the Heart of the Hibernian Metropolis
Before Nelson’s pillar trams slowed, shunted, changed trolley started for
Blackrock, Kingstown and Dalkey, Clonskea, Rathgar and Terenure, Palmerston
park and upper Rathmines, Sandymount Green, Rathmines, Ringsend and Sandymount
Tower, Harold's Cross. The hoarse Dublin United Tramway Company's timekeeper
bawled them off:
— Rathgar and Terenure!
Come on, Sandymount Green!
Right and left parallel
clanging ringing a doubledecker and a singledeck moved from their railheads,
swerved to the down line, glided parallel.
Start, Palmerston park!
this time of day, 105 years ago, Leopold Bloom, the fictional ad-salesman antihero
of James Joyce’s Ulysses, heard those words as he was
stopping into the offices Weekly Freeman
and National Press, the next stop on his day’s perambulations
around “Dear Dirty Dublin.”
you care? I’ll let writer William Michaelian explain:
Ulysses is the strangest book I’ve ever read. It’s brilliant, poetic,
funny, disgusting, challenging, compelling, overblown, inspiring, frustrating,
confusing, and truly a pleasure to read. Joyce was a genius. He was bored. He
was mad. He knew too much. In fact, it’s quite possible he wrote Ulysses
in an attempt to unburden himself of his knowledge. He failed. By the time he
was done, he was smarter than ever, and so he took it out on the world by
writing Finnegans Wake, a book I might or might not read before I die.
years after its controversial
publication, that towering and intimidating paragon of modernism —
chock-a-block with punning wordplay, referencing Homer’s Odyssey in ways both direct and oblique, touching upon the personal
and the universal and everything in between, from one man’s morning visit to
the outhouse to the “heaventree of stars hung with humid nightblue fruit” — continues
to inspire celebration
and detailed study.
“I've put in so many enigmas and puzzles
that it will keep the professors busy for centuries arguing over what I meant,
and that's the only way of insuring one's immortality,” wrote Joyce.
And, lo and behold, he was right.
a substantial preview here.
The Linati Schema
is Joyce’s own skeleton key to the book, revealing the structure and synapse-snapping allusions to colors, bodily organs, philology, mythology, mechanics, Hamlet, Shakespeare, Caesar, Christ, Socrates, magic, metamorphosis, parthenogenesis and more that underlie
those 18 chapters.
Schema offers more insight along those lines.
Joyce Images is a rich trove of
photographs, vintage ads, and post cards — arranged thematically by chapter — showing
looked like at the time Ulysses takes
decide to finally tackle the book — and, really, at the risk of repeating
myself, you totally should — this
site, The Wandering Rocks, is the place to be. Eager readers across the
world began reading the first chapter this morning, and the plan is to offer advice,
annotation and running commentary for the rest of the summer until that end of
the barely-punctuated, 24,048-word Penelope
chapter, which closes with that famous, universally echoing affirmation: "yes I said yes I will Yes."
Or, if you
just wanna read the first chapter (more of which are to come) in comic
book form, you can do
course, there’s always Joseph Strick’s fun but
unavoidably flawed 1967 movie.
But, really, you’ve just got to bite the bullet and buy the book.
“The demand that I make of my reader is that he should devote his whole life
to reading my works,” Joyce has said.
I really don’t feel like that’s too much to ask. Do you?