Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Ulysses Support Group Update: Meeting 3

In Penny's absence,
I thought I'd pen a
couple of notes
following the latest
meeting of her
Ulysses Support

Well done to the 5 of us that eschewed chocolate chomping for literary chewiness and pitched up at The Salamander to discuss the next instalment of Joyce's epic.

Pages 53 - 111 (of the OUP Edition text, available from Mr B's) were up for discussion. This is the bit where we meet Mr Leopold Bloom for the first time. In a refreshing change of style, gone is the intense, opaque and inaccessible voice of Stephen Dedalus and in comes a Mr Bloom that positively overflows with earthiness - and given that we are treated to the innermost thoughts of a man whilst on the pot and also when attending the funeral of a friend, there is plenty of soil to go around. Everyone agreed that this section was an easy(ish), rewarding read and that the myriad details of an early 20th Century Dublin morning were both fascinating and accessible. The large amount of dialogue between Bloom and his friends during this extract, meant we all hankered for an audio version replete with thick Irish accents, that could enhance our understanding of the rhythm of the language. In terms of understanding the content of the language though, we felt that even sans notes, this section works very well as a realistic 'stream of consciousness'. It can be read in isolation and still be enjoyed for what it is: one man's view of his world at a particular point in time.

Back to the more highbrow reading: what of Joyce's Odyssey mapping? There was much debate as to whether the recumbant Molly Bloom, resplendant in her bedroom setting was Bloom's Penelope or Calypso. We are anxious to find further clues to back one interpretation or the other. In fact, so keen are we to probe further into the potential extra-marital activities of both Mr and Mrs Bloom, we have agreed to meet again on Tuesday 10th May at 6:45pm. And our goal over the next two weeks? To read up to page 143. This means that those of you who were still on Easter hols won't have to wait ages for the next meeting and if you need to catch up, there is only another 30 pages to conquer. Go on, you know you want to! The mood of those around the table at this point is that the book is proving far more enjoyable than we were expecting. Or have I just spoken too soon? Only one way to find out...

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