The Great Bloomsday Read-A-Long

Hello everybody! I know I have ignored blogging about Ulysses, but fear not: I'm still reading. I'm currently half-way through Circe, which I'm loving. I've been reading quietly and desperately trying to find something to say that would be insightful and interesting, but kept ending up feeling inadequate and not writing. But here we are: Bloomsday just passed and I'm reading Ulysses and I feel I should mark the day somehow (although it's not the first time Bloomsday catches me reading Ulysses, I was a few pages in this time last year).

So I'll address some of the points brought up by Emily and Lori during the weeks I was away, and bring up a topic of my own.

Writing styles: your favorites, least favorites, how do they work, etc.

I like the writing in the first three episodes (when we're following Stephen) the most. I like how visual the writing is here (more so, I think, than any other episode until Circe) and I like the constant back and forth between Stephen being over-dramatic and Stephen mocking himself. 
There are quite a few bits of these episodes that I remember off the top of my head, at least enough to search for them efficiently:
Hurray for the Goddamned idiot! Hray! No-one saw: tell no-one. Books you were going to write with letters for titles. Have you read his F? O yes, but I prefer Q. Yes, but W is wonderful.
The cold domed room of the tower waits. Through the barbacans the shafts of light are moving ever, slowly ever as my feet are sinking, creeping duskward over the dial floor. Blue dusk, nightfall, deep blue night. In the darkness of the dome they wait, their pushedback chairs, my obelisk valise, around a board of abandoned platters. Who to clear it? He has the key. I will not sleep there when this night comes.
What doesn't exactly work for me is when Joyce is blatantly parodying popular writing styles of the era (like he does in the romance-y beginning of Nausicaa), though, to be honest, this is mostly because I'm never sure if I'm in on the joke.

Favorite episodes

Much like Emily's, my mind was blown by Oxen of the Sun. I had a hard time at first making sense of what's going on (is someone really giving birth? why are the students there? why are the middle-aged men there? what's an objurgation? what's up with the bloody castle?!), but once I got over the stupor, I enjoyed everything about this episode. I like the fact that we have so many characters in one place, all talking over each other (Mr Cavil and Mr Sometimes Godly, Mr Ape Swillale, Mr False Franklin, Mr Dainty Dixon, Young Boasthard and Mr Cautious Calmer, te-hee), the way everyone's characterization is furthered by their participation in a discussion about birth, the medieval setting, the humor, and even the really hard-to-read part at the end, that's all drunken slang.

Finally, here's what I'd like to ask my fellow readers. What's your favorite made-up-by-Joyce word so far?

Unfortunately, I can't retrieve my notes and highlights (my e-reader died a sudden death), but I remember that nutquesting classmates made me laugh out loud, and I will forever be using objectquesting people.

1 comment:

  1. I'm not joining in with the read-along (I really wish I had though!), but my favourite made-up Joyce word is "heaventree", as in "the heaventree of stars" :)