Practical Theory - The Origin
The Scholars in CyberEnglish
ToDaY's MeNu - Ted

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Reading Joyce's Ulysses in Preparation...

for my April week trip to Dublin and points west in Ireland. Last time I read it, or at least turned the pages of this tome was in college. I know I'm enjoying it more now.

Here is a review of why it was initially censored:
JOYCE, JAMES. Ulysses, London, Egoist Press, 1922.* Click here for a more detailed image(First English edition, printed in France). Twenty-three installments of Ulysses had already appeared in The Little Review (New York) before publication was stopped by action of the Society for the Suppression of Vice. Two numbers were seized by the Post Office. Although the precise facts are not clear, many copies of the present edition were seized and some were destroyed at the U.S. Post Office. In 1923 another 500 copies were printed "to replace those destroyed in transit to the U.S.A." and it has been stated that 499 were seized by the English authorities. However, three of these 500 are known to exist. In the early 1930s a copy sent to Random House, N.Y., was intercepted. The firm brought suit and the book was permitted entry in a famous decision by Judge Woolsey, who ruled that the intent of the work bars it from the class of pornography. The decision was upheld by the Court of Appeals and Random House printed the first American edition in 1934. Also on exhibit are the 1922 edition, the lawyer's brief on behalf of Ulysses, 1933, the decisions of Judge Woolsey and the Court of Appeals.

Of course one of the things one MUST do when in Dublin is follow Bloom's route and listen to it as well.

I forgot how beautiful the novel is. I forgot how musical the language is, how precise the imagery. It is a magnificent tale with so many fabulous nooks and crannies. The words leap out and massage the ear and tickle our fancy as we read. It is a glorious read. The voice I hear is Frank McCourt. The lilting Irish brogue, the staccato cadence of the short sentences, and the stream of conscienceness. The opening with Buck and images of Greece. The school. Then Bloom making breakfast and the description of the kidney, the buying of it, the cooking of it, the eating of it; scrumptious. The funeral procession through town and the coming together of the first circle when Bloom goes by Eccles street where he lives while on journey to the cemetery. The conversation among the men is classic. When we move to our first pub and the newspaper men we are entering a whole new world of literacy. The journey has begun as Bloom is off setting type for an ad and we join him on his day's meandering with purpose and determination. Now that is as far I have gotten.

I am noting place names; street addresses; and references to "circle" a theme methinks; and teaching references, another theme. I find the style interesting, too. He uses newspaper type headlines in the section involving the newsmen as headers to the next few paragraphs. What I'm absolutely in love with is the short sentences of one, two, three words, one after the next for pages. I am realizing why this is a brilliant tome. Oh I'm reminded of Confederacy of Dunces by
John Kennedy Toole, another book I wish to revisit.

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