ULYSSES p. 4-13, “Telemachus”

By JERRY GRIT

The Ulysses twreading (my* awesome neologism for “tweeting while reading”) is going pretty well, apart from the horseface fiasco (Buck has equine features, not Stephen…as I confused in my twreading on the first page). I read 10 pages for today, tweeting a summary after each page. Here’s how they went, all under one forty:

June 16

  • In preparation for tomorrow’s post…I will tweet once per page tonight. Starting now…
  • P 4. Stephen complains about 3rd roommate Haines (eccentric rich Brit), worried about living with a dude with night terrors and a gun.
  • P 5. D’oh! Buck has the horseface! Buck guilts Stephen about his mom’s death & his refusal to pray beside her. She haunts him in dreams.
  • P 6. Stephen wears only black b/c in mourning. Buck holds up a cracked mirror, repeats rumors of Steve’s insanity. Stephen quotes Hamlet.

June 17

  • Busy day banging head against wall. Will twread now. Will use abbreviations SD=Stephen Dedalus; BM=Buck Mulligan (ha!); UA=Ulysses Annotated.
  • P7. BM senses that SD is fed up with BM’s bs. BM asks for SD’s trust. Also asks SD to try to borrow money off Haines. Brit-bashing ensues.
  • P8. SD tells BM that he overheard BM call his mom beastly dead after her funeral. Embarrassed BM plays off, espouses irreverent lifeview.
  • P9. SD says he was offended, BM tells him not 2 b. Haines calls up 4 breakfast. BM leaves singing. SD alone recalls singing same song 2 mom.
  • P10. SD broods on mom. Recalls dreaming of hr ghost. SD begs mom 2 leave hm b. BM yells breakfast ready & Haines is sorry for night terrors.
  • P11. SD dont want Brit’s money, says he’s getting paid. BM says theyll get drunk. SD thinks about bringing BM’s bowl down. Doesnt wanna serve.
  • P12. 3 towermates sit at table 4 breakfast. BM wants milk. Milkmaid is sighted coming up. BM makes strong tea, refers 2 SD’s stay in Paris.
  • P13. Irish folklore inside jokes. Old milkmaid comes in. BM makes fun of her reverence. SD recalls Athena’s milkmaid disguise, Odyssey I-II.

Although I feel strongly that these summaries pretty much capture the depth of meaning on every page (and that you could probably read them in place of the actual book and not miss a thing), there a few points I want to make. 

When we last left Stephen Dedalus in the final pages of A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, he was ecstatic and set to flee Ireland for Paris, to escape the pressures of family and the oppressive moral culture of Ireland, to spend all his days drinking wine in cafes, sleeping with prostitutes, and other impious writer fantasies.

But from the beginning of Ulysses, we know that flamed out. The beginning of Ulysses continues the structure in Portrait, where each chapter ends on a high, and begins on a low. Where Portrait ends with Stephen on his biggest high, Ulysses begins with Stephen at his lowest low yet. He’s was called back to Ireland as his mother was dying.  He’s displaced from his father’s home, and about to be displaced from a ghetto tower by people he can’t stand. And now he’s haunted by his mother’s death because he didn’t pray for her when she begged him to.

 

(Obvious, I know, but I couldn’t help it.)

There’s also something to be said of the towermate situation. It’s an important dynamic, with larger significances. With Buck Mulligan as the typical Irish bourgeois and Haines as the crazy, rich**, armed British visitor, we have a picture of British occupation and Irish submission. When Stephen thinks of returning the bowl of lather Buck left on the roof, he fears becoming “a servant of a servant” (p.11)  

Stephen’s longing to be free of the nets of country and family is still in tact, however entangled he now finds himself.

 And finally, we have our first quasi-sighting of Leopold Bloom! Any guesses where? It’s on p. 4…

Any questions?

NEXT: I will *try* to read 20 10 pages for tomorrow.

Follow the twreading!

And Adopt-An-Episode before it’s too late! You’re encouraged to tag team!

Picture 5

——-

* = I was curious if I could really claim this word as my own. I found that I might be able to claim my definition as original, but not the word. You can get tarot twreadings. People twread their tweets (that’s just stupid). Just so there’s no confusion, on Wandering Rocks, twreading means tweeting while you read.

** = In the Ellman biography, he recounts how when Joyce was living with Gogarty in the tower, they also had a British house visitor, who was also armed and had night terrors. It is assumed that Joyce left the tower after he was shot at by the Brit during one of his episodes. I’m sure Joyce wields the “lancet of his art” (p.7) to settle some scores here. 

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13 Responses

  1. Pages 4-13? Holy crap, I need to stop watching Twilight every night this week (I wish I were kidding). I was at Barnes & Noble the other day looking at some of the Ulysses resources and decided not to buy one just yet. I think I have changed my mind.

    Also, I think I have recruited another person: the elusive and mysterious Eric MF’N B. Hopefully this project is big enough for two crotchety and sarcastic Eric Bs.

    • There’s another Eric B.? Those guys drive me nutz.

      And I highly recommend the Blamires’ Bloomsday book. (Maybe even over the annotations … I forgot how going back and forth from the book to the annotations used to drive me nutburgers.) Check it out online under out “Ulysses Resources” links. The majority of its text is online.

  2. Twilight?!?! I think I’m going to cry. *shudder*

    What do you suppose the green and white colour symbolism is pertaining to? On the one hand the “snotgreen sea” of ireland is compared to the [trans] “wine dark” grecian sea, but I can’t eradicate the niggling feeling that the green goes deeper. Could it be linked to something political perhaps..?

  3. Sorry, amendment to previous:

    *On the one hand the “snotgreen sea” of ireland is compared to the [trans] “wine dark” grecian sea, which holds up a preference for the ancient tradition of the epic over contemporary culture – makes sense, the renaissance style throwbacks permeate modernism – but I can’t eradicate …

    • I completely agree we need to call attention to the snotgreen sea. And I think you’re right to detect political (this is set during the Irish Renaissance…so definitely taking a poke at the fashionable reverence for all things Ireland) and aesthetic relevance (I never thought of it as a goof on a homeric epithet, but it is absolutely).

      Another thing to note: how the green water is connected to his mother. SD associates the sea with the “dull green mass of liquid (p. 5)” [ie, vomit…sorry] in the bowl on his dying mother’s bedside on p. 5. Water throughout the book will be linked to women, mothers, reproduction. Something to pay attention to.

  4. A Leopold Bloom-sighting on p. 4? Is he the black panther? How on earth should we know this?

    I would be curious to hear what method everyone is using to read this. I took Jerry’s advice and purchased Ulysses Annotated. I open that on my lap and then set above it (as if I were again in 7th grade U.S. History reading a concealed Calvin & Hobbes inside my textbook) Ulysses, jumping between the two (usually from the annotations to the text) and then scribbling cryptic notes in the margins.

    Should I do a straight reading of Ulysses, then turn to the annotations? Read Annotated first, then Ulysses? Burn Annotated? Burn both? Just follow Jerry’s tweets?

    BM sure loves him some sacrilege.

  5. As for reading style, I was reading through the text next to my computer (as I don’t have the annotated book) and looking up bits I didn’t know. Then, I found your link to the online anntotated, so I went back and reread that up to the end of ch. 1. I think, in future, I’ll have that on the computer as I read.

    • I suggest to start with reading the Blamires’ Bloomsday guide for the chapter (see resources links). And then read the book, and resort to the annotations (either in Gifford or online) for only the items you’re completely confused by. You do eventually get the hang of what will be in the annotations.

      I forgot how you completely lose the plot going back and forth from Ulysses to the annotations. Getting primed with Blamires will keep your head in the game.

      That said, my twreads are pretty comprehensive.

  6. The “servant of a servant” line could also have the connotation that SD doesn’t want to play altar boy to BM’s farcical priest from earlier.

  7. Is Leopold the one that BM saved from drowning?

  8. […] Re-read the episode with annotations at hand (or on the screen, as lizaanne42 recommends); […]

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