Again, with Mike Norton’s Ulysses: Cyclops

Sometimes, the most impenetrable chapters of Joyce are written in the parlance and accent of the pubs.  If you are not Irish, and do not know that atmosphere, you may be flummoxed.

Jim Norton’s audio recording of Ulysses once again comes to the rescue.  The sheer gigantism, the “thrust” of language right into our bodies has now been accomplished for me only with his reading, his strategic use of accents and varying recital speeds.  The occasional mountains of words do not obstruct (anymore for me, at least) a rather plainly told, occasionally hilarious, and rancidly rascist hour of Leopold’s visit to a pub where the Citizen takes exception to his very existence in Ireland.


Re: Joyce 108: Bald Heads and Lantern Jaws

jul 04, 2012

Re: Joyce 108: Bald Heads and Lantern Jaws

Stephen recalls friends and priests by nickname, and considers Jaochim Abbas, that old heretic

“. . . A hater of his kind ran from them to the
wood of madness, his mane foaming in the moon, his
eyeballs stars. Houyhnhnm, horsenostrilled. The oval
equine faces, Temple, Buck Mulligan, Foxy Campbell,
Lanternjaws. Abbas father,— furious dean, what offence
laid fire to their brains? Paff! Descende, calve, ut ne amplius
decalveris. A garland of grey hair on his comminated head
see him me clambering down to the footpace (descende!),
clutching a monstrance, basiliskeyed. Get down, baldpoll!
. . .”

Re: Joyce, Episode 70: At Last, Nestor

oct 12, 2011

Re: Joyce, Episode 70: At Last, Nestor

“The sum was done.
—It is very simple, Stephen said as he stood up.
—Yes, sir. Thanks, Sargent answered.

He dried the page with a sheet of thin blottingpaper
and carried his copybook back to his bench.
—You had better get your stick and go out to the
others, Stephen said as he followed towards the door the
boy’s graceless form.
—Yes, sir.
In the corridor his name was heard, called from the
—Run on, Stephen said. Mr Deasy is calling you.
He stood in the porch and watched the laggard hurry
towards the scrappy field where sharp voices were in strife.
They were sorted in teams and Mr Deasy came away
stepping over wisps of grass with gaitered feet. When he
had reached the schoolhouse voices again contending
called to him. He turned his angry white moustache.
—What is it now? he cried continually without
—Cochrane and Halliday are on the same side, sir,
Stephen said.
—Will you wait in my study for a moment, Mr Deasy
said, till I restore order here.
And as he stepped fussily back across the field his old
man’s voice cried sternly:

—What is the matter? What is it now?
Their sharp voices cried about him on all sides: their
many forms closed round him, the garish sunshine
bleaching the honey of his illdyed head.”

A new character enters the stage in the longest and least complicated passage yet.

just the text Ma’am

Let’s do something fun.  I have extracted, from the impenetrable text of ch. 3 below, the few scraps of text (or clothesline or longline, as I call them), knotted them all together, and placed just that underneath the original text.  With a little help, pretty legible, if dry.

Stephen closed his eyes to hear his boots crush crackling wrack and shells. . . . They came down the steps from Leahy’s terrace prudently, Frauenzimmer: and down the shelving shore flabbily, their splayed feet sinking in the silted sand.. . . Airs romped round him, nipping and eager airs.. . . His pace slackened. . . . The grainy sand had gone from under his feet. His boots trod again a damp crackling mast, razorshells, squeaking pebbles, that on the unnumbered pebbles beats, wood sieved by the shipworm, lost Armada. Unwholesome sandflats waited to suck his treading soles, breathing upward sewage breath, a pocket of seaweed smouldered in seafire under a midden of man’s ashes. He coasted them, walking warily. A porterbottle stood up, stogged to its waist, in the cakey sand dough. . . . He halted.. . . He turned northeast and crossed the firmer sand towards the Pigeonhouse.. . . His feet marched in sudden proud rhythm over the sand furrows, along by the boulders of the south wall. . . . He had come nearer the edge of the sea and wet sand slapped his boots. The new air greeted him, harping in wild nerves, wind of wild air of seeds of brightness.. . . He stood suddenly, his feet beginning to sink slowly in the quaking soil. . . . Turning, he scanned the shore south, his feet sinking again slowly in new sockets. . . . He lifted his feet up from the suck, and turned back by the mole of boulders. . . .

He climbed over the sedge and eely oarweeds and sat on a stool

of rock, resting his ashplant in a grike. . . .

A bloated carcass of a dog lay lolled on bladderwrack.  Before him the gunwale of a boat,

sunk in sand. . . .

A point, live dog, grew into sight running across the sweep of sand. . . .

The dog’s bark ran towards him, stopped, ran back. . . .

Re: Joyce, Episode 59: A Tile Off The Roof

jul 27, 2011

Re: Joyce, Episode 59: A Tile Off The Roof

“Had Pyrrhus not fallen by a beldam’s hand in Argos or Julius Caesar not been knifed to
death. They are not to be thought away. Time has branded them and fettered they are
lodged in the room of the infinite possibilities they have ousted. But can those have been
possible seeing that they never were? Or was that only possible which came to pass?
Weave, weaver of the wind.”

In Stephen’s musings on history, real and potential, Frank finds a recurring Joycean theme.