Will I do Joyce? Why, yes I will Yes

Posted: May 26th, 2004 | Filed under: Culture, Features | No Comments »

Coming soon enough on the 16th of June to be exact is the 100th Bloomsday which is a seriously important anniversary for the literati but in case you don’t count yourself among that grouping let me advise that it is the date in 1904 on which the entirety or at least the great majority of James Joyces Ulysses takes place and since the considerably dense novel has received more than a little acclaim as the greatest written in the English language fans of literature around the globe Joycean acolytes and those of the Irish persuasion looking for another excuse for a pint or four have taken to annually celebrating the adventures of Leopold Bloom his wife Molly and various and sundry acquaintances including Stephen Dedalus as the novelists stand-in as he was in another of Joyce’s celebrated works Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man and having recently come across an item regarding this somewhat noteworthy celebration I as the erstwhile Culture Maven figured it was time to actually read this book or at the very least attempt to do so so that my adopted moniker will have some semblance of gravitas but I knew it would be an arduous task which fear was confirmed about two paragraphs from the beginning when Joyce tossed out some Latin phrase which didn’t register since I never suffered through attempting to learn that ancient language in high school and in actual fact was so averse to studying it that I wouldn’t even walk down the hallway where Miss Duerson conducted her exercises in veni vidi vici thus figuring out this arcane Joycean verbiage was simply going to get more difficult to understand and frustrating so I went online where I downloaded a general outline which further muddied the waters but indicated that the novels structure mirrors that of Homers Ulysses which should have been apparent from the title plus several articles about the novel in hopes that it might help my understanding of a reading were I to continue that effort at all and what I discovered about Joyces choice of June 16 1904 as the date of Blooms adventures around Dublin is at least as interesting as the book itself since it was on that date that the author apparently had a first dalliance with one Nora Barnacle who jilted him the day before but later with whom he developed a relationship that lasted for years and it makes sense since Joyce for all his literary talent was also a fairly randy guy and there’s a published letter of his to that very same Nora describing what she apparently did to him that first afternoon which is quite scandalous but nonetheless worth quoting if only to see if it makes it past this publications censorship board if not that of Krogers because Joyce reminded his love that it was she who slide your hand down down inside my trousers and pulled my shirt softly aside and touched my prick with your long tickling fingers and gradually took it all fat and stiff as it was into your hand and frigged me slowly until I came off through your fingers all the time bending over me and gazing at me out of your quiet saintlike eyes and having read that you can probably understand why there was such difficulty getting Ulysses printed by a reputable house because there are all matters of sexuality and adultery contained therein which made publication difficult especially in the prudish United States where it took a court order which brings us before this screed ends to a quick explanation as to why this whole column is one unpunctuated sentence and that is that the final chapter of Ulysses is Molly Blooms stream of consciousness meanderings as she falls asleep that first fictional Bloomsday and the chapter is forty-five pages long containing only 8 sentences and no other punctuation which is an interesting exercise but takes major focus to follow and seems somewhat of an affectation however since the Culture Maven is nothing if not a designation of affectation it seemed appropriate to honor Joyces monumental novel not to mention the tryst in the park that sparked his abundant creativity in this manner by mirroring the style he uses to end his opus and after duly considering how my editors might balk at the audacity of such a column as this I looked in the mirror and yes I said yes I will Yes.

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