front_park3_lgePhoenix Park will come into discussion again later in the book so it is perhaps notable here to view the way the citizens within the Wandering Rocks are all politely deferential to the horse drawn carriage, and those in it, making its way through the city. In fact there is much written about how Episode 10 begins with a depiction of a priest, Father Conmee on a charitable errand attempting to look after the well being of Patrick Dignam’s son in securing him a place in school. In this way the 19 vignettes are bookended by depictions of the church and state.

Episode 9, Scylla and Charybdis — A Missed Encounter

Congratulations! At this stage of the book, you have passed the half-way mark and are solidly within the SECOND half of this monster.

If you are still with us, you will recall that at the very end of Episode 8, as part of the actual, existing “story” of Ulysses, Bloom ducked into the National Library in order to avoid running into the cursed Blazes Boylan and coming face-to-face with the reality, or soon to be reality, that he is a cuckold.

In Episode 9, the reader may find themselves surprised by the existence of continuity in the text as we return to the National Library, wherein we find Stephen, demonstrating his will to become a Young Artist. The careful reader may remark that the term Artist is a bit loose and/or one can assume a varying definition within the early part of the 20th Century as Stephen goes on to demonstrate his more or less loose ability at being an academic.  The entirety of this section is largely devoted to Stephens’ presentation of a theory related to his reading of Shakespeare’s Hamlet.

Now, the actual theory has some relevance on our own story (Ulysses/reading Ulysses) in two ways:

1. According to Stephen’s theory, Shakespeare envisions himself as the ghost of Hamlet’s father, rather than as the hero of the play, young Hamlet. In general, Stephen is at this stage, (and perhaps throughout the book given the recurring appearance of his own father) obsessed with the father-son relationship:

A father, Stephen said, battling against hopelessness, is a necessary evil. …The corpse of John Shakespeare does not walk the night. From hour to hour it rots and rots. He rests, disarmed of fatherhood, having devised that mystical estate upon his son. …Fatherhood, in the sense of conscious begetting, is unknown to man. It is a mystical estate, an apostolic succession, from only begetter to only begotten. On that mystery and not on the madonna which the cunning Italian intellect flung to the mob of Europe the church is founded and founded irremovably because founded, like the world, macro- and microcosm, upon the void. … Paternity may be a legal fiction. Who is the father of any son that any son should love him or he any son?

What the hell are you driving at?

I know. Shut up. Blast you! I have reasons.

This is all of interest to me due to my leanings toward Central Character # 2, Leopold Bloom, who is mostly absent in this section but who fulfills the role of father to Stephen, as we learn he has lost his own son many years earlier. Bloom is therefore haunted by the ghost of his own son, as Stephen is haunted by the ghost of his own father, both coming together in a tidy analogous theory here focused on William Shakespeare, the man.

2. In presenting his theory, this is the first and perhaps only formal time within Ulysses where we see Stephen striving toward his goal of becoming an intellectual.  We have to give him props for this, but at the same time, his theory is refuted at every turn by the collection of assembled scholars. Holes are poked through his theory left and right until Stephen himself admits he does not believe his own theory. He is further trampled upon as one Buck Mulligan enters into the scene to heap additional humiliation upon him, and at the same time remarks disparagingly upon Leopold Bloom (future substitute father), a stranger to Buck and Stephen at this stage, who he saw ogling (observing) the bottom of a statue out in the corridor.  In this way, the repeating themes of Stephen and Bloom sharing in the “outsider” status is brought forth once more (for the 98th time and we’re only half-way through the book!) and the connection between them is reinforced outside of the view of the pure reader.

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Episode 8, Lestrygonians — In which our sanity returns, briefly.

Following the bustle of activity in Episode 7, Episode 8 finds us back where – if we’ve been paying any attention – there is some comfort.  Namely, inside the head of one Leopold Bloom. The “action” of this section can be summed up as rather every-day occurrences.  Bloom is out and about, interacting with various people, causing his thoughts to flit in every different direction. He walks over O’Connell bridge and purchases some Banbury cakes to feed the seagulls, at which point he runs into his former girlfriend, Josie Breen. At the time, Bloom has also been further contemplating the impending tryst scheduled to happen later in the day between his wife and Boylan.  As he interacts with Josie we learn that her husband is mentally a bit of a wreck, however the conversation largely focuses on Mina Purefoy, a common friend, who is giving birth and has been in labor for three days. Bloom continues on, passing the newspaper office, going in search of something to eat, and eventually he ducks into the National Museum to avoid Boylan who has just passed along the street.

Despite Section 8 being largely focused on the observations of Bloom/total free-association gone amuck, there is also a theme that I can only describe plainly as “movement”:

Yes, yes, there are the ubiquitous Seagulls.

There is also a flock of pigeons.

And moving down the winged animal food chain, there is a fly stuck on a windowpane within Davy Byrne’s pub.

In addition, we have the movement of trams traveling in and out of the city and thoughts about a future eclipse which will occur later on in 1904. Here’s where our friend JJ tries to trip us up: all of this movement is meant to indicate stagnation.  Or so I would infer as our dear anti-hero falls into his typical gloomy mood:

“Trams passed one another, ingoing, outgoing, clanging. Useless words. Things go on same; day after day: squads of police marching out, back: trams in, out.”

Poor old Bloom. And yet I’m again struck by how perfectly human he is. In general my reading of the guy is that he is a rather optimistic character, thus prone to disappointment. Maybe this is only in comparison with the truly downbeat Stephen but I find Bloom’s combination of thoughtfulness about the world around him, philosophizing about improvements to the city of Dublin, the nation, Europe; pondering of the role of religion and government and in this particular section, being somewhat discouraged at these things, much more uplifting than Stephens general rancor.

Many readers will also take note of the presence of food as Bloom searches for lunch.  There is certainly a good lot of talk about food and food imagery, but I think there is something else going on here rather than Food=Sex or Food=hunger=sex.  Take this:

“This is the very worst hour of the day. Vitality. Dull, gloomy: hate this hour. Feel as if I had been eaten and spewed.”

The appetite we encountered during Bloom’s introduction in Section 4 has transformed to something entirely unpleasant. He searches for food and finds the unappetizing and the symbolic.

A bit more about that Tower

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Any readers out there may recall my indifference at the prospect of the Joyce Museum reopening in the Martello Tower in Dun Laoghaire, (in American: Dun Leary) near Sandy Cove. However, this did not prevent me from visiting during last spring’s visit to Ireland. A hangover from the wedding I’d just finished attending a few hours earlier and getting to bed at 5 a.m. did prevent me from getting to the tower before it closed for the day.  I guess I’ll have to wait until my next visit across the ocean to peer lovingly at Joyce’s death mask.

In the meantime, a good part of me is glad the Museum was closed by the time I got there. I’d likely have been disappointed to walk in and not see Stephen and Buck Mulligan bickering, Haines condescending, or at the very least, a re-created bachelor pad.

Instead, I got to hang out with these people…

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And enjoy the highly uncharacteristic sunny, balmy weather, as well as pick up an apple cider (with whiskey) at the nearby farmers market. All in all, a perfect afternoon.

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