Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Ulysses Support Group Meeting: Lestrygonians & Scylla and Charybdis

An ambitious 'two section' session, which again highlights the range of styles that Joyce foists upon the reader in quick succession. Bloom's chatty, internal monologue as he decides where he will lunch, is full of digressions, unfinished thoughts and memories. By contrast, the section in the library with Stephen Dedalus holding court, is an academic 'showing off' session - which requires quite a lot of pre-reading around the subject of Shakespeare, his life and his plays in order to get all of the references. Whilst most of the group had studied Shakespeare at some level, this section was quite slow going because of the inscrutability of a lot of the discussion. Amazingly though, even this has failed to curb the enthusiasm of the group: 'if we don't understand everything, then isn't that just a really realistic experience of being in the library and eavesdropping...why should we presume to understand every detail of someone else's conversation?' Another aspect of Joyce's writing that is becoming apparent, is that far from being a 'rough draft', Ulysses is full of careful construction and craft - sometimes so clever that you don't realise it. We are all starting to love the emerging character of Bloom and there is even a tiny bit of tension created as Bloom and Dedalus skirt around each other without quite meeting.

Lots of back slapping and congratulations ensued when we realised we have reached the quarter stage and are STILL up for more.

We would also like to take the opportunity to thank Jim Williams for letting us have a copy of his fantastic collage-style Ulysses themed worksheets. The next section we will be reading is 'Wandering Rocks' and the details of the Dublin streets and the establishments that existed at the beginning of the 20th century are going to be invaluable. The next meeting will be in The Salamander, as usual, from 6:45 on the 14th June. Lucinda

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